The Occupation Road, Whernside and the Craven Way.

Start. Dent.

Route. Dent - Flinter Gill - High Ground - Occupation Road - Foul Moss - High Moss - Kingsdale - White Shaw Moss - Cable Rake Moss - Whernside - Cable Rake Top - Knoutberry Hill - Whernside Tarns - Craven Way - Boot of the Wold - Wold End - Dyke Hall Lane - Mill Bridge - Dales Way - Church Bridge - Dent.

Notes. In my humble opinion this is by far the best route up Whernside, most certainly the quietest. A wonderful combination of dale and mountain, ancient ways and modern tracks, riverside rambling and hidden tarns. Have a good breakfast the energy levels need to be high, lace up your boots, pack plenty of liquid and ascend Flinter Gill accompanied by the dawn chorus, for an early start was necessary to evade the stifling heat.

I escaped the cobbled streets of Dent via Flinter Gill, a steep climb over an ankle-breaker of a path, an early start and the shade of the trees made for a cool ascent. Passed some dancing stones and a wishing tree, a restored barn and lime kiln I climbed, once free of the tree cover the views opened out but the mercury started to rise, there'd be no escaping the heat today. Marking the top of the gill a gate, convenient memorial bench and a finger-post inviting me to High Moss. I was now striding out between the dry stone walls of the Occupation Road, rough in places, wet in others, (very wet after bad weather), it guided me above Dentdale, four miles of outstanding views before depositing me on the coll marking the head of Kingsdale and Deepdale, I turned right letting a narrow tarmac lane guide me to a field gate, that was locked, sign's requested dogs be kept on leads, I climbed the gate to start my assault on Whernside.

Ascending in the lea of the hill was hot, far too hot, as the route got steeper I was forced to stop if only to stop myself overheating, I ascended with thoughts of cold winter days climbing the same path in snow and ice, positive thinking, that didn't work, after a second rest I made my bid for the summit. The summit welcomed me with solitude, the hill was mine to enjoy alone, whilst sitting drinking water I soaked up the views, views I've seen many times but never tire of. Rest over, with people approaching, the summit ridge ushered me north, a cooling breeze on my face, when the path started descending a small stile allowed access to Knoutberry Hill and Whernside Tarns. With a green trod under foot I wandered on passed the tarns before descending to Boot of the Wold my access point to the Craven Way.

This 17th century drove road guided me in the footfall of packhorse trains and cattle drovers that passed this way centuries earlier. The long descent that followed ejected me onto Dyke Hall Lane behind historic Whernside Manor. A short walk over a narrow grey ribbon of tarmac followed. Deepdale Methodist Chapel stands at the road junction of Dyke Hall Lane and the Dent road, the Dent road then ushered me to Mill Bridge where I stepped onto the Dales Way. This much loved long distance foot-path was to be my guide back to Dent, and an excellent guide it turned out to be.

view route map.


Early morning, St Andrew's Church seen from the car park at Dent.

Stunning views to the Howgill Fells from the restored barn at High Ground.

Aye Gill Pike seen from Flinter Gill.

Seen over Brown Beck Scar and Green Hill, Barkin and Combe Tops.

Taking a breather near the top of Flinter Gill, looking over Frostrow and little Helms Knott with the Howgill Fells across the skyline.

Striding out between the dry stone walls of the Occupation Road, looking to my high ground for today, Whernside.

Close your eyes, let us regress to a time before modern motor roads, imagine a thousand plus heard of Scots black cattle being driven along this track an armed drover at their head, of coarse there was no dry stone walls they came in the !850s with the enclosures act which allowed wealthy land owners to grab as much land as possible, later the track was used to access peat beds and a number of quarries.

Spectacular views over Dentdale from the head of Nun House Outrake, Rise Hill with Great Knoutberry Hill to the right.

Passing below Great Coum.

Surreal views over Dentdale with morning cloud filling the valleys of Garsdale and Mallerstang.

Stunning views to High Pike with Whernside rising behind.

Gifted with this wonderful view on reaching Foul Moss, the fertile plane of the Ribble Valley backed by the hills of Bowland.

Viewing Deepdale Side, above which sits Whernside Tarns.

Ingleborough as seen from the ascent of Whernside....

....again from the summit ridge.

Wonderful shining levels, the Yorkshire Dales reaches to the horizon.

Trapped in time, one of Whernside Tarns

Looking to Whernside from Whernside Tarns.

Seen from Boot of the Wold, Rise Hill with Baugh Fell looming behind.

Views down the Craven Way to Deepdale and Dentdale with Barkin Top and Combe Top dominating the horizon.

Heading down the Craven Way with this view for company.

Wild flower meadows in Dentdale.

Seen from the banks of the River Dee, Great Coum and Crag Hill.

Approaching Dent looking to the slopes of Ayr Gill Pike, to be honest it's actually a picture of the corroded roof, because I like it.

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