Roger Ratcliffe compiles his own personal sightseeing hit list.
Looming above the River Eden in Mallerstang dale is one of the most atmospheric ruins in the north. Legend has it was built by Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur and many of his men died at the site when the well was poisoned. It was later home to Hugh de Morville, one Thomas Beckett’s murderers, and also favourite residence the romantic figure of Lady Anne Clifford from Skipton Castle.
Wild Boar Fell
Also in Mallerstang and loved by the Lakes author Alfred Wainwright, this dramatic fell rises above the Settle-Carlisle line and River Eden and forms the western flank of the long valley. Its jagged north face is as spectacular as anything found in the Yorkshire Dales. The fell gets its name from the wild boar which used to inhabit the area half a century ago.
Casterton Fell & Easegill Kirk
Despite reaching just 1,436ft. in height the fell’s summit provides a fine viewpoint over a wide area of “new” National Park territory. Nearby is a spectacular gorge into which disappear the waters of Ease Gill. Underneath the landscape lies part of the longest and most complex cave system in the whole of Britain, with more than 50 miles of passageways.
Three Men of Gragareth
Excluded from the original National Park despite being close to the boundary, these much-photographed cairns overlooking remote Leck Fell and Casterton Fell are centuries old and the location for many a satisfying drink from walkers’ flasks. Claimed to be the highest point in Lancashire, from the summit on a clear day it is possible to see Morecambe Bay, the Lake District as well as Ingleborough and the Forest of Bowland
Great Asby Scar
One of the largest surviving expanses of limestone pavement in Britain but relatively undiscovered compared to those around Malham and Ingleborough. It is home to several rare wild flowers and a National Nature Reserve. Access is from the village of Orton, Newbiggin-on-Lune or Great Asby.
A long and impressive scar above the hamlet of Outhgill, from which it is often climbed. The series of dramatic rocky outcrops has names like Hangingstone Scar, Trough Riggs and Lindrigg Scars.
A prominent rock on Firbank Fell to the west of Sedbergh and also a place of pilgrimage afterr George Fox preached to 1000 people for three hours in 1652. In his autobiography, Fox, who was one of the founders of the Quaker movement, said he had been prompted to preach after seeing a vision of the Lord on nearby Pendle Hill.
A hidden gem and until now a well-kept secret among walkers, this tranquil little dale runs beneath the classic limestone scenery of Little Asby Scar. Easiest access is from the village of Crosby Garrett.
A long valley cutting deep into the Northern Howgill Fells, it provides the longest route for climbers of The Calf, which at 2,220 feet is the highest point of the Howgills. Alfred Wainwright described Bowderdale as “a noble valley indeed.”
Scandal Beck & Smardale
The intriguingly named beck runs to the west of Kirkby Stephen, and its course through steep-sided Smardale is especially lovely. Smardale Gill Viaduct once carried trains between Kirkby Stephen and Tebay but is now part of a splendid walking route.