WARRENDALE KNOTTS, BLACK HILL & SUGAR LOAF HILL
from GIGGLESWICK

 


Summary

Date - 22nd March 2009 Distance - 13.5 miles
Map - OL2 Start point - Settle pool car park (SD 815641)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Warrendale Knotts 1444 440 SD 8337 6423
Black Hill 1535 468 SD 8660 6621
Sugar Loaf Hill 1214 370 SD 8374 6368

 

Preface

"Good news" said Shaun. "I heard Dad talking to Uncle Bob, last night, and a walking date has been arranged for Sunday."

"Where from?" asked Tetley.

"Settle", Shaun replied.

Allen piped up; "we never got into Settle last time, so let’s hope we do this Sunday".

We went to bed early, so that we were fully rested and up and ready for the off next morning.

 

The Walk

It is only about 30 miles and so we did not have to set off as early as for some of our adventures in the past. We met Uncle Bob at the leisure centre car park once again. Dad got his boots on etc, then we settled (ouch! – that awful pun again), in his rucksack and off we went.

Turning left we walked on to pass the path we had walked last month, to cross the bridge over the River Ribble into Settle.

We stopped to admire the sign. Its shield contains the White Roses of Yorkshire, above two rams’ heads, and a depiction of the England flag flying from the great crag of Castlebergh Hill that dominates the town.

Passing under the bridge that carries the Settle to Carlisle railway, we came to the town centre. Dad spotted a gallery so he and Uncle Bob went to look at the pictures for sale. Dad spotted a framed triptych of prints of Great Gable and Haystacks. He really liked them and was seriously considering getting them later, but then he noticed that the shop was closed on Sunday.

"Well" we said, "you can bring Uncle Brian here for a run, and then take him to Elaine’s at Feizor for lunch".

Now crossing the road we climbed the narrow lanes beside Castlebergh Hill, so leaving the town behind, but opening up a nice view over it.

The white building in the centre, is the Naked Man Café, where, yes you've guessed it, they were going for tea after the walk.

Now we continued along a track, until after a wall we followed a sign right to ascend steeply towards an area called Attermire. Now Settle and Giggleswick beyond were spread out below us in all its glory. The railway can clearly be seen sweeping from left to right.

As we walked on, the path went below Warrendale Knotts, which was to be the first summit of the day. However before that we came to a small cave in the crags below. Wainwright describes it as "so snug and dry a refuge in wet weather that one regrets going past on a fine day". Here Uncle Bob poses outside.

Later when Uncle Brian saw this picture, he remarked that it is not a cave but a black bear sitting down in front of the crag. Well, we can happily report that we got away safely.

We now had to traverse round the hill. Then climb up behind where we found an easier slope, which brought us to the top, and so to the trig point marking the summit of Warrendale Knotts. It was rather windy so we had huddled down for our picture.

We thought we would have to retrace our route, but Dad noticed a path descending towards Victoria Cave, which was where we were going next. It ran straight and true and two gates allowed access through the walls to reach another path and then the cave.

Outside was an information board and we makes no apologies for quoting from this.

Few other British caves show so strikingly the changing cycles of the world’s weather. We have probably heard of the Ice Ages but just to try to imagine a time in between the glaciers when it was warm enough for hippopotamus and elephants to wander across the rough pastures you are surrounded by today.

It is perhaps easier on a winter’s day up here, to imagine the wind-swept arctic tundra occupied by brown bear and reindeer, which followed the last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago. It was this landscape which the first Dales people hunted across and just like the glaciers, hippos and hyenas before them they left their mark in Victoria Cave.

By the time the Romans arrived, the climate had warmed, and brown bear no longer hibernates in the cave. It became instead a shrine and workshop area for people from nearby forts and settlements. Then the humans moved and out and the foxes and badgers moved in for the next 1500 years.

All that changed in 1837 when a dog sent in after a fox led to the cave being rediscovered. Since then the cave has been altered almost beyond recognition. The original narrow entrance was enlarged and literally hundreds of tons of material dug out by hand.’

We noted on the information board, that there was a picture of a 12,000 years old bone harpoon point that had been found inside.

We all went inside and we looked around, but Dad told us we could not go and explore the narrow spaces at the back, as it was too dangerous. He was right, as we did not want to have the Cave Rescue Team to come out.

After a lot of trial and error Dad managed to get this picture looking out.

As Dad is typing, Uncle Brian had just looked at this and he says the cave opening is like a large white cow. What is he like!

With the exploration over it was time to get going again and we walked on to come to Jubilee Caves, and then take the narrow path over the rough grassy tops to join a track. Here we could see to the left the rise that was Black Hill. After negotiating some initial boggy areas we reached the flat top. Believe us when we say that it was extremely windy up here and Dad had had to plant his stick to hold the rucksack in place to provide a windbreak for us while we had our picture taken.

We did not linger too long, soon heading down along below a small ridge to come again to the track, but much further along in the direction we wanted to go. The path was climbing now and brought us to the junction near to Langscar, marked clearly by a signpost. In the background is Malham Tarn, a place we have visited on a number of occasions and being the start point for walks in the past.

Now we followed the track in the direction of the finger post pointing towards us in this shot. It climbed on up and over a number of pastures to reach another junction near Nappa Cross. On the left at this point was a high and substantial wall. Uncle Bob and Dad took advantage of the shelter provided by the wall from the strong wind, to sit and have their sandwiches as we did too. It was so nice and calm sitting behind the wall, but there was a long way still to go. There was nothing for it but to face the strong wind and walk on down the long path below Kirkby Fell and Rye Loaf Hill both of which we had climbed in June 2007. We were the lucky ones, as we were sheltered behind Dad’s back. We were now heading back towards Attermire and we had this superb view of Warrendale Knotts and Attermire Scar with the lowering sky behind.

There was now just one more hill to climb, so in the valley bottom we climbed a stile and headed left to make the final ascent to Sugar Loaf Hill. Again it was photo time. The wind was even stronger up here and again Dad had to erect the rucksack windbreak. The trig point on Warrendale Knotts can just be made out in the distance on the left.

While doing this Uncle Bob snapped Dad.

Photograph courtesy Bob Woolley (Uncle Bob)

Dad got himself in an awful tangle trying to get us in the rucksack. This was because he had not taken the stick from out of the frame. In the end Uncle Bob quite sensibly headed off down to get out of the wind, while Dad sorted us and himself out. An easy path now led down to the road, which was followed into Settle. This interesting narrow building called Junction Lodge is squeezed in between these two lanes.

Soon we were in the town centre and it was now a visit to the Naked Man Café for refreshment.

This is not one of the better cafes that they have visited, as the food was expensive and the teapot was so small that they were only able to have one and a half small cups of tea each. Dad as you know is a real tea belly and usually likes at least four cups. We have therefore had to give this place the paws down.

Now there was just the gentle stroll through the town and over the bridge into Giggleswick to the car park. It had been a long walk but a very interesting one especially with regard to the caves. All that remained was to say our goodbyes to Uncle Bob and then we settled in the car for the drive home. As we have said before, what a lucky lot we are!

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