Hawes to Great Shunner Fell

Sunday, 15 July 2012 – 13.7 miles

Beautiful sunny morning but with a chilly breeze. Packed up the car and left it at the campsite – after spotting yesterday’s young man with a beard motorcycle camping there too (that’s still not the last sighting of him though …)

We walked into the centre of Hawes, then out towards Hardraw, where we didn’t pay to see the waterfall. Funny, the village was familiar, but I remembered the pub as being on the opposite side of the road from the falls.

A well made track led up between fields, and we had to stop to take off a layer as it was warm walking uphill in the sunshine. It was much quieter than we had expected – we thought a “named hill” near popular areas of Wensleydale would attract walkers. One couple passed us, and there were a couple of women at the top of the lane having a drink. Oh, yes, and the young man with a beard, heading downhill!

As we headed uphill it got cooler with an ominous black cloud out to the west. We put coats on at lunch, remembering how we had cooled down yesterday. It was pretty cold, even considering it’s July! Robby had gloves on, and I’d have worn some had I brought any!

Great Shunner Fell

Towards the top of the fell is High Abbotside a protected area of bog and moorland regeneration. It was the familiar wet peat, but with a natural stony path, that didn’t seem bad at first, but the causey path came as a relief. Parts of that were under mud or water – trekking poles come in handy for checking if there’s something solid lurking under the surface – or not! We followed the two women we had seen earlier as they skirted round a sunken part of the path, but on the return journey we found it was okay to go along the path – poking with a pole first to find the stone.

High Abbotside moor

There’s a simple windbreak shelter at the top – a cross of four walls with benches alongside. We paused briefly to admire the view, before setting off back downhill at a brisk pace to get down out of the wind, and the rain, which started up again – proper rain this time, not the faint drizzle of earlier in the day!

It brightened up as we got back down towards the track, and we passed a large party – more people than we had seen all day (about 6-8 since Hardraw). Just as I was thinking I was getting a bit warm, and might take my coat off, the rain started again. We found a bench under a tree next to the bridge at Hardraw for a drink and a bar before heading back to Hawes along a slightly different footpath, running parallel with the Pennine Way but slightly further downhill.

Bridge at Hardraw


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