Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dales Walks: Simon's Seat

Overlooking Appletreewick and Burnsall is a feature called Simon's Seat. The name, from what I can gather, comes from the name given to a baby found in the location by a Shepard way back in time. Where ever the name comes from, it's a feature worth looking at as the trig point adds a little challenge to the ascent.

My ascent of Simon's Seat commenced in Appletreewick. The weather in the morning had started, well to put it simply, wet. I was lucky though that around lunch time the sun made a showing, so I quickly got ready and set off.

Blue skies, some rain clouds still evident.

The path to the the base of Simon's Seat starts off on the Dales Way. Once Howgill is reached, rather than taking a sharp right to continue on the Dales Way, you instead go straight on towards Howgill Lane. Once at Howgill Lane there is a sign from the Bolton Abbey Estate. Simon's Seat is in an open access area under the CROW act, so no dogs allowed. A couple of hundred meters up from the road I decided to take a break before heading up the hill proper, which turned out to be a good idea.

The view to Appletreewick from above Howgill road.

The route up through the forest is steep to say the least. So steep that I realised the way back down was going to be rough on the knees, so walking poles might be advised if you have knee problems. After a climb of about 150 meters the path does start to shallow out and becomes easier as it winds it's way up onto the moor. The path at this point has taken a swing from travelling east to northeast.

As you reach the plateau, Simon's Seat comes into view. The rocky outcrop looks like quite a complex structure.

Simon's Seat coming into view.

The path up to the outcrop changes considerably as you enter an area of erosion reduction where the path is very man made to protect the surrounding terrain. This path works it's way up the side of Simon's Seat where there was a surprise in store. Every view I had had at this point was of one rocky structure. It is in fact two structures. one behind the other.

Rear outcrop.

Front outcrop.

Reaching the trig point on Simon's Seat is quite a challenge. I found that it was easiest to reach up to the trig point from the east side and climb back down from the west. Which ever way, take care, slow and steady is the way to go here. The views from Simon's Seat are breath taking. I'm a Yorkshire lad and I could see Emley Moor Mast, a stones throw from my home and a good forty miles to the south.

The trip point on Simon's Seat.

The trip point itself.

Around the trig point itself are a few areas that are sheltered, lucky for me as the heavens opened at this point. In my quest to get to the trig point a dark cloud had sneaked in and snatched the sun. It hailed for around 15 minutes while I sat and watched it from my little shelter having a snack and drink. Once the hail had reduced itself to a light rain shower I donned my waterproof jacket and headed of to make a start on the descent.

As I mentioned earlier, the descent is not easy. I could well imagine that if you were to pick up speed, stopping would be difficult. It's also tough on the knees with plenty of ankle breakers to complicate things. But once your down, it feels good to walk on nice smooth grass.

It's not big by any means, and only about 6 miles round trip. But it makes a good challenge for a few hours and the rewards are some fantastic views.