Embrace the Grey.

Start. Horton in Ribblesdale.

Route. Horton in Ribblesdale - Horton Scar Lane - Hull Pot - Marble Quarry Hill - Swarth Gill Gate - Foxup Moor - Plover Hill - Pen-y-ghent - Gavel Rigg - Churn Milk Hole - Dub Cote Scar Pasture - Dub Cote - Horton in Ribblesdale.

Notes. “Embrace the Grey” seems to have become a photographers phrase, basically I reckon it means take photos in poor conditions then photo-shop the life out of them, yes I think that's about right. In the good old days of film if the light was poor the camera stayed in the bag, unless there was something more intimate to shoot. Well today lets “embrace the grey” and I shan't photo-shop the life out of them. Remember but three weeks ago, we were on Pen-y-ghent treading the classic route up from Brackenbottom, I mentioned the “connoisseurs route”, well this is it with a small loop thrown in because I didn't fancy exposing my ears to the din somewhere in the mist further down the hill. It's the school holidays, consequently there was lots of eager youngsters clambering all over the mountain.

Horton in Ribblesdale was quiet as I wandered through the village to access Horton Scar Lane, a finger-post promised passage to Hull Pot and Pen-y-ghent, I joined the lane immediately ascending into mist, I say mist because higher up it turned into the very best grey emulsion. With dry stone walls and a stoney track to guide me I wandered into the sweeping moors of the Yorkshire Dales. After gracing Hull Pot with my presence I followed a wet trod over Horton Moor.

This is a lonely place, if you enjoy company you won't like it, just me and the lonely cry of the moorland birds, lots of them but I couldn't see them, I was “embracing the grey” and it was getting thicker. Under the cliffs of Pen-y-ghent Side I wandered which are actually the cliffs of Plover Hill , I knew they were there even though I couldn't see them I was “embracing the grey”. Over Black Banks to access Swarth Gill Gate, my route passed through said gate then on to an unexpected finger-post rising from the moor inviting me to climb Plover Hill.

I ascended the hill, as the climb got steeper the mist got thicker, by the time I crested the summit it was like walking through pea soup, a stile loomed out of the murk, I crossed to start the long boggy traverse to Pen-y-ghent. Long it seemed, boggy it most certainly was, using the wall I'd just crossed as a hand rail I wandered across the vast boggy ridge, keeping well to my right I avoided most of the really wet stuff. A number of times I lost sight of my friend, my guide, my hand rail, each time I wandered east to the welcome sight of this inanimate object that had become a good buddy.

I refused to stop at the summit of Pen-y-ghent, eager to descend below the cloud base I continued, a paved path under foot. Descending the nose of the hill I was greeted by two large family groups, youngsters eager to reach the summit. Two easy down scrambles followed before reaching the trod to Brackenbottom. In an attempt to avoid the noisy crowds ascending from the tiny hamlet I continued south with the Pennine Way under foot.

Over Gavel Rigg I strolled, at Churn Milk Hole (a large sink hole) I was greeted by a finger-post, I checked the map, Helwith Bridge for me. Long Lane one of Yorkshires many green lanes now guided me. Over Dub Cote before descending through Dub Cote Pasture, at around 1300ft contour a finger-post (that looked like it had seen better days, and may not be there much longer) invited me to walk what looked like a wonderful green trod to Dub Cote, a typical Dales farmstead. Once through the farm I stepped onto tarmac for the final mile of the day.

view route map.


Between the dry stone walls in Horton Scar Lane.

Horton Scar Lane looking back to Moughton with Smearsett Scar to the left.

Limestone scenery below Tarn Bar.

Tarn Bar a dry watercourse once not so dry.

Nearing the head of Horton Scar Lane, looking to a moody Pen-y-ghent.

Dramatic after heavy weather, Hull Pot.

The sweeping moors of the Yorkshire Dales.

Swollen beck an Black Banks with the cliffs of Pen-y-ghent Side hidden by the murk..

Approaching Swarth Gill Gate looking to Cosh Outside.

"Embracing the Grey" my route onto Plover Hill.

Ascending Plover Hill into....

....this, the stile marks the start of a wet traverse to Pen-y-ghent.

My friend, my guide, my handrail faithfully guided me to the summit.

The summit Pen-y-ghent.

A 2276ft above sea level this is a better path than we have in the high street of my home town.

Traversing Gavel Rigg en route to Churn Milk Hole.

Churn Milk Hole.

Another lonely trod, Long Lane.

Dub Cote Scar with hazy views across Ribblesdale.

Above Dub Cote drinking in misty vistas over the Ribble valley.

Looking back to Dub Cote on the final mile of the day.

back to top

back to list