Wednesday, 13 April 2011

South Yorkshire Dales Traverse – 09 April

Last Saturday we went for a walk with The Rucksack Club on a circuit around Kettlewell in the Southern Dales. Up over Great Whernside and Buckden Pike before descending to Buckden for the climb up Firth Fell. Down into Arncliffe for the long loop over Malham Moor for the return to Conistone to complete a total distance estimated to be around 25 miles but which might have been closer to 27. The weather was glorious, warm, if hazy, sunshine with a cool breeze on the tops – just about perfect.

Yorkshire Dales 005Eroded limestone pavement on Great Whernside

Yorkshire Dales 010First climb on Great Whernside


Yorkshire Dales 014


Yorkshire Dales 017Leaving Great Whernside for Buckden Pike

Yorkshire Dales 019Great Whernside descent

Yorkshire Dales 021Characteristic V shaped river eroded valley on side of Buckden Pike

Yorkshire Dales 025Lunch at the Memorial on Buckden Pike

The Memorial on Buckden Pike is, according to Mike Harding, the saddest of all the memorials in the Yorkshire Dales. On January 30th 1942 a crew of six Polish airmen from 18 O.T.U. took off from RAF Bramcote, Warwickshire on a training mission in a Wellington Bomber. Without warning, they hit a bad snowstorm. Frantically searching for landmarks they caught a faint glimpse of a town below and looped once round it. Unknowingly travelling over Skipton, Yorkshire they continued, blindly heading towards the Dales with fatal consequences to all crew members, bar one.

Yorkshire Dales 022Memorial with brass fox’s head

The whole story and much more, including the reason for the fox’s head, can be read here, on the Buckden Pike website. The rear of the memorial contains some remains of the aircraft and adds to the poignancy of the location. Even on a warm sunny afternoon it isn’t too difficult to image what this high moor must be like in a blizzard.

Yorkshire Dales 027  Descending Buckden Pike

Yorkshire Dales 030Buckden Beck

Yorkshire Dales 040Firth Fell “Climbing Wall”

Yorkshire Dales 043Descent to Arncliffe

Yorkshire Dales 044North west up Littondale


  1. Fantastic post Ian

    Upper Wharfedale and Littondale are very special

  2. I did part of this walk with a couple of friends on one of my rare excursions away from the Peak District. I particularly remember a long steep climb up onto Horse Head Moor.