Great Pinseat is the highest point of a broad area of moorland above the valley of Arkengarthdale and is notable for its many mining remains.
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Great Pinseat is actually a distant subsidary of Rogan’s Seat, the two summits being over three miles away as the crow flies. The col between the two is located three quarters of a mile from the top of Great Pinseat. The col is 534m above sea level meaning that Great Pinseat has a prominence of 49m.
The summit area is set well back and due to the broad nature of the fell it isn’t the most shapely of hills. Certainly it does not come off well when compared to Calver Hill to the south. Appearances aren’t everything though. Whilst Great Pinseat may not be the most aesthetically pleasing fells in the Yorkshire Dales it features some very interesting features, mostly linked to the area’s lead mining past.
There are few areas of the fell that have not been shaped and scarred by the lead mines. Smelt mills, flues, hushes, veins, levels, shafts and tips can be found all over Great Pinseat. I am no expert in industrial archaeology but I lead mines fascinating and for me it is these remains that are the chief attraction of a walk over Great Pinseat.
Whilst there are no paths directly to the summit there are a couple of bridleways that pass close by. One starts at Surrender Bridge and heads up alongside Old Gang Beck before continuing up Hard Level Gill, Flincher Gill and Forefield Rake. It then loops back round to the road via Surrender Ground.
This is probably the most popular track on Great Pinseat. The Old Gang Smelting Mills are one of the best preserved lead mining sites in the Yorkshire Dales. As the track works its way up to the south of the summit the weird landscape of Forefield Rake, is encountered. An area of spoil heaps, in places it is almost devoid of vegetation. The only downside to this bridleway is that a wall must be crossed to stand on the summit.
The other major route is another bridleway, this time from Little Punchard Gill Head to Bouldershaw Lane via Turf Moor. Like Forefield Rake numerous spoil heaps are passed on this route. A detour from the path also brings into view the incredible man made ravine of Stodart Hush.
This bridlway can also be accessed by a third bridleway that climbs up from Arkengarthdale via Whaw Edge. Another less obvious route is via a track above Little Punchard Gill which gets one quite close to the bridleway at Little Punchard Head. An even more adventurous route is a scramble in Little Punchard Gill itself. Care does need to be taken in places, I imagine if someone was to slip in the gill it would take a long time for anyone to find them!
The highest point of the fell is a trig point, called Whaw Moor on the OS database, situated immediately north of the wall that crosses over the summit. The close proximity of the wall to the trig point is something of a shame. It does not, however, detract from the wide ranging panorama. Not only does it include a range of Dales heights, including Ingleborough far to the south-west, but also a number of North Pennine heights including Mickle Fell. Meanwhile, to the east, can be seen the outlines of the Cleveland Hills in the North York Moors.
Also worth seeking out is a boundary stone about 50m or so west of the trig point. Also situated next to the wall it is inscribed with the letter ‘A’ on one side and ‘S’ on the other. I assume that this refers to Arkengarthdale and Swaledale.