Take the walk up Plover Hill from Halton Gill in Littondale and you will be very unlikely to meet anyone. The walk covers some remote coutryside, visits an unlikely summit and starts from the far end of a long but lovely dale. It is wild dales rather than tame dales and the better for it.
Plover Hill is normally tacked on the end of a visit to Pen-y-Ghent. However it is more sensible to treat the summit as a reason to explore the remote dales countryside that surrounds the head of Littondale. Halton Gill itself makes for a lovely start, a pretty, largely unspoilt hamlet with an interesting church. The serve yourself coffee barn may or may not be open when you visit but when it is, it is a real bonus.
The route takes off along the Pennine Journey bridlepath, a little known long distance route walked by Alfred Wainwright. There is a steep climb up to the small cairn on Plover Hill. Standing at the cairn it does not feel to be in the highest spot but probably is, an optical illusion. The descent to the east is through some rough terrain but with excellent views down Littondale and beyond.
Plover Hill is one of the Dales 30, the 30 mountains in the Yorkshire and Cumbrian Dales over 2,000 feet high. In the past it has been ignored by most but now the insignificant cairn has paths visiting the summit. It would be helpful if the National Park repaired the nearby wall and put a stile in place. Plover Hill helps spread the walkers away from the most popular routes and adds some interesting walks to this area of the Dales.
The route from the summit of Plover Hill is very rarely used. Clearly there has been some farm vehicle up there as there are some intermittent double tracks. However the best way to navigate to the road is simply stick to the dry stone wall (known as a handrail in navigation speak) and keep it in view on your left side. Without the wall the descent becomes more challenging. The tracks would help but are unreliable so the only solution in cloud would have been a direct compass bearing. This woudld work but lead you through some very awkward terrain. Always look for a map solution first.
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