WALK over Wild Boar Fell, Yorkshire Dales’ fourth highest peak, and visit a remote tarn that remained nameless until June 2017 when it was dubbed Swarth Fell Tarn as a tribute to Alfred Wainwright, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. Wild Boar Fell, which is part of Mallerstang Common, was brought into the Yorkshire Dales National Park in August 2016.

Park near Cotegill Bridge on the B6259, Moorcock Inn to Kirkby Stephen road (map reference SD 774 969).


Distance: 6.5 miles with 1,500 feet of ascent

Time: 4 hours

Terrain: fell paths and open fell

Maps: OS Explorer OL19


1 From Cotegill Bridge walk northwards along the B6259 to Aisgill Farm. Immediately after crossing the gill turn left, go through a metal gate and follow the track to pass under the railway viaduct. Aisgill is the highest point reached by main line trains in England. It was the scene of a fatal rail accident in January 1995 when a northbound train was derailed across both tracks by a landslide and struck a few minutes later by a southbound train. Go through a metal gate then turn right and walk above a wall on the right, passing a small waterfall on the left. At the top of a slope where the wall bends right keep straight on over open fell, passing a sheepfold and reaching a limestone pavement. Keep left of a tumbled wall ahead and join the waymarked Pennine Bridleway, curving round the edge of a slope. On reaching a wall at the top of the ascent (High Dolphinsty) turn left. Ascend the ridge path up to a cairn on the summit of The Nab. The path bears right passing cairns to reach the 2,323-feet top of Wild Boar Fell, reputed to be where the last wild boar in England was killed. An Ordnance Survey column enclosed by a stone wind shelter marks the summit. Near the edge of the scar on the left are 11 tall pillars and three shorter ones. These are similar to those on other hills in the area but it is not known who built them or why. From a distance they look like people, which suggests that they may have been built to deter Scottish raiders.

2 Continue ahead along a faint path with a fence on the left and after passing a cairn descend to the corner of the fence and a wall on the right. Cross the stile and view a "brooding little stretch of water where its dark, peaty surface is constantly being ruffled by the wind blowing through the fellside gap," as described by Ron Scholes, cartographer, author and friend of Alfred Wainwright. This tarn has recently been named Swarth Fell Tarn as a tribute to Wainwright.

3 Walk uphill alongside a wall on the right passing a small shallow tarn on the left. A cairn marks the stony 2,136-feet top of Swarth Fell Pike. Continue downhill alongside the wall and then a fence to a dip containing a rocky tarn. Turn left and walk over rough fell descending beside the boggy watercourse of Far Cote Gill. Hellgill waterfall may be spotted on the opposite side of the valley below. Head towards a white building in the distance and past a metal post. Continue descending beside Far Cote Gill keeping to the left of a waterfall to a stile by the road opposite the parking area where the walk began.

Next week: Blencathra from Mungrisedale

NB: restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.