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



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