Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell - a walk on the wild side Walking

Wild Boar Fell is one of the highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, but its visitor numbers are tiny in comparison to the likes of Ingleborough and Whernside. The few who do make the trip to Wild Boar Fell, and the even smaller number who also ascend its sister peak Swarth Fell, tend to set out from Mallerstang in the east, leaving this approach from Uldale in the west all but deserted. These are not jagged mountains and there is little chance of an adrenaline rush, but there are few places in England where you can feel quite so removed from society.

Approaching Swarth Fell from Wild Boar Fell © Chris Scaife  © Chris Scaife
Approaching Swarth Fell from Wild Boar Fell © Chris Scaife
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Detailed description

1
SD7270497337 Looking east from the minor road, the two summits should be visible. Wild Boar Fell, its summit plateau marked by a group of cairns, is on the left and Swarth Fell on the right. Head up the grassy hillside towards the cairns on Wild Boar Fell, passing numerous shakeholes and a handful of small limestone outcrops. The gentle slope steepens just before the group of cairns, then things level off. Follow a faint path north-east on the plateau to reach the trig point, enclosed within a wind shelter that is often a welcome sight. This is a viewpoint that gives a real panorama of the Lakes, Howgills, Morecambe Bay and the Three Peaks.
Wild Boar Fell's shadow points towards Mallerstang  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
Wild Boar Fell's shadow points towards Mallerstang
© Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com

2
SD7580298801 From the summit, return towards the cairns and then follow the fence south towards the col between the two hills, where there is a small tarn. Cross the stile at the point where the fence meets a drystone wall coming up from Uldale Gill, then head uphill on the path, staying left of the wall. Swarth Fell's summit is marked by a large cairn about a hundred metres from the wall and offers views down into Mallerstang and across to Great Shunner Fell.

3
SD7559096666 Continue across the summit and stay parallel to the drystone wall. Where this wall turns right, cross the fence via a stile and follow the wall downhill. There are numerous boggy sections on this descent, some where bright green sphagnum overlies waist-deep water, so tread carefully. A short distance from the valley bottom, there is a wooden gate in the wall, with a faint footpath traversing the hillside. Turn right here, on to A Pennine Journey - a modern route based on Alfred Wainwright's 211-mile solitary walk undertaken in 1938.
Walking through cotton grass on the way down Swarth Fell  © Chris Scaife
Walking through cotton grass on the way down Swarth Fell
© Chris Scaife

4
SD7457194803 The path, in keeping with much of this walk, is mostly faint and boggy. It briefly becomes a bold track at Whin Stone Gill Bridge, then all but disappears, but the way on is fairly obvious. Aim for Blea Gill Bridge - a stone bridge at the top of a deep, wooded ravine - where a big track is met. Follow this track past Uldale House and back to the road.

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