Sunday, 10 November 2013

Thwaite to Great Shunner Fell

I'd been wanting to get to the top of Great Shunner Fell ever since I'd seen it from Gunnerside.  Peter knew the path, and the weather forecast was for a gorgeous November day, so off we went.

As I've quoted before, "a picture paints a thousand words",  so here are several thousand:
We parked in a lay by between Scar Houses and Thwaite.  That's Thwaite directly ahead
Just north of Thwaite, you take the track east heading up towards Blackburn Edge.  This picture is looking back to Kisdon, which looked so wonderful in the autumn sun, I had to get this picture.
Farm tracks, puddles, hills and sun.  What more could you ask for.
Great Shunner Fell ahead, just slightly on the right.  It looks closer than it is.
Looking back to Thwaite, what a glorious, glorious day.
One of the many cairns on the path approaching the summit of Great Shunner Fell.  This is my arty shot. 
In the shadow of the hill, the frost is crisp, white and beautiful
That frost and ice makes the path quite slippy to be honest.  The sun was bright in our faces though, egging us on towards the top.
And when we reached it, we sat down to enjoy soup and sandwiches.  Getting up here was easy enough, but we weren't so sure about the route back.  There was another couple up there who told us it was dead easy, and just follow the path along the fence line, down to Little Shunner Fell and on to the Butter Tubs.  So of we went to do exactly that.

Except we didn't do that at all, and we ended up ever so slightly in the wrong place, on Pickersett, with quite a deep gulley between us and where we wanted  to be.  Once we'd worked out our problem, we also worked out we needed to cross the gulley before it got too wide, and we needed to get to the Butter Tubs before it got too dark.  We managed it though.

Looking back to Pickersett after crossing the gulley of Fossdale Gill.
Lovely Seat in the lovely light of the setting sun. 
Butter Tubs
More Butter Tubs.
 Quoted from the information board: "There are various theories about the name given to the site.  The most popular is that the potholes were once used as a coolstore for butter carried from farms in Swaledale over to the market at Hawes. Returning past the potholes at the end of a long day at the market and faced with the steep drop to their farms in the valley below, the farmers probably didn't fancy hauling the butter home only to have to clamber back up the fell with it the next market day.  The cool depths of the potholes would have made a convenient 'fridge'."

From the Butter Tubs, it was easy to follow the road back to the car.  I had to take a photo of this though, for Alen.

Our route, just over 7 1/2 miles.

This was just about the last walk I did in 2013.  With cruises, work and other stuff in the way, my next walk will not be until Spring next year.

But today was brilliant, and almost makes up for the lack of walks for the next few months.  Roll on spring. 


  1. Looks like the best kind of walking weather, blue skies, sun, frost......perfect!

  2. By heck, Tracey. How did I miss this railway goods wagon picture on your blog? Thank you ever so much for that. I shall have to get myself up there in the near future.
    I don't know Great Shunner Fell at all, so that's another reason for visiting. It looks like an interesting walk, and that picture of the frosty grass is really great.
    Cheers, Alen

    1. The wagon is in a field on the road from Butter Tubs down to Thwaite. The bonus for you Alen is that there are two! Enjoy. :-)

  3. Absolutely stunning photography Tracey.

    1. Thanks Rich. I have to admit nicking a couple of pics from Peter. But my little compact is doing a pretty good job by itself I reckon.

    2. Wonderful set of pictures. A mate and I have your route planned for next week. Summer weather will not give your clarity but fingers crossed. An inspirational account, thank you.

    3. Thank you. I hope you enjoyed your walk as much as we did. I also hope you are much better at navigation!