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walking the hills of upper swaledale
Walking in North Yorkshire

Walking the Hills of Upper Swaledale

ISBN 978-1-905444-54-0

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About the Guide

By Keven Shevels.

A 96 page full-colour A5 book describing eight walks across the hills of Upper Swaledale.

Swaledale, regarded by many as the most beautiful of the Yorkshire Dales and a magnet for walkers who come the length and breadth of the country to sample this breath-taking scenery.

And yet despite that many walkers miss the harsh rugged hills that line the upper reaches of this dale and make the watershed that both surrounds and forms this iconic valley.

In a series of eight new walks the author takes a journey to the summits of these hills which range in character from the sheer bulk of Great Shunner Fell with the Pennine Way running across it's top to the rarely visited High Carl and Gibbon Hill which stand watch over the lower reaches of the upper dale. For those with a love of the wilder places this book will open up a new facet to one of our favourite walking areas.

When you think of Swaledale the image of probably the most scenic and popular of the Yorkshire Dales comes to mind. But for the dedicated hill walker the hills on both sides of this narrow valley can provide some of the wildest and most solitary walking in the north eastern counties. The first of our Swaledale walking guides, this book is aimed at the hillwalker who prefers the longer, rougher walks than are normally provided for in guidebooks.

Taking as it's inspiration the hills of the dale that rise above the magic two thousand foot mark, in the course of eight walks this book travels over the summits of each of them plus a number of other lower but just as fascinating hills. If you like well-maintained low level paths then this guidebook is not for you as all the walks included contain large elements of heather, peat bog and open moor walking. But one thing is guaranteed, you do see the wilder side of this iconic dale.

Like walking in Swaledale, I can't say that I blame you after all it is a beautiful valley. In which case have you tried one of our other guides to the Dale. Or even better, buy all three books together as the Swaledale Bundle and save 20% off the individual list price.


  1. Introduction
    1. The Hills of Upper Swaledale
    2. Access & the Right to Roam
    3. The Walks
    4. The Weather
    5. The Maps
    6. Towns, Villages & Accommodation
    7. Tourist Information Centres & Websites
      1. Walk 1: High Carl and Gibbon Hill - 8 miles
      2. Walk 2: Fremington Edge and Calver Hill - 7.9 miles
      3. Walk 3: Rogan's Seat - 9.4 miles
      4. Walk 4: Lovely Seat and Great Shunner Fell - 10.8 miles
      5. Walk 5: White Mossy Hill and Nine Standards Rigg - 9.9 miles
      6. Walk 6: Oxnop Common - 7 miles
      7. Walk 7: The Hills Above Ravenseat - 6.5 miles
      8. Walk 8: The High Seat Ridge - 9.4 miles
    8. Postscript
    9. Appendix
    10. Ferguson Grading System
    11. The Author
    12. Walking North East
    13. Acknowledgements
    14. Disclaimer 97

The Walks

A walk in the lower reaches of the dale crossing the rarely visited hills of High Carl and Gibbon Hill.

  • DISTANCE: 8 miles (12.8 km)
  • ASCENT: 1,007 feet (307 metres)
  • START: Side of the Grinton to Redmire road. (GR SE 044 974)
  • TERRAIN: Majority of the route is on decent vehicle track with a section over rough tussocky grass with wet boggy bits.
  • FGS Grading: F6 [D1, N1, T0, R2, H2]

A walk over the two heights that dominate the skyline of the lower dale.

  • DISTANCE: 7.9 miles (12.7 km)
  • ASCENT: 1,729 feet (527 metres)
  • START: Reeth village green. (GR SE 038 993)
  • TERRAIN: A complete mixture ranging from field paths to pathless moor with most shades in-between including stony tracks and tarmac lanes.
  • FGS Grading: F8 [D1, N2, T2, R1, H2]

Probably the easiest ofthe high hills of Swaledale to cross, the walk returns via Gunnerside Gill and its legacy of mine workings.
DISTANCE: 9.4 miles (15 km)
ASCENT: 1,581 feet (482 metres).
START: Gunnerside. (GR SD 951 982).
TERRAIN: Decent vehicle track, rough pathless moor and moorland paths.
FGS Grading: F8 [D1, N2, T1, R2, H2]

A hard walk taking in two 2,000 foot summits along the Swaledale/Wensleydale watershed.
DISTANCE: 10.8 miles (17.2 km).
ASCENT: 2,123 feet (647 metres).
START: Muker. (GR SD 911 978).
TERRAIN: Mainly rough pathless moor.
FGS Grading: F9 [D1, N2, T2, R2, H2]

A walk that visits the far boundaries of Swaledale and the nine stone men that stand on Nine Standards Rigg.
DISTANCE: 9.9 miles (15.8 km).
ASCENT: 1,155 feet (352 metres).
START: Alongside the B6270 road. (GR NY 858 015).
TERRAIN: Mainly over rough, open countryside with two stretches of road walking.
FGS Grading: F8 [D1, N2, T2, R2, H1]

A walk exploring the high fell that rises to the north west of the Muker to Askrigg road.
DISTANCE: 7 miles (11.2 km).
ASCENT: 1,211 feet (369 metres).
START: Ivelet Bridge. (GR SD 933 978).
TERRAIN: A mixture of field paths, tarmac lane and rough pathless moor.
FGS Grading: F8 [D1, N2, T1, R2, H2]

A walk that explores the high level moorland behind the farmstead of Ravenseat.
DISTANCE: 6.5 miles (10.4 km).
ASCENT: 1,109 feet (338 metres).
START: High Bridge. (GR NY 870 013).
TERRAIN: Mainly pathless moorland comprised of tussock grass with some soft boggy bits thrown in.
FGS Grading: F9 [D1, N2, T2, R2, H2]

A wild walk along the watershed ridge that gives birth to the becks that form the infant River Swale.
DISTANCE: 9.4 miles (15 km).
ASCENT: 1,365 feet (416 metres).
START: Alongside the B6270 road. (GR NY 839 018).
TERRAIN: A walk of three parts, rough pathless moor, high moorland ridge and a road walking section.
FGS Grading: F10 [D1, N2, T2, R3, H2]

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