Great Coum

Whernside & Great Coum

Walk Summary

A fantastic walk from Dent climbing Whernside via the Craven Way and the Whernside Tarns before returning via Green Hill, Great Coum and the Megger Stones.

Distance: 13.0 miles
Total ascent: 2975ft
Walk Rating: ****
Parking: Car park in Dent
Route: Download Route [GPX]

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Walk Report

This was the ninth and final practice walk I was leading for a group of friends I work with as we prepared for the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge walk that we are doing in July. Having already done Whernside with them via Force Gill back in May, I came up with this longer route starting from Dent which would also another couple of hills including Great Coum.

Strangely this was the first time that I’d been to Dent since I stayed there for a week with my wife way back in 2004. I don’t know why I’ve not been back in the mean time for it is a lovely village and Dentdale is one of the most beautiful of the Yorkshire Dales.

“At the top of Green Hill we were treated to a great view west over Barbon Low Fell towards the coast. Less happily the cloud was getting worse and had begun to cover the top of our next destination, Great Coum.”

Setting off through the village we followed the road down to Church Bridge before turning east on the Dales Way as it follows the south bank of the River Dee. Except for a couple of spots, by the bridge and near some stepping stones further upstream, much of the riverbed was completely dry. Similarly the lower reaches of Deepdale Beck also proved to be devoid of water.

At Mill Bridge we left the Dales Way to head up Dyke Hall Lane and then on to the Craven Way, thought to be an old packhorse route linking Dent and Ingleton, to begin our ascent of Whernside. Unfortunately the beautiful sunshine we’d enjoyed at the start of the walk was swiftly disappearing as the skies thickened with cloud. Despite this the retrospective views of Dentdale were superb.

Gradually climbing we followed the Craven Way as far as Boot of the Wold at which point we turned off the track to follow a thin path leading towards the Whernside Tarns. This path did not used to be marked on the map but is now shown as it is part of Wainwright’s Pennine Journey.

At the first and largest of the tarns we stopped for a break. Whilst eating our lunch a couple of us thought we could hear the sound of an accordion or concertina. Initially we assumed it was someone’s ring tone but bizarrely it turned out to be a group of people walking past about 100m away, at least one of who did appear to be playing an instrument. You do sometimes see some odd sights in the hills!

After lunch we continued on to the summit of Whernside. The main path was as busy as ever and in addition the immediate area around the summit was attracting a lot of mosquitos. Needless to say we didn’t hang around long. Leaving the crowds once again behind us, we headed west across Cable Rake Moss before descending more steeply to the top of the Kingsdale – Deepdale road.

Leaving the road we then followed the track known as Occupation Road until it swung north just below the slopes of Green Hill. At this point we carefully crossed a barbed wire fence before tackling the short but steep climb up on to the summit of Green Hill. At the top of Green Hill we were treated to a great view west over Barbon Low Fell towards the coast. Less happily the cloud was getting worse and had begun to cover the top of our next destination, Great Coum.

The walk up to Great Coum, via the County Stone, was achieved easily enough. Unfortunately the cloud was still stuck to the summit and there were no views for the team to enjoy. Things improved though as we followed the wall down towards the Megger Stones, an interesting collection of cairns that feature a quite superb view of Dentdale.

To conclude the walk we dropped back down to Occupation Road before taking the slippery path down alongside Flinter Gill back into Dent. Typically it was in these final stages of the walk that the sun, which had been hidden for most of the day, finally came back out again.

Regardless of the weather this was a great day out and reminded me that I really do need to visit Dentdale more often.

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