Date - 30th December 2007 Distance - 8.25 miles
Map - OL2 Start point - Dent station (SD 764875)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Great Knoutberry Hill 2206 672 SD 7885 8715
Wold Fell 1831 558 SD 7927 8513



For once we did not have to get up quite so early but nevertheless it was still dark when we set off. For the majority of the Yorkshire Dales walks Dad uses the road from Ingleton to Hawes to get to the start and this walk was no exception. However once we had passed Ribblehead with its imposing viaduct we soon turned off on a road we had never been along before. It was narrow and ran high along the side of the hill before descending to pass under the huge Dent Head viaduct and on past isolated dwellings. At one point we had to cross a bridge that was so narrow the wing mirrors on the car nearly scraped the walls. We breathed a sigh of relief once over! Finally we turned up another narrow lane and climbed steeply to reach Dent station. This and the viaducts are on the railway known as the "Settle to Carlisle".

Over 70 miles long this runs through the hills on the backbone of England. 19 huge viaducts (Ribblehead being the largest at 440 yards and 165 feet at its highest) were needed to cross the valleys and rivers. 13 tunnels (the longest and deepest being Blea Moor - 2629 yards long and 500 ft deep) had to be cut through the hills. The line was built between 1869 and 1875 - a testament to the determination of our Victorian ancestors. Dent is the highest station and indeed, as this sign professes, the highest in all of England.

Photo courtesy Bob Woolley (Uncle Bob)

And here is a view of the station.

If you look carefully you will notice behind the building on the left a black barrier. This is the snow fence that was intended to stop the snow drifting off the fields on to the line. It is in a rather dilapidated condition now, as winters are much milder with little snow. In the past using snow ploughs the line was mostly kept open. In 1947 however such was the snow that these resources were tested to their limit. One snow plough train was derailed trying to clear the 20 feet of packed snow in ice-hardened layers and despite all efforts the line was closed for two months. Our Dad had just obtained a copy of a book published in 1948 detailing the history of this line and from this here is a similar picture to the above showing the conditions at that time. The snow fences can just be seen too.

Much more information is available a, but now we had better get on with telling you about the walk proper.


The Walk

It was a misty morning as we hopped into Dad's rucksack and set off crossing the railway and walking steadily uphill on the road called the Coal Road. In the 18th & 19th century coal was mined nearby and carried out on this road hence its name. It reaches its summit at 1750ft but thankfully we turned off somewhat lower down on to a bridleway. After another half a mile we arrived at a gate on the left where a clear sign pointed up the hill by a fence that disappeared into the mist. It was rather boggy on the ascent - so were glad to be in the rucksack! Finally we crested a rise and the trig point marking the summit of Great Knoutberry Hill was reached. Here is Uncle Bob posing at the summit.

As you can see this is surrounded by a moat, so we were glad that Dad was careful not to drop us when he took us to have our photo taken. But, as he sat us down we realised that the top was wet, so we had some rather damp bottoms as a result.

"You might have sat us on your map case!", complained Allen.

A long descent then followed. Ahead of us was the bulk of Wold Fell, which was our next objective. Once a track was reached we followed a wall up this fell to its wide flat top. To reach the spot height position marked on the map by the Ordnance Survey we had to cross the wall and walk a few hundred yards on level ground. There was not a way through the wall and to climb it would have been dangerous so Dad took our photo by the wall to mark that Wold Fell had been climbed.

After a stop so that Uncle Bob and Dad could have a sandwich etc, we all then retraced the ascent to the track, which if followed would have taken us to Arten Gill. Our route was to join the other end of the bridleway that we had been on after leaving the Coal Road. We joined this and followed it all the way to its end and then down the road to the station. As we walked we could see a partial view of the impressive Arten Gill Viaduct backed by the hill Whernside.

If we had descended the track down Arten Gill, then Dad would have been able to take this photograph, as he did on a walk a few years later with Uncle Eric.

Some food and a warming drink beckoned Uncle Bob and Dad so once we were settled in the car they drove to the village of Horton in Ribblesdale that stands in the shadow of the hill Pen-y-Ghent. At the namesake cafe, they enjoyed a pint mug of tea and sausage sandwich. We had our own picnic in the car.

Now there is a story we must relate concerning Dent Station, told to us by Uncle Eric who is very interested in railways –

The village of Dent from which the station takes its name is some miles away down the dale. A tourist enquired of a local resident why the station was so far from the village. After a moments thought the local replied "Well lad, happen they wanted it by the railway line".