Where is this walk?

Great Shunner Fell and Lovely Seat

January 22, 2019

Great Shunner Fell and Lovely Seat make a long but entertaining circuit between Wensleydale and Swaledale. The climb up Great Shunner Fell is straightforward, the crossing over Buttertubs to Lovely Seat less so.

The Walk

Two wild and lonely Yorkshire Dales’ peaksĀ can be collected in a long walk from either Hardraw in Wensleydale or Thwaite in Swaledale. Many thousands will have traipsed over the summit of Great Shunner Fell (being on the Pennine Way). However I cannot believe many but the most intrepid have been up its neighbour Lovely Seat. It is a lonely place, trackless and the place of bird watchers, navigation trainers and summit baggers.

For whatever reason I tend to do this walk in winter conditions. The advantage being the partly frozen ground meant that I avoided the often marshy conditions (at least when I hear stories from Pennine Way walkers). The ascent has been improved however by the addition of some large slabs and duck boards on the most marshy places. In addition the frozen conditions made the descent straightforward and fun, particularly from the summit of Lovely Seat. At no stage was it too steep. On a warm summer’s evening this must be great descent.

Great Shunner Fell and Lovely Seat are two of the Dales 30 Mountains


It is very easy to bag both mountains from the high pass, Buttertubs. As a result there is no appreciation of the vastness of the moors of this area.

Navigation Tips Great Shunner Fell and Lovely Seat

Following the line of the broken fence is the most important think to do when crossing between the two mountains. Follow it to Buttertubs and then across the bog straight up Lovely Seat. From the summit of Lovely Seat the route is pathless. Take a southerly bearing and you may get wet feet but you will reach the bridleway after one and a half miles.

  • Benjamin Myerson says:

    I walked thus route today as part of the Dales 30 and it is fantastic. The ascent up to GSF is just lovely, and the descent from Lovely Seat is great walking. We got a little bit mixed up on the way to Buttertubs from GSF, and met another group of walkers following the same route who had gone wrong in the same place, but with a quick look at the map, we doubled back meet the shoulder of Little Shunner Fell and then on to the road. I can confirm that the descent is lovely on a warm summer evening. Would definitely follow the same route again.

  • David says:

    Did this today – the walk up to Great Shunner Fell was great. Rough second half but well worth it – if you take care, you can navigate the bogs even now when it’s close to its wettest. Southerly (or slightly to the west of South) bearing off Lovely Seat worked well. By the way, your High Seat link is broken. Love the site and the walks so would like to see that one too.

  • Richmond Denton says:

    Hi. I did this walk yesterday. Went slightly off course from the walk down from Lovely Seat. Went South instead of turning SW. Hit the Bridleway and then went left (instead of right). However after self navigating down into the valley via a couple of bridleways I think my eventual route was better, as it kept away from the Buttertubs Road. It added another 2 miles on but worth it for the walk down past the stunning sheer gritstone of North Rakes Hill

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