Yorkshire Dales Walks
Great Pinseat & Calver Hill
Date: 31st October 2005
Distance: 13.4 miles
Ascent: 2226 feet
Time: 5 hours 45 mins
Start Grid Ref: SE038993
A fascinating walk visiting the mines of Great Pinseat and the shapely Calver Hill.
Route Summary: Reeth - Skelgate Lane - Thirns - Cringley Bottom - Old Gang Beck - Flincher Gill - Great Pinseat - Martin Vein - Fore Gill Gate - Calver Hill - Watson House - Reeth
1. A misty view of Fremington Edge
2. Looking across Swaledale to High Harker Hill
3. Brownsey Moor
4. The remains of a smelting mill by Old Gang Beck
5. Old Gang Beck
6. A series of stone pillars above Old Gang Beck
7. Matt investigating a flue
8. Another view of Old Gang Beck
9. Hard Level Force
10. A gratuitous act of thigh slapping on Great Pinseat
11. Martin Vein
12. Calver Hill from Great Pinseat
13. Matt on the summit cairn of Calver Hill
14. Looking back up to Calver Hill from near the road
Walk Detail: Continuing my Swaledale theme for the month of October, this time I went with Matt to one of the highest tops that either of us had not yet done in the Dales.
It was a very misty and hazy start to the morning though this did not stop me from getting some surprisingly good pictures. One thing that sticks in the memory from walking up the enclosed Skelgate Lane was the number of dead rabbits.
The walk round to Surrender Bridge was pleasant and had the weather been clearer I would have got some grand pictures down the length of Swaledale. The walk's interest though really picked up when we got to Old Gang Beck and started up the old mining track along the valley. Along the way there was a host of old smelting mills, chimneys, bridges, spoil heaps etc which gave the place a feeling not too dissimilar to Apedale and also Grassington Moor.
I find these places quite interesting although by the time we were at the far end of the valley I was beginning to tire of the sight of the man made despoliation of the surrounding countryside. However there was also natural beauty to be found in the valley and Hard Level Force in particular was attractive.
Great Pinseat itself is hardly the most inspiring looking top and is criss-crossed with old mining tracks and spoil heaps. It is however a surprisingly good viewpoint and it was unusual for Matt and I to see such old favourites from such a different angle. For once the dominant hills though were Lovely Seat, Great Shunner Fell, Rogan's Seat and Water Crag.
After eating lunch by the trig point (which seemed to upset one particularly grumpy old rambler) we headed east along one bridleway before taking a wrong turn. Happily this meant that as we cut across country to find the correct path we came across the remarkable man made cutting of Martin Vein.
Back on the right path we continued all the way down to Fore Gill Gate where there is the watersplash once made famous by the opening credits of 'All Creatures Great and Small'. The final climb to the top of Calver Hill was the steepest of the whole walk. It did however make Calver Hill feel far more of a top than Great Pinseat. In clearer weather this would have made a fine vantage point.
The descent was also surprisingly steep alongside what seems to have been a man made crag. The final walk was along the Arkengarthdale road so as not to repeat some of our earlier steps. This was a good walk with plenty of contrasts, it is a shame the gloomy weather did not really expose the true colour of our surroundings.