Castle Knott

Castle Knott

Castle Knott is not one of the best known fells in the Dales but together with Middleton Fell forms the formidable western slopes of Barbondale.

Height (m): 538
Height (ft): 1765
Prominence (m): 55
Classification: Dewey
Hill No: 3621
Grid Ref: SD656841
OS Map OL2
No. of Visits 3

Castle Knott forms, along with its higher northern neighbour Middleton Fell, a substantial tract of fellside that lies on the western fringes of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Historically this area was part of Westmorland but now belongs to Cumbria.

Castle Knott from Casterton Fell
Castle Knott from Casterton Fell

Whilst the eastern and northern flanks of Middleton Fell were included in the Yorkshire Dales National Park the whole of Castle Knott was originally excluded until that is the extension to the national park in August 2016.

Castle Knott from Calf Top
Castle Knott from Calf Top

To the west of Castle Knott is Lunesdale, to the north Middleton Fell and its summit Calf Top, while to the south and east the boundary of the fell is formed by the steep drop into Barbondale. The steep eastern flanks of both Castle Knott and Middleton Fell were caused by the Dent Fault which runs from Kirkby Stephen to Kirkby Lonsdale, a distance of 32km.

Looking towards the summit of Castle Knott from the path leading to and from Barbon Fell
Looking towards the summit of Castle Knott from the path leading to and from Barbon Fell

The Dent Fault is one of the best known examples in the country of a reverse fault and forms a division between the limestone country of the Yorkshire Dales and the Silurian rock and shales that form the basis of both the Howgill Fells as well as Middleton Fell and Castle Knott.

Devil's Crag an example of a Silurian crag on Castle Knott
Devil’s Crag an example of a Silurian crag on Castle Knott

The western flanks of the fell are not quite as steep as the Barbondale flanks but it is on this side that the underlying Silurian rock is most exposed particularly in the area below Eskholme Pike including the modest but attractive Devil’s Crag.

Castle Knott's summit cairn
Castle Knott’s summit cairn

The summit of Castle Knott is marked by a fairly large cairn close to the steep drop into Barbondale. The views are excellent particularly down into Barbondale and across to Great Coum and Gragareth. Another fine viewpoint is from the fine cairn that sits on Eskholme Pike near the abrupt terminus of the fell to the south west. It is possibly the best viewpoint I have come across for the Lune Valley which can be seen stretching from the Lune Gorge to the north all the way to fringes of Bowland to the south.

The cairn on Eskholme Pike
The cairn on Eskholme Pike

Castle Knott is one of the less fashionable fells in the Yorkshire Dales. If it is climbed it is usually in tandem with Calf Top, a fell which probably has seen an upsurge in its own popularity thanks to it having recently being classed as an English mountain.

The Three Little Boys in Ashdale Gill, Castle Knott
The Three Little Boys in Ashdale Gill, Castle Knott

The quickest way to the top is from Barbon following the path to the summit via Eskholme Pike. On all three of my visits to date I’ve climbed Calf Top first and used the Barbon path as my route of descent so I can enjoy the lovely views of Lunesdale.

Descending to Barbon on the path from Castle Knott to Eskholme Pike
Descending to Barbon on the path from Castle Knott to Eskholme Pike

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