On Penhill

Pen Hill from Carlton

Walk Summary

A change to the usual approach to Penhill instead climbing the hill from Carlton before returning via a short detour on to neighbouring Harland Hill.

Distance: 8.5 miles
Total ascent: 1370ft
Walk Rating: ****
Parking: Roadside parking in Carlton
Route: Download Route [GPX]

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Walk Report

I'd set off to climb these two hills the previous weekend but my car had broken down outside Masham and instead of getting out for a much needed walk I'd been towed back to Harrogate. My original plan had been to start from West Burton but having had an extra week to think about it I instead decided to start from Carlton in Coverdale, a village that I'd not stepped foot in on all my wanders in the Dales.

"The short subsequent section above Penhill Crags provided some superb views of Wensleydale, particularly the section of the valley between Aysgarth and Wensley."

Parking just before the Forester's Arms my decision to start from Carlton paid almost immediate dividends when I passed the lovely waterfall on Mel Beck, just outside the village. A bit further north a detour took me to Waterforth, a dramatic spot where the beck springs out of a modest cliff.

From Mel Beck I took a good path crossing a few pastures to reach the heathery surrounds of Melmerby Moor. Ignoring some shooting tracks I pressed on a long a thinner path through the heather until just short of the highest point of the Melmerby - West Witton road. Just before reaching the road I turned left on a track now making more directly for Penhill.

I actually found myself walking in the heather alongside the track as large sections of it were completely iced over. After the track had slanted up to a wall I took a thinner path climbing up to a gate from where I doubled back to visit the large cairn marked simply as a 'Pile of Stones' on the OS map.

It had been a disappointingly grey start to the day but as I walked from the cairn to the site of the ancient beacon some nice patches of blue sky began to appear. The short subsequent section above Penhill Crags provided some superb views of Wensleydale, particularly the section of the valley between Aysgarth and Wensley.

After visiting the Penhill trig point I continued heading west, this time following a thin path alongside the wall. Although there was little evidence of it in the valleys below there was a a reasonable covering of snow up on the broad heathery top of Penhill. Eventually, after enjoying some particularly good views of Bishopdale, I arrived at the unmarked summit of the fell, known as the Height of Hazely.

From the Height of Hazely I swung south alongside another fence to gradually descend to the col with Harland Hill. Crossing over the West Burton - Carlton bridleway I made a detour to visit, for only the second time, the summit of Harland Hill. Marked by a tiny cairn, partly hidden by the snow, the summit of Harland Hill provides good views of neighbouring fells. A short walk further south also brought into view a super prospect of upper Waldendale backed by the mass of Buckden Pike.

Retracing my footsteps to the bridleway the walk concluded with a lovely descent into Coverdale passing along the way Howden Lodge in its shelter of trees. Prominent across the valley was the rim of Great Roova Crags, somewhere I've had on my list of places in the Dales to visit for some time.

After only one walk in the previous five weeks and having spent a great deal of time stuck indoors this walk was a real tonic. At various points in the walk I had superb views of Coverdale, Wensleydale, Bishopdale and Waldendale. The lovely waterfall at the start of the walk was also an unexpected bonus.

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