Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Swaledale and Swinner Gill in the October sun

Start of the walk, Black Hill on the right, Kisdon on the left

Saturday 15th October was a fantastic autumn day.  It felt like spring, and I’m sure mother nature was getting very confused.  Butterflies flitted, caterpillars crawled and flowers blossomed next to  mushrooms.  Blue blue sky and bright autumn sun.  Absolutely wonderful.

Near Ramp Holme foot bridge

Peter was exhibiting, so a few new found friends  from the Walking forum and I met up in Muker, and set off to explore Swaledale, Swinnergill and the glorious Yorkshire Moors.  As usual, the map of the route is at the end, which is better than I achieved on the walk, because then, the map stayed hidden in a drawer at home!  However, my walking friends proved much more sensible and organised than I, in that they had maps and knew the area. 

Heading towards Fair Yew End and Crackpot Hall

This blog entry also has a large number of photo’s, because it would be a sin not to show the world how lovely a day it was.

Fair Yew End

As I said, we started at Muker and made our way across the fields towards Ramps Holme footbridge.  Immediately the cameras were clicking away, it was just so fantastic to be out.
Then over the bridge, we turned left to walk alongside the Swale heading towards Crackpot Hall until we got to Fair Yew End.  

Fair Yew End ruins

Here we came to a little bridge, our first waterfalls and the ruins of an industry long since died away.  A lovely place to sit and wonder about the people who worked here and the beauty of the dales around you.

Veiw just past Crackpot Hall

From there it’s up the hill to Crackpot Hall,”the ruin of a farmhouse dating from the mid 18th century. The building may also have been used as mine offices, as intensive lead mining was carried out in the area, and there were violent disputes over mine boundaries in the 18th century. The current building was abandoned in the 1950s because of subsidence.  Crackpot Hall has been saved from further decay by Gunnerside Estate with the aid of grants from various trusts.” (Info from Wikipedia).  Our cameras are still clicking like mad trying to capture the glory of the views around us.

Steep sides of Swinner Gill

We moved on to walk along the steep side of Swinnergill under Buzzard Scar.  

Looking down into the gill

There is a higher, less risky path, but Swinner Gill looks so much better whilst perched on a 12 inch wide track. Joking aside, the little valley, waterfalls and stream looked brilliant from where we were, even if it was a little precarious.  Again, we couldn’t stop taking pictures.

East Grain beck meets Swinner Gill

Then up to the head of Swinner Gill and turn right up alongside East Grain Beck. 

Climbing up East Grain Beck

Once again, there is a higher, easier path which we chose to ignore, instead we climbed (using hands and feet) up the side of the stream with all its little waterfalls. 

Head of East Grain beck.  Moors above us

Finally we got to the top, which in a way was a shame, because it had been so nice following the stream and beck.

Looking across to Friarfold moor

But now we up on the moors, beautiful great expanses of heather and bracken.  Here, even on such a beautiful day, the wind is keen and the views are bleak. I love it.
It wasn’t long until we were on a wide dirt track skirting the moor down to Botcher Gill waterfall and along “Jingle Pot Edge”  (what a lovely name).  I’m still loving the moors views.

River Swale in October afternoon sun

The track eventually comes round to the little hamlet of Ivelet, and it’s haunted bridge?.  Here we met up with the Swale which we followed back to Ramps Holme Footbridge, and then on back across the fields to Muker itself.

Unbelievably, we had taken around 6 hours to cover just under 10 miles.  We all agreed to blame the weather. We’d spent so long enjoying the views, taking pictures and delighting in the sun, time had wandered away. Thank you to Yvonne, Rich, Donna and Frankie for making sure a wonderful day stayed perfect.  Hopefully we will do it again sometime.
Circular walk from Muker around Black Hill


  1. Some lovely pics there, dittzzy - and what great conditions for a brilliant walk.

    We've missed the Dales a lot in recent months, only managing to grab a hasty weekend up there a couple of weeks ago.

    But pics like this on a day like you had make me more than a wee bit jealous!

  2. Thanks Jules. I still can't get over how good the weather was. It was glorious.