Great Shunner Fell and the Swaledale Overlook. 30 June 2019
Great Shunner Fell and the Swaledale Overlook – Sunday 30th June 2019
When Graham and I planned this walk we had imagined doing it on a bright sunny midsummer day with blue skies and fluffy white clouds scudding overhead. The top of Great Shunner Fell affords fantastic views over Wensleydale towards the Great Peaks of Pen-y-Ghent and Great Whernside and the Swaledale Overlook, a panoramic view of Upper Swaledale as far as Nine Standards Rigg. Sadly these delights were hidden from view on this particular day and while it was, as we walkers like to say ‘good walking weather’ it was not good view weather and the top of Great Shunner Fell treated us to lunch in a small gale with swirling low cloud. There were no takers for the half mile extension of the walk north along the Pennine Way to the edge of Swaledale which Graham and I had enjoyed back in March! The route up had been via the sheltered Hearne Coal ‘Road’ or now more aptly described ‘indistinct path through mostly dry bog’ over some beautiful wild moor to the disused coal workings around Pickersett Nab. Before the end of the ‘road’ we took a turn leftwards towards the open moor for a short stiff climb up the 100m or so to rejoin the Pennine Way and ascend to the top of Great Shunner Fell at 716m. After lunch the return to Hardraw was an easy descent down the Pennine Way, meeting few others on the trail this afternoon, when finally the clouds parted and at least some of the splendid view over Wensleydale could be seen.
I end with a couple of photos of the hardy 15 who made it today – with and without the view – and hope Arthur, the little white dog, enjoyed his birthday walk – 14 years young today - or 98 in dog years which makes him the oldest honorary member of the SOC to still be walking though he was grateful to be carried through some of the boggier bits today. He is sleeping well tonight.
Jane McLennan and Graham Berry