Pen-y-ghent to Hull Pot Wild Camping

Earlier this year there had been a great series on TV called “Britain’s best walks”, presented by Julia Bradbury. I’ll be honest to say that I wasn’t watching episode two, but my partners brother was, and it was around 10 minutes in that he text me asking if i had heard of a place called Hull Pot. I replied “no, why?”, he then told me it was on TV now on “Britain’s best walks”. I immediately turned over to see, and also did a quick google search to find out where it was. To my surprise it was extremely close to Pen-y-ghent, which i had heard of before, and it was also close to  the village of Horton in ribblesdale which i had been through many years ago with my parents. So a few text messages later, we had decided to make a trip there ourselves to see the great Hull Pot with our own eyes. I was of course more than happy to make this trip, it was a great chance to see somewhere new and it also meant i could make a new video for my YouTube channel. First though, my partners brother Pete, had to get some outdoor gear together, which he brought over the next few weeks, whilst also borrowing some from me. All we then had to do was set a date to go. Well several dates passed, and were canceled for various reasons, the weather being one (i wanted his first trip to be enjoyable so i cancelled the wet days). Also work commitments had been an issue, as we both worked different days in our different jobs, and trying to align them for our trip was proving to be quite hard. It was around three months later we finally got a date that we didn’t cancel, and by this time we also had two more joining us. These were my cousin Dan and his younger brother Darren. In fact it wasn’t just two more people, Pete had also decided he wanted to bring his dog along as well, which was a 6 year old pug called Coffee.

As the Yorkshire Dales are roughly a three-hour journey from Nottinghamshire, i made my way to pick Pete and Darren up at 06:30, with Dan already in the car as he had stayed at mine the night previous. After quick coffee at Pete’s and all the bags in the boot, we finally set off, with much excitement of the day ahead. I won’t go into detail about the car journey, as that’s not why you’re here, needless to say it was very uneventful and we arrived in Horton in ribblesdale at around 09:30, and parked in the car park of the Golden Lion Hotel. The car park did say a 12 hour stay only, for a two pound charge in the honesty box. I went into the pub to enquire about a 24 hour stay, as we would be wild camping in the area and definitely wouldn’t be back in 12 hours. I quickly found someone and told them i would be happy to pay extra, to which they said its fine and not to worry about being over 12 hours. I decided as we were staying for 24 hours that i would pay double, and i put £4 into the honesty box. So at around 09:50 we were finally ready to do the walk, and with our packs on our back we set off. IMG_6473[1] IMG_6474[1]

The skies were pretty cloudy, but no rain had been forecast, the biggest issue we had was the wind, which was quite high but visibility wasn’t that bad, as it was only a little hazy, so most of the views would be visible on the walk. The route i had planned was roughly around 7.5 miles, and was to take in the steep ascent of Pen-y-ghent, and then to follow that along to Plover Hill before then heading back down to the  “A Pennine journey” path and following that back to Hull Pot. Instead of heading straight for Pen-y-ghent, i thought we should take a slightly longer route to it, via a farmers track towards Dub Cote and then onto another section of ” A pennine journey” path. It was part way on this path we took our first break, only around slightly less than 2 miles in, we took shelter behind a dry stone wall to get out of the high winds. Luckily for us the wind wasn’t in our face, but it was still nice to have a quick rest out of the gales. After about 10 minutes we carried on our journey and before long we were on the the next part of the route where the Pennine journey joined a path marked on the OS map as the “long lane (track)”. This path is quite wide and is definitely used for vehicles, most likely a route for farmers and also for access for the grouse butts in the shooting season. Trying to shoot footage for my video on this section proved to be quite tricky, and it required a few big rocks to be placed against the legs of my tripod to prevent it from falling over in the wind. As i was checking my map i informed the group that we would be coming up on some shake holes soon, and it wasn’t long before a decent size one came into view. We all decided to check it out as it was really quite deep and Darren joked it would be a great spot to camp. It was around this time we got our first good look at Pen-y-ghent as it loomed in the distance. Up to now it had been obscured by the smaller rolling hills we had been walking up, and upon seeing it we couldn’t wait to get to the top.IMG_6476[1] IMG_6478[1]

After a good look around the shake hole we carried on, and we soon joined the official Pennine way path, which would lead us to, and up the Pen-y-ghent. On route we went slightly off piste to find a grouse butt, which if it hadn’t of been for Darren, i don’t think we would have found them. They were actually a lot more camouflaged than i was expecting, and after a quick look we were soon back on our journey. We had been going for around 3-4 miles by this point, and Pete’s poor pug was starting to flag from the steady uphill walk. So only being a small dog, Pete decided to pick her up for a bit and carry her. It was near to the base of Pen-y-ghent that we decided to have our second quick break. At this point the wind was still really high, and was hitting us to our right, so we decided again to take advantage of the dry stone walls, and sheltered out the wind behind the wall directly to our left. It was amazing the difference the wall made, you could hear the wind whistling though the wire fence that was above the wall, yet sat where we were you couldn’t feel it at all, until you stood up. We waited here for around ten minutes whilst quickly eating a snack bar and taking on some water. It was getting on for nearly 12, and i had thought that the top of Pen-y-ghent would be an ideal spot for lunch, so we decided to go for it and make our way up the red route. This was not quite as hard as i had imagined, but needless to say it wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. Pete had to carry Coffee all the way up, as it was far to steep for her little legs. When we got to the first ledge we did have a small break, before tackling the second part. Even half way up the views were getting pretty awesome. IMG_6482[1]

On our way up the second part i remember thinking how hard it must have been to build the dry stone wall that snakes its way up to the top, quite a impressive feat indeed. As we neared the top, the steep path got a lot more challenging, as it became more of a scramble. I was very impressed with Pete who managed to do it all without using his hands, as he was carrying his dog. Dan on the other hand was struggling quite a bit, i had been doing my best to wait with him when he was stopping, and also not to hold up everybody else up on the path as it was quite busy. I knew how he was feeling, as my thighs were starting to burn, as this path would have been hard with no pack on our backs, and we were all carrying in the region of 12kg. Well sure enough we all made the top of the hard part, and we then only had a few hundred meters more to go to reach the trig point and the summit. IMG_6484[1]

The wind at the top was pretty extreme, but it still felt good to reach the top. Luckily the wall across the top had a seating area on both sides, so we managed to get a seat out of the wind to eat our lunch. Whilst eating our food a lot of people were amazed to see a pug had made it all the way to the top, to which we informed them that she was carried quite a bit of the way. One woman from America even wanted a picture of Coffee to send to her children back home, as she also had a pug just the same, and was very surprised to see one on the Pen-y-ghent summit. After spending around half an hour at the trig point area, it was time to carry on. Our next port of call was Plover Hill, and luckily for us the path followed the stonewall which kept us sheltered from the wind. This made the next part of the walk a lot more comfortable, as all the previous miles we had been blasted by the wind. Whilst we were out of the wind, the next obstacle was boggy ground. This as always, meant taking various detours to find the more solid areas. This wasn’t as bad as you might imagine, as several parts already had big rocks or planks of wood in the worst areas, to help negotiate the boggy ground. With some skillful bog dodging, or some might say lucky steps, we were soon at the top of Plover Hill, and the descent back down onto the Pennine journey was before us. This section was really steep, and before making it all the way down, we stopped part way for what would be our last stop before reaching Hull Pot. IMG_6486[1] Now the first part of the descent was really steep, but it was also stepped, so that made the going a little easier. Once we passed the dry stone wall though and into the fields, the path was slightly less steep, but bad enough that i found it really painful on my knees. I actually think i prefer going uphill, and i remember thinking that this bit of path can’t end soon enough. Well end it did, eventually, and we finally found ourselves back on the Pennine journey path. At last thought my knees, they were certainly happy to be back on level ground. This part of the path follows the base of Plover Hill and Pen-y-ghent, and eventually to Horton in ribblesdale and beyond. We however, would only be going as far as Hull Pot, which by my reckoning was just less than three miles away. The wind on this side of the hills was not quite so bad, but still enough to be slightly worried, as i hoped to myself that we’d find a sheltered enough spot to pitch our tents later on, and not have to abandon like i did at High Cup Gill. Soon a new angle on Pen-y-ghent appeared, and i knew that we must be close to Hull Pot. It now only seemed like minutes ago that we had actually been up there, and from this angle you could just about make out part of the route we had taken down from the top.IMG_6488[1] It was around this point that we crested a slight rise in the path, and from the top we could just make out the shape of Hull Pot sinking into the ground. Excitement rose in the group, as the destination came into view, this was after all our main reason for being in this location. Our pace quickened, and as we passed a small stream i made a mental note that this could be a possible camp spot. We soon came to a gate, which we passed through, and then there it was, Hull Pot in all its glory. An amazing sight to behold, very impressive indeed, we all stood there for a moment in awe of its magnificence. When i watched this place on “Britain’s best walks” Hull pot beck was flowing into the chasm in spectacular fashion. Unfortunately for us the beck was dry, which meant no waterfall. I was actually quite surprised by this, i hadn’t realised the area had been so dry for so long for it to be all dried up like that. IMG_6490[1] IMG_6491[1]We had a good look and explore around the area, with Pete even managing to actually make his way into Hull Pot itself. The rest of us didn’t quite have the bottle to take the route in like Pete did, so we just admired the place from above. After a good look around we had to decide on a place to camp. I originally wanted to camp next to the beck, and use that as our water source, but with Hull Pot beck being completely dry, i decided we should head back to the stream we had passed earlier. The spot i chose for us to stop was less than five minutes walk away, and was in a slight hollow. Before i leave for any trips like this, i always like to check the weather on the Met office site. This trip was no different, and the wind that i had been worrying about earlier, and that was still blowing through now, was due to die down later in the evening. I only hoped that this was to be the case. It was around 6pm when we finally started to actually set up the tents. Pete and Dan both had new tents, so we didn’t want to wait to late as they had never set them up before. I was in my usual wild country Zephyros 2, which i am now able to get a really tight pitch, having plenty of experience with it. The tents were soon pitched, and Pete and Dan had no problem setting up their new tents. Darren would be sharing with Dan as his only tent was far too heavy to bring walking. My thoughts then turned to food, for this trip i had brought a couple of ration pack boil in the bag meals. It was at this point i realised something…… i had, as always its seems, forgotten something. This time it was my water filter, i couldn’t believe it. I really need to organise my gear at home better, or at the very least, make a check list. Forgetting the filter in itself was not a massive problem, as i could use the stream water as it was for my boil in the bag foods, it was just the issue of re filling my source water bladder for the walk back to the car. I decided to just boil it up, and wait for it to cool slightly before pouring it in the bladder. It took 3 boils of my small pan, which filled my bladder up, and i was then ready to start my food. By this time i was starving, and i ate both boil in the bag meals as quick as i could heat them up.IMG_6493[1] After food it was time to relax, we had a good chat over a beer, and though we only had two each, it would have been rude not to have brought none at all. Whilst enjoying our evening, the wind, as promised, did die down, which made for a much more pleasant time.  As the light started to fade, i left Pete, Dan and Darren with the tents and i went for a short wander to see Hull Pot before it was completely dark. I spent around 15 minutes admiring its beauty, and wondering what lay beneath. Hull Pot was originally a cave thousands of years ago till it’s roof collapsed in, but there is still an elaborate cave system below, some of which the stream will follow when the water flows down there. I will definitely be returning in the future to see the water flowing into Hull Pot like it was on the TV. With it almost dark i headed back to the tent for my last beer with the lads before we had a early night. I wanted to be up early the next morning to hopefully catch a nice sun rise. IMG_6494[1] The next morning i awoke to a flat air bed, luckily the ground was soft and it hadn’t affected my sleep. I crawled out my tent with my camera and tripod hoping to capture a nice sun rise time lapse. Unfortunately though the sun rise wasn’t playing ball, well technically it was the clouds, the sun was doing its job just perfect, i just couldn’t see it. I set my camera up anyway and started to pack my gear away. By 08:00 we were all packed away and ready to walk the 3 miles back into Horton in ribblesdale. IMG_6497[1] IMG_6498[1] Our route took us back past Hull Pot, and it was while having one last look at the amazing place that Darren noticed that the water was actually flowing up stream. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t flowing the day before, so we headed up stream to check it out. Well there its was, flowing water, and it did look like it was slowly creeping closer to Hull Pot, very slowly. I just wish we’d had the time to wait for it to get there. Unfortunately we didn’t, as we still had a long journey to go, back to Nottinghamshire IMG_6500[1] With one last goodbye to the area, we set back off to the village. It was only a short walk back, and before we knew it we were in sight of the village. We then passed the sign for the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge, which then started the conversation of us returning sometime in the future to complete the challenge, in hopefully less than 12 hours. IMG_6502[1]

Back in the village, our original plan was to have a big breakfast in the pub, but unfortunately they didn’t start serving until 11:00. As the time was only 09:30, we didn’t really fancy waiting around, not when there was still a 3 hour drive to do. So we decided we’d look for somewhere on the way home instead.

So here ends another blog, i really hope you enjoyed it. I as always had a really awesome time in the great outdoors, and it was amazing to see Hull Pot in person. A massive thank you if you made it this far through. As always this blog is available as a video on my YouTube channel, follow the link on the side menu under social. Thanks again for reading, Until next time, goodbye.

Regards Mark



High Cup Nick – Abandoned Wild Camp

I have always enjoyed being out in the great outdoors walking and camping, but last year after i was starting to recover from my anxiety and depression, i realised i wasn’t doing enough of it. You should read my first blog “the beginning” for the slightly more filled out story, but lets just say i started to consume as much outdoor related media as possible. This included YouTube videos, various blogs and outdoor magazines. One of these magazines had a article about must camp places on the Pennine way, and the one that stood out for me the most was High cup gill. I remember thinking when i first saw the impressive glaciated U shaped valley in the magazine that i wanted to camp there, and awake to that glorious view.

So it was back in early April this year that the time had come for me to get that chance. (yes a whole month ago, i’m very lazy at my blog writing) So with my route planed i set off to the small village of Murton, which was nestled right up to the edge of the north pennines, but technically still in Cumbria. As luck would have it the village had a small car park which was also right next to the path i would be following. This meant i wouldn’t have to leave the car in the village streets, or so i thought…..                                     Upon arriving at the car park i noticed a sign, this sign read, “no overnight parking or camping”, great!! i thought. I really didn’t want to have to leave it in the middle of the village, as its not great for me and certainly not good for the residents, who certainly don’t need my car blocking up their already narrow country village street. Thankfully i saw a man walking up with a dog, and i decided to asked him if he lived in the village, to which he replied yes. I explained to him my plight, and he said i should be fine to leave it overnight, and that really the sign is just to discourage people from camping there. These words were exactly what i wanted to hear, so i made my way into the empty car park and got my gear together. The route i planned was supposed to take me through the “Danger area”, the danger area being the military WARCOP training zone, used by the British army for live firing exercises. Unfortunately for me the red flag was flying, which, for those of you that don’t know, means you can’t enter as training is in operation. As i didn’t fancy being cannon fodder, i decided that i would just have to walk the route i was going to take back, instead of my original more circular route. So after recording a some footage for my video introduction, i finally set off  at around 07:45, the path snaking upwards and around Murton pike. It was a beautiful morning, a virtually clear blue sky, dotted with the odd wispy cloud. After a few hundred meters or so of  walking i turned around to admire the view of the village and to the sun rising out from behind the hills. IMG_6083[1] IMG_6082[1]

As i have mentioned in a previous blog, i have the ability to sweat in a freezer whilst walking, so the fact that i was wearing my coat whilst the sun was beaming down on me, meant my perspiration levels were going through the roof. There was only one thing for it, i had to stop. I swung my bag off my back, quickly took off my coat and fastened it securely under the lid of my rucksack. Feeling a lot cooler, i set back off. It was then i heard the first of the live firing exercises, the distant sound of gun fire echoing off the nearby hills. This sound was to punctuate much of my journey throughout the day. It wasn’t far to High cup gill from the village of Murton, around three and a half miles i clocked it at. So it wasn’t long before i had my first view of it, and a pretty spectacular sight it was, every bit and more as good as i had expected. IMG_6085[1] Now as this had originally been my intended finish point, i didn’t want to head right up to it and spoil the evenings viewing. So instead, i joined the Pennine way path, and headed to what was originally my half way point and place of interest, the Cauldron snout waterfall. This part of the path was very easy going, level and well trodden, leaving the grass very flat, yet not muddy. At this point the sun was still shining brightly, but the wind had started to pick up now i was at a higher elevation. After about half a mile, i was walking with Maize beck around 100 yards to my left, and checking the map i saw that id have to be on the other side of it if i wanted to visit the Cauldron snout. I then looked for a crossing point, which i found on the map and promptly made my way towards it. Arriving at the side of the beck, i saw no evidence of a bridge or any stepping stones, but luckily it wasn’t very high so i decided to make a jump for it. I always find it a bit of a worry when crossing this way, just in case my foot slips on the jump and i end up in the water. Not this time though, as i made the jump and carried on my way. IMG_6087[1] Once across i soon noticed that the going was no where near as good on this side. The path was a lot more over grown, with long grass and heather, and lots of really boggy sections, causing various detours to find slightly firmer areas. After around twenty minutes, i started to really hate the bogs, it made progress so much slower, and then from nowhere i was passed by two trail runners, carrying nothing but small bum bags. I immediately felt a bit jealous as i was carrying around 12kg. This soon passed though when i remembered that i cant run, and then normal service resumed. Well shortly after this, what should come into view but a bridge. It seemed that when i had checked the map earlier, i had missed a crossing point, and the last mile and a half of bog dodging could have been avoided….. Doh! Ah well, lesson learned, and on i went. From here the path got a lot better again, and without the bog dodging i could start to enjoy the views of the now widening Maize beck. IMG_6089[1] After just over half a mile, the path started to peel away from the beck and started to go up the hillside. As the path started leveling out, it joined a wide gravel pathway, this was no doubt made to make life easier for the Grouse shooters and not walkers like myself. It was at this point i was caught up by a local family, who i had passed earlier going in the other direction. They were from a nearby village, of which i forget the name, and had been out to see High cup gill. The couple were out with one of their fathers, (i’m not sure whose) and their three dogs. We spent the next three to four miles chatting together as we followed the Pennine way, as they were heading back to Cow green reservoir, which is where the water comes from to feed the Cauldron snout waterfall. It was actually very nice to spend this section of the walk with company, and they were very friendly as we shared stories together on the trail. Well it wasn’t long before the dam wall of Cow green reservoir came into view, and as we crossed over bridge in front of it, i thanked them for putting up with me and bidded them farewell. IMG_6091[1] I was really excited to get over the bridge and see the Cauldron snout waterfall, for a couple of reasons really, one being that it looked amazing on photographs whilst i researched the walk, hence why i came via it. Reason two was that it was roughly the half way point and i had designated it my lunch break and i was starving. I have since found out, that the Cauldron snout waterfall is reckoned to be the longest waterfall in the country at 180m. So with the awesome view that was Cauldron snout, i sat down in the great sunshine to eat, though it was still very windy, it was nice to finally sit down and relax after around 10 miles of walking. IMG_6094[1] IMG_6095[1] Whilst eating my lunch, i had made sure i was sat far enough back from the Cauldron snout, to avoid the fine mist of water that the high wind was blowing up from the cascading waterfall. Well lunch eaten, i took a few more pictures and decided to head back to High cup gill. My route back was the same as i had taken to the snout, the main differences being that i now had to do the big gravel path up hill, and worst of all, into the wind. Its amazing how much longer the path seems when walking into the wind, but it had to be done, so i got my head down and pressed out the next three miles or so. It was a welcome sight when i finally reached the point where i was back on the grass, as the path sloped back down towards the beck. Once along side Maize beck, i knew i only had perhaps another hour or so of walking, and it wasn’t long before the bridge i had missed on the way down came into view. I crossed over the bridge, happy in the knowledge that i wouldn’t have to avoid all the boggy ground like earlier in the day. The path on this side took a short and steady upwards climb, before leveling out. Soon high cup gill came into view, but before heading straight for it, i decided to detour back to the beck to fill up my water bladder. Using my sawyer water filter, this was easier said than done, as the water level was quite low. The low level meant i was unable to use the big bag to collect water, instead i had to use the smaller one that comes with the sawyer as standard, and fill it more times. Still it was a minor issue as i had made it back to High cup gill with plenty of time. Well with my water all filled up, i finished the final few hundred meters to an area that looked straight down High cup. It was a absolutely incredible view, every bit and more as grand as i had hoped. I placed my gear down onto the ground, and stood gazing in awe at the immense chasm in front of me, trying to imagine the vast amount of time it took, and how big the glacier must have been to create something of this size and scale. With the sky now cloudy, and a haze moving in, i did wish that i had come this close earlier to get some pictures when the sun was shining, but it was still amazing, even with the lower visibility.  After a good long viewing and a quick snack bar, the time was around 16:30, i didn’t expect any more walkers passing through, as i’d hardly seen any all day anyway, so i decided to set up my tent. IMG_6132[1] IMG_6131[1] It didn’t take me much time to set up my tent, inflate my airbed and get my sleeping bag out, having used the gear for a while, i now have a good routine. My tent had only been up for mere minutes, when the already high but bearable wind, decided to increase massively. It was like the weather somehow knew i’d set my tent up, and was trying to remove any evidence of it being there. Every large gust of wind was bending the single tent pole in to a very unnatural positions, and all but flattening the side. I tried my best to do a bit of filming, but the wind was making it extremely hard to do any panning shots, and trying to talk to camera was just a pointless exercise, leaving only wind noise to be heard. I decided to sit in the tent for a while hoping that the wind would die down. The longer it went on, the less likely it seemed the wind would go. I remember checking the met office weather forecast before leaving home, and it certainly didn’t mention any gales like this. Phone signal in the area was all but non existent, but when i did briefly get it, i checked the weather app on my phone and it had the gale symbol until 12 the next day. That’s great i thought. Well after around an two hours of listening to my tent whipping and cracking, and seeing the tent nearly bending itself in half, i had pretty much decided to pack up and leave. I did think about relocating, and i had a little wander around looking for somewhere more sheltered, but it wasn’t to be. The area was very exposed, and everywhere i went, the wind was just as bad. So that settled it, i went into the tent and packed everything back into my bag, just leaving the tent on its own. Now this was the fun part, anyone whose ever tried to pack a tent away in the wind will know exactly what i’m talking about. Needless to say it took me quite a while to pack it away, and if you would have seen me, you would most likely of had a good laugh at my expense. Finally i was ready to head back to my car, i was quite sad to leave, this place was somewhere i had been wanting to camp for a long time, and i’d really wanted to wake up to the glorious view that was High cup gill. It wasn’t to be this time, and at around 19:00, i set off on the final three and a half miles to the car. The wind was so strong on the way back, that when it was hitting my legs i was almost tripping myself up. As i followed the length of High cup, i took one last look at it, before the path turned away, taking me back to the village of Murton. IMG_6134[1] The light was starting to fade now, so i did my best to get back to the car as quick as possible. On the way back i took a disappointed look at Murton pike, i did have plans to get to the top of it the next morning, but i wasn’t about to tackle it now, so it would have to wait for another time. Well soon enough, the village came into sight, and i made may way down to the car park. I packed my gear in the boot and got in the car, and now with signal, made a phone call to my partner to inform her that id be home tonight. I felt i’d made the right decision to leave, but i still felt really rubbish about it, i just wish the conditions could have been different, or if i had a more stable tent, perhaps i could have stayed. Well there will always be a next time, and i will definitely be returning in the future, and to be honest , i cant wait.

So here ends another blog, i hope you enjoyed reading about my oh so nearly camp. I still had a truly awesome time, and i was very happy to see Cauldron snout waterfall, and the super impressive High cup gill. If you have read this far, thank you very much, and also a massive thanks to all who follow this blog, it really means a lot that you are entertained by my ramblings. As always a video of this story is on my YouTube channel (link on side menu under social)                                                                                                                            So until next time goodbye.