Gragareth from Ireby

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Gragareth is a bit of a poor relation to the other peaks of the Yorkshire Dales. In fact, it's not even in the National Park – a bit like one of those odd members of a family who doesn't quite fit in. Yet it is one of the most visible, filling the skyline on the left when driving east towards Ingleton on the A65. Stealing the show just beyond is Ingleborough, clearly standing higher than Gragareth and drawing all the attention.

Gragareth does however, have the distinction of being the highest peak in Lancashire and some would walk it for that reason. Others would go there to fill in a gap when most of their map is old familiar ground. Others might go out of curiosity. Whatever the reason for walking here, stand by to be pleasantly surprised.

The route starts in Ireby Village. There isn't much parking, but there isn't much traffic either. A short section through fields is followed by a saunter up an ancient lane, steadily gaining height. After that is a short spell on tarmac, but traffic is non-existent and the views beguiling, showing bits of fell not normally seen from the road or other walks. At the end of the road, the route takes off up the fellside, but is never so steep as to cause distress, unless you decide to run up. You pass a strange set of cairns, including the Three Men of Gragareth, after which the angle eases.

Arrival at the trig point leads to the biggest surprise – the views. OK, so Gragareth doesn't look much from below, but it gives views from Heysham on the Lancashire coast, round through Morecambe Bay, the Lake District, the southern Howgills and the Western Dales, round to the scene stealer, Ingleborough. If it's windy, the top is a place where you won't linger; the wind comes howling in from the Irish Sea. On a still day though, you will probably spend some time discussing which peak is which.

The descent to Ireby includes what must be one of the longest fields in the country, at about 4km long. However, it's only 600 metres wide at its widest point, making navigation a doddle. The walk returns to Ireby Village by a good path.

So, Gragareth has a few surprises. Mainly untracked, with few visits by other walkers, it's what the Dales and Lakes must have been like before the charabanc started bussing in the masses. Peace and quiet, great views, what more could you want?

England - North England - Lancashire - Pennines

Features

Cafe, Church, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Pub, Public Transport, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
02/10/2016 - Robert Hughes

This is a really excellent walk which on a clear day gives outstanding near and distant views in all directions. The walk instructions were easy to follow on a clear day. Contrary to a previous comment the ladder stile at WM11 is back as described crossing the wall into Yorkshire. At WM12 the new gate that replaced the ramshackle one was tightly secured and so it need to be climbed over rather than opened. Close to WM13 I picked up a 'quad bike' track that was useful to follow as it avoided the worst of the boggy areas of the 4km field. Towards the end of that field I need to leave this track - just before a clear watercourse and aim more directly for WM14. At WM15 there is now just filed gate rather than a kissing gate. Hope this helps.

07/06/2013 - Philip Scott

I walked this on 020613 in gloriously sunny weather. I had no problem with the directions which were straight forward. The views of Ingleborough from the top are spectacular the coast can easily be seen and also the Lakeland fells can be viewed in the distance. Overall a good walk with excellent views.

22/04/2009 - Penny Pitty

Had a gloriously sunny day for this walk, having checked beforehand that the access land sections did not exclude dogs! One change to note - the ladder stile at Waymark 11 now crosses the wall ahead, not the one on the left as in the photo, so the diversion into Yorkshire doesn't happen. The 'ramshackle gate' has been replaced by a metal one, though by that point you are still on the Lancashire side any way.

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