GRAGARETH and Great Coum are two of the best Dales 30’ mountains lying north of Ingleton.

The walk is long, at over 14 miles, but along mainly excellent paths and with the spectacular views is one of the best walks around.

The walk starts at the hamlet of Ireby, two-and-a-half miles outside Ingleton, just off the A65. From Ireby take the farm road towards Leck and then when the road turns sharply left carry on up a walled lane. The lane climbs a little as it heads north for just over a mile until before meeting a moorland dead end road.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Gragareth Tarn on Green Hill Gragareth Tarn on Green Hill

Turn right on to the road and follow it for early two miles to Leck Fell House where the road ends. At the house take to the open hillside on the right (there is a path in places) and head initially for the three standing stones of Gragareth. Continue east up the slope, but it is not as steep as the initial climb.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Great Coum map Great Coum map

On arrival at the broad , grassy ridge there is a trig point. The trig point marks the summit of Gragareth. Gragareth is the highest point in Lancashire and the County Top. It is a fine spot. From here a footpath heads roughly north for three miles.

The walk is lovely, on an easy grassy path and a wall on the right keeps you on track. It passes over Green Hill before a final climbs brings the summit of Great Coum. Great Coum overlooks Dentdale and the views are superb. It is the highest point of the walk and one of the two ‘Dales 30’ mountains. However, the best views are reserved for half a mile to the west and the trig point of Crag Hill.

Here the views north over Barbondale offer a fine perspective of the Howgills and the larger mountains of the southern Lake District.

From the trig point of Crag Hill there is a long steady descent on a west south west bearing. However if you keep the boundary to your left (ie, stay on its north side) then there are no navigational demons. The two-mile descent is enlivened by the remains of some coal pits and a lime kiln near the valley floor, reflecting an industrial heritage of times past.

At the valley floor cross the river (not easy after wet weather) and join a lane leading to Bullpot Farm. Bullpot Farm is the hub of the Red Rose CPC (caving club) and can be a popular place at weekends.

Ignore the road at Bullpot and head due south on a path alongside a boundary with the stream to your right. Cross Ease Gill after three quarters of a mile and continue south west and then south on an intermittent footpath. Keep the river to your right and look for the stiles. The path carries on south for two-and-a-half miles to Leck hamlet, passing an old settlement on your left before arriving. Some of the walking is a little rough and the arrival at Leck Mill is certainly a relief.

From here,join a quiet farm road, and avoiding the centre of Leck turn right and then left on the signposted side road back to Ireby.

* Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 14.5 miles

Height to Climb: 600m (1,980 feet).

Start: SD 653754. I parked near the church in the centre of Sutton, there was plenty of room when I visited.

Difficulty: Hard. This is a long walk but until the return alongside Leck Beck on good, east paths with walls to guide you.

Refreshments: There is a choice of pubs and cafes in Ingleton, 2 ½ miles from Ireby.

Be Prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL2) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

* Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company based in the Yorkshire Dales:

He has published two books on walks in the Dales: The Yorkshire 3 Peaks and The Dales 30 mountains.

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