Brown Haw, one of the less visited summits in the Yorkshire Dales, is a long moorland ridge descending from Buckden Pike which divides the upper reaches of Coverdale and Waldendale.
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Brown Haw is in fact the highest of no less than three separate summits on the ridge, the two to the north-east being Harland Hill (535m) and Height of Hazely (553m). The distance between the col with Buckden Pike to the south-west and Harland Hill to the north-east is over three miles.
There are no paths to the summit and in fact no public right of way goes within three quarters of a mile of the summit, the closest being the bridleway climbing steeply from Walden Head on its way across the shoulder of Buckden Pike heading for Starbotton in Wharfedale. Any attempt to reach the top of Brown Haw will therefore lead to a long pathless plod across heather moorland.
So far I’ve only made the trip once. Starting from the parking area on Hunters Sleets at the top of the road between Coverdale and Wharfedale I climbed up to the Walden bridleway on the shoulder of Buckden Pike before striking off across the moor. It was a bit of a slog with plenty of peaty bogs, I also passed close to some gamekeepers carrying out some heather burning.
The top of Brown Haw is marked by a small cairn. The ridge is quite wide at this point so there is little depth to the view, the panorama being one of neighbouring hills including the likes of Buckden Pike, Naughtberry Hill, Harland Hill, Great Whernside and Little Whernside. To turn the walk into a circular route I followed access land all the way down to Cover Bridge and returned to the start along the road.
An interesting alternative starting point could possibly be Walden Head. A clear track climbs steeply up above Grange Farm to the top of Crag Brea. If the map is correct this track would take you to within less than half a mile of the summit. The only problem with this route is the lack of parking spaces in Walden Head, a real shame as it is a lovely place.