Grassington to Kettlewell, 11th Feb 2015

  • Grassington to Kettlewell
  • 15 miles, about 340 metres ascent
  • Start – 10:15am, end – 4:30 pm.

The forecast was for grey but dry weather. I thought the cloud would be too low for high mountains and the local hills would be very muddy, but the limestone dales would be a good bet and I hadn’t been to wharfedale for a while. I thought I’d try and plot a route from grassington to great whernside, a route I haven’t done before and which I wasn’t sure about – great whernside has extremely boggy and featureless flanks and navigation in fog is very hard. But I had several contingency routes. I parked at threshfield and had the bonus of finding a new café for a quick pit stop – very nice. Navigation wasn’t too hard to start with, mostly just comparing the walls against the map. The fog was down on the hill top and I decided against a route straight to the top – from the direction it would be very easy to stray off into either very unpleasant boggy terrain or off the other way towards nidderdale, so I kept by the wall side intending to contour until I got to Dowber Gill, then I could cross that and pick up the main route up, which is easier to follow and more solid. This turned out to be a good call.

It was well frozen under foot which made quick walking, but better views would have been nice. I stopped for a picnic at capplestone gate, at the start of the open moorland section, where there’s an interesting outcrop of gritstone in the mostly limestone landscape.

Walking along the moor next to the wall was easy. When I got to Dowber Gill I checked the time and the mileage and got a shock when I realised how far the return was along the dales way. There was no way I had time for the summit so I took the left turn straight down to Kettlewell and another picnic. It was about six miles back, which was just doable in the daylight left, but I needed to get home at a more reasonable hour so I took the road to Coniston and on to grass wood, which was very pleasant and back to the car by four thirty.

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Near the start
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Near Conistone on the return
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On the descent to Kettlewell
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On the descent to Kettlewell

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