Day 28 – The Great Shunner Fell and a Pile of Stones

Hawes to Keld

It’s a day where the 1:25000 series map becomes a work of art. I could snip out today’s bit and hang it on the wall because it’s so evocative with names like Pile of Stones, Swallow Hole, Area of Shake Holes, Pits (dis), Black Hill Moss, Crag Hags … well it goes on and on.

I slept really well in one of the Hawes pubs call Fountains Inn. I persuaded them to let me loose in the breakfast room at 7.30 and they made me my first porridge of the autumn.

There’s a definite chill in the air, nothing worrying but it’s noticeable. The wind was blowing all day but it wasn’t cold, just atmospheric. Perfect walking conditions.

I had a gentle unrelenting climb from Hawes at 250m to the top of the Great Shunner Fell at 716m. It was 2 hrs 30 mins of exhilarating walking in the wild Yorkshire Dales. The views stretch for miles in all directions without a building or pylon in sight. I was completely alone. The wind was howling peacefully and the sky was a mass of colours. There was no rain but the ground was boggy. There were some long stretches of granite paving but then all that effort is wasted when you inevitably reach a bit of unavoidable bog and you soak up your share of water.

I found a wet boulder to sit on near the top of the Fell and drank my coffee. The pub provided me with a packed lunch (£7.50 obviously oblivious to the Tesco meal deal but I did get a 4 finger KitKat and a slab of flapjack to supplement the Wensleydale main course). I ate the KitKat and the flapjack.

Far below me a couple of figures were approaching through the mist and I correctly guessed it was Richard and Becky from yesterday so I hung on. They camped alongside Becky’s parents camper van last night and dined well inside it. Sometimes you just can’t beat having your parents around but usually you can.

We resumed chatting and the remaining kilometres flew by. We discovered that they were both at the very same college as my son and Rich also did engineering so he said, “I think I know your son!” So a few text messages later we confirmed the connection. Everyone knew everybody. It’s a big world but sometimes these things happen.

We reached a charming Yorkshire tea room in Thwaite just as the rain started so naturally we went inside for a cappuccino and lunch. A delicious carrot and lentil soup and a bread roll meant I’ve postponed the Wensleydale feast until tomorrow.

I’m now sitting in the lounge of an excellent B&B in Keld called the Butt House. It’s on the junction of the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast Path so it’s busy with walkers, all doing the other one. The owner has confiscated my Wensleydale feast so I don’t nibble at it and spoil my appetite for dinner. I’ve ordered scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. I don’t want any of you worrying about me.


Low cloud over the Great Shunner Fell

Rich & Becky approach

The jolly good Butt House B&B

10 comments on “Day 28 – The Great Shunner Fell and a Pile of Stones

  1. It really is a small world isn’t it. Richard and Becky are real proof of this. Your photos are showing the moors at their most stunning…..grey, misty, and totally beautiful.

    • I agree. In fact they are totally beautiful in all weather

  2. Vicky Williamson

    Kia Ora, Tim, I am fascinated by the names of places and features on your maps. They make me imagine all sorts of ideas to explain them. as you say, they’d make a great feature for a wall so why don’t you do a montage of them as a memento of your traverse of the Pennines. Love the photos that are wild and atmospheric. Kia kaha, Vicky

    • All these names must be very old and indicative of former mining and farming activities. What a hard life in those times I will certainly capture some maps for my photo book

  3. Kris Wheeler

    Love the way you write and photos of course. We are in Aus and enjoy catching up with you on your journey, usually our first read of the morning. Our plans to walk in England this year faded so get extra enjoyment from your posts.

    • Hi Kris. Thank you! I feel very fortunate to make this great walk in my home country during these troubled times. I hope you make your journey here in the near future. It’s great to hear from you. Tim

  4. Blea pot sounds like either a feast, or something to avoid. Please enlighten us. PS Torin sends his best and we are invited to Canterbury when he starts his studies soon. Mind you, Lindisfarne sounds equally mystic.

    • I thought you would notice Blea Pot. The real treasure is the Blea Pot Spring where ice cold sparkling water with a hint of lime gushes from a secret cave. I might seek bottling rights because I know Waitrose will be interested.
      It will be good to visit Torin in Canterbury. Are we walking or driving?

  5. Philippa

    Not only the grey cloudy mist is beautiful – the stone slab path through the red grassy reedy plant is lovely.

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