Great Coum via Gragareth is a long, lonely walk over a high grassy ridge returning via the pretty Leck Valley. The views over the Howgills and on to the Southern Lakes are very good on a clear day.
On the first occasion I climbed Great Coum a few years ago from Dent, direct, quick and largely without interest. However I really wanted to tackle the full three and a half mile ridge from Gragareth via Great Coum to the viewpoint at Crag Hill. It looked like a classic. I have always enjoyed high ridge walking whether on flatter, grassy ridges or the rockier ones in the Lakes. The Gragareth ridge is certainly long but makes for easy walking. As a result there is plenty of time to enjoy the far reaching views.
I started the walk from the pretty village of Ireby cutting across to Leck Fell House. This resulted in my gaining the ridge near the Three Men of Gragareth. Interestingly Gragareth is in Lancashire, in fact Lancashire’s highest point. However the walk to Great Coum takes you in to Cumbria. However both Gragareth and Great Coum are both in the Yorkshire Dales. Something to puzzle on.
The descent through the Leck valley is delightful with deep shake holes peppering the limestone at its upper end and enjoyable on its lower slopes as it winds through some deep gorges hewn from the rock. This is a long walk but it is the fine day out and a great way to appreciate this rarely visited area.
Gragareth and Great Coum are 2 of the Dales 30 Mountains
Great Coum via Gregareth is a long walk. Do not underestimate how long it will take. It took me over four and a half hours with no stops.
There is no public right of way off Crag Hill. Therefore keep to the north side of the wall as you descend to the valley floor. Alternatively you will become stuck behind dry stone walls with no way through. oin the right of way on the valley floor.
I did this today and it was a good challenge! Very low cloud though so saw very little in the first half. Ended up walking down Forrest Ghyll which results in a very slippy 20ft drop which you can’t get down, the other option being a very tight spider filled cave with an old rope to abseil down, not for the claustrophobic!
I ran this route on Sunday morning after reading about it in your book. The panorama of surrounding peaks was outstanding, made even more so by the clear and sunny weather. The route was discernible throughout but was perfectly secluded. Indeed, I only saw one man and his dog on the ridge (and the 3 of Gragareth of course). Frustratingly, I could not find a trig point for Great Coum. I did, however, find a modest cairn but this was on the edge of the 687m contour according to the OS map.
Calf Top from Barbon next!
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