Date - 24th March 2008 Distance - 13 miles
Map - OL2 Start point - Dent car park (SD 703871)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Aye Gill Pike 1824 556 SD 7207 8862
Rise Hill 1697 517 SD 7350 8826
Snaizwold Fell 1595 486 SD 7506 8853



It was the Easter weekend, which this year had fallen on the earliest date for 100 years. Wintry weather prevailed over the country with snow in many places although in our micro climate at home in Morecambe there was none. We did not think that Dad would take us out, but the forecast for Easter Monday was promising, so we set off in the early morning along the Lune Valley to the village of Barbon, with its nice church.

It is just across the road from here, where Dad gets his lovely chutneys and marmalades from Mr Williamson. Look on the links page for more details.

From here we travelled through Barbondale where there was some snow on the slopes and then down into Dentdale. We have walked from here before and featured a story of our adventures up Flintergill, but today we were destined to climb and walk along the long ridge on the opposite side of the valley crossing its summit at Aye Gill Pike.


The Walk

Settling into Dad’s rucksack we walked through the village to come to Church Bridge over the River Dee, where we took the path along by the river passing through fields full of sheep with their lambs. On the cold morning these two are snuggling in the hay to keep warm – ah!

Coming to Barth Bridge we crossed the river, then soon turned up a narrow lane passing a house called Hacra, and on to a footpath over the fields to a track climbing steadily up the fell. Here Dad met a farmer on his quad bike with his faithful dog. He had been up to feed his sheep. Dad chatted to him for quite a few minutes. When Dad told him exactly what our walk entailed, he said "you must be very fit lad". We were fascinated by his dog, which seemed to understand what was being said. The farmer told us that she is always eager to go out to tend the animals but if he is going into town and it is raining she will not come out preferring to stay in the dry. Such is their intelligence.

Continuing on our way we climbed up to reach the stile giving access to the open fell.

The signpost actually reads – Footpath to Frostrow 1.5m. We were now well and truly above the snow line. We walked in the direction indicated by the signpost to the flat top summit of Long Moor (964ft). Looking ahead there was a fine view of the Howgill Fells where we have walked extensively. The snow-covered summit in the centre is the Calf the highest point in these fells at 2215ft.

This had been a short diversion. Now we retraced our steps to the stile and then continued up on what was supposed to be a clear path. For the first few yards this was the case but soon it disappeared as the snow got deeper. By the wall on our right the snow had drifted up to at least two feet, so all Dad could do was to pick his way along a little way from the wall. He regularly sank up to his calf and at times up to his knee. Sometimes the snow gave way completely leaving Dad floundering and his foot completely immersed in the water below. Yes, you have guessed it, he had wet feet, saying that with the cold he could not feel them at times. However there was no turning back and eventually we reached the trig point marking the summit of Aye Gill Pike.

Note too the fact that the hills behind have disappeared in cloud. This was one of the frequent snow and hail showers that we had to contend with too. Still we are a hardy bunch and nothing would stop us hopping out to have our photograph taken.

Across the valley covered in snow too, was Great Coum, although that had not been the case when we had climbed it on 23rd December 2007.

Dad walked a few hundred yards towards this, from where we had this superb view of Dent village in the valley below.

Well despite being at the summit, we were barely half way along the ridge, so Dad battled on through the snow and showers to reach first Rise Hill, and then the lovely named Snaizwold Fell. Dad took our picture and one with just Eric the latest member of our club. It had been a real experience for him, as he had never seen snow before.

Descending now we passed alongside a large plantation, then over very rough ground to reach a bridleway, that runs between the valleys of Garsdale and Dentdale. At first this was very difficult to negotiate as it had been churned up by heavy machinery involved in tree felling operations. Lower down it was easier going and we finally dropped below the snow line. After the 5 miles in the snow we were all glad to leave it behind especially Dad. While we had been on the ridge we had seen a number of animal tracks, probably foxes. There were no other human tracks and as Uncle Brian said when we got home, no one else was daft enough to go up there!

Reaching the valley floor all that remained was the 4 miles or so to Dent village. The majority of this was on part of the long distance footpath known as the Dales Way. Passing through woods close to a house known as Little Towne we came across this ruined and forlorn building.

At Little Towne itself we passed through a field with two rather inquisitive Alpacas.

Aren't they lovely animals?

Eventually the path brought us by the Deepdale Beck that runs into the River Dee. This we followed to reach Church Bridge and then just the short distance to the village. The weather had just one more sting in the tail for Dad as a hailstorm passed over while he was struggling to get his boots and wet socks off. We were safely tucked in the car thankfully.

While we had our picnic in the car, Dad went to the nearby Stone Close tearooms for a warming pot of tea and cakes. In our opinion he had certainly earned it today.

By the way when we got home Uncle Brian told us that it had been completely dry all day in Morecambe. Dad could only wish that had been the case in Dentdale!


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