Blea Moor, Arten Gill and the Pennine Bridleway.

Start. Ribblehead.

Route. Ribblehead - Bleamoor Sidings - Blue Clay Ridge - Little Dale - Blea Moor - Crag Side - Hazel Bottom - Dent Head Farm - Bridge End - Stonehouse Farm - Arten Gill - Swineley Cowm - Wold Fell - Newby Head Gate -Newby Head Road - Black Rake Road - Stoops Moss - Gate Cote - Winshaw - Blea Moor Road - Ribblehead.

Notes. Warning! to walkers with an affection for solid ground, read no more, turn to the next page immediately. For those of you who've stayed, this was one of the wettest walks I've ever done, I underestimated just how wet it would be, in the end I gave in trying to keep my feet dry and my crotch mud free, yes you read that right. Come along if you like, it wasn't all bad just most of it, I'll be returning after a long hot summer or better in the midst of a freezing cold winter.

To the affairs of the day, I left Ribblehead with a solid path under foot, the tourist trod up Whernside guided me into Little Dale, just before the fording point with Little Dale Beck a track ascends Blue Clay Ridge, today it was a stream bed, I ascended regardless avoiding the deep pools the best I could. Once a tram way used to transport building materials to service seven shafts used in the construction of Blea Moor Tunnel, it guided me passed three air ducts before allowing me to descend through the forestry at the head of Dent Dale, after a great deal of bog hopping and several diversions I emerged onto the valley road opposite Bridge End Cottage. The next three quarters of a mile were a delight, I may have been wandering over tarmac but I had the tumbling waters and many cataracts of the infant River Dee for company.

After wandering down the dale a while I reached Stonehouse Farm, perfectly situated at the foot of Arten Gill. This old drove road ushered me up the hill, a pleasant climb over a solid surface, I passed under the massive arches of Artengill Viaduct before reaching a finger-post inviting me to Newby Head Road, I stepped onto the Pennine Bridleway, for the next two miles the walking was a delight. All good things come to an end, at Newby Head Gate I joined a tarmac road for the short walk to Black Rake Road.

Known locally as “Old Raky Road “ this mettled track clings to the higher ground, possibly once the main route through the valley, it guided me into a mire, (dictionary description, boggy or marshy area of mud, muck or dirt) let me tell you I got the bloody lot including some things I didn't like to deliberate over, just over a mile of hell, it felt like ten, then out of the morass a lichen covered finger-post rose, an invitation to Gearstones. Needles to say the footpath was wet under foot, it descended into a couple of deep cut gills, that meant tired legs had to propel me up the other side. I had intended to wander across open moor land to get back to my starting point but the farm lane at Winshaw looked a far better option, I descended it to gain access to the Blea Moor Road north of Gearstones. You'd think things couldn't get any worse, you'd be wrong, the walk back turned into a race against the weather, you guessed right, the weather won.

view route map.


Seen from Batty Green, the impressive arches of the Ribblehead Viaduct backed by a sun kissed Whernside.

Ingleborough wakens to a beautiful morning.

Impressive in any light but staggeringly jaw-dropping this morning.

Scars left by the hand of man, Blea Moor Tunnel runs 2,692 yards under the moor linking Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Five hundred feet below my feet lays the railway line, this is one of three air shafts that guided me over the moor.

Heading over Blea Moor looking to Whernside across Little Dale.

Stunning views from the second air shaft. Seven construction shafts were driven deep into the moor, this allowed sixteen gangs to work simultaneously, after four years of hard graft the work was finished, four of the shafts were closed off the other three turned into air shafts.

Across the skyline the bulk of Baugh Fell, adventures for another day.

Viewing Great Knoutberry Hill and Rise Hill (left) from the path over Blea Moor.

Approaching Dent Head Farm.

Packhorse bridge opposite Bridge End Cottage, Upper Dentdale.

The impressive Artengill Viaduct carries the Settle/Carlisle Railway high above the deep gorge and the old drove route.

A wonderful view down Dentdale, in the far distance catching the sun, Combe Scar and the Middleton Fells.

Great Knoutberry Hill as seen from Wold Fell.

From the Pennine Bridleway traversing Wold Fell stunning views over Blea Moor to Park Fell, the northern extent of the Ingleborough massif.

Descending Wold Fell with this dramatic view for company.

Looking to Pen-y-ghent from a row of Grouse Butts on Black Rake.

Park Fell with Ingleborough lurking behind.

On view from the Blea Moor Road, Park Fell.

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