Parking: National Park Car Park
Start Point: Kettlewell
Region: Yorkshire Dales
Route length: 10 miles (16.1km)
Time taken: 04:40
Average speed: 2.1mph
2000s on this walk: Great Whernside (704m)
Additional summits: Blackfell Top (699m), Tor Mere Top (628m)
Other points of interest: Providence Pot, Tor Dike, Dales Way
Route: Kettlewell, Dowber Gill Beck, Hag Dike, Great Whernside, Blackfell Top, Black Dike Hole, Tor Dike, Tor Mere Top, Starbotton Peat Ground, Starbotton Cam Road, Starbotton, Dales Way
Great Whernside stands tall, overlooking Kettlewell and its summit, like its larger namesake, forms part of the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Sara and I have been to Kettlewell many times in the past but never ventured up the slopes towards Great Whernside. It's fair to say that my appetite for hill climbing wasn't what it is now so it came a bit of a surprise just how close Great Whernside is to Kettlewell and what a great walk could be accomplished. What better way to spend a bank holiday weekend with friends?
Contrary to typical bank holiday weather, we were blessed with clear skies, bright sun and a light breeze. A perfect day to soak up the scenery of the Yorkshire Dales. We met a couple of friends, Lizzy and Jordan, at Kettlewell and, after improvising some parking we kitted up and headed out through the village. We had decided on a circular walk that started with a climb up alongside Dowber Gill Beck, a fine example of a landscape feature of the Yoredale rocks; smooth-faced waterfalls.
|The smooth-faced waterfalls formed as water passes over varying layers of rock|
|Dowber Gill Beck|
From here, we turned back on ourselves and headed up a steep path that climbed out of the Dowber Gill Beck valley before crossing a peaty bog to reach Hag Dyke. Hag Dyke is a Scout Hostel acquired in 1947 for the Ben Rhydding Scout and Guide Group. It's history of occupation dates back to 1730 but it's possible that it was built in the late 1600s as a miners accommodation for the nearby Dowber Ghyll lead mines.
|Hag Dyke sitting proud on the slopes of Great Whernside overlooking Wharfedale below|
|The steep climb up from Hag Dyke|
|Sara stops to catch her breath before crossing the bogs|
|Jordan heads across the bogs towards the summit|
|The millstone grit topped summit of Great Whernside (704m)|
|Posing with the trig point|
|Looking north from the summit towards Blackfell Top and Blackfell Crags in the distance|
|Tor Dike (ModernAntiquarian.com)|
|Panorama of Great Whernside from the path up Tor Mere Top|
|The grassy summit of ex-Nuttall Tor Mere Top|
|Sara follows the brightly lit Starbotton Cam Road to Starbotton|
|Starbotton Cam Road as viewed from the Dales Way, between Starbotton and Kettlewell|
All in all I really enjoyed this walk, particularly as the weather was on our side for once. Morale is certainly much higher when cold water isn't being blasted into your face. The Dales is a wonderful place when the sun is shining, especially when spring is in full flow and the colours are at their brightest. Fingers crossed the weather will be as kind to us during future walks. I have a feeling that the landscape of Great Whernside will be synonymous with many of the walks I'll be doing as part of this quest. We'll just have to wait and see.
Next stop, the Howgills.