Yorkshire Dales Walks
Date: 7th April 2013
Distance: 8.1 miles
Ascent: 1226 feet
Time: 4 hours 10 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE035918
A ramble in Wensleydale visiting Locker Tarn and the impressive limestone scar of Great Wegber.
Route Summary: Castle Bolton - Locker Tarn - Great Wegber - Greenhaw Hut - Collier Gate - Bull Scar - Black Hill - Castle Bolton
1. Bolton Castle
2. Locker Tarn below the eastern slopes of Great Wegber
3. The attractive waterfall just above Locker Tarn
4. Looking back down at Locker Tarn
5. On Great Wegber
6. The limestone scar of Great Wegber
7. Looking back up at Great Wegber
8. A distant view of Addleborough
9. Greenhaw Hut
10. Snow drift on the way to Collier Gate
11. Track leading to Black Hill from Collier Gate
12. To the right of my foot is the top of a fence post
Walk Detail: Having completed all the Nuttalls, Hewitts, Marilyns and Deweys in the Yorkshire Dales back in 2010 I don't head out that way anywhere near as much as I used to when I first took up hill walking. While I've covered a lot of ground in the Dales there are still a few blanks that I'd like to fill in or particular features that I'd like to visit.
One such feature is Great Wegber, a prominent limestone scar, located on the moors between Carperby and Castle Bolton. The aim of this walk was to visit Great Wegber as well as Locker Tarn, one of the few tarns in the Dales I'd not yet visited.
The walk did not get off to the best of starts when I arrived at the public car park in Castle Bolton to find that it was now pay and display (it didn't use to be), and rather exhorbitant it was too - something like £6.00 for four hours. While a refund was offered for visitors to the castle there was no guarantee I'd have time to visit the castle at the end of the walk. As I didn't have enough change I had no choice but to park by the green in the village itself despite the signs asking people not to. What was I supposed to do otherwise? Drive all the way home?
Anyway, it put me in a bit of a bad mood to start the walk but this soon dispelled as I headed out on the long track heading west from Castle Bolton through a number of pastures before crossing Beldon Beck. Shortly afterwards I left the right of way to seek out Locker Tarn.
Locker Tarn proved to be in a lovely setting in a hollow below the eastern slopes of Great Wegber. It was clearly popular with the local birdlife and my appearance near the tarn caused something of a ruckus as numerous birds took to the air. In fact so distressed did they become that I didn't walk right to the edge of the tarn and instead circled round to the north to a waterfall and past a hut to eventually gain the lower slopes of Great Wegber itself.
Easily the finest part of the walk was the section along the scar of Great Wegber. While Great Wegber will not appear on any of the usual hill lists it is the kind of top that Wainwright might have included had he done a series of books on the Dales rather than the Lake District. While there is only a small and gradual drop to the moorland to the north the southern flank is a really fine limestone edge with great views across Wensleydale - at least they would have been great if it hadn't been quite so hazy! The 10 minute traverse along the crest of the edge made the whole trip out worthwhile.
From the western side of Great Wegber I dropped down to a moorland track which I followed to the well kept shooting house on Greenhaw - it even had an outdoor barbecue! Continuing along the track I increasingly began to come across drifts across the path. As I approached Collier Gate these became deeper and deeper and quite arduous to walk over. Heading east from Collier Gate I left the path for a while to walk above Bull Crag which proved to be nothing special.
Back on the path I continued east until I came across the bridleway leading from Castle Bolton to Apedale. Turning south I then followed this all the way back to my starting point crossing along the way some more impressive drifts, including one that had almost completely buried the adjacent fence.
This was a decent walk with Great Wegber and Locker Tarn being the undoubted highlights and I'd definitely like to revisit both in better conditions for taking pictures.