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A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.


Postby trailmasher » Sun Sep 25, 2016 12:00 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Swarth Fell, Wild Boar Fell

Date walked: 29/08/2016

Time taken: 4.08

Distance: 15.5 km

Ascent: 637m

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Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


We had been contemplating getting to grips with these two hills for quite some time and seeing that we had a good weather day promised on one of our free days we decided to give it a go whilst everything was in our favour.

Monday morning arrived as promised, low cloud but lifting as we drove along the B6259 road over into Mallerstang with the blue of the sky increasing in size by the minute as we neared our planned parking place. We were originally going to park at Cotegill Bridge but to avoid the walk along the tarmac road we turned down a narrow dirt lane immediately north of Aisgill Moor Cottages that I only spotted as we slowed down to look at the hills. It proved to be a good 'slow down' as the short lane led to a small car parking area that looks as though it is actually there for the convenience of the rail workers as there is a large electrical cabinet adjacent to the accompanying bridge that crosses the railway line. There would be room for three, maybe four cars, if parked sensibly.

Although the sky was blue and the sun was giving its all at 9:30am there was still a chill in the air, or should I say breeze that encouraged us to start the walk with our fleeces on. The car park was an ideal place as the start of our walk was directly across the tarmac road at the end of the lane and the finish would be the same as we crossed the bridge directly behind us on our return from Hellgill Force.

Okay then, off we went southwest down the lane to the road to cross it and reach a gate directly opposite the lane from where we would walk up Stubbing Rigg and then our first hill, Swarth Fell. There is no indication that this is the way to go, no marker or fingerpost, not even a path or track on the ground and there was also one other obstacle to overcome as whilst we had been booting up a quad bike had turned up and was parked up right across our chosen way to go, across the gate onto the fell. As we approached said quad bike with my friendliest and humblest face that I could arrange we saw that there was a lady in the driving seat. I had a mind to push E forward at this point but a man must be a man at times so with a quick increase of face power I spoke to her and we found her to be most amenable. In fact she was so nice and friendly that we spent quite a few minutes talking to her and established that she lived just up the road, had lived there all her life, had never been on Wild Boar Fell, and she was there to open the gate for the shepherds as they drove the sheep off the fells so that they could separate the ewes from their lambs in readiness for the next stage of their life cycle.

Finally saying our goodbyes we passed through the gate and began our walk up the rough grass of the fell but within a few minutes we had to stop and move to one side as the quad bike riding shepherds and dogs were pushing dozens of sheep down towards the gate and waiting lady farmer. The shepherds drove their quads in a co-ordinated way to keep the sheep moving but it was the dogs that really did the work in driving them towards the gate. I just love watching good working dogs on the hills.
3 - Round up time with Swarth Fell behind.JPG
Round up time with Swarth Fell behind.

Once the sheep had passed us by we set off once again heading in the general direction of the wall corner that was above and to our left. Our approach was up to now over pathless ground but as we neared the wall corner we were pleased to see a quad bike track that was initially plain to see but as we continued climbing it all but disappeared into the grass. As we climbed we could just about see the top of Swarth Fell and a good view of Wild Boar Fell over to our right…
5 - Wild Boar Fell from Stubbing Rigg.JPG
Wild Boar Fell from Stubbing Rigg.

whilst behind us across to the northeast Mallerstang Edge backed up by High Seat, Gregory Chapel, Hugh Seat, and Little Fell were challenging the fells we were about to visit.
4 - Looking back to Aisgill Moor Cottages from Stubbing Rigg.JPG
Looking back to Aisgill Moor Cottages from Stubbing Rigg.

We followed the faint track roughly southwest along Stubbing Rigg following the line of the old boundary until suddenly a large cairn appeared on the skyline to our right that proved that we were not too far away from the summit of Swarth Fell. We left the track to walk directly towards the cairn and meeting up with a quite a wide path that is not marked on the OS map but runs alongside the accompanying fence and we wondered if it made its way from Garsdale Station or somewhere near Dandrymire Viaduct. In any event it was a good wide path that we would now follow past the cairn, alongside the fence and then wall before it turned more to the centre of the fell, sometimes passing over wet ground…
10 - Wet in parts on Swarth Fell.JPG
Wet in parts on Swarth Fell.

but taking us unerringly all the way to the large summit cairn that was in view long before we arrived at it.
9 - Looking northwest along the top of Swarth Fell.JPG
Looking northwest along the top of Swarth Fell.

Swarth Fell is mostly devoid of rocks or stone and it was a bit of a surprise to find the cairn sat on a raised rocky area whilst all around was nothing but the green and brown of the rough fell grass. No matter what the cairn is sat on, it's in a fine position and gives maximum views of Mallerstang and Wild Boar Fell.
12 - Mallerstang Edge and Wild Boar Fell from Swarth Fell.JPG
Mallerstang Edge and Wild Boar Fell from Swarth Fell.

We could now see along the top of Mallerstang Edge and down the valley although that is blocked just a little by the nose of Wild Boar Fell. There is a small shelter sat on the rocks and further along to the northwest an attractive little tarn settled in a hollow in which E refused to take a dip despite the warm sunny weather, although it has to said that there is also a cool breeze making itself known.

After leaving the summit behind we passed a few more rocks and turned towards the wall which we followed to reach the hollow and its tarn and this is where we met the first of quite a few other walkers on or about this area today. From the tarn Wild Boar Fell looks enormous, and with its long flat top, gentle slopes at one end and the snub nose and slope at the other it made me think of the hull of an upside down oil tanker.
14 - Wild Boar Fell from Swarth Fell.JPG
Wild Boar Fell from Swarth Fell.

15 - Wild Boar Fell.JPG
Wild Boar Fell.

From Swarth Fell summit we descended around 80 metres to arrive at a second but larger tarn than the one on Swarth Fell and is perched on the narrow flat neck that sits between Uldale Gill to the west and the head of Ais Gill to the east. The Howgills are starting to make an appearance over to the west with Cautley Holme Beck and Cautley Crag in full view with the rest of the Howgills showing off their green lower slopes topped off with the brown fell grass on their upper slopes and summits whilst the Lakeland fells sit behind them all.
16 - The Howgills from Swarth Fell.JPG
The Howgills from Swarth Fell.

As we reached the lower part of the path the ground got decidedly wetter as we turned away from the wall to cut across the hollow…
17 - Approaching the base of Wild Boar Fell.JPG
Approaching the base of Wild Boar Fell.

from where we then began to climb the south side of Wild Boar Fell whilst keeping close to the fence until until arriving at a point just above Aisgill Head from where we walked along the top of The Band.
18 - Looking back to Swarth Fell from the side of Wild Boar Fell.JPG
Looking back to Swarth Fell from the side of Wild Boar Fell.

19 - Swarth Fell.JPG
Swarth Fell.

So far and from beginning to climb onto Swarth Fell the path has been good - apart from the odd wet spot - and easy to follow, and as we climb up onto Wild Boar Fell the path maintains its status all the way to the shelter cairn.
20 - Approaching Wild Boar Fell shelter cairn on High White Scar.JPG
Approaching Wild Boar Fell shelter cairn on High White Scar.

Along the top edge of High White Scar there are eight cairns or curricks of various sizes sat amongst the multitude of small flat stones and the tall upright columns can also be quite clearly seen from Mallerstang Edge.
21 - The cairns overlooking Mallerstang.JPG
The cairns overlooking Mallerstang.

A ladder stile has to be used before being able to use the luxury of the shelter which is what we did to have our first stop of the day.

Once that we had got the meal over and done with we set off northwest along yet another well trodden path but E thought that we was going to cut off the corner to head north and walk along the edges of Yoadcomb Scar and Blackbed Scar so was a bit put out when I pointed the correct way to the true summit of WBF.
23 - Elizabeth on her way to Wild Boar Fell summit OS trig column.JPG
Elizabeth on her way to Wild Boar Fell summit OS trig column.

It didn't take but a few minutes to walk from the shelter along to the 708 metre spot with its stone built OS trig column embraced within the protective walls of yet another stone built shelter.
24 - Elizabeth at Wild Boar Fell summit OS trig column.JPG
Elizabeth at Wild Boar Fell summit OS trig column.

The path between the two shelters is mostly alright apart from one place where quite a big work around had to be done as the ground was saturated. There was a couple coming in the opposite direction and taking no heed of our attempts to keep dry feet ploughed right on until they sank in up to the fetlocks and beat a hasty retreat to firmer ground.

The views from the summit were very good looking to the west over the Howgills, further to the north there are the villages and farmlands encircling the town of Kirkby Stephen with the Pennines behind them. East of course is Mallerstang and south where we had just arrived from.
26 - A view northwest from Wild Boar Fell summit.JPG
A view northwest from Wild Boar Fell summit.

Leaving the summit behind we continued along still another good, wide path that led us northeast towards The Nab and its tumulus that sit above Scriddles a short rocky escarpment giving good views down the Mallerstang valley.
27 - The way to The Nab and High  Dolphinsty.JPG
The way to The Nab and High Dolphinsty.

From The Nab the path descends along the sloping edge of White Walls…
29 - The ridge from The Nab to High Dolphinsty.JPG
The ridge from The Nab to High Dolphinsty.

to reach High Dolphinsty where a wall and gate is encountered and this is where we joined up with the Pennine Way for a short time. We turned right at the wall to follow it down for a few metres and then walked along a gently sloping green lane to pass over Little Wold from where a couple of marker posts assist in keeping to the right path.
33 - Looking back to The Nab.JPG
Looking back to The Nab.

All the time that we were descending down the PW Mallerstang Edge is in our face as we kept a nearly direct line walking east until we reached a ford across an unnamed beck that has a lovely waterfall tumbling down from the fell above.
34 - Near the ford crossing overlooked by Mallerstang Edge.JPG
Near the ford crossing overlooked by Mallerstang Edge.

Crossing the beck by a rough ford we then passed an old building to walk down Turner Hay Hill and then to pass under the railway line to arrive at Hazelgill an empty farmhouse and buildings, this is where we had our second break of the day sat on a pile of stone roofing slates.

After this break is when things went a bit haywire as following the route on the OS map we found that new fences and gates had been erected with no footpath markers anywhere to be seen. We knew where we needed to be but couldn't find a legitimate way to get there so we passed through a couple of new gates that are directly in front of the empty farm and crossed the pathless fields of Lock Hill to arrive at a narrow wall stile with a path indicator on a post. Our original plan was to follow this path along the west bank of the River Eden to Cooper Hill but there was no way could we get through the undergrowth of overgrown trees, nettles, thistles, and everything else that grows on the banks of a river unless I was carrying a pair of machetes and an industrial strimmer. Our only course of action was to return through the fields and pass over the bridge to reach the main road and walk south until we reached our turn off at Cooper Hill.

From the road we walked along a farm track that took us to Ing Heads where we had a chat with a retired school teacher before taking a stile to continue walking through the fields towards Hanging Lund. This part of the journey was a bit rough as the fields were wet and full of rushes that gave a big clue as to what the conditions were like before we even tried to pass across the fields. Hanging Lund appears to be a few habited building with the exception of one that looks as though it is still being re-furbished. As we walked along the lane towards the house we were met with a variety of obstacles that seemed as though they were once again to scupper our plans of passing by this way. But by climbing an old and broken gate we managed to find the path once again as it ran uphill between two dry stone walk passing an old barn on the way.
41 - The track from Hanging Lund to Slade Edge.JPG
The track from Hanging Lund to Slade Edge.

This path was also mostly wet for most of the way up until after leaving the walls behind the ground got decidedly drier. The path continues as a green lane as it climbs ever upwards getting a bit steep in places and after passing a couple of old quarries we arrived at a wall where we now turned down hill to reach a farm track that took us under Slade Edge and past the farm of Intake.
42 - Wild Boar Fell from Slade Edge.JPG
Wild Boar Fell from Slade Edge.

The track got increasingly better underfoot as we crossed the fields to arrive at the ford of Hell Gill Beck that is just above the waterfall of Hellgill Force that is 18 metres or 60 feet in height and just now with the ferns, small shrubs, and the red berries of the mountain ash it looked wonderful as it fell into the deep pool at its base.
44 - Hellgill Force.JPG
Hellgill Force.

From the falls it is but a cock stride back to the car by the railway bridge where a welcome hot drink was knocked up from E's magical flask.

The weather was good, warm and sunny but with a cool breeze at height. Mostly dry underfoot despite the rain that we have had over the last couple of days/nights and nowhere is it hard going despite the few wet areas. The gradients are good and the paths are clear to see with the only confusion documented in the report. I do think that the path along the River Eden should be attended to as should the path markers on the new gates but I suppose the cut backs in funding and staff have eventually found their way into the lack of maintaining the footpath network that walkers enjoy and are entitled to.
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby ChrisW » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:13 pm

I know I am biased and say it often but this really is spectacular countryside, Hell Gill Force is a beautiful waterfall and what better name for the river that makes it than Eden. The cairns along High White Scar are a fantastic photo opportunity at sunrise or sunset and to see sheep dogs working is always a winner, in fact I could sit and watch them for hours.

It must have been nice to avoid some bog trotting only to see someone else step right in :wink: with only a little confusion along the way this must have bee a really enjoyable day :thumbup:

Great write up with lovely images from home TM :clap: :clap:
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby trailmasher » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:01 pm

ChrisW wrote:I know I am biased and say it often but this really is spectacular countryside, Hell Gill Force is a beautiful waterfall and what better name for the river that makes it than Eden. The cairns along High White Scar are a fantastic photo opportunity at sunrise or sunset and to see sheep dogs working is always a winner, in fact I could sit and watch them for hours.

It must have been nice to avoid some bog trotting only to see someone else step right in :wink: with only a little confusion along the way this must have bee a really enjoyable day :thumbup:

Great write up with lovely images from home TM :clap: :clap:


The photo of Hellgill Force doesn't do it justice Chris as it doesn't portray its height or power but it is a beauty for sure :) and the countryside is as you say, absolutely spectacular and it's even attractive in the rain 8)

It was a great day out despite the bit of messing about which one can expect at times :? and thanks for your comments re the report :clap: :D
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:29 am

I really enjoyed these fells when I did them, bit boggy at times but so much to see. Hello gill force looks like a fine fall, don't quite know how I missed it.
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby dav2930 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:47 pm

What excellent weather for such a fine walk; looked a memorable day. Wild Boar is one of my favourite hills in all the Pennines; it's just a shame the summit is so far back from the edge! :? I love Mallerstang - another visit is long overdue. :)

Great report and pics TM :clap:
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby trailmasher » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:05 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:I really enjoyed these fells when I did them, bit boggy at times but so much to see. Hello gill force looks like a fine fall, don't quite know how I missed it.


Great fells to walkJKLL :D in spite of some wet patches but I have done worse :? The waterfall is directly below the ford.
Thanks for your comments :D
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby trailmasher » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:08 pm

dav2930 wrote:What excellent weather for such a fine walk; looked a memorable day. Wild Boar is one of my favourite hills in all the Pennines; it's just a shame the summit is so far back from the edge! :? I love Mallerstang - another visit is long overdue. :)

Great report and pics TM :clap:


Thanks for reading and your comments dav2930 :D and it was a perfect day for this walk :) I can see why it's a favourite as along with Mallerstang Edge the walking is easy and the views superb :D Thanks again :clap:
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby simon-b » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:20 pm

A fine place, Mallerstang. Wild Boar Fell is one of the best hills in England outside the Lake District IMO.
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:36 am

simon-b wrote:A fine place, Mallerstang. Wild Boar Fell is one of the best hills in England outside the Lake District IMO.


IMO also simon-b :) and can understand why it's so popular with its ease of access and great all round views :clap:

Thanks for your comments and reading :D
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby colgregg » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:13 pm

Yet another great northern day out. Last time I was there the trig was looking a little worse for wear. Not been fixed yet?
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:11 pm

colgregg wrote:Yet another great northern day out. Last time I was there the trig was looking a little worse for wear. Not been fixed yet?


Thanks for reading col :D and the trig looked alright to us that day when E was posing on it :lol:
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:35 am

Managed to miss this first time around ... ... so ...

Some great images there - I particularly like the penultimate pic of Wild Boar Fell from Slade Edge.

I grew up in the Yorkshire dales, and have holidayed in Mallerstang - but somehow managed never to walk these hills :roll:

A reminder that I need to ....
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Re: A day out on Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell.

Postby trailmasher » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:10 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Managed to miss this first time around ... ... so ...

Some great images there - I particularly like the penultimate pic of Wild Boar Fell from Slade Edge.

I grew up in the Yorkshire dales, and have holidayed in Mallerstang - but somehow managed never to walk these hills :roll:

A reminder that I need to ....


Thanks for your comments AK much appreciated :D I could say shame on you but I know people who live in Keswick who have never put a foot on Latrigg :? but after saying that, maybe it's about time you had another holiday in Mallerstang :lol: as they are very fine fells indeed :D
I'm sure you'll get there when time permits 8)
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