Dales 30

My running project for 2023 was to go up (and down) all of the “Dales 30” group of mountains, which are the thirty mountains inside the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the north of England.

A mountain in England is anything over 2000ft high. However, we also need a definition of what constitutes a separate hill, and there are various categories here such as the Nuttalls which require a ‘prominence’ of 15 metres, the Hewitts (which require 30 metres) and also the Simms which avoid the messy mix of imperial and metric units. Even the heights of mountains are not fixed - two of the list, Calf Top and Birks Fell, have been promoted from hill to mountain in recent decades owing to surveying revisions.

To further complicate matters, the boundaries of the National Park have been changed in recent years. Not all of the Yorkshire Dales area is inside the park, but parts of Cumbria (traditionally Westmorland) and Lancashire are included. In practice, though, this means that there is only one mountain that might be included, but is not, Nine Standards Rigg on the Cumbria/North Yorkshire border, which is a few hundred metres outside of the national park area.

The Dales 30 concept was invented by Jonathan Smith of where2walk, who published a helpful book on how to complete the challenge.

I’ve divided the 30 fells up into five groups, as follows: