Matt climbing Plover Hill

Plover Hill & Pen-y-ghent Gill

Walk Summary

A super walk on to Plover Hill from Halton Gill in Littondale bookended by interesting explorations of Foxup Gill and Pen-y-ghent Gill.

Distance: 9.5 miles
Total ascent: 1900ft
Walk Rating: *****
Parking: Small parking area in Halton Gill
Route: Download Route [GPX]

Photo Gallery

Walk Report

This was my third walk on to Plover Hill. As I imagine the case to be with most people who visit this fell my previous two walks had also included Pen-y-ghent. This route was an attempt to create a route that would ensure that Plover Hill could be treated on its own terms and not play second fiddle to its famous neighbour.

The other reason why I came up with this route was because I hadn’t yet had a proper look at Pen-y-ghent Gill, an omission that I wanted to rectify. This was also my first walk with Matthew for over two years. My walking partner on my first excursions in the Dales it was great to meet up again and reminisce on our many adventures together.

“Thanks to some overnight snow the upper slopes had a particularly wintry feel. The sharp contrast between the snow and the blue sky was as stunning as ever.”

Starting from the small parking area in Halton Gill we followed the road down to Foxup before taking the faint bridleway known as the Foxup Road. This climbs up the pasture of Low Bergh before levelling out as it contours around the northern flanks of Plover Hill. After passing through Far Bergh we dropped down to Foxup Beck as I wanted to visit the waterfalls that are marked on the map. While none of them were particularly large they were still worth the visit.

While I was busy snapping away at the waterfalls Matthew spotted a plaque affixed to a stone. The inscription read ‘In loving memory of David Ramsden 20th October 1952 – 21st April 2010’ together with the following quote, ‘Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May’. Whoever David was he or his family have picked a lovely, if lonely spot for his memorial.

Having visited a few waterfalls we climbed back up to Foxup Road for a short while before turning left for the final climb on to Plover Hill. Thanks to some overnight snow the upper slopes had a particularly wintry feel. The sharp contrast between the snow and the blue sky was as stunning as ever.

To reach the summit we had to carefully climb the nearby wall. The squat pile of stones marking the summit is not one of the finest in the Dales. Carrying on we found a much better constructed cairn, and one likely to have once been much higher, on a small gritstone crag a third of a mile south of the summit. From this cairn there was a fine view south over Pen-y-ghent Gill towards Darnbrook Fell and Fountains Fell.

Descending the pathless slopes we made for a line of grouse butts to then follow a stream until it joined Lockey Beck. In the final 100 metres or so before the road Lockey Beck featured a few small waterfalls and provided a fine foreground to dramatic views back towards Pen-y-ghent, and an angle that most people won’t see often.

Turning right on the road a short way we then double backed on the path above Pen-y-ghent Gill. Shortly afterwards we re-crossed Lockey Beck, now a dry rocky gorge leading down into the upper reaches of Pen-y-ghent Gill. After passing Pen-y-ghent House and its nearby cave we scrambled right down to the stream so I could take some photos of the waterfalls dropping steeply down the cliffs on the far bank.

Once back on the main path we continued a level course contouring above the gill before the path climbed up to meet the road. After a short distance of road walking we turned left on the bridleway heading back to Foxup. I’d been looking forward to this bit as there are some excitingly named pot holes in the area. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any sign of Flamethrower Pot and Red Dot Pots was a tiny opening that had been blocked up. This was however the only disappointment on the walk and after a nice descent to Foxup it was then a nice stroll along the River Skirfare back to Halton Gill. All in all this was a fantastic day out.

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