Yorkshire Dales Walks
Cave Hill and Sulber
Date: 8th March 2007
Distance: 11.3 miles
Ascent: 1389 feet
Time: 4 hours 25 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD807725
An exploration of some of the limestone features of Ribblesdale including Sell Gill Holes and Alum Pot.
Route Summary: Horton in Ribblesdale - Sell Gill Holes - Ribble Way - Old Ing - Cave Hill - Old Ing - High Birkwith - Selside - Alum Pot - Sulber - Horton in Ribblesdale
1. Sell Gill Holes
2. Over Ground Gill
3. Park Fell
4. Cave Hill
5. Whernside from Cave Hill
6. The trig point on Cave Hill
7. Calf Holes
8. Coppy Gill backed by Simon Fell
9. The River Ribble
10. Lower Churn Cave
11. Upper Churn Cave and Simon Fell
12. Park Fell
13. Limestone scar at Sulber
14. The Sulber trig point looking to Pen-y-Ghent
Walk Detail: The aim of this walk was to visit two trig points, and some of the many natural features, in Ribblesdale that I'd missed on previous walks in the area.
There was quite a bit of low cloud about in the morning but this broke up nicely as the day went on though never quite clearing as much as forecast. The walk out to Cave Hill was very easy with the two most memorable things being the impressive and somewhat dangerous Sell Gill Holes and the herd of sheep that started baaing at me from the top of a limestone scar as I walked along the Ribble Way.
Cave Hill is one of the many drumlins in the area and were it not for the trig point wouldn't be any more worthy of a visit than any of its fellow drumlins in the area - credit to the OS though as it does command a very wide view. My enjoyment of the top was somewhat lessened by two men anxiously looking out for the foxhound pack which were being taken out for ‘exercise’. The most interesting feature of Cave Hill is the short lived gill that tumbles into Calf Holes.
After a short walk back down to High Birstwith I was confronted by a ram in a field and it took me a few minutes to muster the courage to climb over the sty and cross the field.
You have to pay to visit Alum Pot as it is in private land however I could find no one at the farm to take my money so I rather nervously set off down the path anyway. Fortunately I saw the farmer on his quad bike and paid him thus giving me a clear conscience. The system of caves and pot holes is very interesting though Alum Pot itself was somewhat disappointing as the trees surrounding its entrance obscure the drama below. Of the others I think Lower Churn Hole was my favourite though there was a spooky moment outside Upper Churn Hole when I heard the disembodied voices of some cavers below.
The walk on from Alum Pot up to Sulber Nick was actually quite dull with the only real views across the valley to Cosh and Pen-y-Ghent. While there is a nice little limestone scar at Sulber the trig point itself is set back a bit on an uninspiring grassy area. There was very little here that was different to the Sulber Nick path in terms of the view.
The rest of the walk was basically the last stage of the Three Peaks and it was nice to do this section in relative comfort for once. All in all this was a fascinating expedition discovering many of the limestone features of this part of Ribblesdale.