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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Great Shunner and Lovely Seat

We’ve been up Great Shunner Fell on a previous Yorkshire Dales 2000 foot tops walk (it was covered in snow) – but not Lovely Seat.
So, rather than just bag Lovely Seat, which can be done in half an hour from the top of Buttertubs Pass, I determined to make a bit of a walk out of it.
pennine way swaledale
Unfortunately for superdawg, he’s not allowed up Lovely Seat till May 2015 and, such is the short life of even the most super superdawg, I fear that he’d never make it. So I distracted him with a handful of biccies in his molecky ball He has to extract the biccies from inside the ball, which he does by dragging it around the floor fairly violently. This is usually fairly successful.
So me and the knipemobile were dogless as we parked just outside Thwaite in Upper Swaledale.
colliery spoil heap and lovely seat
Apart from a short section of path beside a tea-coloured beck, I followed the Pennine Way to the top of Shunner Fell.  This is typical PW, with lots of stone slabs. Its a gentle climb and, due to the perishing and energetic North-Westerly (a gift from Iceland for all the fish), a sweat was not broken into. In fact I had three layers on and me winter hat.
Shunner Fell and Lovely Seat have rather a lot of “beacons”.  On inspection, these turn out to be shepherds’ cairns. I doubt if this many beacons would have been required – although several hills in England do sport beacon sites, mainly dating from Spanish Armada and/or Naughty Napoleon times. But these aren’t beacons, they’re cairns. Somebody is avvin a larf.

swaledale from a beacon
Lunch in the cross-shelter was a shivery affair. I seem to have persuaded a coupe to climb Lovely Seat too, and they set off along the fence line to find the start of the Lovely Seat path at the top of Buttertubs Pass. I followed shortly afterwards and passed them just before the pass.
The Lovely Seat moors are, apparently, closed at the moment “at the land manager’s discretion”. That means grouse shooting. Its closed for four weeks excluding weekends.
lovely seat seat and ingleborough
Anyway, I soon made it to the top, realising about half way up that the reason I was climbing hills so easily today was that I’d forgotten to take my daily selection of various blockers and inhibitors…..  makes yer wonder….. 
The way from the top – which does have a seat on it by the way, although a better description would be “draughty” rather than “Lovely” – was to head towards a patch of light –coloured ground on the far horizon. This is the lead-mine wasteland above Gunnerside Gill, but a line directly heading towards this hits the bridleway from Thwaite spot on. This navigation strategy will be ineffective in hill fog and in these conditions, finding the bridleway exit through the intake wall could be an interesting navigational challenge. Heading North would probably get you home after a while…..
I followed this gill downhill
As it happens, I diverted to follow a deep gill with some small waterfalls and came at the bridleway from the West. Various lanes and bridleways lead back to Thwaite.
But what of Lovely Seat? Its an easy climb of about 500 feet from Buttertubs. The top is dry and grassy. North, South and East, though have miles and miles of mossy moors – the South and East being a grouse-shooting estate. Its a dog free zone.
Today’s walk was 9 miles and 2100 feet.
lovely seat


Louise said...

Buttertubs Pass, eh? Brings back memories from holidays in and around the Yorkshire Dales when I was a whipper snapper (wipper snapper? Small...) wonderful place. Except I was terrified by the holes in the ground at Buttertubs, oddly enough. Not keen on dark holes.

Mike Knipe said...

wippersnapper - wippahsnappah...

They are quite deep holes, mind.
I didn't see them on this walk. I ought to have had a look, really, I had plenty of time...

Pennine Ranger said...

rather than waste yer time scrabbling round in the buttertubs, if you cross over the road, you should see the entrance to cliff force cave, way down in the valley, which steve gough and others in the cpc extended back in the early 80's. i've never been down but i'm told it's a reight good trip.

Mike Knipe said...

Hmmm 4000 feet Grade III. No ball of string required.....