Saturday, 14 October 2017

Yorkshire 2000s - Great Knoutberry Hill

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Route: Arncliffe, Brayshaw Scar, Old Cote Moor, Old Cote Moor Top, Birks Fell, High Combe Stoop, Moss Top, Middle Moor, Litton, East Garth, Roselber Wood, Guildersbank, New Barn, Arncliffe

Date: 14/10/2017
From: Dent Station

Parking: Dent Station
Start Point: Dent Station
Region: Yorkshire Dales - Southern Fells

Route length: 6.2 miles (9.9 km)
Time taken: 02:16
Average speed: 2.7 mph
Ascent: 472m
Descent: 474m

Yorkshire 2000s: Great Knoutberry Hill (672m)

Other points of interest: Dent Station, Arten Gill Viaduct

After a promising looking weekend turned wet and windy, I postponed plans to head up to the mountains for some camping, instead, staying a little closer to home in the Yorkshire Dales and continue my work on the Yorkshire 2000s. Great Knoutberry Hill has long featured on my list of hills to climb, namely because of its Yorkshire 2000 status. This short-ish walk begins and ends at Dent Station while also visiting the magnificent Arten Gill viaduct.

Such was the weather today even the station was shrouded in mist and the windy, drizzly weather didn't make a particularly appetising prospect as I climbed out of a warm car. Still, after the excesses of a week in the States, a brisk walk was a must.

Dent Station is the highest mainline station in England, standing 350m above sea level - hence the gloomy, misty weather. Interestingly, it is nearly 4 miles away from the village of Dent, which is located in the valley below. The closest village is actually Cowgill.
Dent Station
Dent Station
From the station car park, the Coal Road heads uphill and over the bridge over the railway, giving an aerial view of Dent Station (on a good day). The Coal Road runs between Cowgill and Garsdale.
The Settle-Carlisle railway
There were twenty-five coal pits which formed part of the extensive coal workings and lay on the moorland either side of it. These coal pits were worked by local people, initially to produce domestic fuel, but by the 18th century, the poor quality coal was also being used in lime kilns. Commercial coal mining went on in Garsdale until the 1870s when the Settle-Carlisle railway started bringing in cheaper, higher quality coal from the Lancashire and West Yorkshire coalfields.

As the road begins to level off a bridleway heads off to the right, at a right angle to the Coal Road. This bridleway was used by the now abandoned Cross Pit Colliery on the lower slopes of Great Knoutberry to transport coal onto the Coal Road.
Monkey Beck
Coal Road
Leaving the Coal Road to join the Pennine Bridleway
The Pennine Bridleway
Entry to Access Land
After a short distance, I reached a gate which allows you into the Open Access land beyond. With the fence on my left and the wind and rain on my back, I continued up the hill along Pikes Edge.
Pikes Edge
Bog!
Eventually, I reached the trig point atop Great Knoutberry Hill and took shelter behind a sturdy stone construction. On a clear day the curvaceous line of the Dentdale valley can be seen nestling between Crag Hill on the left and Rise Hill on the right, with the Howgill Fells and the Lake District Peaks beyond.
Summit trig pillar
The stone shelter
Lunch time!
From the summit. the route continues to follow the fence the left which marks the county boundary between Cumbria and Yorkshire. The rain was becoming heavier as I descended the slopes of the hill and I was momentarily caught out by a bog resulting in a wet leg though, fortunately, I managed to keep most of the water out of my boot.
Pennine Bridleway
Pennine Bridleway at Cross Pits Colliery
There is a substantial stile at the bottom of the slope, which crosses onto a bridleway. This was originally an old drover's route used by the communities of the western dales to travel to the market town of Hawes and beyond. The bridleway follows Arten Gill down into Dentdale, towards the imposing Arten Gill viaduct.
The Pennine Bridleway as it follows Arten Gill
The Pennine Bridleway
Arten Gill Viaduct appears through the gloom as my camera starts to suffer. Time to switch the back up.....
The construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway was the most difficult and hazardous feat in railway engineering in England, and this is much in evidence at upper Dentdale, where the track emerges from Blea Moor Tunnel to cross two viaducts – Arten Gill and Dent Head.
Arten Gill Viaduct
Arten Gill Viaduct
 Arten Gill is the larger of the two (the second highest on the Settle-Carlisle line) and is built of massive blocks of 'Dent marble’, from the now-disused quarries nearby. Though not actually marble (its limestone), the stone was popular for use in ornamental masonry and was remarkable for its wealth of fossils. I think it's fair to say the Victorian engineers were happy with their creation:
Arten Gill Viaduct
"It is, entirely surrounded with high mountains, and of difficult access to carriages, having few openings where they can enter with safety. In this secluded spot landed property is greatly divided; the estates are very small, and for the most part occupied by the owners." Yet in this "secluded spot," the engineer has come, and where "carriages could scarcely find a safe entry," he has laid down his paths of iron, and run his mighty trains.

The path passes beneath one of the viaduct's massive arches and down into the pretty hamlet of Stonehouse. Here there is evidence of it's industrial past. High Mill and Low Mill (remains only) once used water power for spinning and then became factories for cutting and polishing the 'Dent marble'.
Arten Gill Viaduct and Dentdale
Arten Gill Viaduct
Stone House
Stone House
Arten Gill and Arten Gill Viaduct
Autumn in Stone House
I made my way back towards Dent Station along the road alongside the River Dee, which was full to bursting after a week of heavy rain. A final climb up the Coal Road is required to reach the car park, giving a tantalising view of Dentdale before returning into the mist.
The River Dee
The River Dee
The River Dee
Dentdale
Dent Station