Yorkshire Dales Walks
Great Shunner Fell & Lovely Seat
Date: 5th June 2004
Distance: 13.7 miles
Ascent: 2550 feet
Time: Too long ago to remember!
Start Grid Ref: SD875898
A long easy climb up on to Great Shunner Fell followed by a rough return over Lovely Seat and Abbotside Common.
Route Summary: Hawes - Hardraw - Pennine Way - Great Shunner Fell - Little Shunner Fell - Buttertubs Pass - Lovely Seat - Abbotside Common - High Clint - Sedbusk - Hawes
1. The Pennine Way climbing Great Shunner Fell
2. The Buttertubs Pass
3. Matt at the start of the climb up to Lovely Seat
4. A really Lovely Seat
5. Cairns on Low Clint
6. Descending into Wensleydale
Walk Detail: In many ways the climb up to Great Shunner Fell was similar to Whernside, a longish ascent without many steep areas. The day was heavily overcast but, as was to happen so often, the cloud covered the summit when we arrived at the top. It also started to rain and the mixture of the weather and having to share the wind shelter with a number of other people meant we did not hang around long.
This was the first time I remember being really disappointed in the weather as the summit of Great Shunner Fell offers a 360-degree panoramic view but we saw nothing. The one other thing I remember most about Great Shunner Fell was the large number of Golden Plovers calling to each other in the fog - quite haunting.
The ascent of Lovely Seat from Buttertubs was quite steep but was worth it for my first sighting of a curlew which flew close to us on a number of occasions. I also remember nearly having a heart attack when I disturbed a whole family of grouse.
Despite its name I did not expect Lovely Seat to actually have a seat as the summit and in that respect it was quite unique. We briefly got some views of Swaledale before the cloud came in again and sent us hurrying down Abbotside Common. This was not the best part of the walk as there was no path to follow and there was quite a bit of heather and boggy terrain - in fact this was the first sustained stretch of pathless ground that we had yet covered.
Eventually we reached High Clint and between there and Low Clint there were lots and lots of cairns. By this time I’d grown rather fond of cairns so this stretch was probably the highlight for what was overall a slightly disappointing walk, mainly due to the lack of really good visibility.