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A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with Jim

A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with Jim


Postby trailmasher » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:17 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Wild Boar Fell

Date walked: 05/02/2017

Time taken: 3.15

Distance: 9.3 km

Ascent: 496m

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This report may justify why I am submitting it after producing one for WH last September and have also been onto the top of Wild Boar Fell three times in 6 months. My first visit to the summit was with E in the last days of August 2016, a gloriously sunny day, and perfect for walking with good views to be had in all directions. My visits since have not been on a day such as that, one being cold and damp with low cloud covering up any chance of a view anywhere apart from the ground beneath your feet, and the last time - of which this report is about - was also done on a cold day with low cloud. The difference being that at height there was a light covering of snow which made up for the lack of views from the summit trig column and shelter on Yoadcomb Scar.

Now, Wild Boar Fell is a fine hill and makes for a decent walk especially when combined with Swarth Fell, its adjacent neighbour, but three times in half a year, two in less than ideal conditions, why?

Well if you don't mind I'll tell you about the indomitable Jim and how I have become involved. Move on a few paragraphs if this is not to your liking, I won't mind.

Well I have a near neighbour, Jim, who, at nearly four score years young but lives a very full and active life including being a member of the U3A - University of the 3rd Age - where he leads an archaeology group, plays in a folk band, is in their walking group, and also regularly plays competition bowls, decided - last year - that he would start a walking group for the village that we both reside in and as he is already a regular walker with another, but different village group he felt a desire to form his own for our own village. The walking group that he is already in do walks of around 4 miles, maybe 5 at a push, but Jim didn't think that that distance satisfied his needs and wanting to walk longer distances nearly caused a riot with great exclamations of consternation when he suggested it to them. That is the reason that Jim turned to his own village to try and form an informal walking group with no hard and fast rules apart from having an appetite for a decent walk and the usual appropriate clothing and equipment with oneself, and everyone must be prepared to embark on a walk of 8 to 9 miles, and no grumbling.

Knowing that both E and I do a bit of walking he approached us and asked if we would be likely candidates to join, if he could raise enough interest. E was more enthusiastic than I as I don't like to be pinned down on a regular basis, on such and such day every month for instance, but as things gathered pace I somehow got drawn into it. Every Tuesday the good folks of the village - excluding myself - meet up in the Village Hall for a cup of tea/coffee and a village catch-up, so in November of last year Jim made it known around the village that he intended to hold a meeting for a Q & A session including signing up any interested parties.

Surprisingly there was quite a crowd, including myself as I had been 'coaxed' along with E. There was lots of enthusiasm for the proposed walking group with just a few turning away when distance was mentioned and some even trying to cut down the mileage to suit themselves, to which Jim replied, "you can go to the next village if you want a shorter walk." Consequently, quite a few from the village, plus some from other places, signed up for a chance to participate in any future walks if they so desired.

It transpired that Jim had already laid the foundations for a walking group and as the village is called Bolton he had contacted Bolton Wanderers Football Club to ask their permission to name the group after said club. Not only did they agree to his request but promised that once the group had got something like established with some regular walkers that they would place a couple of photos in their magazine, pay a visit to the village, and bring along some club goodies. So, well done Jim for that.

Somewhere amongst this recruiting drive I was given the job of leading some of the walks, whilst E the task of logging the walkers that turned up on the day of the walk. Subsequently I am now a fully fledged founder of the group with the onerous task of keeping an up to date spread sheet recording details of the walks, who, when, and where, e-mail and phone details, plus stats and weather conditions of the days walk.

Jim and I sorted out the walks, one per month to be on the last Monday of the month. Every few days or so he will call on to the house for a sort out or confirmation of some future walk or detail during which he will chuck his feet on a pouffe and with coffee and biscuits to hand proceed to sort out what he came for and then chat for hours about times gone by. Now I don't mind this as Jim has led a very productive life and has many tales to tell. He's a cynic, dry, humorous, speaks his mind, and as he lives by himself he needs and enjoys the company. I recall that not so long ago he called on one evening and after his coffee was offered something a little stronger. After a couple of whiskeys and the best part of a bottle of Port he managed to get away by 5:45am the morning after but with the telling of some of his many tales the time had flown.

Now we come to the reason for being on Wild Boar Fell so many times in a short time, the last two of them within 3 weeks of each other. Understandably Jim doesn't like to walk alone but does like to do a recce of the routes prior to walking them with the group which is the right thing to do, especially if you're leading, so I have given myself the task of accompanying him on these walks. Our third walk from the founding of the group - we call it a group as unlike a club there is nothing official, no fees to pay, no insurance, etc, you come along if you want to - was to be Wild Boar Fell and although Jim had been up this particular hill many years ago he couldn't remember from where even when all the obvious possibilities were offered to him. So the first time we went by way of the start from Aisgill Moor Cottages ascending via Stubbing Rigg and Swarth Fell on a miserable, cold and murky fog bound day, but it was neither to Jim's liking or the way that he had got up all those years ago. There was no snow that day but there was plenty of ice on the wire fences and the blades of grass stood erect like glass sabres. That was on the 22nd January 2017.

Fast forward two weeks and we are having another go, but this time from Stennerskeugh, a hamlet that sits on the east side of the A683 where there is also room to park around 6 cars on a large patch of roadside grass at approximately NY742014.
1 - Parking space at Stennerskeugh.JPG
Parking space at Stennerskeugh.

There are just a couple or so houses including a farm that sit on the right hand side of a tarmac covered lane that goes by the name of Clouds Lane. Jim doesn't recognise this either so I wondered if he had gone by way of Little Fell from Pendragon Castle.

It was a cold and clear morning despite the many clouds that were covering most of the blue and from down here we could see a hint of snow on the high fells although no sign of frost, ice, or snow at this lower level.

Clouds Lane is initially a narrow strip of tarmac running between two dry stone walls with trees and the dwellings on the right hand side and green pastures on the left.
2 - Beginning the walk on Clouds Lane.JPG
Beginning the walk on Clouds Lane.

Giving that it's called Clouds Lane it must have an affinity with the limestone pavements that lie to the south above the intake wall where there are a few old tracks leading up to old workings. There is to be found the limestone pavings with the romantic names of Stennerskeugh Clouds, Fell End Clouds, and the one named just, Clouds. Maybe it's because they looked like clouds from a distance.

As the lane begins to rise and bear to the left the tarmac ends and a good dirt and stone track takes its place with the steepest section having strips of concrete or wood set across it to prevent the road material from washing away in times of wet weather. As the incline eases off we left the strips behind and the track that is still between the two walls has narrowed from its past use to one that is now used by whatever machinery uses it. Within 5 minutes we were at the first of the three gates that we would access on our way forward along the Pennine Bridleway. This first one let us through the intake wall to begin walking through the open fells.

Once we were on the open fell the views to the north, east, and west opened up giving magnificent views across the low lying fells to the north and east and a view of Harter Fell one of the Howgills outliers to the west, but it would be much later and at a higher altitude that we would begin to see the Howgills proper. The fields and pastures lying in the gap between the hills of Rasett Hill…
6 - The view over to Rasett Hill.JPG
The view over to Rasett Hill.

on the right and the Howgills on the left led the eye towards the small village of Ravenstonedale.

The Pennine Bridleway which is in good condition from the start right the way up to the gate at High Dolphinsty is set at a wonderfully well graded incline and is climbed with hardly any effort whatsoever.
9 - The Pennine Bridleway with Little Fell behind covered in snow.JPG
The Pennine Bridleway with Little Fell covered in snow.

Once the open fell had been accessed the track was now across grass for a short distance as it followed the wall high above High Stennerskeugh in a south easterly direction to soon leave it as the Pennine Bridleway once more became the good track that we would now follow up to the gate at High Dolphinsty. The only obstacles on the track are in the way of three crossings of water, the first one being a paved one that carries Hasby Gill and just requires a stride to get over it, the second one is by a fairly wide plank footbridge across the unnamed watercourse running down from Scandale Head…
11 - The ford and footbridge across an unnamed watercourse.JPG
The ford and footbridge across an unnamed watercourse.

and lastly an un-bridged ford at Long Gill where the water is not too deep but there are plenty of stones to gill hop across.
As we got higher the views opened up with a good view into Scandale Head to the south…
13 - Looking into Scandale Head from the Pennine Bridleway.JPG
Looking into Scandale Head from the Pennine Bridleway.

14 - A quick look back along the valley.JPG
A quick look back along the valley.

and the Howgills now coming into sight over to the west…
16 - Howgills on the skyline.JPG
Howgills on the skyline.

the temperature now dropping as we had climbed above the snow line, such as it was. The Howgills skyline looked dark and brooding with the grey clouds sat above them, but with the foreground of thin snow overlaying the brown of the grass I am of the opinion that the scene is just as attractive as it would have been on a clear sunny day.

We soon arrived at High Dolphinsty…
18 - Jim opens the gate at High Dolphinsty.JPG
Jim opens the gate at High Dolphinsty.

from where the PB continues on its south easterly way down over Little Wold and into the Mallerstang Valley…
19 - Mallerstang and Angerholme Potts from High Dolphinsty.JPG
Mallerstang and Angerholme Potts from High Dolphinsty.

from where it makes its way across to the other side to then start to climb again along The High Way, that old coach road that Lady Anne Clifford used to travel between her home at Appleby Castle to her estates in the Skipton area. It now goes by three different titles, Old Road (Track), The High Way, and Hellgill Wold Pennine Bridleway and is the same track that has The Watercut Sculpture that overlooks the Mallerstang Valley with its River Eden running through it.

From the gate at High Dolphinsty we followed the wide path over grass that begins fairly level but as it reaches the foot of White Walls…
21 - Looking back to High Dolphinsty and Little Fell.JPG
Looking back to High Dolphinsty and Little Fell.

22 - White Walls with The Nab in cloud behind.JPG
White Walls with The Nab in cloud behind.

the incline gets steadily steeper with the worst of it being the short sharp section just above Scriddles. This final pull is over a section of rough ground made all the harder with the light covering of snow, a place where Jim had to take it very steady as the combination of clag, strong breeze, and slippery steepness made him all too aware of how easily an accident can happen on ground conditions such as these. But with good, steady plodding the summit cairn on The Nab was soon attained from where we then took the right hand path that heads off in the direction of the OS trig column.
23 - The summit cairn on The Nab - turn right for the  OS trig column and left for Yoadcomb Scar.JPG
The summit cairn on The Nab - turn right for the OS trig column and left for Yoadcomb Scar.

Some way from The Nab summit and on the way to the trig column there is a cairn where we had a short break before continuing on to the all too obvious trig column…
26 - Taking a break between The Nab and the trig column.JPG
Taking a break between The Nab and the trig column.

and that is where we refuelled before continuing our walk across to the shelter and curricks on Yoadcomb Scar that can easily be seen from this point. Within a few minutes of arriving at the damaged trig column…
27 - Wild Boar Fell  damaged OS trig column.JPG
Wild Boar Fell's damaged OS trig column.

we were joined by a young couple who had started at Garsdale Station and were walking on to Kirkby Stephen Station.

Refuelling over and getting cold we set off again towards the summit of Yoadcomb Scar on the south easterly path that usually makes for a wet passage, but today as the ground was frozen we simply walked across maintaining dry boots and more importantly, feet.
29 - Now for the shelter and the line of cairns on Yoadcomb Scar.JPG
Now for the shelter and the line of cairns on Yoadcomb Scar.

Once again and thanks to frozen ground it didn't take many minutes to cross over to the shelter and curricks…
30 - Yoadcomb Scar features.JPG
Yoadcomb Scar features.

where we found another winter walker huddled in the shelter who told us that he walks up here every week no matter what the weather.

The clouds had lifted a little way since we had left The Nab, although to the south it still looked pretty dire as I took a winter shot of the curricks.
32 - The nine  curricks at Yoadcomb Scar summit.JPG
The nine curricks at Yoadcomb Scar summit.

A couple of photos later we set off back to walk along the rim of Blackbed Scar that overlooks Mallerstang Common, the curved rock face with its shattered jumble of rocks covering its lower slopes and then terminates at The Nab sitting above Yoadcomb Hill.
31 - Looking along Blackbed Scar from Yoadcomb Scar.JPG
Looking along Blackbed Scar from Yoadcomb Scar.

34 - A couple of unnamed tarns on Blackbed Scar.JPG
A couple of unnamed tarns on Blackbed Scar.

Once back at The Nab…
35 - A view across to Mallerstang Edge from The Nab.JPG
A view across to Mallerstang Edge from The Nab.

36 - From The Nab to High Dolphinsty and Little Fell.JPG
From The Nab to High Dolphinsty and Little Fell.

it was just a case of making a steady descent…
37 - Jim leaving The Nab behind.JPG
Jim leaving The Nab behind.

38 - White Wall and The Nab.JPG
White Wall and The Nab.

from it until we had reached more level ground to re-trace our outward route back to the car where Jim said that he was pleased with that way to Wild Boar Fell summit and could now pass on information to the rest of the group to help them decide whether to join the organised walk or give it a miss. Either way it looks like I will be making a fourth visit to the top very shortly.

Despite the low cloud this has been a good winter's day walking with an easy ascent for most of the way with just the short climb over steep and snowy ground above Scriddles to The Nab giving any cause for concern for Jim, especially on the way down. But he does well and is understandably a tad cautious where he feels the need for it, and at an average of 3 km/ph - nearly 2 mph in old money - with a mixture of ground conditions, some slippery I think that the dummy run for this walk went alright.
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trailmasher
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby ChrisW » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:11 am

3rd time's a charm or something mate :lol: :lol:
Subsequently I am now a fully fledged founder of the group with the onerous task of keeping an up to date spread sheet recording details of the walks, who, when, and where, e-mail and phone details, plus stats and weather conditions of the days walk.

Sounds like you got dragged from unlikely observer to fully fledged secretary TM ....there are worse things to be though and Jim sound like good company to me :wink:
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby trailmasher » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:26 pm

ChrisW wrote:3rd time's a charm or something mate :lol: :lol:

Jim sound like good company to me :wink:


Aye Chris, he's one of the old school 8) and fairly nippy on his pins :clap:
Thanks for reading :D
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby thefallwalker » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:42 pm

looks like a decent day out that 1 bud especially with a bit of snow underfoot I'll maybe get the map off ya
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:41 pm

Lovely frozen ground, perfect for the summit plateau of WBF. You just have to love the name Scriddles :-D
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby trailmasher » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:16 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Lovely frozen ground, perfect for the summit plateau of WBF. You just have to love the name Scriddles :-D


Aye, it surely is usually a bit wet in the middle so it was nice to take a 'dry walk' over it this time :) and you're right JK, Scriddles is a great name and might give my next one that name :lol: :lol: . Thanks for reading and your comments :D
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby trailmasher » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:20 pm

thefallwalker wrote:looks like a decent day out that 1 bud especially with a bit of snow underfoot I'll maybe get the map off ya


If it's Hewitt's that your looking for I'll maybe take you up by way of Swarth Fell so two for the price of one :wink:
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:37 pm

I loved this report: partly the story, partly the pics. It evoked a wonderful atmosphere that I can't quite pin down, but continue to enjoy. Indeed, like the hills themselves.

From the pics, the ascent looks a lot more than 500m... :shock:

PS Pretty amazing performance by Jim. If I'm still extant at 4 score, I'll be pretty comfortable if I can match this :-).
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby treehugger » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:48 am

Nice one! Some very moody pics there!
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby trailmasher » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:54 pm

Alteknacker wrote:I loved this report: partly the story, partly the pics. It evoked a wonderful atmosphere that I can't quite pin down, but continue to enjoy. Indeed, like the hills themselves.

From the pics, the ascent looks a lot more than 500m... :shock:

PS Pretty amazing performance by Jim. If I'm still extant at 4 score, I'll be pretty comfortable if I can match this :-).


Thanks very much for your comments Alteknacker :D and it certainly felt atmospheric on that particular climb up 8) If the walk is done from Aisgill Cottages the climb is a lot more as there is a fair drop off from Swarth Fell and then the climb back up to WBF :roll:
Aye Jim is a good 'un and doesn't let anything hold him back, just a bit wary in some places but he's 8)
Again, thanks for reading and your welcome comments :clap:
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Re: A winters walk to Wild Boar Fell from Stennerskeugh with

Postby trailmasher » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:57 pm

treehugger wrote:Nice one! Some very moody pics there!


Thanks very much treehugger :D and isn't it surprising what a difference a bit of snow makes to a landscape 8) :)
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