Yorkshire Dales Walks
Trollers Gill & Grimwith Reservoir
Date: 22nd Nov 2014
Distance: 7.0 miles
Ascent: 1170 feet
Time: 3 hours 30 mins
Start Grid Ref: SE086635
An interesting walk visiting a number of features including the flooded Trollers Gill, Hell Hole, Grimwith Reservoir and finishing with some excellent views from Nursery Knot.
Route Summary: Stump Cross - Dry Gill - Black Hill Road - Skyreholme Bank - Middle Skyreholme - Skyreholme Beck - Trollers Gill - Middle Hill - Hell Hole - New Road - Grimwith Reservoir - Nursery Knot - Stump Cross
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: One of the unexpected bonuses of creating this website has been the opportunities it has given me to meet up and go for a walk with other people who share my love of the hills and moors of northern England. On this occasion I met up for a walk with Paul who, like myself is a big fan of the North Pennines, but unlike me is something of a connoisseur of walking in bad weather.
The walk I suggested is one that I'd done way back in January 2005, a route taking in the superb limestone ravine of Trollers Gill and also, in complete contrast, the magnificent moorland setting of Grimwith Reservoir. On that occasion I'd visited Grimwith Reservoir first before heading for Trollers Gill. This time I decided to do the route in reverse, a decision that turned out to be inspired given the dramatic change in the weather that we experienced.
When we arrived at the starting point, the layby just below Stump Cross Caverns, conditions were not promising at all. Hill fog was down to about 350m and there was drizzle in the air.
While there were no long distance views to be had on the initial stages along Black Hill Road and Skyreholme Bank the start of the walk was not competely devoid of interest. For example, right at the start we noted that the volume of water pouring out of the hillside meant that Dry Gill was anything but. As Dry Gill becomes Trollers Gill further downstream this should have warned us what to expect when we arrived at the latter.
The first time I went down Trollers Gill it was wet but passable, the second time I visited in the summer of 2005 it was hot and dry as a bone. On this occasion we arrived at the entrance to find it was in flood and, unless we wanted to wade up the swiftly flowing stream and cross lots of slippery rock, completely impractical as a walking route. Discretion being the better part of valour we decided not to risk it. On the one hand this was a shame because I'd been particularly looking forward to this section of the walk. On the other hand my disappointment was balanced by the stunning sight of seeing the ravine in flood.
Rather than retracing our steps to take the right of way to the west of the ravine we decided to head up on to Middle Hill to at least allow us some views down the upper reaches of the gill. We didn't attempt to get close to the upper edges of the ravine itself, it just didn't look safe to go too close to the edge.
From Middle Hill we rejoined the footpath and next visited the fenced off pot hole called 'Hell Hole' - a suitable name for a rather ominous hole in the ground. Continuing on we walked past a group of beaters getting ready to drive the poor local grouse towards some shooters lined up above Fancarl Crag.
Gratefully leaving the imminent carnage behind us we crossed over the B6265 to take a fine old way leading to Grimwith Reservoir. The next half a mile or so saw a dramatic improvement in conditions. Upon reaching the reservoir car park the fog and murk had give way to lovely patches of sunlight travelling across the surrounding moorland. By the time we left the reservoir for the climb up to Nursery Knot there was barely a cloud left in the sky.
Nursery Knot is a limestone knoll which stands quite prominently above the B6265. It is only a modest 389m in height but with a summit commanding a view of the huge sweep of moorland north of Grimwith Reservoir and on towards Meugher and Great Whernside it feels a lot higher. If we'd done the route the other way round we would barely have seen each other on Nursery Knot so we were both delighted with the way things had turned out after such an unpromising start.
This was a great walk. Although a proper return to Trollers Gill will have to wait for drier conditions it was still worth visiting to see it in flood. I also love Grimwith Reservoir and it is always a pleasure to go there and visit the thatched barn of High Shaws Lathe, one of my favourite buildings in the Yorkshire Dales. Perhaps more importantly though it was great to finally meet Paul and get out for a walk together.