Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A Swaledale Tour - Muker to Keld

We decided to do this walk at short notice, making the most of the good Spring weather. We headed out through the Swale valley, through Reeth, Low Row and Gunnerside before parking up at Muker.

Muker is a tiny picturesque village right out in the depths of Swaledale, an absolutely lovely setting. Our route would take us from Muker high up along the side of Kisdon fell overlooking the valley below. Just before reaching Keld we crossed the river and returned on the opposite river bank.

The walk started with a good little climb up Kisdon, until we reached the Pennine Way. We followed the path northwards, with just the Swaledale sheep for company - we met very few people out today.
Looking backwards we had fantastic views back down to Muker and Muker Common overlooking the village. Further west we could see Great Shunner Fell looming in the distance.

The walk along the side of Kisdon was fantastic, it was hard not to stop every few seconds to take another picture of the Swale and its many stone barns that were strung out along the dale. We had great views over to Swinner Gill and Crackpot Hall high on the other side.

We then started descending back down towards the river. Just before reaching Keld we followed the Pennine Way all the way down to the river. We had a brief stop at the very picturesque East Gill Force before pressing on.

As well as the old stone barns, there was plenty of evidence that this used to be a working valley, with other old machinery, spoil heaps and spectacular stone mine arches being all that remained from this former industrial landscape.

The land all around us was very lush and green, and the well made paths made for quite different walking to other trails and paths we have walked in the region. Soon enough we reached the footbridge taking us back over the Swale and back towards Muker.


The last few fields had an unusual narrow stone-flagged path to follow, with instructions not to walk off the path and to keep to single file! The reason being that the fields we were crossing were traditional hay meadows. Claire's colleague told us to return here in Summer when the meadows are in full flower - will do.

We were soon back where we started, and it was a fabulous walk that I am sure we will be doing again.

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