Yorkshire Dales Walks
Wild Boar Fell via Angerholme Wold
Date: 5th September 2015
Distance: 7.5 miles
Ascent: 1820 feet
Time: 5 hours 10 mins
With: Wally and Gary
Start Grid Ref: SD774969
A superb walk on to Wild Boar Fell via Angerholme Wold before returning over the unsung neighbouring top of Swarth Fell.
Route Summary: Cotegill Bridge - Ais Gill - Angerholme Wold - Angerholme Pots - High Dolphinsty - Yoadcomb Scar - Wild Boar Fell - Sand Tarn - Standard Brow - Swarth Fell - Swarth Fell Pike - Smithy Gill Bridge - Cotegill Bridge.
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Just three weeks after a superb walk on to High Seat from Outhgill I was back in Mallerstang for a walk on to Wild Boar Fell and its near neighbour Swarth Fell. Joining me on this walk was my friend Wally, together with his uncle Gary who I had last me on a memorable walk up on to Calders and The Calf in the Howgill Fells the previous year.
The walk started from a decent sized layby immediately south of Cotegill Bridge, where the road crosses the Settle - Carlisle railway line, near the highest point of the line. Directly opposite the layby a gate and stile provided access to the fellside. Turning right we followed a wall along the base of the fell until we arrived at the viaduct crossing Ais Gill.
There was no obvious way across what was a steep and heavily overgrown section of the gill so we climbed west to a more open section from where we spied a way down to the limestone gorge of Low White Kirk where we carefully crossed Ais Gill below a number of small waterfalls.
After this exciting little interlude we then enjoyed a gradual climb on to and across the limestone pastures of Angerholme Wolds. This section of the walk featured a number of interesting features including some nice patches of limestone pavement, some scattered erratic boulders and the line of pot holes called Angerholme Pots, a number of which were fenced off. We also encountered a half dozen or so fell ponies which is always a delight.
Having climbed up to High Dolphinsty we were suddenly greeted by a fantastic panorama of hills and fells to the west with a long line of Lakeland summits beyond the nearby Howgill Fells. Turning south we then commenced a grand climb up to Wild Boar Fell's Nab from where we enjoyed a breathtaking view down into Mallerstang from the exposed outcrop.
While the Nab is one of the highlights of Wild Boar Fell another is the walk along the top of Yoadcomb Scar to the row of tall cairns, or standards, that line the rim of High White Scar. While they don't quite match up to the superb examples on Nine Standards Rigg they are not far behind and again the views across Mallerstang to the north and the upper reaches of Wensleydale to the south were simply sublime.
From the line of cairns we headed north-west across Wild Boar Fell's flat and fairly wet summit plateau to reach the summit, marked by a trig point within a stone shelter. While the summit lacks the drama of the Nab it is still a very fine spot, particularly so in the conditions we enjoyed where the visibility was so good it would have been easy to identify the multitude of Lake District fells away to the west.
From the summit we dropped down to Sand Tarn where we found a reasonably sheltered spot to enjoy our lunch whilst idly speculating whether it would be possible to make the jump to a small mossy island in the tarn. After lunch we climbed back up to the edge of the summit plateau where we visited some more cairns before finally descending south to the saddle with Swarth Fell.
From the saddle there is a clear path to the left of the fence and then wall climbing up on to Swarth Fell. However, I thought it would be more interesting to take a pathless route to the east of the small tarn in the saddle before climbing up alongside the steep eastern escarpment of Swarth Fell.
This alternative route proved to be an inspired choice as we came across a number of interesting features on what is a generally unsung hill. First we came across an interesting area of rocks where two small stone seats had been fashioned. A bit further we came across a large solitary rock which had the initials 'W.E.' and the date '1737' carved into it. Finally, we also got a close up view of the impressive crags. All of these would be completely missed by walkers following the path.
After taking the obligatory photos at the summit we walked south-east over the subsidary top of Swarth Fell Pike to a couple of cairns overlooking Grizedale. The walk concluded with a pathless but largely easy descent to Smithy Gill Bridge down the fellside between Smithy Gill and Far Cote Gill. Once back at the road it was then a simple walk back to Cotegill Bridge.
This was my fourth time on Wild Boar Fell and after restricted visibility on my previous two visits it was great to be up there in such fantastic conditions. It wasn't very warm but the colder air did make for excellent long distance visibility. Without doubt Wild Boar Fell is one of the finest hills in the Pennines and for my money Swarth Fell is somewhat underrated and is worth a visit in its own right.