Okay, I admit it, the Mallerstang Valley isn't actually within the (current) boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park (but will be if the national park expansion plans eventually go through) but what a stunningly beautiful place it is, just over the border from North Yorkshire into Cumbria and directly south of Kirkby Stephen, and what a stunningly fantastic set of hills to run in!
Last Bank Holiday Monday me and Hester rocked up in gorgeous sunshine and parked at the southern end of the valley, right on the Yorkshire/Cumbria border in fact by Aisgill Moor cottages. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, was to run the complete skyline of the valley, up the west side and back down the east.
The west side, going north, encompassed Swarth Fell Pike, Swarth Fell, Wild Boar Fell (the centre piece of the whole valley I think), High Dolphinsty, Little Fell and a scoot around the side of Birkett Common to ford the River Eden at the Pillow Mounds (apparently medieval artificial rabbit warrens). Coming back southwards on the east side firstly involved taking a (seemingly never-ending according to Hester) uphill south easterly line through a good two miles of swampy tussock grass to High Pike Hill and then following the plateau like ridge top from there to High Seat, then Gregory Chapel before following the edge of Hangingstone Scar and a fantastically runnable quad bike track all the way to Hell Gill Bridge, and then finally following the farm track back to our starting point.
What a spectacular run!
From Aisgill Moor Cottages - 14.6 miles and 3,565 ft - route on Strava
|Let le Grande Tour commence|
|A complete view of the valley from the side of Swarth Fell Pike - Wild Boar Fell to the left and High Seat and Hangingstone Scar to the right|
|Looking towards Great Knoutberry, Blea Moor, Whernside and Ingleborough from Swarth Hill Pike|
|Hester putting her feet up on the way to Wild Boar Fell|
|Me leaving Hester to eat my dust (and take a picture)|
|Looking towardsHigh Seat from one of the cairns on Wild Boar Fell|
|Descending Little Fell|
|Yes I did bottle climbing all the way to the top...|
|On the ridge running towards High Seat now|
|Heading towards Hangingstone Edge with Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell across the valley|