The Mallerstang valley is a fairly spectacular valley running from Kirkby Stephen down to the Moorcock Inn. It is the source of the river Eden and the Settle-Carlisle railway and two long distance walking routes pass down the valley. The Mallerstang edge forms the east side of the valley and Wild Boar Fell the west. David Bellamy described the area as “England’s last Wilderness”.

It contains four of the dales 30, and I list a fifth one here, as it is fairly close by:

On the west side of the valley:

  • Wild Boar Fell 708m
  • Swarth Fell 681m

These are two of the most attractive mountains in the Dales 30, with good quality paths, good surfaces for running, straightforward navigation and stunning views on a clear day.

These two are connected by a ridge which, on a clear day, gives extensive views over the Mallerstang valley and beyond. The ridge is most conveniently reached by following the Pennine Bridleway path (signposted High Dolphinsty) from near Hazelgill farm, and turning to the south when the path starts to descend again. Alternatively, one can cross the rough ground from the North, by parking at Tommy’s Lane, or from Kirkby Stephen.

This photo was taken on a sunny day in late Autumn, showing the shelter at the summit of Wild Boar Fell

From only a few metres to the west, this photo shows Sand Tarn and the view towards the Howgills.

This is the cairn at the summit of Swarth Fell, reached by leaving Wild Boar Fell along a path to the South. The path drops down to some damper ground at around the 600m contour mark before rising back up to this secondary peak.

From both fells, it is possible to cross rough ground to the west to join the ‘A Pennine Journey’ path, alongside the river Rawthey, to head either southeast to Garsdale Station or the Moorcock Inn, or northwest to the minor road at Uldale House and from there to the A683 at Rawthey Bridge.

On the east side of the valley

  • High Seat 709m
  • Lunds Fell (or Little Fell) 667m

This side of the valley has some spectactular scenery, with lots of interesting geology and botany to be seen along Mallerstang Edge. and The Pennine Journey footpath is delightful, with great views in all directions and the settle-carlisle railway line to provide some scale for photos.

However, moving between the two fells can be pretty tricky, with no real paths and a lot of very boggy ground and quite a navigational challenge unless visibility is good. Possibly the least enjoyable fells in the Dales 30 for me, but perhaps a return in better weather would change my mind.

The fairly uninspiring cairn at Lunds Fell. Incidentally, it appears that there is an ongoing debate about whether Sails is in fact higher than Little Fell.

This sculpture, Water Cut, by Mary Bourne, along Lady Clifford’s Way is certainly worth seeing.

More details here:Eden Benchmarks

I’m also including here the following, which is in Garsdale, a little to the south and west of Mallerstang

  • Baugh Fell 678m

Baugh Fell is large although not particularly steep, with a big summit plateau. It is all pretty boggy, and lacks any marked footpaths, and so tends to be only for those ticking boxes. The easiest route (not mentioned in the Dales 30 book, oddly) is to start at the parking space at the road bridge before Mouse Syke in Grisedale (signs advise that parking further along this road is not permitted). This can easily be reached on foot from Garsdale station with only a small amount of road walking required. From there, an obvious gravelled shooting track goes over the open access land directly towards the top of the hill. There are excellent views back to the Dandry Head viaduct.

When the stone track comes to an end, it is easy to then follow the shooters’ quad bike track to the south side of the wall almost to the top of the fell, before crossing onto the north side of the wall. It’s not a footpath as such, but straightforward to follow. The official peak (Tarn Rigg) is 2 metres higher than the spot where the OS trig point is, Knoutberry Haw, further to the west.