|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||6.5 miles (10.5 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The Buttertubs Pass is a hill Pass which crosses south-north from Hawes in Wensleydale to Thwaite in Swaledale. Along the way, it climbs to a summit of 526 m above sea level. The name is said to come from the potholes in the valley of the Cliff Beck. These were apparently used by farmers to store butter in hot weather on their way to market in Wensleydale, presumably to turn into cheese!
Starting in the picturesque market town of Hawes, famed for its associations with James Herriot, the road doesn't seem too tricky at first. It turns off the A684 at the eastern end of the town centre one-way loop, and (after passing a sign telling us this is the C32) winds across the bridge over the River Wensley up to a T-junction. Of course, this isn't really part of the pass, just one of the more common approaches. After a dog leg left and then taking the next right, the pass proper begins as the road climbs up through some trees. The view ahead is almost cliff like, but the road swings westwards and runs up the flank of the hill, neatly bypassing the really steep bit.
The road steepens before turning into the narrow gulley of the Fossdale Gill. The ascent eases, but is still steady until it reaches the summit, and immediately crosses the crest of the pass and starts the descent into the even tighter gulley of the Cliff Beck. The gradient isn't too bad to begin with, but increases steadily until it sweeps around a double bend, taking it out of the valley and onto the ridge that drops steeply down to the B6270 at Thwaite in Swaledale.