To the north of Dent lies the long whale back hill of Aye Gill Pike. It is not high enough to be one of the Dales 30 but still has outstanding views across the Dales and on a clear day to the southern lakes.
I have grown up of the opinion that any hill with the name Pike included should be rocky and possibly pointy (Langdales, Scafell, Dufton etc). However looking at the map this seemed unlikely in the case of Aye Gill Pike. A glance at the map confirmed this, the fell was a broad whaleback mountain, separating the deep valleys of Garsdale and Dentdale.
Still, it had not been climbed by me before. Therefore we headed up on a warm October day to right this wrong. Dentdale is always a good base, a quiet base admittedly, but pretty with a pleasant village. The climb itself was straightforward. I headed west along the Dales Way before arriving at the ridge above Barth Bridge. A wall leads all the way to a summit (a new fence complicating the issue a little near the trig point). Sadly there was no sign of a Pike!
However the views were excellent, Aye Gill Pike lies bang in the centre of some excellent Dales mountains, with the Howgills particularly impressive from here. I descended steeply and directly towards Dent (third field to the west from the summit).
The descent is steep. If you have bad knees it may be worth reversing the climb, the views partly compensating for the time taken.
There are no public rights of way on Aye Gill Pike. It is therefore important to find gaps in the many dry stone walls on the direct descent. There is a faint track in the second field to the west from the summit which picks up a farm track lower down.
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