GREAT HAW & LITTLE WHERNSIDE from SCAR HOUSE RESERVOIR, UPPER NIDDERDALE VALLEY

 


Summary

Date - 11th November 2007 Distance - 10 miles
Map - OL30 Start point - Scar House Reservoir car park (SE 067766)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Great Haw 1779 542 SE 0740 7933
Little Whernside 1982 604 SE 0277 7765

 

The Walk

Dad had arranged to walk again with Uncle Bob, so we did not need a second asking to jump in the car for the drive there even if it was still dark when we set off. Once through the town of Middleham, we drove along narrow lanes and over a high road to descend steeply to the pretty village of Lofthouse. It was then along the "waterworks" road to Scar House Reservoir. Once Dad was ready we hopped into his rucksack and set off with Uncle Bob. First we crossed the 233ft high dam wall of Scar House Reservoir that holds some 2.2m gallons of water. It was only half full and a large "tide mark" could be seen all round. When it is full however arches in the wall allow the excess water to run off over an intricately constructed outfall......

At the other side we climbed up the Nidderdale Way where we could look back to the reservoir...

Continuing along the path we then took an unofficial route up beside a wall used by grouse shooters, over North Moor passing close to this impressive cairn...

We saw a number of grouse and lucky for them they were in no danger today as no shooting was taking place evidenced by the empty grouse butts.

Eventually we reached a track that wound its way round the head of Woogill and climbed on upwards. Striking off this across the heather the summit of Great Haw was reached. The name sounds very grand but in fact it has a large flat top covered in heather and bog that would result in wet feet for the unwary. Finding the highest point was not easy, as there is no cairn. Uncle Bob wisely left Dad to it and he eventually sat us on a damp tussock to take our picture. We were not impressed! Apart from the close proximity of Coverdale and Woogill Tarns this hill has nothing to recommend it and will not be high on our revisit list.

The next objective was the distant Little Whernside. To reach this there was a long trek over constantly wet and boggy ground. Uncle Bob and Dad have become expert at getting through this terrain and all obstacles were safely overcome. At the outflow of Woogill Tarn an unwise step would literally have caused them to sink up to their waist such was the depth of the bog! After crossing Carle Fell and the ominously named Dead Man's Hill, we finally got a good view of Little Whernside with its flat top. We think that it resembles Table Mountain.

We were intrigued by the name Dead Man’s Hill, and discovered the following. At a hamlet called Lodge, a Maggie Thompson and her son ran and inn. A number of travellers began to disappear on the route passing this. Eventually suspicion fell on the Thompson’s when it was noticed that they were unusually well off. They were arrested in 1728 when three bodies were found on Lodge Edge, known as dead Man’s Hill ever since.

The path led down beside the fence and then up the hill as you can see in the picture. While it looks flat and smooth on top it actually consists of peat hags and bogs many of which had to be crossed to reach the summit cairn. Here we are looking back over our route to the cairn...

Where we were much happier having our photograph taken....

Uncle Bob kindly took Dad's photo at the cairn, in what Uncle Brian calls the "Edmund Hilary" pose, but thank goodness he had taken his silly looking bobble hat off first! If you look carefully you can see what a state Dad had got his trousers in again. Uncle Brian has to use two washing tablets to get them clean!

The hard work was now over and after a short walk over more peat hags and bogs we then descended on a fairly steep grassy path to Angram Reservoir. This was completed in 1918 and like Scar House Reservoir completed in 1936, supplies water to the City of Bradford. We have looked on the Internet and found interestingly that during the construction, a town was built for the workers complete with shops, churches, public houses etc. A railway too was built to bring in the materials needed. Once the construction was complete this and the town was demolished and very little evidence remains today...

The route took us across the dam and then a level mile or so to the car. Dad and we then said our goodbyes to Uncle Bob after another great day out. We took a slightly different route to the main road and came out close to the town of Masham (pronounced Massam) home to Theakstons and Black Sheep breweries. Shaun and Tetley wanted to go there as they like Black Sheep ale, but as we had a long way to go it had to wait for another time.

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