Wednesday, 17 May 2000

Get to the point already

So, the point. To tell you about the great British outdoors; not all of it, just the bit that's close to our home in Wakefield. A great central location that puts us in striking distance of the Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District and the Lake District aka. walking Mecca (unless you live in Scotland).

The variety of landscapes in these three areas really does provide something for everyone. Peaks. Check. Rolling hills. Check. Sheep. Without a doubt. Stiles. Check. Rivers. Most definitely. 'Youths'. Less so. Which is a good thing.

I'll generally look to write about any of the walks that I do, providing they contain enough interest to engage the reader. I walked to the train station today, not really blog worthy. In particular, my walks will generally revolve around the Wainwrights of the Lake District and the 2000ft peaks of the Yorkshire Dales. I have it in my mind to complete the Wainwrights by the end of the year of my 30th. Better get cracking then.....

Most people know about the Wainwrights but for those new to the whole subject, here is a brief summary and here are the one's I've done so far..

Here's an introduction to the lesser known hills that make up the Yorkshire 2000s (according to the brilliant list from the Walking Englishman). In descending order....

1. Whernside (736m / 2415ft) - the roof of Yorkshire. The highest peak in the Dales and one of the classic Yorkshire three peaks. On a clear day you can see all the way to Blackpool, 40 miles away. Which is far enough. It's name is said to derive from the words querns (millstones) and saettr (pasture).
2. Ingleborough (723m / 2372ft) - Whernside's partner in crime. The second three peaker is instantly recognisable due to its imposing shape and was once the location of an ancient hill fort. The old English word burh actually means 'a fortified place'. It was once regarded as the being highest mountain in England.
3. Great Shunner Fell (716m / 2349ft) - more of an enormous mound than a mountain, Great Shunner Fell is huge. Sat between Wensleydale and Swaledale, Great Shunner Fell provides the source of both the River Ure and the River Swale and is crossed by the Pennine Way.
4. High Seat (709m / 2326 ft) -  the first imposter. Not actually in the National Park boundary, the fell is still classed as a Yorkshire 2000 due to it's location in the area of the Yorkshire Dales (despite being in Cumbria). Part of the wonderfully named Mallerstang edge, High Seat neighbours both Gregory Chapel and Hugh Seat; both 2000s in their own right.
5. Wild Boar Fell (708m / 2310ft) - Another peak outside of the National Park boundary, there are plans afoot to include it in a revised boundary in the future. The name is a nod back to it's history when wild boar roamed, well, wild.
 6. Great Whernside (704m / 2310ft) - not to be confused with Whernside. Despite a grander name than the daddy of the Dales; Great Whernside is Whernside's little brother. So to speak.
7. Buckden Pike (702m / 2303ft) - A memorial cross can be found on the summit paying tribute the five Polish aircrew of the RAF who lost their lives when their aircraft crashed in 1942. The sole survivor, Jozef "Joe" Fusniak campaigned for a memorial which was finally erected in 1973.
8. Gregory Chapel (695m / 2280ft) - aka. Archy. Another located on Mallerstang Edge, Gregory Chapel is also referred to as Archy Styrigg. Which I prefer. This name seems to fit the old Norse language better with "sty" meaning track and "rigg" meaning ridge.
9. Pen-Y-Ghent (694m / 2277ft) - the pin-up of the Dales. A stunning peak needs little introduction other than to say it's name seems to come from the old Cumbric word pen, referring to hill or head and ghent, possibly a derivation of the welsh gwynt, meaning winds. Head of the Winds. Nice.
10. Hugh Seat (689m / 2260ft) - sneaking into the top 10. The penultimate hill in the Mallerstang Edge quartet, Hugh is not to be mistaken for High, one of the other peaks on the ridge. The fence on the summit marks the border between Yorkshire and Cumbria and is there to keep the sheep in. Or out, depending on which side of the fence you live.
11. Great Coum (687m / 2254ft) - overshadowed by Whernside. Parallel to the ridge that forms Whernside lies a trio of 2000s; Crag Hill, Gragareth and Great Coum. Great Coum is the highest point of the three. It's named after the shallow coum or corrie on its northeastern side.
12. Crag Hill (682m / 2237ft) - Other than to say that Crag Hill lies in the ridge containing Gargareth and Great Coum, little is written about it. It must be pointed out though, that it shares its name with one of the lakeland fells so bear this in mind when planning routes.
13. Swarth Fell (681m / 2234ft) - As Plover Hill belongs to Pen-Y-Ghent and Simon Fell finds its home on Ingleborough, Swarth Fell shares the high ground with Wild Boar Fell. A 1.5km stretch links to two peaks. The name is another thought to derive from a Norse word for "dark in colour" - svartr.
14. Plover Hill (680m / 2231ft) - the quaking bog. Plover Hill sits alongside Pen-Y-Ghent, linked by a 2km patch of thick, quaking bog. This is a result of the rainwater permeating the peat from it's higher neighbour.
15. Tarn Rigg Hill (678m / 2224ft) - part of the imposing Baugh Fell. Baugh fell lies north of Garsdale and Tarn Rigg Hill is its highest point. There are no rights of way on Baugh Fell but most of it is designated as access land, allowing freedom to roam.
16. The Calf (676m / 2218ft) - highest of the Howgills. A popular hill due to its proximity to Sedburgh, the summit has some very fine views indeed including the lakeland fells, the three peaks and other Yorkshire Dales classics. One to be saved for a clear day.
17. Knoutberry Haw (676m / 2218ft) - snap! Sharing it's elevation with The Calf, Knoutberry Haw sits atop Baugh Fell. Despite being smaller than Tarn Rigg Hill, Knoutberry Haw has a large OS trig point marking the summit.
18. Lovely Seat (675m / 2215ft) - a rarely climbed hill. Separated from Great Shunner Fell by the Buttertubs Pass, Lovely Seat features (as hoped) a stone built chair on the summit.

19. Calders (675m / 2211ft) - a much climbed hill. Over looking Sedburgh, Calders is only just shorter than The Calf but is very popular. This is relative though as 'popular' in the Howgills would probably equate to 'quiet' anywhere else.
20. Great Knoutberry Hill (672m / 2205ft) - halfway there. Rounding up the top 20 is Great Knoutberry Hill. A superb viewpoint into Dentdale and the surrounding fells, Great Knoutberry Hill is another hill that doesn't get much attention from walkers.
21. Rogan's Seat (672m / 2205ft) - a high expanse of moorland that overlooks Swaledale. Local landowners have been reluctant to publish a direct path to the summit, leaving to the walkers to find their own way.
22. Bram Rigg Top (672m / 2205ft) - Bram Rigg Top sits with the arrangement of high Howgills including The Calf and Calders. I intend to spend a long day in the area to claim them all.
23. Fountains Fell (668m / 2192ft) - a bit closer to home. After several hills that are at the extreme edges of the Dales, Fountains Fell sits on the opposite side of the valley to Pen-Y-Ghent. The name Fountains derives from the 13th Century monks from Fountains Abbey who used the fell for sheep grazing.
24. Water Crag (668m / 2192ft) - a secondary summit of Rogan's Seat (only by 4m though). A prominent trig point aids walkers finding the summit.
25. Dodd Fell Hill (668m / 2192ft) - The third peak standing at 668m, Dodd Fell Hill sits in the heart of the Dales. Just 500m from the Pennine Way, the summit is easily achievable via a quick detour.
26. Sails (Little Fell) (667m / 2189ft) - Sails is the final hill along Mallerstang Edge, at the extreme southern end. A good days walking from Outhgill should see you cross all four.
27. Great Dummacks (663m / 2175ft) - another hill in the Howgills, Great Dummacks can be found east of Calders. There is some discussion on whether it's an individual peak as it shares the summit ridge with Calders, however, the OS mapping says it is so I'll go by that.
28. Nine Standards Rigg (662m / 2172ft) - meet the Nine Standards. The summit of Hartley Fell, Nine Standards Rigg stands out due to its arrangement of summit cairns known as the Nine Standards. It is uncertain what their original purpose was, possibly to mark the boundary between Westmorland and Swaledale.
29. Fountains Fell (South Top) (662m / 2172ft) - a further peak on ridge east of Pen-Y-Ghent, the southern end of Fountains Fell has it's own peak and thus, its own place on the list. There is a large tarn on the plateau and the going underfoot is usually wet so Sara will enjoy this one.
30. Simon Fell (650m / 2133ft) - I climbed Ingleborough at the start of the year (in conjunction with Whernside) and missed this one out. Mainly because I was knackered and couldn't face trudging through the knee deep snow to the top. Does give me an excuse to go back though....
31. Yockenthwaite Moor (643m / 2110ft) - as Yorkshire as you can get. What a great name Yockenthwaite is. Yockenthwaite Moor, like Simon Fell, is another hill I've come close to climbing, albeit without realising this time. Sometimes known as middle tongue, Yockenthwaite Moor constitutes a vast peat bog north of Langstrothdale.
32. Fell Head (White Fell Head) (640m / 2100ft) - practically the Lake District. The most westerly Howgill over 2000ft, Fell Head begins the ridge containing 5 other peaks over 2000ft so should be a good day out.
33. Yarlside (639m / 2096ft) - Yarlside rises steeply up near Cautley Spout, England's highest waterfall. The valley of Bowerdale Beck separates Yarlside from the 5 other 2000ft Howgills on the western edge.
34. Green Hill (628m / 2060ft) - Green Hill replaced Coniston Old Man as Lancashire's highest hill when the county boundaries were re-drawn in 1974. A modest hill by Lake District standards, Green Hill constitutes no more than a grassy bump on the way to Great Coum.
35. Gragareth (627m / 2057ft) - despite being a metre shorter than it's neighbour Green Hill, Gragareth overshadows it in both profile and name. On a clear day, the summit has extensive views towards Morecambe Bay and the Lake District.
36. Darnbrook Fell (624m / 2047ft) - lying a mile east of the Pennine Way, Darnbrook Fell can be found on the Fountains Fell ridge. It is an undistinguished outpost helping enclose the upper reaches of Littondale.
37. Rangygill Top (624m / 2047ft) - the most northerly Howgill. Randygill Top sits north of Yarlside and is the penultimate Howgill over 2000ft.
38. Bush Howe (623m / 2044ft) - the final Howgill. Bush Howe allegedly has an ancient megalith carved into it's slopes; the Black Horse of Bush Howe.
39. Drumaldrace (614m / 2014ft) - Drumaldrace is the highest point of Wether Fell at the end of the Cam High Roman Road.
40. Birks Fell (610m / 2001ft) - the final peak! Birks Fell is the highest point of Old Cote Moor between Whernside and Littondale. It only became classed as a Marilyn is 2006 when it was re-surveyed and found to be 2m higher than originally thought.

So there you have it, my spare time for the next few months and years; kicking off with Pen-Y-Ghent.