There is no better walk to understand the effect of industry and mining on the Swaledale landscape than to climb Great Pinseat. The barren moonscape near its summit is fascinating.
For a full explanation of the lead mining history of the Swaledale valley visit the museum in Reeth. However to appreciate the full scale of the industry and how it dominates the area there are two excellent walks. One of these is Gunnerside Gill whilst the other is to climb Great Pinseat and nearby Hard Level Gill. Old mines and old mining buildings pepper the landscape and dominate the scenery. As a result it can seem like a bleak place. However it is worth trying to cast your mind back pre lead mining when the fell sides were covered with woodland and wild boar and deer were hunted by the locals. It really is history coming alive.
Away from the gill and the lead mines the landscape is wild, scrubby moorland stretching as far as you can see. It comes across as a nothing landscape except for the grouse preparing themselves for the annual cull. However it is grand walking country, the empty miles pass surprisingly quickly, it is a place to forget your troubles and enjoy the fresh air, the quiet and above all the enormous sky….beats being in a city!
I started the walk from Surrender Bridge, the walking towards Reeth really only a preliminary to what is above.
This is one occasion I thoroughly recommend leaving the large and obvious tracks. The landscape is so fascinating it deserves exploring. It is never far from a major path so the danger of becoming lost is minimal. Great Pinseat summit is one place that stands proud and away from the paths.
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