The Dales 30

One of Debbie’s challenges is to climb as many of the Dales 30 mountains as possible. The Dales 30 are the mountains in the Yorkshire and Cumbrian Dales over 2,000 feet. For more information on the Dales 30 challenge and how to buy the book click here.

The mountains Debbie has climbed are described below….it is a moving feast.

Running Total 5

Great Knoutberry Hill, Dentdale. June 2019

Summit of Great Knoutberry

Summit of Great Knoutberry

This is a fantastic walk, regardless if the mountain is climbed or not. Artengill Viaduct is the star of the walk but it is closely matched by the summit area of Great Knoutberry Hill. Along with Buckden Pike my favourite actual summit of the Dales 30.

The route started at the Sportsman,s Inn, just myself and Debbie this time with Andy down with the lurgy. The narrow road to Artengill viaduct is probably the most dangerous part of the walk for Debbie. Once on tracks and steep hillsides, bog and rock it s not a problem. The climb up to the col is on a good bridleway and is excellent. However the biggest challenge was to find somewhere we could get on to the open fell itself. The Pennine Bridleway skirts the edges of Great Knoutberry but is enclosed by a broken wall. Our first attempt to ‘break out’ was thwarted by a simply enormous bull and its pack.

Further on though there is a proper exit on to the fell and a fence on our left which led to the summit. We climbed steadily through intermittent bog patches and steeper slopes to the almost perfect summit. The views from here are genuinely 360 degrees with Dales 30 mountains in all directions. Having bored Debbie in pointing these out, failed to turn on the video to preserve the view Debbie took things in to her own hands and tried to ram the trig point. We were then joined on the summit by a calf creeping towards us. Coupled with a heavy black cloud heading our way we returned to the fence and the Pennine Bridleway. Andy had moved the van to a good pick up point where it meets the road.

Great Shunner Fell, Hawes. April 2019

Approaching Great Shunner Fell

Approaching Great Shunner Fell

Great Shunner Fell is on a long 5 mile ridge which is part of the Pennine Way so these days you can almost be guaranteed of a good path. This proved to be the case and apart from a messy section through some hags near the summit it is a straightforward walk and the hopper performed well…less said about Debbie the better.

Myself, Debbie, Andy and Mist set off on the Pennine Way from Hardraw. This was not a bridlepath (and therefore gates not a prerequisite) being the popular Pennine Way and my memory of previous climbs I was fairly confident it would not cause the hopper too much difficulties. Its a long way to Great Shunner Fell (nearly 5 miles and the same on the return, obviously) and it was a cold day. Debbie and Mist soon disappeared in to the distance leaving myself and Andy to discuss beer, football and the latest Netflix must see.

Beyond the final gate the route has been partially repaired by the National Park but this still entailed some small detours in to the rougher ground. There is also quite a steep section near the summit but we picked our way through here to the fine cross shelter which marks the 3rd highest of the Dales 30. Its an impressive spot and unusually for the Dales 30 we had company, a family appeared with some surprisingly enthusiastic kids. Well done parents!

The descent went well as the weather closed in. It was nice to see the area as most of my previous climbs of Great Shunner had been in the snow. We went to the cafe near the falls for a pleasant cup of tea. The new visitor centre at the entrance to the falls is very good. It is just a shame they feel the need to charge for the short walk to the falls themselves.

Rogan’s Seat, Gunnerside. September 2018

Above Gunnerside Gill

Above Gunnerside Gill

Rogan’s Seat is a vast plateau on the north side of Swaledale, well used by those who prefer to shoot wildlife than walkers. Maybe this is linked? However what does remain are some excellent wide tracks making this one of the easiest Dales 30 summits to access.

6 of us set off from Gunnerside. We joined one of these wide tracks and climbed steadily on to the higher plateau of Rogan’s Seat. Once on the fell the track heads north on the western edge of Gunnerside Gill, a famous place to discover the remains of the lead mining industry that so dominated the area in the last century. However there was not a soul on the fell today as Debbie (as is her want) sped away with Mist. We staggered on behind.

Soon after the track bends west a further shooters ‘road’ goes directly north. We stopped at the shooting hut for lunch, taking shelter from the first of a few squalls that came our way. The summit just beyond is highly unimpressive, just off the track it is a small cairn with a pipe sticking out. Much debate on why the pipe is there but god knows. It was too cold to hang around so we turned tail and headed back down. I think Debbie was down before we even arrived at the hut!

The Calf & Calders, Howgills September 2016

Before the rains

Before the rains

We set off on a damp but ok morning to complete a south to north crossing of the Howgills. It was one of the first time we had tested the terrain hopper on a long day, 10 miles in this case.  Myself , Debbie and Andy were accompanied by Judith, Jane and Rachel from the Yorkshire Dales National Park, by the end of the day I suspect they regretted it!

The route itself and track is perfect for a hopper. It is steep to start with on the climb to Winder but from there all the way through to Bowderdale the path is good, part grassy, part stony path and great for us all. Unfortunately the weather was not so friendly, the cloud came down and the rain started, heavily. From near the top of Calders the rain hammered don. Debbie appeared least concerned.

The main concern on the walk was the battery on the hopper. The first one ran out near the summit of Winder and the second seemed to run down too quickly. Soon after the Calf it registered under 5%. It bothered me as I did not fancy a mountain rescue call out for many reasons. A quick word with Debbie and we steamed a head leaving the others behind. Amazingly the battery registered zero on Hazelgill Knott but the hopper kept going…and going. We looked amazed at each other as we headed down towards the valley.

It was a damp but happy and relieved team that met the minibus at Bowderdale.