UPPER SWALEDALE CIRCUIT - 19.9.10

GREAT SHUNNER FELL

Rain, rain and more rain. So it was surprising that three of us rose early to join Roger and journey to Keld. Even more surprising that new boy Gary turned up as promised to sample the delights of Swaledale. As usual it’s never quite so bad when you get going and the first leg along the Pennine Way under Kisdon to Thwaite was bearable.

Some how the decision was made here to stick to the plan and climb Great Shunner Fell. As an exercise in futility it took some beating - as height was gained it got wetter, windier and claggier! By the time the summit was gained five bedraggled figures slumped in the shelter, took sustenance and admired the virtual view. After searching for and eventually finding the trig point which is subsumed and disguised in the shelter a decision was easily made to alter the day’s stratagem.

Instead of exploring the trackless wastes towards Mallerstang we scuttled back down to the relative warmth (though still wetness) of Thwaite. Bizarrely at the roadside we met a security officer involved with a film crew producing a version of Wuthering Heights! A soggy Garycalled it a day here and returned to his car while the remaining head bangers searched out easy field walking to Muker before turning North to cross the Swale and head back to Keld.

After a belated lunch stop a minor miracle occurred as the skies cleared and warm sunshine appeared to raise spirits as the walk finished pleasantly passing a swollen Swinner Gill, Crackpot Hall and the impressive Catrake Force. Drinks were taken at the friendly local bar where we discovered we had traversed a mere 15 miles in the 6½ hours we had been plodging about.

1. CATRAKE FORCE 2. SWINNER GILL 3. PIMP MY RIDE 4. CATRAKE FORCE AGAIN