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Yorkshire Dales Walks

Great Knoutberry Hill

Little Widdale Tarn

Date: 31st July 2004
Distance: 8.7 miles
Ascent: 1558 feet
Time: Too long ago to remember!
With: Matt
Start Grid Ref: SD826878

Walk Summary:
This climb to the top of Great Knoutberry Hill started inauspiciously but ended up being one of my favourite walks of the year.

Route Summary: Widdale Bridge - Beldie Gill - Cross Gate - Great Knoutberry Hill - Widdale Great Tarn - Widdale Little Tarn - Little Knoutberry Hill - Western End - Rowantree Gill - Widdale Beck - Widdale Foot


1. Matt on the top of Great Knoutberry Hill

Matt on the top of Great Knoutberry Hill

2. Widdale Great Tarn

Widdale Great Tarn

3. Looking towards Garsdale

Looking towards Garsdale

4. Little Widdale Tarn

Little Widdale Tarn

5. Looking north towards Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell

Looking north towards Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell

6. Matt heading towards Little Knoutberry Hill

Matt heading towards Little Knoutberry Hill

7. Swallow Hole

Swallow Hole

8. A view of Wensleydale from Widdale Fell

A view of Wensleydale from Widdale Fell

Walk Detail: This walk, which started so inauspiciously, actually turned into one of my favourites of the year. Immediately after we got out of the car we were enveloped in a cloud of flies that also managed to get into the car. After clearing the flies out of the car we set off on the track leading from the farm at Widdale Foot only to see two rather intimidating creatures.

They were two very large black rams in a field on their own, one with two horns standing vertically in the air the other with the more traditional curled horns. They were huge and both stopped what they were doing and just stared at us. It was very unnerving especially as one looked like it could come from some Gothic horror story.

I later found out that they were a rare breed of Hebridean sheep and indeed later on we did come across a much more friendly looking herd of female sheep - unfortunately I didn't get any pictures.

The weather at this point was fairly cloudy but also quite muggy and when we got to the summit of Great Knoutberry Hill some more cloud inconveniently began to cover some of the surrounding fells. We did not stop long at the windshelter near the trig as we headed off to look at the tarns.

At this point the weather began to clear and we spent the rest of the afternoon in some quite lovely sunshine. I quite quickly fell in love with Widdale Fell’s two tarns especially the smaller of the two. I’d obviously seen Malham Tarn and had a brief glimpse of Fountains Fell Tarn but this was the first time we had been able to properly investigate one of the higher tarns in the Dales.

After pottering round the tarns for a while we headed off to the unmarked 646m spot height on Widdale Fell. From there we headed along the fell top to Little Knoutberry Hill along the way discovering a very dramatic shake hole.

After a few minor difficulties we located the bridleway that took us to Widdale Beck and back to the road and the car. Widdale Beck itself was rather pretty but I had taken so many photos on the top that I did not have enough memory left to get any pictures of it.

This was a proper unhurried ramble and we spent more time than usual investigating interesting features that we saw and perhaps it was for this reason as much as the weather that made this walk so memorable.

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