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 scale of the industry 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. In many ways it is a bleak place. A desolate landscape and it is difficult to imagine what it was like centuries ago (before the mines)when the fell side was covered with woodland and wild boar and deer were hunted by the locals.
Away from the gill the landscape is bleak, scrubby moorland stretching as far as you can see; 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. Not worth it.
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.
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