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Escaping Lockdown - Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell

Escaping Lockdown - Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell


Postby Christo1979 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:51 pm

Date walked: 30/05/2020

Time taken: 4.5

Distance: 16.75 km

Ascent: 618m

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After exhausting just about every local footpath, and with the lockdown restrictions gradually easing, I felt it was time to dig the OS maps out, grab my Nuttall guide and make some Hewitt plans. My good friend Laura had agreed to join me for a socially distanced walk, and I felt I owed her something scenic after the misty, rainy baptism of fire on Mungrisdale Common last time we went a-Hewitting. We decided to 'just touch' the northern edge of the Yorkshire Dales (still feeling a little naughty going to a National Park at all), and so a plan was set on a gloriously sunny morning to head down to Outhgill, and tackle Wild Boar Fell.

There's a small parking place at 'The Thrang' with room for about half a dozen cars, and from there we followed the footpath through the fields on the other side of the road, gradually working our way under the Settle-Carlisle railway line and on to the fairly steep lower slopes of our first objective, The Nab. The conditions were crystal clear and the sun was beating down on us, but with just enough breeze to keep everything comfortable. I felt I could relax a little, confident this was not going to Mungrisdale 2.0.

ImageUntitled by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

Arriving at High Dolphinsty, we left the Pennine Bridleway (not before subjecting Laura to a panoramic lecture - yes, she knows which ones are the Howgills; yes, she knows I slept on that hill...I bore myself sometimes) and followed the path up the ridge towards The Nab, which is a fabulous viewpoint. I love the distinctive profile of hills such as this - all Pen-y-ghent-style steep edges and magnificent views, backed by fairly flat tops and easy 'back door' routes. It reminded of the Brecon Beacons, too, and made me wish I knew the first thing about geology.

ImageWild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

We left The Nab and made our way across the grassy plateau to the actual summit of Wild Boar Fell, with its renovated trig pillar and wind shelter. More fantastic views, and more lectures. And I wonder why I do most of my walking alone. Returning to the dramatic edge along from The Nab, we visited the cairns between Yoadcomb Scar and High White Scar, chatting, as so many walkers surely do, about the prevalence of such cairns on these hills. I decided I like the Nine Standards kind of tale, imagining these cairns being placed strategically to give the impression of soldiers and lookouts preparing to repel invaders. Certainly, we kept looking at what we thought were people on other hills, only to discover they were cairns. I went into storyteller mode and found myself conjuring up images of hill watches guarding Pendragon Castle in the valley below. I suspect Laura was tempted to push me over the cliff edge.

ImageWild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

ImageWild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

We walked around the edge of 'The Band' and then dropped down the hillside, past a pretty little tarn, then straight back up the next hillside to reach the second Hewitt of the day, Swarth Fell. The view from the summit cairn back across to Wild Boar Fell was spectacular. The wind had really picked up now, which was pleasant on the mild sun burn, but not ideal for sitting down and cracking open the Babybels, so we continued a short way and dropped down slightly to the cairn at Swarth Fell Pike. Slightly sheltered, we took a break and admired the views.

ImageWild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

It was now time to head down into the valley, and though not marked as a path as such, we simply followed the boundary line on the map until we arrived at the minor road near Aisgill Moor Cottages. Pausing frequently to look back at the hills we had climbed, we crossed the railway bridge and followed a series of footpaths back along Mallerstang Common. The map reads like the most fascinating history book, and the imagination goes into overdrive: Helgill Force, Slade Edge, Hanging Lund. I kept my mouth shut on this side of the valley, however. No more historical lectures.

ImageWild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr

We finally left the hillside paths at Elmgill Farm, and we walked along the road for the last few hundred metres or so, back to the car. Once again, the views of the day's hills were fantastic. Back at The Thrang, we took our boots off and bathed our feet in the icy stream that runs under the road and down into the valley, before reluctantly leaving Mallerstang and heading home. That wasn't quite it, though. We paused at Outhgill to have a look at the memorial to the workers who died constructing this stretch of the iconic Settle-Carlisle railway, and also to take a look at the replica 'Jew Stone'. Anybody unfamiliar with the story behind the stone should do a little digging - but far be it from me to lecture you.

ImageWild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell by Christopher Watson, on Flickr
User avatar
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 202
Munros:12   Corbetts:34
Grahams:31   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:94   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:157   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Escaping Lockdown - Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell

Postby arjh » Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:02 pm

Great report and photos. Wild Boar Fell is intended to be my 300th Hewitt when restrictions allow.
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arjh
Wanderer
 
Posts: 112
Munros:93   Corbetts:23
Grahams:10   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:275
Wainwrights:166   Islands:6
Joined: Sep 5, 2015
Location: Sussex

Re: Escaping Lockdown - Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:40 pm

Nice one! These two are almost at the top of my "to be done soon" list, so it was good to get a feel for what it's like up there - better than I expected from the map, actually.
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2915
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:227
Wainwrights:90   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Escaping Lockdown - Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:57 am

Wild Boar Fell is a superb hill, one of my favourites, every time i see a report i get a hankering to re-visit.
User avatar
johnkaysleftleg
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 3175
Munros:25   Corbetts:10
Grahams:10   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:166
Wainwrights:214   Islands:8
Joined: Jan 28, 2009
Location: County Durham

Re: Escaping Lockdown - Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell

Postby Christo1979 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:26 pm

arjh wrote:Great report and photos. Wild Boar Fell is intended to be my 300th Hewitt when restrictions allow.


Thank you, and I hope you enjoy WBF. Kudos on your Hewitt tally, too :) :clap:
User avatar
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 202
Munros:12   Corbetts:34
Grahams:31   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:94   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:157   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Escaping Lockdown - Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell

Postby Christo1979 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:28 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Nice one! These two are almost at the top of my "to be done soon" list, so it was good to get a feel for what it's like up there - better than I expected from the map, actually.


Thanks for reading :) I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I agree, the map didn’t seem to suggest they’d be so good to walk. The rugged little peak at The Nab was a delight in such a clear day!
User avatar
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 202
Munros:12   Corbetts:34
Grahams:31   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:94   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:157   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

Re: Escaping Lockdown - Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell

Postby Christo1979 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:29 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Wild Boar Fell is a superb hill, one of my favourites, every time i see a report i get a hankering to re-visit.


Thanks for reading :) I think it’s now one of my favourite fells, too. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t wakes all too many hills in the Yorkshire Dales, but staying closer to home lately has opened up a journey of discovery. Hope you get back to WBF soon!
User avatar
Christo1979
Walker
 
Posts: 202
Munros:12   Corbetts:34
Grahams:31   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:94   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:157   Islands:25
Joined: Oct 21, 2017
Location: Gateshead

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