Little Whernside from Nidderdale

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What were they thinking of when they left Nidderdale out of the Yorkshire Dales National Park? The people who draw boundaries on maps don't always think things through and this might be the case here. The use of the A65 as the NP boundary to the south is sensible and the north and west boundaries of the NP also make sense in spite of changes in county boundaries in 1974. So, what were they thinking of?

Nidderdale is now a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which goes some way to make amends. The dale is as much a part of the Yorkshire Dales in spirit as those within the official park boundary. It also makes a good starting point for some interesting walking, including this approach to Little Whernside by the back door.

Stick the adjective 'Little' in any hill or mountain name and you can put money on people looking for the 'Big' or 'Great' neighbour and doing that first. In the case of Little Whernside, this isn't helped by being out on a limb somewhat; nearby Great Whernside has a great start point at Kettlewell, with good pubs and cafes at the start and finish. It even has a public toilet with an outside tap and a scrubbing brush, to help you get the mud off your boots! Follow that, Little Whernside!

Having made the decision to walk Little Whernside, it's possible to approach from Coverdale, but this is a bit too much off the beaten track to make it popular. The best start point is, without doubt, from Nidderdale. The dale is approached by the attractive market town of Pateley Bridge. Above the town, the River Nidd has been captured and tamed to supply Bradford with drinking water, via a series of reservoirs.

This walk starts by Scar House Reservoir and sets off straight away for Angram Reservoir. From there a cunning short cut joins an old bridleway from Scar House to Tor Dyke near the head of Coverdale. In its final stages, the bridleway appears to be all set to charge off towards Great Whernside, but this route turns away to head for Little Whernside instead. From there a steady descent sets you up for a return to the reservoirs.

This is a walk best left for good weather – the views will be longer and the peat underfoot drier. In those conditions a good day is guaranteed. So, if you have already done all the other Whernsides, try Little Whernside and complete the set.

England - North England - Yorkshire - Nidderdale

29/04/2019 - Jim Leigh

Great walk, all directions were spot on. Scar House Reservoir car park was free in April 2019.

05/05/2018 - Catherine Fish

It was lovely velum to be away from the crowds on a sunny dry bank holiday but do be aware of the big peat bogs that made a fairly short walk very hard work.

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