An enjoyably adventurous walk from Hubberholme up on to Yockenthwaite Moor via the steep sided Deepdale Gill and returning via Scar House.
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The last time I visited Yockenthwaite Moor was in 2015. On that occasion it was part of a 13 mile walk from Marsett that featured much bog hopping. On that occasion we passed over Deepdale Haw and looking down into the gill below it planted the idea for using Deepdale Gill as a future route on to Yockenthwaite Moor. This idea eventually led to this walk.
I started the walk from Hubberholme where there is room to park several cars above the river on the north side of the bridge. For the first two miles of the walk it was a simply case of following the Dales Way up Langstrothdale from Hubberholme.
"Ahead of me was my route up Deepdale Gill, a valley that looked particularly colorful in its autumn rainment."
There were some lovely little sections of riverside path. The finest part of this initial part of the walk though was just after Yockenthwaite. Here the views up the valley really opened up. I also passed in quick succession a lime kiln and the Yockenthwaite Stone Circle.
Just beyond the circle of stones I paid a visit to the small stream emerging from the mouth of the tiny entrance to Yockenthwaite Cave. Just above the cave there was a green path slanting uphill. Leaving the Dales Way behind I followed this uphill to find an enclosed path doubling back up to the right. Climbing steadily uphill whilst enjoying good retrospective views of the valley I eventually came to a gate and more open fellside.
Turning left I passed above Yockenthwaite Pot to carry on above a plantation. Reaching another gate I passed through to contour round and in to Deepdale Gill. As I was to discover there are a lot more fences in Deepdale Gill than currently shown on a map. These seem to have been erected fairly recently to surround newer areas of tree planting.
The first fence I came to I followed gradually down into the gill. Ahead of me was my route up Deepdale Gill, a valley that looked particularly colorful in its autumn rainment. The fence led down to a junction with a wall. Just before meeting the wall a stile in the fence gave access to a steep slope which I scrambled down to reach a waterfall. Although modest in size the waterfall was located in one of those secretive places that makes it quite enchanting.
Scrabbling back up the slopes I didn't recross the fence. Instead I crossed a broken wall on my left to closely follow the stream. After another 100m or so I came to a second, less enclosed and higher waterfall. Retracing my steps a short way I found a suitable place to carefully climb over a wall. This was the only part of the walk where this was necessary, all other walls and fences being negotiable by stile or gate.
Continuing up the gill I tried to stay as close to the stream as possible. Eventually though the steep sides forced me further above the stream. I was still coming across areas of saplings and I couldn't help think how different everything will look when all these trees have reached maturity.
Eventually I reached the spot where the two main arms of the gill join together. Below this point was a third waterfall but for once I didn't have the energy, or inclination, to see if I could find a safe way down to it. With the left hand stream heading well away from my destination I passed through a gate on my right to head more directly towards the summit.
Initially I stayed quite close to the fence on the outside of the gill but soon changed tack to head east. Climbing steeply at first the ground began to even out at the 610m / 2,000ft contour line. Although I was glad to leave the steep slopes of the gill behind me I now had to tackle the heather, tussocks, hags and groughs of Yockenthwaite Moor.
Thankfully the going wasn't too bad. Certainly there are more eroded areas on the wide plateau of the moor. So it was that, without too much difficulty, I reached the trig point. On my previous two visits to the top of Yockenthwaite Moor the skies had been quite overcast. It was nice therefore to see it on a nice sunny day. The panorama surpassed even my expectations and extended as far as the Coniston fells in the Lake District.
From the trig point I set off in a generally southerly direction. I was aiming for the trio of small tarns that have appeared on recent maps. I was disappointed to find that these additions must be an error. All I found was two fenced off areas containing peat hags and stones. Of water there was nothing. Ample compensation though were the superb views of Wharfedale that I was now enjoying.
Carrying on soutwards I passed a line of shake holes to reach an obvious area of limestone. This turned out to be the northern end of a limestone crag. Continuing slightly left I came to another, more modest limestone edge. Here I picked up a track that, had I followed it all the way down, would have brought me all the way down to the farm at Yockenthwaite.
Instead I left the track where a public footpath is sign posted. This soon climbed up again a short distance to then run a level course above woods to my right and a number of ruined barns on my left. After crossing Strans Gill by a footbridge I passed through some woods and out the other side to reach Scar House. Here I gained the access road to the house which led me finally back to Hubberholme.
In places this was a tough walk and I certainly wouldn't recommend Deepdale Gill (or Yockenthwaite Moor for that matter) to everyone. However, for adventurous walkers there was much here to enjoy. It is always nice to explore somewhere you know that few other people visit. I also find something peculiarly beautiful about the boggy wastes of Yockenthwaite Moor, something that was enhanced on this occasion by the autumn colours and late afternoon sunshine.