‘We’re going on a good walk today’, said Alan. To which Stefan piped up, ‘How far is good?’
Start time: 10.30 a.m. End time: 6 p.m.
Approximate distance: 15 miles.
Level of difficulty: moderate in terms of challenge posed by terrain (unless otherwise stated at certain stages mentioned below), high in terms of distance
new road surfaces (thanks to the Tour)
We started off following Alan downhill for a short way, then followed the road which went round and up to the right. The road surface was in excellent condition (the Tour de France effect is much in evidence in Yorkshire). We passed babbling brooks and moorland, cyclists and sheep as the path wound up and round.
We then went off the road, following a gravel footpath which took us up a gentle hill to the right. We passed hides and started to hear grouse calling. A very distinctive sound.
At the top we could see mounds of stone no doubt excavated from mines. We went to the pinnacle before turning to the left and making the gentle walk downhill, past derelict mines and grey dry stone walls. To the right there was a beck with bridges along the way, and to the left were mineshafts and the ruins of former smelting works.
Grouse flew, called and darted about and were visible all over the moors.
We came across the road again, crossed it, and walked along high ridges from which we had this wonderful view.
The ridge dipped sharply and some of us found this challenging. However not so challenging as the stepping stones we had to use to get across the brook at the bottom. One large stone was completely under water and covered in moss, making it a very slippery prospect. We managed to get across but not without a lot of ‘I can’t do it’s’ (from me).
However, once over it was relatively easy, passing through soundproofed woodland, calm, mossy and comforting.
A feature of the walk were its various but invariably narrow stiles, a challenge in themselves. When we emerged through this one the ground looked soft, springy and curvaceous. A hidden dell.
We proceeded on our way until we came out onto a gravel pathway which took us alongside Tiernswood Hall, which was magnificently hedged to keep it from prying eyes.
When we reached the end of what must have been the driveway, we turned left to the roadsigns, then left again, towards Reeth.
We eventually made it down to the river and followed the riverside footpath into Reeth which was pleasant and easy, over grass, and relatively flat. There were a lot more walkers along here.
When in Reeth it was as if we had come up for air as our heads bobbed up into the open space that was the centre of Reeth. We had a tea and cake stop. We were fairly silent. Exhausted. But after 20 minutes it was onwards and upwards. Up through Reeth to the left, along the road, then crossing down to the right side. We then walked through more fields of sheep. We also passed a fair few dead rabbits but we weren’t sure why.
More stepping stones and a walk along the beck, across a bridge then past farm animals, which included an attractive pack of sheep.
Lamgthwaite was in the distance and the Red Lion Inn looked like it might be a good place to have another well-earned rest before the last push home.
But strangely it was closing. Just for one hour.
So we forged ahead. At this stage we all seemed to possess a new burst of energy as we fairly sprung on through the next set of hillside fields.
Then we saw it. The back of the Charles Bathurst Inn. Wondered if it was some sort of mirage as we’d kept telling each other ‘There! There it is!’ for the past hour.
We passed a fine country home, made all the finer because it was the very one that we could see when looking out of the CB Inn.
There it was.
Downhill now before the last uphill. With a walled garden to the left and sculpted hedges to the right, we carried on and over the bridge. Thank goodness there was a bridge – as we did wonder what we would do if there hadn’t been one. The water looked too deep to cross without one.
Then we walked past more lambs before heading back uphill to the main road.
We reached the main road the turned left and walked back to the pub.
We got back just in time to down two pints before heading back to our rooms. Two pints of lime and soda that is.
Lime and soda. Now that’s a fantastic drink. And as for the walk, Alan, I wouldn’t call it a good walk. I’d call it an amazing one.