The Northern Dales

The Northern Yorkshire Dales are generally considered to be Swaledale and Wensleydale, and their side dales.

There are six of the Dales 30 in this area.

  • Great Shunner Fell 716m
  • Lovely Seat 675m
  • Great Knoutberry Hill 672m
  • Rogan’s Seat 672m
  • Dodd Fell 668m
  • Drumaldrace (Wether Fell) 614m

Great Shunner Fell

Great Shunner Fell is the third highest of the 30 and forms part of the divide between Wensleydale and Swaledale. It’s a fairly straightforward, runnable route along the Pennine Way. It can be approached either from Hawes (or Hardraw), or from Keld. In both cases, navigation is easy. It can be fairly boggy in places although many of the worst sections have now been paved. It’s about 7km from Hardraw. On a cloudy day, it’s not too impressive, but the views on a clear day can be superb, stretching across Swaledale towards the Lake District and Northern Pennines, and south towards the three peaks.

The summit of Great Shunner Fell

Lovely Seat

Lovely Seat is an easily bagged mountain, being less than a mile from the road at Buttertubs Pass, linking Wensleydale to Swaledale north of Hawes. Navigation is easy, as one simply needs to start by the cattle grid and a number of parking spots and simply follow the south side of the fence, where a faint path is visible, which becomes clearer once the boggy section at the bottom has been passed. It can be combined with Great Shunner Fell relatively easily by leaving Great Shunner Fell to the east and heading down to the road. There are good views over Wensleydale and the three peaks, and a stone chair at the summit, shown below.

Great Knoutberry Hill

Also known as Widdale Fell, this is situated above Upper Dentdale, one of the most idyllic areas in the dales. There are a number of routes to the top, and fine views to the Yorkshire three peaks, Wild Boar Fell and the Lakeland fells. From the side of the hill, there is also a great view over Dentdale and the Settle-Carlisle railway line and its Arten Gill viaduct.

Rogan’s Seat

Rogan’s Seat is fairly remote, with the peak lying within a large expanse of grouse moor in Upper Swaledale. There are few footpaths in this area, but plenty of shooting tracks and it’s relatively easy to reach the peak from Keld. These white stones left by members of the Rogan family over the years caught my eye.

Dodd Fell

Dodd Fell forms the Western side of Sleddale, to the south of Hawes, and can be reached by following the Pennine Way and then simply crossing the rough ground to the East of the path when the peak is in sight.

The cairn on Dodd Fell on a snowy day.

Wether Fell

Wether Fell, or Drumaldrace, is on the opposite side of Sleddale to Dodd Fell

The peak is close to the Cam High Road - a rough gravelled, former Roman Road which passes over high ground for some considerable distance between Bainbridge and Gearstones, close to the Ribblehead viaduct. The shortest approach is from Burtersett or Gayle, via the subsidiary peak of Yorburgh.

View back down towards Wensleydale on the descent of Wether Fell.