In the spirit of cramming in the miles while I can over the Christmas period I decided to make the most of a break in the endless rain for a quick dash to the Yorkshire dales on December 23rd. I parked up in Kettlewell and set off for the top of Great Whernside. It’s a big lump this hill and it dominates the views in this part of Wharfedale. I’ve gazed at it from afar on a number of other walks but never really gotten around to walking up it. There’s a good landrover track that takes you from the village up through the meadows before you step out onto the open fell.
As I gained height the view behind opened up over Wharfedale all the way to Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough in the distance. After all the recent rain the plateau before you reach the main ridge was absolutely saturated so a bit of bog trotting couldn’t be avoided. For those who like a bit of historical interest while you’re bimbling about there are memorials to several plane crashes on the slopes of Great Whernside. There is a simple wooden cross not far from where I took the picture below. If you want to know exactly where you’ll just have to go and explore for yourself. It isn’t very big, no more than 8 inches high. When I passed the weather had taken it’s toll and the cross had fallen over. I propped it back up again but who knows how much longer it will last. Best of luck finding it
What you can’t see in the pictures is the freezing gale that was blowing over the ridge. Up at the summit I couldn’t hold the camera still enough to take a decent picture. I did manage to find enough shelter among the car sized boulders to scoff a sarnie or two but it was too cold to linger so I was soon off again. The path at the end of the ridge drops quite steeply before crossing open ground to meet the Cam gill road that links Kettelwell to Wensleydale. Unfortunately that open ground is pretty level so all the rain that had drained off the hill had gathered on the flat ground. After a bit more bog trotting through ankle deep water I made it to the road (why do I do this again?). Crossing straight over the road you join the Starbotton road (read cart track). Instead of continuing to Starbotton I turned left at Cam head and followed the track back to Kettlewell.
From this angle there is a fantastic view straight down the length of Wharfedale. The low winter sun was creating interesting light patterns all over the place but I’m not enough of a photographer to get a decent picture with the sun shining straight in my face so you’ll just have to use a bit of imagination to fill in the gaps.