Sunday, 12 September 2010

Swinner Gill and Rogans Seat

Just to say that the trap that this bird has been unlucky enough to come a cropper in, is a trap meant for stoats and rats. By reducing the number of stoats and rats, the numbers of red grouse and other ground nesting birds (but lets be honest, we’re really only interested in red grouse)… can be protected and increased, The bird in the trap is, of course, a red grouse. Its not funny. Well, its not funny for the grouse….
ivelet bridge foot of swinner gill
Anyway, moving right along – Today it was time to bag yet another of those Yorkshire dales 2000 foot tops. In fact – two – these being Rogan’s Seat and Water Crag. Rogan’s Seat’s main claim to interest is that it was once voted the most boring hill in England. I don;t think it is, and on this walk, I’ve set out to prove it.
I had to leave superdawg at home again, to protect the red grouse (snicker snicker……) and so, I was all on mysef when I parked the knipemobile by the bridge at Gunnerside.
crackpot hall swinner gill
A rather pleasant riverside path through meadows populated by this years lambs being fattened up – and a horde of Coast-to-Coasters on a low-level alternative coming the other way, all big packs and blisters. Its a nice path. Not exciting, but very nice.
east grain - ctoc path
Soon, I arrived at the foot of Swinner Gill and a steep track took me up to Crackpot Hall – a farmhouse devastated by subsidence caused by lead mining. From here, it starts to get a bit more exiting. A thin path takes the slightly more excited walker back into Swinner Gill. Normally, the route to Rogan’s Seat climbs steeply Eastwards on the Coast to Coast path and then takes an estate track across heathery moors to the little cairn on the top. The route is a bit dull, it has to be admitted.
swinner gill kirk
But this wasn’t for us (i.e. me). Oh no.  We (i.e. me) followed Swinner Gill upstream into a deep gorge with overhanging limestone walls. This is Swinner Gill Kirk. there’s a Yorkshire tradition of calling deep limestone gorges “Kirk” – which, of course, means “church”. There’s no church or kirk, never has been. Its the gorge.
deep in swinner gill kirk swinner gill kirk waterfall
Its quite narrow and has knee-deep pools and small waterfalls and a dipper or two. It ends at a waterfall. No further progress beyond the waterfall can be made without a risky scramble, so I retraced and scrambled up the left hand rocky wing of the Kirk. This was quite good fun, and quite easy (otherwise it wouldn’t have been fun, innit..) – and a short traverse on steep bracken brought me back into the gill. More pools and waterfalls and short scrambly bits followed. It was all good clean fun. (It occurs to me that this would be an excellent scramble on a hot sunny day)
upper swinner gill
I did discover an old level next to one waterfall. I braved the drippy entrance but the way on was low and wet and muddy and I wasn’t equipped for mining, so I retreated. I noticed a boot print in the mud, though, so maybe it goes somewhere.
old mine level
Even more waterfalls and pools and little steps followed till I was high up on the moor (where I found the unlucky grouse)
This is much better than the other way. But I joined the estate track  about half a click from the summit.
rogans seat summit
The summit has a small cairn on a peat hag. There’s quite a good view – south to Ingleborough and, even Pendle Hill, and North to Mickle Fell.
A fence is followed to Water Crag and the walking is mainly very easy with just a few soggy bits. Water Crag’s view Northwards is even better, being on the edge of the Stainmore Gap. its a great place to watch the A66….
water crag currick
Water Crag has a currick, a trig point and a circular stone shelter, which I rebuilt a bit. Its a cosy spot, out of the wind…
The next bit was rough. Gwan, ask me how rough it was…. Gwan.   It was rough – heathery then peat-haggy with no path at first, though, by handrailing the little beck, a few short sections of path did appear.
gunnerside gill

The beck leads into Gunnerside Gill which has good paths, a couple of nice limestone gorges but it’s main interest lies in the mineworkings. the place is completely devastated – absolutely ruined. It will only recover after its been iced over for a million years or so in the next ice age. But its quite fascinating. Its not pretty, but it is interesting.
I was soon in the bar of the Kings Head in Gunnerside with a pint of bitter shandy. The King’s head, by the way, has a sign outside which announces that kids, muddy boots and dogs are all welcome. Which is good.
On the way home, I broke the clutch in the knipemobile and managed to drive home from Barnard Castle without actually changing gear at all….  But its OK. It’ll be fixed in time for Peebles and my forthcoming Welsh hols.  It could have happened on the A5! When I told the dog, he said it served me right…..
Today was 13 miles and 1800 feet.
The question is – what will be the last Yorkshire Dales 2000 foot top. I am about to announce that there will be a Pie Blog competition with an actual prize. You’ll have to wait a couple of days. I have to get me clutch fixed first.


Phreerunner said...

Shame about the grouse, Mike.
You do seem to have a lot of unfinished business - need to get that clutch fixed...

AlanR said...

I thought it was interesting. Obviously the grouse found something interesting to.
It's an interesting place. I seem to be using the word interesting a lot interestingly.
Good to see the pics. The last time i was here was on the C2C and it was bucketing it down. I didn't see much then and sped on past..

Mike Knipe said...

Car booked in Thursday, Martin. Its a problem which will probably respond to having money chucked at it. In the meantime, I'll be swimming at the Crook Lido and having short, local doggy walks.

Alan - thats vairy interestink.....

ukmase said...

Great pics Mike, Grouse apart.

Another great walk no too far(relatively speaking) from Mason mansions.

Mike Knipe said...

I could have had that grouse for me tea, Masey.... dhuhh....

Meanqueen said...

Nice pictures

Mike Knipe said...

Ta Llona.

Shame about the grouse, though....