Author Topic: Garsdale and Pen-y-Ghent  (Read 973 times)


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Garsdale and Pen-y-Ghent
« on: 15:00:57, 01/09/20 »
Since this year has been sadly lacking in hillwalking for me, I thought I'd share some old photos from a previous short trip to the Dales. Didn't think these were worth sharing at the time because it was a bit of a wash-out in terms of weather, but looking back they're a nice reminder.

Staying in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, my plan was to get the train to Garsdale and walk to Kirkby Stephen across Wild Boar Fell, one of those largely pathless walks over the open grassy fells that is lovely to do on a clear day when you can see where you are and where you're going. However, as the train chugged up towards Dent and Garsdale, with all the optimism in the world, things did not look promising...

Garsdale Station, formerly Hawes Junction.

Mistakes were made, including an ill-advised short-cut up a very boggy and tussocky Garsdale Low Moor; going the long way round via Grisedale road would have actually been quicker and kept my feet drier. My boots were full of muddy water and squelching unpleasantly by the time I got on to the Pennine Journey track (had to empty them out and wring my socks out, though honestly it didn't really help).

Off-path navigation was looking a bit... challenging, so I stuck close to a wall as I struck off up the fell. You truly could not see a thing up there and my map was going to be ruined in the rain and wind - I despaired of finding my way to Kirkby Stephen in time for the train back, and was cold and wet and a bit fed up besides, so decided to abandon the plan and headed down again, trying to bear towards Grisedale Common (again, it probably would have been quicker to return via the wall to the well-laid track and just follow that "home", but I am a slow learner...)

It was really eerie up there in the clag - at one point there seemed to be strange black shapes hovering in mid-air in front of me and I thought I must be seeing things (they turned out to be piebald horses turned out to graze on the hillside...  ;D ) - and it's strange how difficult it is to judge distance and how far you've come in poor visibility, it seemed to take me ages to get down.

From the footbridge over the Settle to Carlisle line

Eventually found my way down to the railway and the footbridge over it, and walked back up to the Moorcock for a very welcome hot drink and chance to dry out and warm up a bit, before following the viaduct back up to Garsdale station for my train back to Horton. Very atmospheric and ghostly in the fog; I couldn't help thinking of the terrible rail crash that happened near there in 1910, and the poor tired signalman who made the fatal error. This area is a beautiful but quite desolate-feeling place, I always think.

"Sheep may safely graze..."

The Moorcock Viaduct

The ill-fated signal box

The next day looked a lot more promising weather-wise... unfortunately, I had to be in Leeds by around midday to catch my train home, and was expected to pitch in with some domestic tasks before leaving the house. The only thing for it was to get up at dawn and do a pre-breakfast bolt up Pen-y-Ghent, which was practically on the doorstep.

A nocturnal resident inspects my early cup of tea

I'm not much of a morning person as a rule, so it was a bit of an effort to get out of my warm bed and put my still-damp boots back on to venture out into the chilly near-dark. But a brisk pace up the well-trodden path from Brackenbottom soon got me warmed up and woken up, and it was actually quite lovely to see the sun rise and the surrounding hills gradually come into view, all lit up softly: "In rosy mantle appears..."

Brooding Pen-y-Ghent

Ingleborough, I think, with the shadow of Pen-y-Ghent on it

Whernside as well, possibly?

I thought the summit would be deserted, but there were a few groups getting an early start on their "Three Peaks" challenge - one with a border collie that bounded effortlessly past me as I was huffing and puffing up the steep bit near the top - and they all wanted their photo taken at the trig point. But they were soon on their way, marching determinedly towards Whernside.

Approaching "The Steep Bit"...

Pen-y-Ghent summit

A windswept Plover Hill (I think).

Abandoned boots on the Pennine Way.

It was cold and windy again, but clear and dry, and I could sit up there quietly and contemplate for a bit before having to head back down, past the alarming-looking Hunt Pot (not something you'd want to blunder into on a dark night, that...)

Hunt Pot.

Finally, the sun came out and it turned out a lovely day...just in time to go home  :) .

Homeward bound.
« Last Edit: 16:00:39, 01/09/20 by BrionyB »


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Re: Garsdale and Pen-y-Ghent
« Reply #1 on: 16:00:26, 01/09/20 »
Excellent report and photos - thanks!  O0


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Re: Garsdale and Pen-y-Ghent
« Reply #2 on: 17:46:05, 01/09/20 »
Thank you for sharing that with us Briony - I love the area around the Three Peaks, both from a hillwalking and from a potholing perspective. I remember us racing down off the fell to catch last orders in the Moorcock one lunch time (yes - pubs did use to close for the afternoon back in the Dark Ages), and on another occasion battling through waist deep snow on top of Ingleborough in a failed and ill advised attempt to do the Three Peaks one February.

That photo of the shadow of Pen y Ghent on Ingleborough is breathtaking, by the way.  O0
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain


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Re: Garsdale and Pen-y-Ghent
« Reply #3 on: 19:39:55, 01/09/20 »
Some very moody shots there  O0