Yorkshire Dales Walks
Date: 1st February 2007
Distance: 12.4 miles
Ascent: 2700 feet
Time: 5 hours 35 minutes
Start Grid Ref: SD731918
An interesting walk starting from Arncliffe in Littondale visiting Parson's Pulpit and the weird cairns of Dowkabottom.
Route Summary: Arncliffe - Monk's Road - Parson's Pulpit - Lee Gate High Mark - Proctor High Mark - Dowkabottom - Hawkswick - Middlesmoor Pasture - Old Cote Moor - Arncliffe
1. The top of Parson's Pulpit
2. Matt looking to the briefly revealed Proctor High Mark
3. The pointy cairn on Proctor High Mark
4. Cloud rolling over Kilnsey Moor
5. Dowkabottom Cave
6. The Dowkabottom Cairns
7. Looking across Littondale
8. Middlesmoor Pasture
9. Looking back down Littondale
10. Kettlewell and Cam End from Middlesmoor Pasture
11. Great Whernside
12. The trig point on Middlesmoor Pasture
Walk Detail: While Matt had explored a lot of this area before it was all new to me. There was great deal of hill fog as we began our climb up the Monk’s Road with what would have been excellent views of Cowside Beck down to our right.
From where the path turns into a bridleway at Dew Bottoms we turned off the path and followed the wall up to Parson’s Pulpit. We were lucky because as we arrived at the top we had a small break in the hill fog which revealed some of the surrounding area. This was to happen on a regular basis and though for a long time these pockets of visibility would not give us any great views it was enough to make us happy.
Parson’s Pulpit was a nice grassy top with the remnants of where the trig point once stood. After a short break we headed off to Proctor High Mark and with the exception of one wall that had to be climbed we had no problems at all.
The highlight of this section the limestone scars above top end of the valley of Cote Gill. On Proctor High Mark there was a neat little cairn but this was dwarfed by the much larger pointy cairn a bit further to the south which Matt christened Wisbit Cairn.
After eating our lunch on Proctor High Mark we headed off for Dowkabottom which proved to be most interesting. Apart from the impressive natural bowl there was Dowkabottom Cave, the obvious remnants of an old settlement, and most bizarre of all the huge collection of pointy cairns on a limestone shelf.
To get down to Cote Gill we had to navigate some more enclosures that involved a bit more careful wall climbing but all things told this had been much easier in this than I expected. By this time we were having our most extended break in the cloud and as the opposite ridge was coming into view Matt and I almost simultaneously came up with idea of heading up to the trig point on Middlesmoor pasture.
The subsequent climb up from Hawkswick was excellent but as the big view of Littondale was behind us it would have been an even better route for descent. From Middlesmoor pasture there were excellent views of Great Whernside, Cam End and across to Capplestone Gate. Unfortunately Buckden Pike was still under the cloud.
The walk along the ridge to Old Cote Moor was pleasant and helped by a number of stiles that have clearly been built since access laws changed. The final descent was at first on a pleasant green path before a sharper, stonier section through some woods.
This was quite an adventurous walk away from the accepted paths and packed full of features, Dowkabottom especially was well worth the visit.