We left the delightful hamlet of Thwaite and set off once more towards Muker, where, once we had taken on provisions, we headed upstream towards Crackpot Hall. There we would take to the hills, heading for Reeth across high moorland, traversing en route the extensively mined Gunnerside Gill. Yesterday we had followed one well-known long-distance path, now we would be following "Wainwright's Walk" - the Coast-to- Coast path. There was once a substantial industry in this most rural of dales, and a significant part of our walk today would take us past old workings. Apart from some surface buildings, there is much rough ground
where spoil has been tipped, and also the "hushes" where ore was exposed by damming streams, then releasing the water to scour the ground, in order to expose the veins of lead-bearing ore. Leaving Gunnerside Gill, we crossed extensive areas of levelled spoil, before dropping into the somewhat greener Hard Level Gill, which led us past the substantial remains of the Old Gang Mines. The weather had deteriorated here somewhat (hence no photos), and we took shelter for a while in the old buildings before heading on, via the southern slopes of Calver Hill and down into the attractive village of Reeth There was a choice of places to eat - we had just about made up our minds as we sat drinking a well- earned pint, when a familiar figure entered, and the volcano began its eruptions once more... We decided to revise our plans, reflecting that, if we were doing the Coast-to-Coast, we might well have been dodging the acrid fumes for the best part of a fortnight!
A square walk starting at Hawes - north to Thwaite, east to Reeth, south to Aysgarth and west to Hawes - July ‘95
A Yorkshire Square Walks with a Camera
Leaving the M6 near Lancaster, the road takes us through the heart of limestone country - we stopped for lunch, then took a stroll and a few snaps at Ribblehead
Day 1: To Hawes
Day 4: Reeth to Thoralby
The northbound and eastbound sides of our "square" had been on well-trodden routes. Now, southbound, we followed a route of our own devising. We left Reeth and headed for Grinton, where we crossed the Swale and took to the hills, crossing grouse moors and the secluded Apedale, before dropping down to Castle Bolton, where the attractive linear village is dominated by the huge bulk of (oddly enough) Bolton Castle. Now crossing pleasant pasture land, we took the direct path to
Carperby, where a drink or an ice cream would have gone down well - but there was nothing available, and we wandered on, turning south towards Aysgarth Falls. Shortly before arriving, the heavens opened - so we little alternative but to enter the tea- room and take advantage of its convenient shelter... Leaving the falls, where the Ure cascades over limestone shelves, we followed a delightful path to Tomgill Bridge, before arriving in the small village of Thoralby, where we would be spending the night at the George Inn. Once again, we dined well - minus volcano - though, had we known about the breakfasts, we would have eaten less....
Ribblehead Limestone pavement near Ingleborough
Day 2: Hawes to Thwaite
Today we would follow the Pennine Way. A flagged path took us through the fields towards Hardraw where, if the weather had not been so dry, we would have stopped to take a look at the famous "force". But it would have been just a trickle, so we had an ice cream instead... Leaving Hardraw, we began the long, gradual climb up to Great Shunner Fell - an excellent spot for lunch. The heavy Pennine Way traffic along this high peat upland has caused extensive damage to the path - so that repairs have been made to lengthy
stretches, using what looked like second-hand stone slabs - which made quite a neat, natural- looking way. After our leisurely lunch, we began the long descent to Swaledale, where our day's walking ended - almost. There being no pub in Thwaite, we had to walk the mile or so to Muker, where excellent food and drink was available at the Farmer's Arms ("best chips in the dale" we heard later). The excellent food was almost ruined by the eruption of a volcano nearby, which turned out to be merely some antisocial individual with a huge pipe. A quick move around the corner found us a smoke-free area. The walk from Thwaite to Muker is hardly an imposition, a fair part of the route being through fine natural hay meadows.
Hawes station - recently laid track River Ure near Hawes The path to Great Shunner Fell Muker - "I bet there are some bullheads in there" Catching bullheads
Day 3: Thwaite - Reeth
Booting up at Thwaite Meadows, Muker River Swale near Muker Looking back into Swaledale from Crackpot Hall Swinnergill and the Swale Approaching Gunnerside Gill Blakethwaite mine remains Gunnerside Gill Reeth Reeth Reeth Last look at Swaledale The lane into Castle Bolton Castle Bolton The Post Office, Castle Bolton Bolton Castle Aysgarth mill The Ure at Aysgarth Limestone shelves, Aysgarth Bishopdale
Day 5: Thoralby - Hawes - and home again.
The breakfast was truly excellent, though I have to admit I had to give up when we got to the toast and marmalade stage. I got the distinct impression that they are a kind of challenge! Certainly, the George is highly recommended to those who enjoy their food! I didn't feel the need to eat anything else before I arrived home, some eight hours and 150 miles later.
We struggled up to a low grassy upland and made our way to Thornton Rust, on a low shelf above Wensleydale. Here we headed for Worton bridge and made our way to Askrigg, where we put our feet up for a little while before continuing along a pleasant shelf to Sedbusk. Here we began the descent back down to the Ure, completing the "square" that we had begun a few days previously - and what an enjoyable walk it had been. Now for the M6 and home.
Leaving the George Looking back to Bishopdale Leaving Bishopdale A neat arrangement of cows, Gill Beck Which way now? Approaching Thornton Rust The path to Sedbusk Journey's end in sight!
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