Yorkshire Dales Walks
Great Coum & Gragareth
Date: 28th December 2004
Distance: 13.2 miles
Ascent: 2362 feet
Time: Too long ago to remember!
Start Grid Ref: SD641768
A long winter walk to the top of Great Coum via Ease Gill Kirk and then returning over Green Hill and Gragareth.
Route Summary: Leck - Leck Beck - Ease Gill Kirk - Bullpot Farm - Aygill Head - Crag Hill - Great Coum - Green Hill - Gragareth - Three Men of Gragareth - Fellside Barn - Leck
1. In Ease Gill Kirk
2. Gragareth from near Bullpot Farm
3. Castle Knott and Middleton Fell
4. Looking back towards Casterton Fell from the slopes of Crag Hill
5. By the trig point on Crag Hill
6. The summit cairn on Great Coum
7. Looking down into Deepdale from Green Hill
8. Matt by the small pile of stones marking the top of Green Hill
9. Matt heading for Gragareth from Green Hill
10. Matt by the trig point on Gragareth
11. Stood by the cairns known as the Three Men of Gragareth
Walk Detail: On our previous couple of walks we had sensibly chosen to not to do much in terms of distance due to the shorter days at that time of year. In planning this walk common sense kind of went awol!
The walk started well and the intial stretch along the Dent Fault was quite pleasant with Leck Beck and Casterton Fell particularly impressive to the left of us. When we arrived at Ease Gill Kirk we made a couple of wrong turns but as it happened this allowed us the luxury of getting to know the Lower Kirk caves.
Once we had successfully navigated Ease Gill we headed toward Bullpot Farm from where we got some good views of Middleton Fell and a part of Barbondale. Shortly afterwards we turned east to finally start the climb proper to the top of Crag Hill.
We were quite pleased to discover that the light snowfall that had preceded us had served to highlight a path. As it happens this track would lead us all the way round to Gragareth and as the ground was quite frozen we did not suffer from too much bog.
The higher we got up the hill the colder and windier it became. When we reached the trig point on Crag Hill we stopped for lunch which we ate huddled behind a wall to protect us from the wind. After finishing lunch it was an easy stroll on to Great Coum though we did not hang around there long due to a brief shower.
As we approached Green Hill the weather seemed to be clearing with the sun shining through breaks in the cloud to create some beautiful scenes. Unfortunately my new digital camera was unable to do the views justice.
As we left Green Hill with its rather small summit cairn we felt confident the weather would continue to improve. How wrong we were!! Shortly after leaving Green Hill we were suddenly hit by a blizzard that appeared out of nowhere.
This was when our path really saved us as it was difficult to keep a track of where we were as we ploughed on into the heavy winds with sleet and snow whipping into our faces. The conditions really slowed us down and the walk was proving to be much longer than we had expected and soon we were both extremely worried it would get dark before we could get down off the fell.
As it happened we finally made it to the summit of Gragareth before quickly taking the path down off the fell to the set of cairns known as the Three Men of Gragareth. By this time the sky began to clear and we could relax a bit. From there we descended to the farmhouse below and then onto the small road that led all the way back to Leck just as it was getting dark. This had been a long walk for us both in some extremely varied conditions but I think it was certainly worth it.