George Wilkinson climbs up among the wildlife deep in upper Wensleydale at Burtersett.

BURTERSETT is a dozen or so old houses, all made of stone with heavy roofs and narrow, mullioned windows. It is found deep in upper Wensleydale, at a thousand feet of altitude on the north-facing flank of the valley. We had another thousand feet of climbing to reach Wether Fell, so without ado and as lively as the flitting house martins, we set off up the track.

Wether Fell was under the weather as were the tops all around but, as we climbed, the views of the valley lengthened, aglow in soft sunshine.

After an hour or so and with most of the ascent done, we hit the cloud and reached a spacious terrace of grassland, another world, cocooned in bright mist.

Sheep eyed us all the way, lapwing cried, a skylark ascended to the clouds and an electronic bleep made Lesley check her camera.

But this was a golden plover and they bleeped and watched us for ages, showing off their pretty profiles.

Limestone country means conical sinkholes, there are many, tent to truck sized. We sandwiched in a comfortably quarried one

A probe on to Wether Fell brought the delight of mountain pansies coloured yellow or a yellow/purple mix, but it also brought boggy peat and even a tuft of heather. So we backed out and skirted the Fell, as people obviously do. Visibility was reduced to a hundred yards, cheating us of any more views.

And that brought us to Cam High Road, which has a surface of grass, stone and bedrock. It heads down to the fort site at Bainbridge. The road twists then descends Roman straight.

It rained, we pulled on waterproofs, a walker came past in shorts, and after a mile or more we turned off down to Burtersett.

Yorburgh is a hill that looms large. Fronting it is an extensive shallow depression called Yorburgh Hole. This we bypassed and after a pasture with cotton grass and a few little streams, we were walking a buttercup meadow back into sunny Burtersett.

An exciting route, but for readers needing more, Northern Paragliding is here in the old Methodist chapel. Simply (after their training) buy the giant £350 rucksack, get to the top and jump off.

We settled for civilised pleasures a mile down the road at Hawes.

Fact file:

Distance: Five and a half miles.

Time: Three or four hours.

General location: Yorkshire Dales.

Start: The village of Burtersett.

Right of way: The route is along public rights of way, with a 'usage' deviation.

Date walked: Friday, June 6 2003.

Road route: A684 from Leyburn.

Car parking: Roadside in Burtersett.

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: Hawes.

Tourist and public transport information: Hawes TIC 01969 667450.

Map: Based on OS Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales Northern and Central areas.

Terrain: Fell side and tops.

Points of interest: The Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes 01969 667450 or At the moment there is an exhibition of landscape prints called Lasting Impression, later one called Women Off The Wall, not French rock climbers.

Difficulty: Moderate in fine weather, 1,000 foot climb to 2,000 feet.

Dogs: Suitable.

Weather Forecast: Evening Press and recorded forecast 0891 500 418.

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.

1 Uphill past village green (with bench), road on right (signed dead-end), 50 yards, gated track on left uphill (signed 'Wether Fell 2 miles').

2 At fork, ignore right that leads 100 yards to fieldgate and nearby squeezer. Instead, left fork 100 yards, pass wall corner and continue on track, gateway after tin hut.

3 Deviate from OS map to avoid bog. Fieldgate and right and stay near wall/fence by right, path skirts sinkholes and contours round Wether Fell.

4 Left to stone track (Cam High Road). Fieldgate to walled track.

5 Gated squeezer by wooden fieldgate on left signed 'Footpath to Burtersett 1 mile', (here, on right, there is a metal fieldgate and footpath sign to Marsett). Squeezer, (one step streams), wall gap, 11 o'clock to corner of wood, squeezer, 11 o'clock, squeezer, path on right-hand side of meadow, squeezer to road.

Click here to view a map of the walk

Updated: 09:11 Saturday, June 14, 2003