Nidderdale & Washburn Walks
Capplestone Gate & Meugher
Date: 19th March 2005
Distance: 15.2 miles
Ascent: 2067 feet
Time: 6 hours 45 minutes
Start Grid Ref: SD975675
A walk from Wharfedale initially to visit Capplestone Gate that was extended to visit Meugher, a remote moorland top above Nidderdale.
Route Summary: Kilnsey - Conistone - Conistone Dib - Consitone Pie - High Gate Leys Lane - Capplestone Gate - Mossdale - Meugher - Mossdale Scar - Bycliffe - Kelber Gate - Scot Gate Lane - Conistone - Kilnsey
1. Gurling Trough
2. Looking back at Conistone Dib
3. Matt climbing out of Conistone Dib
4. The path to Mossdale
5. Swarth Gill
6. Mossdale Beck
7. Matt trekking through the heather towards Meugher
8. The trig point on Meugher
9. Mossdale Scar
10. St Mary's Church, Conistone
Walk Detail: When we started I was very tired from lack of sleep and I also had a headache and a bit of indigestion. Despite this and the lack of long distance views due to the initial mist and low cloud I thoroughly enjoyed the first stretch of the walk going up Gurling Trough and then up through the impressive valley of Conistone Dib.
The next landmark was the prominent limestone landmark of the aptly named Conistone Dib. Unfortunately from here all the way up to Capplestone Gate the cloud had not cleared sufficiently for the expected views along Wharfedale.
Still we were able to enjoy the fine limestone country closer to hand and as we got higher we were surprised to find ourselves sharing the surrounding area with dozens of lapwings whose song I find a real delight to the ears.
With the likelihood of clearer weather later and no pain in my knee we decided to go on from Capplestone Gate to Mossdale by retracing our steps a short way to some mine workings before following a thin path across Conistone Moor to lonely Mossdale. Along the way we struggled to cross the pleasant Swarth Gill and also saw one of those strange traps we had first encountered on Widdale Fell. By the time we reached Mossdale the sun had come out bright and remained like this for the rest of the walk.
We ate lunch by Mossdale Beck and Matt used his camping stove for the first time on an expedition. By this time we had both looked at the map and decided that it would really be a shame not to press on further and bag the isolated top of Meugher.
Unfortunately not long after we set off again I began to get some bad stomach cramps and then to make matters worse my right knee started getting uncomfortable. The final approach to the Meugher, a prominent mound in a sea of heather, was off any trodden paths and over some of the roughest ground we'd yet walked on and I was not helped by the fact that I was nearly doubled up in pain, as my stomach got worse.
Eventually we reached the top where I was able to rest a little while. Meugher has to be one of the most isolated tops in Yorkshire (it actually falls just outside of the boundary for the Dales National Park) and commands some staggering views of wilderness although these were lessened somewhat for us by the hazy nature of the sunshine.
Luckily we managed to find some slightly better ground by taking a short cut back to Mossdale and thankfully my stomach did not get any worse. Back in Mossdale we had a look at Mossdale Scar where the beck disappears underground and also the scene of a tragic caving accident that was commemorated by a plaque.
The walk back to Conistone was quite straightforward and we even got a good view looking down into Conistone Dib. If the weather had been clearer and had I not spent the whole walk in various states of physical distress this would have been one of our best walks.