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Scar House Reservoir to Little Whernside and Angram Reservoir

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

Extensive free car parking at Scar House Reservoir (SE 068766)

Ordnance Survey Map

Yorkshire Dales Northern and Central Areas OL30.

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Distance:  9.8 miles

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North Yorkshire walk Scar House Reservoir to Little Whernside and Angram Reservoir - sketch map

To view route as a dynamic Ordnance Survey map click here.

Introduction: Yorkshire is blessed with three Whernsides. There is “Whernside”  736 metres (2415ft) high and one of the “Three Peaks”. There is Great Whernside which by some quirk of Yorkshire logic is lower at 704 metres (2310ft) and finally we have Little Whernside at 604m (1,981 feet). Poor Little Whernside is somewhat forgotten and this walk was an attempt to rectify that. It is in effect a continuation of the Great Whernside broad ridge but most people climb Great Whernside from Kettlewell and they never get as far as Little Whernside before descending again.

This walk runs along one shore of each of Scar House and Angram Reservoirs, filled by the river Nidd built to supply the Bradford area, with the ascent of Little Whernside in between. From its summit there are extensive views along Coverdale to the north and Nidderdale to the south east although they were rubbish on the day I recorded this walk! Conditions were **** (add your own expletive!). This was a shame because there would normally be great. Just one of those things.

There are “groughs” (peaty gullies) and the walk can be very boggy so gaiters are recommended. Some of the bog can be quite deep so be careful where you walk. Walking poles are useful for probing!

There is extensive parking at Scar House Reservoir where the walk starts. However it is not the easiest of places to find. Turn off the B6265 by the river bridge in Pateley Bridge, signposted for Ramsgill, Lofthouse and Middlesmoor. Continue along this road past the expanse of Gouthwaite Reservoir and Ramsgill until you reach a right turn signposted with a small road sign for Masham 10 miles. It is easy to miss this turn but some blue warning signs saying Unsuitable for Goods Vehicles and Buses also indicate it. Do not turn on to this road - the turn into the reservoir road is immediately after this turn on the right. It is quite a long road in - about 3/4 miles. Park as close to the dam as you can. There are information/picnic tables/toilets etc.

Start: Start at the Scar House Reservoir car park (SE 068766). Cross the magnificent stone built dam and turn left along the path closest to the north shore of Scar House reservoir. As the reservoir narrows, pass a very nice shelter with bench seating at SE050771. Shortly after this, go through a gateway and turn right following a wall on the right (SE050771). There is a signpost for Angram Reservoir.

Scar House reservoir

Angram reservoir

On reaching a series of gates which form sheepfolds, continue through them, following the line of the wall straight ahead. Note the sheepfolds as they mark a junction on your return. The path becomes a walled lane for a short distance. At the junction with another track to the right, ignore this and keep straight ahead. Go through a gate on to the open fell and continue to climb the rough track with the wall on your right. The path swings round to the left and the flat plateau of Little Whernside becomes obvious.

Approach to Little Whernside

You arrive at the flat ridge by a gateway (SE 044782) where there is a fingerpost for Braidley. Do not go through it but turn left and follow the fence line on your right climbing towards Little Whernside. The fence becomes a wall. Continue to follow this line of ascent, eventually going through a walkers gate.

There is little to mark the boggy summit (SE 028776), other than the remains of a stone cairn which you might miss, but as you progress along the line of the wall the ground begins to fall gently away to the saddle between Little Whernside and the Great Whernside/Black Dike End ridge. As you descend you will see a path coming towards you but bearing away to your left at an angle. Join this path turning left to head downhill back towards the reservoirs.

The path is quite faint in places but stay on it and ignore a broad track to the right. Shortly after this broad track, go through a gate.

Cross another wall at a ruined gateway then two more walls. When you arrive back at the sheepfolds, turn right down to the broad track running parallel with the water and turn right to Angram Reservoir.

If you lose the route of the path you can descend at virtually any point between the two reservoirs to the broad track mentioned above, although the rough ground can make it hard work. Look out for a ruined barn (SE 043767). The broad track is just over 100 yards below it.

West end of Scar House Reservoir

Angram reservoir dam


shelter interior

Cross Angram dam and turn left following the direction of the fingerpost for Scar House Circular. Pass another shelter (SE 045763). Follow the broad tarmac track back to the car park.

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All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.