Black Hill & Melbecks Moor - A circular walk in Swaledale - 11th May 2008    
  Today's walk is approximately 7.5miles / 12km long and starts from the village of Gunnerside in Swaledale.

We leave the village via the narrow road climbing west towards Shoregill Head, after just over 100m we cross the cattle grid and turn right following the path northwest up the ridge towards Knot Top and Jingle Pot Edge

    Cotton Grass in full blossom along Jingle Pot Edge

Pretty soon the path vanishes and we find ourselves picking our way over rough moorland, huge clumps of grass and heather make walking difficult. Gerry and I are quite used to this terrain nowadays as we visit some of the less frequented tops around the Yorkshire Dales.

We watched Curlews circling over us - Gerry stumbled across a nest in the long grass frightening the bird away and leaving its chick alone, we moved on quickly to avoid further disturbance.

    Eventually we reach our first goal - Black Hill 569m - Quite a featureless top really with just a spot height and a wall to mark its summit - all set amongst the Cotton Grass and Heather.

Whilst Gerry took recorded his GPS readings and spot heights I dabbled with the camera for a bit.

Eventually we headed off, passing through the gate and turning right to follow the wall down to Botcher Gill.


We leave the path and enter Botcher Gill, a steep sided ravine leading down to Gunnerside Beck. We follow it down criss crossing the stream until we join the narrow path at Botcher Gill Nook, extreem caution is required here as there are some vertical drops of around 50ft along the path edge - soon the path turns north and with it brings safer ground as we head up the side of Gunnerside Gill.


Heading towards the old mine workings at Bunton Hush we follow the path over the waste tip at Dolly Lead Level, extreme caution here again as the ground is very steep and a slip here would probably take you all the way to the bottom.


Eventually we reach the remains of the Lownathwaite lead mine, we descend via North Hush and cross the beck climbing up the other side to the mine workings at Bunton Hush.

Entrance to an old mine working at Bunton Hush is shown on the right.

Here we got talking to some people who had been sat on the grass watching our progress as we had precariously made our way up the valley and across the waste tip at the Dolly Lead Level. They informed us that one of them had started to explore the tunnel in the picture opposite and had nearly stumbled down a vertical shaft some distance inside! - Not to be recommended!


This photograph shows 'Bunton Hush'.

The lead-miners dammed streams above where they suspected lead veins to occur and released the water to scour away the material overlying the ore, the practice has permanently scarred the landscape.

    We climb up through the Hush and join a track heading east across the top

Soon we find the remains of the old stone crushing machine among the waste tips and spoil heaps.

    Picking up a path which crosses a stream, we now head south to the summit of Melbecks Moor - marked by a spot height at 578m.

After a brief pause at the summit we head off south again passing the remains of a sheepfold and descending down between High Scar and Low Scar


Passing under High Scar we eventually reach the track at Whin Hall, heading southeast along the track a gate is reached which leads onto a narrow road and back to: -

The Ghyllfoot Tearooms at Gunnerside! - famous for their homemade lemonade and ginger beer!

An excellant walk for a sunny day!