Great Whernside from Kettlewell

Map for walk up Great Whernside from KettlewellThis walk takes us to the summit of Great Whernside, starting from the village of Kettlewell in Wharfedale. Great Whernside is a spectacular viewpoint at the south eastern corner of the Yorkshire Dales and standing at a distance from most of the highest ground in the area.

Ascent: 1,800ft/ 550m
Length: 8 miles/ 13km
Map: Yorkshire Dales - Northern and Central Areas (OS Explorer Map Active) (OS Explorer Map Active)
Last Walked: 18 August 2007

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Kettlewell ScarecrowsWe start at the public car park on the western side of the village. Turn left out of the car park, cross the bridge over the beck, and then turn right onto the next side road. This leads us to Far Lane and an excellent village shop. Turn right onto Far Lane then immediately left onto Middle Lane. Follow this lane all the way through the village.
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At the eastern edge of Kettlewell the road turns sharply to the left. Here we leave it and follow the minor lane that continues on to the east. This lane runs past a few scattered buildings, then turns right and crosses over a bridge back to the south side of the beck.
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Lower Dowber Gill BeckThis brings us to a lane called Scabbate Gate. Turn left onto this lane and follow it as it runs alongside the beck. We follow this lane for 750 feet, until we reach a bridge over Dowber Gill Beck. We cross this bridge, and then turn right onto a signposted footpath than runs alongside the beck. We stay on this path for the next mile, running alongside the beck as it runs through a steep sided valley.
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Upper end of Dowber Gil BeckAfter just over a mile in this steep sided valley, we reach a point where the valley splits in two. Just before this junction, a footpath leaves the valley bottom back and to the left, climbing up the hillside. Turn onto this path and follow it north west to the isolated house at Hag Dike.
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Crags above Hag DikeHag Dike is situated just below a rocky outcropping. A stone wall runs up the side of this, but our path runs a little to the right of this, making for any one of a series of small cairns on the skyline. At the top of this crag we reach a wide boggy plateau, with a clear path running east towards the summit ridge of Great Whernside. At the eastern edge of this plateau follow the path as it climbs up and slightly to the right, heading for the summit cairn.
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Summit cairn Great WhernsideAt the cairn turn right and follow the path that runs north along the summit ridge, along the line of rocky outcrops.
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Black Dike areaStay on this path until it splits in two. At this point take the left hand branch, and follow it as it runs across and down the side of the hill. Follow this path as it passes through a stone wall. Just beyond this wall the path drops down a little more steeply, before reaching something of a ledge in the side of the hill. We are also now close to the top of the pass between Wharfedale and Coverdale. Soon after we pass through the wall, a path leaves to the left, running down a steep groove in the hillside to reach the pass. Turn onto this path, taking care on this first steep part of the climb down. Follow it across the top of the pass (this part of the path is very wet in places). At the far side of this damp plateau we cross a small field, before reaching the road over the pass.
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On the far side of the road there is a flat open grassy area. Cross the road and follow a track that runs across this grassy area, along the line the earthwork known as Tor Dike. This is the Starbotton Road, which we will be following for the next mile, for most of this time following the line of a wall that runs along the top of the steep slopes leading down into Wharfedale.
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Kettlewell from Top Mere RoadAfter about a mile the track splits in two, just after moving away from the stone wall. Take the left hand branch and follow it for the next one and three quarter miles as it runs almost due south along a ridgeline that leads back into Kettlewell.
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Just outside the village we reach the road we crossed back at the top of the pass. Continue south along this road, following it downhill back into Kettlewell. At the edge of the village we reach the point where we left the road back at step two. This time turn right and follow the village streets back to our starting point.

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