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Route No 5 - Tuesday 4 September 2001
Kettlewell to Great Whernside
via Dowber Gill - 7 miles
Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central areas at 1:25000

Setting out for Great Whernside
Setting out for Great Whernside

Waterfall in Dowber Gill Beck
Waterfall in Dowber Gill Beck

In the tussock grass on the plateau just before the last steep climb to the top I noticed the shed skin of a small lizard stuck to a stem of grass. (I brought it home to photograph it). At last we reached the top at a height of 700 m above sea level. The view was magnificent. To the south we could see the three power stations at Drax, Ferrybridge and Eggborough and the TV transmitter at Emily Moor - I've not noticed it before from here. Out to the South west was Pendle Hill and moving round to the north west were Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. Beyond them the blue blobs on the horizon were easily recognisable as Scafell, Scafell Pike and Great Gable. I do not remember it being so clear before. The wind was quite cold on top so we settled down in a sheltered spot between the rocks for a drink and a sandwich and just to enjoy the view in the autumn sunshine.

Yesterday the weather forcast for today was wet and windy for the area east of the Pennines and cloudy with sunny periods west of the Pennines, so I rang the Tourist Information Office at Grassington to confirm that the paths up Great Whernside from Kettlewell were open and this morning I set off with two friends at about ten to nine to drive to Kettlewell. We got there at 10am to find the car park almost deserted. We made our way up the path past Providence Pot. We caught up a group of five retired men, much like ourselves, just after the entrance to the pot and exchanged a few words before they headed off up a side valley to our right.The route up the valley past the pot is very pretty with lots of small waterfalls in the stream and about half a mile beyond the entrance to Providence Pot we stopped beside one of them for a drink and a sandwich before pressing on. The climb goes on and on and at the head of the valley the path becomes less and less well defined until you just aim for the rockiest part of the ridge.

Waterfall in Dowber Gill Beck
Waterfall in Dowber Gill Beck

The shed skin of a small lizard found at 600m. on Great Whernside 4 September 2001

Lizard head rock near the summit of Great Whernside
Lizard head rock near the top

A party of half a dozen middle aged ladies climbed to the summit whilst we lay there in the sun but they showed little interest in the view and continued straight on along the ridge without a pause. A few minutes later we followed and overtook them on the descent to the road above Park Rash. Then we made our way down Park Rash back to Kettlewell. After changing our boots for some lighter footwear at the car we crossed the road to the tea shop opposite the car park where the group of men we had spoken to this morning were already seated and the group of ladies we had seen on Great Whernside arrived to occupy another table a little later. It has been a great day - our first walk in the Yorkshire Dales since the foot and mouth disease began in February. On the way home we stopped at the tourist Information office in Grassington and got a map of the areas where paths are now open. At long last it looks as though things are starting to improve.

Returning to Kettlewell via Park Rash
Returning to Kettlewell via Park Rash

Resting at the top of Great Whernside
Resting at the top

The view from the top of Great Wherside
The view from the top - click for full size photo (112Kb)

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