Where is this walk?

Great Pinseat and the Old Gang

May 3, 2022

There is no better walk to understand the effect of ithe lead mining industry on the Swaledale landscape than to climb Great Pinseat and the Old Gang. The barren moonscape near its summit feels like entering a different world. It is fascinating.

The Walk

To appreciate the full scale of the lead mining 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 via the Old Gang and nearby Hard Level Gill. Old mines and old mining buildings pepper the landscape and dominate the scenery. The best is the old smelting mill at the Old Gang, built in 1790 and still in use 100 years later. In addition 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. For a full explanation of the lead mining history of the Swaledale valley visit the museum in Reeth.

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!


The trig point marking the summit of Great Pinseat is hidden behind the summit dry stone wall, a little off the main track. Worth visiting though for the views and satisfaction.

Navigation Tips on Great Pinseat

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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