Conistone Dib and Pie from Grassington.

Start. Grassington.

Route. Grassington - Main Street - Chapel Street - Intake Lane - Cove Scar - Lea Green - Dib Beck - Conistone - Conistone Dib - Dales Way - Castle Scar - Conistone Pie - Dales Way - Old Pasture - Lea Green - Intake Lane - Grassington.

Notes. I found myself in Kettlewell at the head of Wharfedale this morning, the place was shrouded in mist, the hills drowned in a sea of grey. My intention had been to ascend new ground, pay a visit to Great Whernside a hill I'd never had the pleasure to set foot on, the route was planned, the map packed but the heart wasn't in it. I wandered the streets of Kettlewell like a lost soul hoping for clearer conditions, not that navigating in the murk bothers me but a view would be nice.

In the event I drove back to Grassington to pay homage to Conistone Dib, one of the best routes onto the hills in the Dales, if it was misty it didn't matter, the Dib is a dry watercourse, sheer limestone wall snuffing out any views. Thousands of years ago it would have been a raging torrent, today it's dry an easy climb through classic limestone scenery into stunning views over the valley of the River Wharfe, if the cloud lifts, I'd visit Conistone Pie, a pie shaped outcrop of weathered limestone, one of the best viewpoints in the Yorkshire Dales.

The same streets as my last visit to Grassington guided me onto the hill, Main Street then Chapel Street then stoney Intake Lane, this time I left the lane at a finger-post promising a walk along the Dales Way. Through a number of fields I wandered, I crossed a number of stiles before leaving the Dales Way. My route followed a dry stone wall shadowing the edge of Grass Wood and Bastow Wood through the ancient settlement of Lea Green. On reaching a field gate I left Lea Green, passed through said gate then descended into the steep ravine at the head of Dib Beck, I emerged at the other side into stunning limestone scenery.

The path then descended, a long easy descent over way-marked paths through limestone pastures, the massive cliffs of Kilnsey Crag in the valley below acting like a magnet drawing me steadily down hill. The path terminated at the tiny Dales village of Conistone. I sat in a triangular enclosure in the centre of the village, drinking coffee, taking a break before attacking Conistone Dib.

To the east of the enclosure a gravel track leads passed typical Dales houses, it terminates at a gate, this is the entrance to Conistone Dib. Into the dib I ventured, impenetrable limestone walls rising on two sides, at a couple of points it's so narrow you can touch both walls at once. The confines of the dib swallowed me up spitting me out in a light open area where steep grass slopes and limestone scree flowed into the dub bottom. I continued climbing, nearing the top the walls close in again, an easy scramble spat me out onto the Dales Way, I had the pleasure to be able to look back down my ascent route.

It's just over two miles back to Grassington from the top of the dib, but I had a dinner date, the perfect guest, Conistone Pie. I turned north, with the Dales Way under foot I wandered above Castle Scar, stunning limestone scenery to my right, Wharfedale below me to the left. Just around the corner the best viewpoint in Wharfedale, a pie shaped promontory carved and sculptured by wind and rain, Conistone Pie, I hankered down out of the wind and just drank in the views. Sufficiently drunk on spectacular views I headed south, the Dales Way now guiding back to Grassington, the same route I took the other day, the same spectacular scenery but always different, changing light and moody skies breathing life into the Dales landscape, and Grassington, full of life, it was lunch time the place was bustling.

view route map.


Between the dry stone walls of Intake Lane.

Over Cove Scar, Grass Wood and a hazy view over Wharfedale.

Grass Wood with Malham Moor across the horizon.

Ahead, the sunlit scars guarding the head of Dib Beck.

Skirting the fringe of Dib Beck, looking to the joint where Grass Wood abruptly ends and Dib Beck begins.

Clinging to a re-assuring path.

The start of a long easy descent through sheep pastures.

In the valley bottom, Kilnsey with it's famous crag just visible to the right.

Conistone a delightful Dales village backed by overhanging cliffs of Kilnsey Crag.

Conistone Dib....

....once a raging water course now one of the best ascent routes in the Yorkshire Dales.

Rivers of shattered rock and petrified stone.

Approaching the head of the dib.

Viewing Old Cote Moor with Conistone Pie to the right.

Seen from Conistone Pie, Knotts and Swineber Scars with Buckden Pike on the far horizon.

Soaking up the views from Conistone Pie, Kilnsey Crag with High Kilnsey Moor rising behind.

On view from Conistone Pie, the Dales Way passes above Swineber Scar with a hazy Buckden Pike on the skyline.

In sunlight Kilnsey Crag, seen from above Hill Castles Scar.

The lonely walk back to Grassington.

Striding out back to Grassington the Dales Way under foot.

Limestone scenery near Lea Green.

Lone tree on Lea Green.

Blue/Grey across the horizon Bardon Moor.

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