Yorkshire Dales Walks
Date: 19th March 2006
Distance: 13 miles
Ascent: 2078 feet
Time: 6 hours 25 minutes
Start Grid Ref: SD967722
An interesting route up on to the frozen summit of Great Whernside before an extended return via Capplestone Gate.
Route Summary: Kettlewell - Providence Lead Mine - Great Whernside - Nidd Head - Great Whernside - Sweet Hill - Langcliffe - Capplestone Gate - Conistone Turf Road - Conistone Pie - Highgate Leys Lane - Kettlewell
1. Looking down into Dowber Gill
2. The cold weather and strong winds had left a lot of ice formations
3. The strength and direction of the wind can be seen on this post
4. The frozen summit of Great Whernside
5. Looking back to the summit of Great Whernside from Blackfell Top
6. Matt by the trig point on Great Whernside
7. Looking north to Buckden Pike
8. Great Whernside from Langcliffe
9. Looking across Wharfedale to the Birks Fell ridge
10. Matt on one of the many lime kilns in the area
11. A solitary tree amongst the limestone pavement
12. Matt on Conistone Pie
Walk Detail: This was my second walk with Matt in as many weeks. We’d planned to do the Howgills but as the weather forecast was not too promising we decided to revisit the pastures round Capplestone Gate a year to the day since our last visit to see if the lapwings would still be there. For good measure we decide to add the Great Whernside ridge as well.
The climb up the bridleway was enjoyable and probably has the best views in ascent of any of the routes leading up to Great Whernside that I’ve been on so far. We also saw enough lapwings to confirm our previous opinion that this area is a popular gathering area for these fantastic birds.
Although it had been raining when we left Harrogate the cloud, though grey, was fairly high and so we were able to enjoy some reasonably far ranging views. At the top of the bridleway we decided to contour above the numerous watercourses to hit the main Great Whernside path.
The final climb up the latter was quite tiring due to the snow on the ground. After admiring some of the windswept ice formations on the summit rocks of Great Whernside we battled across the ice and some impressive snow drifts to the top of Nidd Head where a boundary stone seemed to mark the top (I don’t remember this feature from our previous visit).
After surveying the view down to Scar House and Angram Reservoirs we made our way back to Great Whernside where we had our lunch. The next stage was new stretch for both of us as we headed south along the Great Whernside ridge before crossing the shallow saddle to Sweet Hill. Just as we were about to head down the sun broke through the clouds for the only time on the walk and I was able to get some decent pictures of Great Whernside and Buckden Pike.
The descent from Sweet Hill back to the Langcliffe path was steep but was accomplished with the aid of our walking poles as we ‘skied’ down hill. From Langcliffe we walked on to the trig point on Capplestone Gate and then Coniston Pie, one of my favourite rock features in Wharfedale.