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Thread: Yorkshire Dales fell running routes

  1. #11
    Moderator noel's Avatar
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    I'm liking this thread. It makes me think I should get up to the Dales a bit more.

  2. #12
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    Route 4 - the Three Peaks done proper - minimal slabs and tarmac version (patent pending)

    23 miles and 5,700 feet of ascent


    The three peaks: everybody and their aunty who lives in the north of England has to walk it at least once in their lives and the three peaks fell race is one of the rock hard classics, albeit a rock hard classic rightly criticised for its poor fell to tarmac ratio.

    And nowadays the National Park are busily slabbing any part of the route, where otherwise walkers might get a soupçon of mud on their boots, such that one day soon it will all be neatly gravelled path or slabbed steps. (I'm not criticising the NP by the way and most of the route improvements they are making are being done really well, and with the future usage in mind, but..... jeeeeeeezus I hate running on slabs)

    So on Saturday, to give my knee of doom's recovery its first really big try out, I decided to trot around the three peaks but following my own arbitrary, self imposed rule that as far as possible i would avoid all slabs and tarmac.

    First off here's the map (tilted slightly) showing my non-slab and tarmac route in blue. I've then added in in red arrows where the bog standard walkers route diverges from my route and I've also added in in green where the fell race route goes different again, but otherwise follows the walkers route. Finally I've added in the optimum, shortest hypotenuse line descent off of Penyghent, over Horton Moor and Black Dub Moss, in orange - this is the old walkers route, where one in three walkers used to fall into a bog up to their neck, which I'd originally intended to follow, but after two days of solid heavy rain my inner Captain Sensible kicked in and I chose not to go that way on Saturday



    The other thing I self imposed on myself was to take each peak on, straight up the middle, route one. I needed to do that anyway to avoid the slabs on each ascent but this 'rule' sure as heck made each of the climbs super tough. In the fell race, everyone who runs it the first time is 'impressed' by the steepness of the climb up through Winterscales Pasture to the summit of Whernside but, if anything, straight up through the buttresses on Penyghent is probably tougher than that and definitely the climb up Ingleborough up through The Arks from Black Shiver Moss is toughest of all, not least because you've already done the other two beforehand. My chosen route up Whernside yesterday was the old walkers path, which runs parallel with the fell race route but just a few hundred metres to the south west (and is pretty much a carbon copy in gradient terms), and this was ironically probably the easiest climb of the day.

    Anyway the route: leaving from home in Horton, I ran up the Brackenbottom side of Penyghent as far as the start of the slabs, where I immediately hooked left to avoid them, went through a gate and followed a quad bike track up the fell side heading for the west 'wall' of Penyghent. I have a good line up this way, through the buttresses, which for a good part is effectively upwards crawling on all fours.



    Then after hitting the trig point I more or less followed the first part of the fell race descent down to the zig zags finger post; the fell race here then follows the Pennine Way back down to Horton Scar before climbing Whitber Hill but I instead followed a runners trod that takes a faster (I think), grassy and slicker route down, passing Hull Pot before going up the side of Whitber Hill to meet the bog standard walkers path at the summit. From one of my "ace" drone shots, this descent line starts top leftish in this picture and ends up passing Hull Pot 50 or so metres to the right:



    From Whitber Hill I then followed the walkers/fell race route for almost 4 miles all the way to Nether Lodge. After Nether Lodge though the walker's route and the fell race route go all boring and tarmacky, following about a mile of hard packed gravel track to meet the road beyond Lodge Hall and then a mile of road to reach Ribblehead - potential for super fast running for sure but track and road running, not fell running . My route instead followed the Ribble Way across boggy and undulating moorland, and then taking the footpath from Thorns over the beautiful old Thorns Ghyll Bridge over Gayle Beck to meet Blea Moor Road at Ribble Head House. I crossed the road here and picked up a quad bike track, sort of running parallel to the left of a line of low limestone scars curving towards the viaduct (pot holing country) before dropping under the arches at Ribblehead Viaduct and picking up the old Walker's path up Whernside beyond Gunnerfleet Farm. Then it was a straight up the side of Whernside, a 1,400 foot climb with a super steep last 400 feet, and yep perhaps it was the 'easiest' climb of the day!

    From Whernside summit I then followed the ridge line path but didn't drop down the conventional slabbed route to Bruntscar but instead continued south west for nearly a mile following the wall line. After crossing a stile, I then diagonally descended across steep tussocky ground to meet the track down to Chapel le Dale at Ellerbeck. This track in places was tarmac once (maybe 1,000 years ago) but its now largely pot holes, rubble and gravel and it definitely didn't break my tarmac rule, except for a small bit of running after Jingle Pot and the dinky church in Chapel le Dale.

    I then crossed the main road and followed the footpath directly opposite, leading after a while to the main three peaks walkers route up Ingleborough above Souther Scales. I only followed the main drag though until the slabs (oft called 'the slabs of dooooom' in the fell race). I wasn't for slabbing though and instead turned right and, after 300 yards or so, crossed a stile into a pasture called Black Shiver Moss, with Ingleborough now towering above me to my left. Here I followed a bit of a trail/quad bike track heading for Ingleborough before bashing on straight up the sheer side (a part of the hill marked on the map as The Arks), taking mostly a grassy line, and eventually, after much huffing and puffing, popping out on the summit directly by the wind shelter. A real quad bashing smasher of a climb!

    My wife Hester had been double jabbed the day before and had had a lie in on Saturday but had run up Ingleborough with the dogs, and coincided her arrival perfectly at the summit. And we all jolly trotted the last 5 miles back to home, following the bog standard track, including a few slabs above the shooting hut. We did avoid the road works at Sulber Nick though where a mile long brand spanking new slabbed path is being installed.

    Like I said the three peaks done proper. I reckon I've been round that route maybe 50 times now, including half a dozen of the fell races, but I can't imagine ever taking the road route again to Ribblehead.... other than in the 'fell' race of course.
    Last edited by Fellbeast; 24-05-2021 at 08:46 AM.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Fellbeast View Post
    Route 4 - the Three Peaks done proper - minimal slabs and tarmac version (patent pending)

    23 miles and 5,700 feet of ascent


    The three peaks: everybody and their aunty who lives in the north of England has to walk it at least once in their lives and the three peaks fell race is one of the rock hard classics, albeit a rock hard classic rightly criticised for its poor fell to tarmac ratio.

    And nowadays the National Park are busily slabbing any part of the route, where otherwise walkers might get a soupçon of mud on their boots, such that one day soon it will all be neatly gravelled path or slabbed steps. (I'm not criticising the NP by the way and most of the route improvements they are making are being done really well, and with the future usage in mind, but..... jeeeeeeezus I hate running on slabs)

    So on Saturday, to give my knee of doom's recovery its first really big try out, I decided to trot around the three peaks but following my own arbitrary, self imposed rule that as far as possible i would avoid all slabs and tarmac.

    First off here's the map (tilted slightly) showing my non-slab and tarmac route in blue. I've then added in in red arrows where the bog standard walkers route diverges from my route and I've also added in in green where the fell race route goes different again, but otherwise follows the walkers route. Finally I've added in the optimum, shortest hypotenuse line descent off of Penyghent, over Horton Moor and Black Dub Moss, in orange - this is the old walkers route, where one in three walkers used to fall into a bog up to their neck, which I'd originally intended to follow, but after two days of solid heavy rain my inner Captain Sensible kicked in and I chose not to go that way on Saturday



    The other thing I self imposed on myself was to take each peak on, straight up the middle, route one. I needed to do that anyway to avoid the slabs on each ascent but this 'rule' sure as heck made each of the climbs super tough. In the fell race, everyone who runs it the first time is 'impressed' by the steepness of the climb up through Winterscales Pasture to the summit of Whernside but, if anything, straight up through the buttresses on Penyghent is probably tougher than that and definitely the climb up Ingleborough up through The Arks from Black Shiver Moss is toughest of all, not least because you've already done the other two beforehand. My chosen route up Whernside yesterday was the old walkers path, which runs parallel with the fell race route but just a few hundred metres to the south west (and is pretty much a carbon copy in gradient terms), and this was ironically probably the easiest climb of the day.

    Anyway the route: leaving from home in Horton, I ran up the Brackenbottom side of Penyghent as far as the start of the slabs, where I immediately hooked left to avoid them, went through a gate and followed a quad bike track up the fell side heading for the west 'wall' of Penyghent. I have a good line up this way, through the buttresses, which for a good part is effectively upwards crawling on all fours.



    Then after hitting the trig point I more or less followed the first part of the fell race descent down to the zig zags finger post; the fell race here then follows the Pennine Way back down to Horton Scar before climbing Whitber Hill but I instead followed a runners trod that takes a faster (I think), grassy and slicker route down, passing Hull Pot before going up the side of Whitber Hill to meet the bog standard walkers path at the summit. From one of my "ace" drone shots, this descent line starts top leftish in this picture and ends up passing Hull Pot 50 or so metres to the right:



    From Whitber Hill I then followed the walkers/fell race route for almost 4 miles all the way to Nether Lodge. After Nether Lodge though the walker's route and the fell race route go all boring and tarmacky, following about a mile of hard packed gravel track to meet the road beyond Lodge Hall and then a mile of road to reach Ribblehead - potential for super fast running for sure but track and road running, not fell running . My route instead followed the Ribble Way across boggy and undulating moorland, and then taking the footpath from Thorns over the beautiful old Thorns Ghyll Bridge over Gayle Beck to meet Blea Moor Road at Ribble Head House. I crossed the road here and picked up a quad bike track, sort of running parallel to the left of a line of low limestone scars curving towards the viaduct (pot holing country) before dropping under the arches at Ribblehead Viaduct and picking up the old Walker's path up Whernside beyond Gunnerfleet Farm. Then it was a straight up the side of Whernside, a 1,400 foot climb with a super steep last 400 feet, and yep perhaps it was the 'easiest' climb of the day!

    From Whernside summit I then followed the ridge line path but didn't drop down the conventional slabbed route to Bruntscar but instead continued south west for nearly a mile following the wall line. After crossing a stile, I then diagonally descended across steep tussocky ground to meet the track down to Chapel le Dale at Ellerbeck. This track in places was tarmac once (maybe 1,000 years ago) but its now largely pot holes, rubble and gravel and it definitely didn't break my tarmac rule, except for a small bit of running after Jingle Pot and the dinky church in Chapel le Dale.

    I then crossed the main road and followed the footpath directly opposite, leading after a while to the main three peaks walkers route up Ingleborough above Souther Scales. I only followed the main drag though until the slabs (oft called 'the slabs of dooooom' in the fell race). I wasn't for slabbing though and instead turned right and, after 300 yards or so, crossed a stile into a pasture called Black Shiver Moss, with Ingleborough now towering above me to my left. Here I followed a bit of a trail/quad bike track heading for Ingleborough before bashing on straight up the sheer side (a part of the hill marked on the map as The Arks), taking mostly a grassy line, and eventually, after much huffing and puffing, popping out on the summit directly by the wind shelter. A real quad bashing smasher of a climb!

    My wife Hester had been double jabbed the day before and had had a lie in on Saturday but had run up Ingleborough with the dogs, and coincided her arrival perfectly at the summit. And we all jolly trotted the last 5 miles back to home, following the bog standard track, including a few slabs above the shooting hut. We did avoid the road works at Sulber Nick though where a mile long brand spanking new slabbed path is being installed.

    Like I said the three peaks done proper. I reckon I've been round that route maybe 50 times now, including half a dozen of the fell races, but I can't imagine ever taking the road route again to Ribblehead.... other than in the 'fell' race of course.
    Epic!

    Now who said the Forum isn't as good as it used to be?
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  4. #14
    Senior Member Marco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Breeze View Post
    Epic!

    Now who said the Forum isn't as good as it used to be?
    Yes, another top quality piece of work

  5. #15
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    Brilliant!!! Good work Stolly

  6. #16
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    Route(s) 5 - Le Grand Tour de Mallerstang

    Full tour - 23.5 miles and 4,600 feet / Half tour - 13.5 miles and 3,000 feet


    Mallerstang, a stunning Cumbrian Dale (in the 'Yorkshire' Dales) if ever there was one, which follows the river Eden flowing from Hell Gill at its southern end, past the old ruins of Pendragon Castle and all the way to Kirkby Stephen at the top. The word Mallerstang alone conjures up tales of Arthurian legend (well maybe), promising mystery and adventure, and you just know its going to be a special place. With Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell dominating the west side of the valley and Hangingstone Scar, Gregory Chapel, High Seat and, stretching the definition of the valley just a wee bit, Nine Standards Rigg on the east. My routes are basically a full or half skyline circumnavigation of Mallerstang, starting from the southern end, in the lay-by by Aisgill Moor Cottages, not far from Hell Gill, and proceding clockwise, west side out, east side back. A top banana fell running route



    There is a fell race/long distance walk around my bigger route by the way, usually in early June, called the Yomp, organised by the Upper Eden Rotary Club (although it's been canned for this year due to covid). My bigger route is pretty much exactly the race route I think (I've never actually done the Yomp I admit) but I do know the race does it all wrong ; it ridiculously starts in Kirkby Stephen with all its handy parking and hospitality and goes completely arse about face doing Wild Boar and Swarth Fell first and coming back via High Seat and Nine Standards - I mean that's just rubbish

    So, my better way: Starting from Aisgill Cottages you go through a gate and follow a usually quite soggy trail on an easy gradient to begin with in the direction of Swarth Fell - we saw a fantastic short eared owl on this track last time we ran it - and after a bit of a steep finish you're soon on Swarth Fell Pike, with a fast running ridgeline track to follow north, heading now for Wild Boar Fell. If the weather's clear you get some stunning views of Wild Boar Fell from this approach. You end up dropping down a little before following the track up again to the cairns on the edge of Wild Boar with humdinger views over the whole valley.

    From the cairns you can either just follow a track on the edge of the ridge or cut diagonally to the trig point, which annoyingly is set well back on the summit plateau, before continuing to following an obvious ridgeline track north. After a couple of miles, going over the last lump on the ridge line Little Fell, you then start to descend into a vast area of open fell but again with an obvious trail to follow.

    If you are choosing the 'half tour' option you choose to cut off the main trail and follow a side trail to your right, which follows a wall line soon running parallel to High Intake Gill down into the depths of the Mallerstang valley and bringing you eventually out beside Pendragon Castle (well worth a root around if you have time). My gpx trail to this point by the way took a small diversion (so that my wife could take some photos) but the proper route down is obvious.

    From the castle ruins you head down the road and swiftly take the first (OS marked) path on your left, past a farm and straight up the hill side heading almost directly east. After a while the 'path' goes the wrong way and I tend to just bash on upwards through the tussocks and cotton grass heading east higher and higher. Its quite tough going in places but its mainly just tussocks and grass that you have to hack through. Finally as things start to flatten out, its all about finding the ridgeline track, which you want to hit as soon as you can to benefit from much easier running - from experience this track is always further away than you think but, once you do find it, its pretty obvious and you're unlikely to miss it

    Flipping back to the full route, where you haven't dropped down to the valley, here you continue north following an obvious trail heading for the metropolis of Kirkby Stephen. If you look at a map its fairly obvious where you need to go and the final run in for the last mile and a half is on tarmac. In town, its all about getting to the park at Frank's Bridge over looking the river (which we used as a perfect setting for a pastie stop last time) and then setting off on what seems a never ending journey to the top of Nine Standards Rigg. This journey includes some tarmac to begin with but rest assured adds in lots of rubble and mud later and, no matter how far you go up this way, the top still seems a long way away. Eventually you see the cairns at the top (there are 9 funnily enough) and you think, great, I'm nearly there. Don't worry though, you're not, these cairns are all massive structures and, like the cows in Father Ted, they just look very little from far away...

    Anyway you finally get there and feel suitably a dwarf amongst the cairns. The final run in on the Yomp is the route you just laboured up so, er maybe, the Yomp organisers might have something with the way round they do things plus of course the handy parking and hospitality. Done as a descent it is probably actually brilliant fun

    After Nine Standards, my route goes south westerly on another obvious trail, heading down towards the beautiful road that comes down from Birkdale and Swaledale heading for Nateby and Kirkby Stephen. Here you cross the road and take an obvious trail straight up the side of the hill looming ahead, High Pike Hill. Its all about obvious trails! From there it again becomes a really enjoyable ridgeline run (less enjoyable of course in a howling gale and driving rain in mid-winter) heading south and crossing the summit cairns, little cairns this time, of High Seat and Gregory Chapel. If you're on the half tour version you should be in the same place now.

    On Gregory Chapel you could head left and visit Hugh Seat (not to be confused with High Seat) if you wanted, but my route takes the right fork which is a great run down heading along the top on a wide grassy trail of the long cliff face called Hangingstone Scar, again with fantastic views in fine weather of Wild Boar Fell opposite. The path here becomes a bit of a squidgy quad bike trail in places and generally you're staying as high as the now descending ridge lets you before you finally arrive at Hell Gill Bridge. Last time out, at the end of June last year, we'd intended to finish our run with a gorge walk/wild swim through Hell Gill but we were caught in a deluge of rain near the end, were feeling a bit cold and in any event Hell Gill looked a bit feisty following a couple of days of rain. Do take a quick side step here though to Hell Gill bridge and look down into the darks of the gill and where the gorge walk goes - its amazing

    Then all that's left is a quick trot back to Aisgill Cottages and jobs a good 'un
    Last edited by Fellbeast; 28-05-2021 at 02:19 PM.

  7. #17
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    Great up there! I caught the train up from Guiseley and went to Kirkby Stephen station. Up 9 standards over to Mallerstang and down the ridge to Sail. Camped overnight there and then down to Garsdale and train home. A fine trip out and very few people. Wild Boar is a great fell and a good race. Have you been up Baugh Fell. Done that on the train from Guiseley as well and seen no one. That valley to the north of it is amazing - features in a documentary. Views of the Howgills are sublime.

  8. #18
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    Nice thread Stolly. I’ve done loads of Dales route over the past 18 months. Most in-between 9 and 12 miles.

    We did Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell last weekend. From Aisgill. Chose a bad bridleway coming back down the valley so next time would climb up to the Pennine journey one.

    Your first two look nice routes. We’ve done Fountains Fell from Malham Tarn on the Pennine way and then back along the ridge towards Malham ( There’s a faint path). That’s a nice run. Also want to do the Gragareth, Great Coum, Crag Hill Loop from above Leck.

    Might even go and do your Gragareth one today. As you’ve said most of the routes Ive planned are far away from the busy places ( or get away from them very quickly). There are loads of quiet areas in the dales.
    Last edited by millipede; 29-05-2021 at 05:52 PM.

  9. #19
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    Route 6 - Chapel le Dale loop of the scars

    9.5 miles and 1,350 feet


    I absolutely love this route and it was especially great last year (when I was running fast) done as a speed run - my best elapsed time on strava was 1 hour 32 but, if I can just get my knee 'even betterer' and lose another 10 pounds in weight, that time is dust!

    To set the scene a bit, if you are driving out of Ingleton on the Ribblehead and Hawes road, as you pass White Scar Caves on your right a stunning vista of Chapel le Dale opens up before you with beautiful grey/white limestone scars enclosing in on the valley from both sides; Twistleton Scars to the left and White Scars and Raven Scar to the right. With the scars tracking parallel with the road for three or so miles all the way to hamlet of Chapel le Dale.

    Above the scars the land nicely flattens off into plateau like shelves before climbing again up to the mountain tops of Whernside and Ingleborough. And its along the top of those shelves that route spends most of its time



    So my favourite starting place for this run is on Oddie's lane just by the campsite where the top of the Ingleton Waterfalls trail crosss the road above Beezley Falls. If you track down the lane a little bit there's a nice pull in space for a couple of vehicles and in my experience there's rarely anyone up here parking up - see the red dot on my map. Another alternative place to park would be at the Chapel le Dale end or even one of the lay-by pull ins nearer to Ingleton on Storrs Common.

    Assuming you've parked at my spot, the route basically starts off by you following the bridleway up past Twistleton Hall, heading up the lane a bit further through another gate where the track now has access to open fell side, with Twistleton Scar End rising steeply above you to the right. Theoretically here you could just trudge up the wall line to your right (or even follow the proper bridleway zig zagging a really stupidly long way to the top) but what I do is take a straight up the side line aiming for an obvious gap in the crag at the top edge. Once you're up here you'll find a little track heading in the right direction. Again there are options which way to run here but I try and take a diagonal to pick up the wall line on my right - its quite limestoney around here but, apart from one or two mini limestone pavements to cross, not too bad going. After about half a mile of steady climbing, you find yourself on the plateau with undulating, with a relatively well used rolling grass trod ahead of you. There's one or two alternative trails that you come across but basically the name of the game is to keep to the right and nearer to the tops of the scars overlooking the valley. Its fast running and after a while the running becomes even faster as the track becomes a more well used quad bike track. Just belt along here all the way to the track that comes down from Ellerbeck, when you hook right, cross a cattle grid and head down to Chapel le Dale.

    You eventually go past Jingle Pot, past the little church and meet the main road where you cross over, go through a stile and take the obvious footpath ahead of you, eventually meeting the main drag up Ingleborough just above Souther Scales. This you follow until you go through the gate, just where the slabbed path starts, which would take you via the Swine Tail up Ingleborough. You don't take the slabs though but instead run along the wall line (keeping the wall to your right), going through a stile after a few hundred yards and into a pasture called Black Shiver Moss. In good visibility you will now have Ingleborough towering above you to your left and limestoney areas mainly to your right marking the edge of the scar over looking the valley. There is a bit of a trod straight ahead of you (heading south west in line with the aspect of the valley) which you take, although after a while this trod sort of heads more to the right than you want and into the limestone - at this point you leave the trod and take to the tussocks for a bit, veering more parallel to Ingleborough. After a couple of hundred yards though, if you're doing it right (and keep enough left ) you'll pick up another trod which after a while becomes a fantastically runnable track. Here again you can put the hammer down and really enjoy some fast open fell top running. The track takes you through the open mainly grassy area called Tatham Wife Moss, always keeping the limestone scars to your right, but don't expect views like you had on the Twistleton side of the valley as you are now running reasonably inland from the edge.

    Eventually your path starts rounding to the left and its here that you need to take a line through some crags down to Crina Bottom to pick up the main footpath that heads up Ingleborough from Ingleton. You pick up the track and almost immediately go through the fell gate onto Fell Lane, the rubbly bridleway heading down towards Ingleton. After half a mile or so, soon after the track turns a right angle to the left, you'll see a finger post and a stile heading over the wall to the right. Follow this path all the way down to the main road at Skirwith, cross the road and pick up the footpath through the woods near the quarry. This footpath takes you all the way down to the stepping stones at Beezleys Ford, which you cross and then head up to your starting point on the lane above to finish. A nice mini climb in at the finish to make it tasty.

    A fantastic running route then without the need or inclination to go up either of the mountains on offer. And what's more, other than at certain pinch points at either end, I doubt you'll see many other people to trouble you on the route at all
    Last edited by Fellbeast; 02-06-2021 at 12:41 PM.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Lemmy's Avatar
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    I'm liking this thread Fellbeast, need find some spare time to take in all of the routes and suggestions so far. We are due to relocate to Bentham in the next few weeks with the entire area being a blank canvas to explore over the coming weeks and months. This thread will certainly give me a few ideas to start with - keep em' coming!

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