white horse logo

Looking North along Mallerstang Edge to the North Pennines
Looking North along Mallerstang Edge to the North Pennines

Menu:

National Parks

| 2001 walks | 2002 walks | 2003 walks | 2004 walks |
| 2005 walks | 2006 walks | 2007 walks | 2008 walks |
| 2009 walks | 2010 walks | 2011 walks | 2012 walks |
| 2013 walks | 2014 walks | 2015 walks | 2016 walks |
| 2017 walks | 1993-2000 library | Find a Route |
| A few Routes to print out | Request a Route... |

Route No. 425 - Wednesday 29 June 2011
Mallerstang Edge (B6275 to Gregory Chapel
via High Pike Hill & High Seat),
Hell Gill & Hell Gill Force - 10km
Eden Valley . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL19 Howgill Fells & Upper Eden Valley


High Pike Hill seen from the start of our walk
High Pike Hill seen from the start of our walk

Setting out to climb High Pike Hill
Setting out to climb High Pike Hill

Looking back along the track  on High Pike Hill
Looking back along the track on High Pike Hill

It's a steep climb of about 120m which I found quite hard with my new knee joint and it took me almost 40 minutes to reach the top of the hill at 642m. But what a view from the top! The scenery here is big and magnificent. Away to the north are the North Pennines with Cross Fell above the cone of Dufton Pike and the radome on Little Dun Fell glinting white in the sunshine as a pointer to Cross Fell. To the northwest is the Lake District and even at this distance the knobbly ridge of Scafell Pike is clearly visible. Across the Eden Valley is Wild Boar Fell with its distinctive ridge and behind it are the Howgill Fells. Whilst to the south are the Yorkshire Dales. Such a wealth of big open upland walking country looking beautiful on this sunny morning with the sky peppered with shower clouds that did not develop into anything all day.

This morning my mate, Jim, and I drove to Kirby Stephen in the Eden valley and on up the valley through the village of Nateby to Aisgill Cottages on the B6259 at map ref. map ref. SD777963. Here we met Ray who has been contributing some great walks to this web site for almost a year now. This would be the end of our walk and we left our car there whilst we all went in Ray's car back to Nateby and there turned right up along the B6270 for about 4km to map ref. NY811041. There is a little gravel parking area on the north side of the road by a black and white post used to mark the road in deep snow. The road here is at an altitude of just over 500m. Across the road to the southwest is High Pike Hill and we crossed the road to follow a quad bike track up the hill.

Jim & Ray were well in front of me on the climb
Jim & Ray were well in front of me on the climb

The summit cairn on High Pike Hill
The summit cairn on High Pike Hill

Wild Boar Fell & the Howgill Fells from the top of High Pike Hill
Wild Boar Fell & the Howgill Fells from the top of High Pike Hill

Following the track up High Seat
Following the track up High Seat

Track on top of High Seat
Track on top of High Seat

Looking north to the North Pennines from High Seat
Looking north to the North Pennines from High Seat

From High Seat we continued along the ridge to Gregory Chapel. This first part of the route from the car park at the road along the ridge to Gregory Chapel follows the county boundary between North Yorkshire and Cumbria. It's also the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. From Gregory Chapel looking south about 25km away we could see, on the horizon, the distinctive shapes of Whernside and Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent a little farther east.

From High Pike Hill we followed the quad bike track along the ridge to High Seat about 2km to the south. In places the quad bike track is easy to loose as it crosses the marshy ground. High Seat is the highest point on our walk at 709m, a fraction higher than Wild Boar Fell across the Eden Valley. At High Seat we paused again to gaze at the wonderful scenery all around us. It's breathtaking and so big it's very hard to capture it in a photo.

Approaching the top of High Seat
Approaching the top of High Seat

Looking back to High Seat
Looking back to High Seat

The summit cairn on Gregory Chapel
The summit cairn on Gregory Chapel

Heading for Gregory Chapel from High Seat
Heading for Gregory Chapel from High Seat

Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent seen from Gregory Chapel
From right to left on the horizon,Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent seen from Gregory Chapel

Descending from Gregory Chapel to Hangingstone Scar
Descending from Gregory Chapel to Hangingstone Scar

Still following the quad bike track above Hangingstone Scar
Still following the quad bike track above Hangingstone Scar

Looking north along Mallerstang Edge
Looking north along Mallerstang Edge

Heading down towards Hell Gill
Heading down towards Hell Gill

From the southern end of Hangingstone Scar we continued along the quad bike track for almost 2.5km to Lady Anne's Highway at map ref. SD786969.

From Gregory Chapel we left the county boundary and continued along the quad bike track to walk along the top of Hangingstone Scar.

Wild Boar Fell across the Eden Valley
Wild Boar Fell across the Eden Valley

Hangingstone Scar
Hangingstone Scar

A sculpture beside Lady Anne's Highway
A sculpture beside Lady Anne's Highway below us

Following the quad bike track alongside Hell Gill
Following the quad bike track alongside Hell Gill

The Eden Valley with Wild Boar Fell on the left & Mallerstang Edge on the right
The Eden Valley with Wild Boar Fell on the left & Mallerstang Edge on the right

Heading down to Hell Gill
Heading down to Hell Gill

A first glimps of Hell Gill Beck
A first glimpse of Hell Gill Beck

Hell Gill from the footpath
Hell Gill from the footpath

We crossed Lady Anne's Highway and followed the public footpath down past a small farmstead to a bridge over Hell Gill Beck at map ref. SD781966.

We tried to look down into the gorge of Hell Gill Beck from Hell Gill Bridge but the sun was too bright to see anything beyond the overhanging leafy branches.

Heading down to Hell Gill
Heading down to Hell Gill

Crossing Lady Anne's Highway
Crossing Lady Anne's Highway

The "Stone Men" cairns on Wild Boar Fell
The "Stone Men" cairns on Wild Boar Fell

Swaledale tupp giving us a hard stare
Swaledale tupp giving us a hard stare

Turning towards Hell Gill Force
Turning towards Hell Gill Force

Hell Gill Force
Hell Gill Force

It was very pretty indeed with the cascade of water falling around 8m from the top of a curved wall of rock into the pool below, with ferns growing from the rocky banks. We were close to the end of our walk so we sat for a drink just looking at this lovely scene.

Foot bridge over Hell Gill Beck
Foot bridge over Hell Gill Beck

A few hundred metres farther on at map ref SD779965 we turned left to walk about 30m to the top of Hell Gill Force. We walked around the edge of the drop formed by the falls for a few metres to get a view of the whole waterfall.

Approaching the head of the waterfall
Approaching the head of the waterfall

The top of Hell Gill Force
The top of Hell Gill Force

Hell Gill Force
Hell Gill Force

Hell Gill Force
Hell Gill Force

Crossing the Settle to Carlisle railway
Crossing the Settle to Carlisle railway line

The North Yorkshire boundary at the road
The North Yorkshire boundary at the road

We all got into Jim's car to drive to the start of our walk to collect Ray's car. Then we all drove into Kirby Stephen for a coffee and toasted tea cake to round off a lovely day out in the most wonderful open walking country.

At last we had to leave and we followed the path from the falls across the Settle to Carlisle Railway line and out to the road (B6259). Here we had rejoined the county boundary just next to Aisgill Cottages at the end of our walk.

The track out to the road at the end of our walk
The track out to the road at the end of our walk

The Cumbria boundary at the road
The Cumbria boundary at the road

Background Notes:
Here's another idea for a summer day out. This one is more adventurous and it's a linear walk so you need two cars to park one at the end of the route. The walk is 10km, about 6 miles, along Mallastang Edge above the Eden Valley. This is high wild country, open access land without a defined public right of way although there is a farmer's quad bike track to follow. You do need to be able to read your map and keep track of your position. You need good visibility to make the most of the fabulous scenery here. The walk starts at the county boundary between North Yorkshire and Cumbria from a small car park off the high moorland road between Keld in Swaledale and the village of Nateby, near Kirkby Stephen. We start by following a quad bike track along the county boundary up a climb of about 120m, 350ft, for almost a kilometer to the summit of High Pike Hill. This is the start of the ridge above Mallerstang Edge, running roughly southwards at a height over 600m, 2000ft, forming one side of the Eden Valley. Sometimes, when a high pressure system is starting to develop over this area a thick white cloud gathers sitting along Mallerstang Edge. It rolls off the edge into the valley 400m, 1200 ft, below us to the west to dissipate into whispy strands and disappear as it goes. This is called the 'Helm Cloud' accompanied by a strong wind along the valley called the 'Helm Wind'. It is usually a harbinger of a spell of settled fine weather. Already the grandeur of the scenery here is evident. At the top of High Pike Hill look around at the full 360 degree panorama! There are the North Pennines to the north, the distant Lake District ridges to the northwest, Wild Boar Fell and the Howgill Fells to the west, the Yorkshire 3 peaks to the south and the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales to the east. You'll want to just stand and look before continuing along the ridge heading south over a little summit called High Seat to Gregory Chapel with its tall cairn and ruined sheep shelter, at the halfway point along our route. So far we have been following the undulating ridge, but from Gregory Chapel we start the long descent into the valley. The path drops down to skirt the top of a cliff called Hangingstone Scar. Over to our right, that's southeast, there is the beginning of a valley around a network of small moorland streams that merge to become Hell Gill Beck. This is the source of the River Eden that flows northwards along the Eden valley to Carlisle and out to sea via the Solway Firth on the west coast. From Gregory Chapel we descend along a tongue of high moor land with the Eden Valley on our right and the developing valley of Hell Gill on our left until we reach an old green road at Hell Gill Bridge. This ancient trackway is Lady Anne's Highway. The Lady Anne in question is Lady Anne Clifford. The Cliffords were a very powerful family in the 1600's with many castles across Northern England including Skipton and Pendragon Castle in the Eden Valley, but Lady Anne's base was in Appleby Castle. She had the route improved all the way from Hawse to Kirkby Stephen for her to use on her inspections of her vast estates. Our walk continues across Lady Anne's Highway straight down the hillside, but to our left, about 500m along it the old green road crosses another beck that if you look carefully at your map you'll see it's called the River Ure. Yes, it's true the River Eden and the River Ure rise a few hundred metres from each other on the same hillside and flow down into the same valley that has a hump in it so that the River Eden flows out to the west coast and the River Ure flows out to the east coast via the River Humber. Down in the valley, just before our path crosses the Settle to Carlisle railway we make a short diversion to a lovely and quite impressive waterfall called Hell Gill Force, a very pretty spot indeed. From there we walk out to the road still on the border between North Yorkshire and Cumbria at the end of a really exhilarating walk.

top of page