Thursday, 19 April 2012

Keld to Reeth on the Coast 2 Coast

Here continues our epic Swaledale one-dayer (for part one click here), which took us from the top of the moors at Tan Hill to the centre of Swaledale and the village of Reeth.

This was a day of varying landscapes and I think that made it a really interesting walk.

We pick up at the decidedly fairy-tale picturesque site of East Gill Force, where we stopped for a bite to eat. This is one of the many perfect picnic spots we were to see today!

looking over Crackpot Hall down Swaledale

We headed upwards off the valley path to take in the 18th century ruins of Crackpot Hall. This reminds me, look out for a forthcoming post about Swaledale's industrial past! We had a large walking party ahead of us so there was no need to work out the route, just follow the crowd as they headed up Swinner Gill, past the old lead mine and up East Grain. The skies had clouded over and a steady drizzle was getting us slowly soaked through, but fortunately this soon gave way to much better weather.

one of the Swinner Gill waterfalls

This was a steep little climb up to the head of the gill passing a number of waterfalls, before a complete change of scenery on the tops of the moors. This section reminded us of the railway path section on the Lyke Wake Walk, with nothing but moors in site for miles around.

the upper moors between Keld and Gunnerside Gill

Soon enough we reached Gunnerside Gill, and a climb down brought us out at Blackthwaite Smelt Mill. After a bit of a poke about at this very interesting site we headed upwards to the head of Gunnerside Gill.

the head of Gunnerside Gill

Again this brought us out onto the tops of the moors and a couple of miles of walk along a bridleway, once again taking us past many relics of Swaledale's industrial past. The most spectacular of these was the remains of Old Gang Smelting Mills.

Old Gang Smelting Mills

By now the sun was out and we had warmed up nicely. With the sun out the colours of springtime in the Dales become totally vibrant, with the lush green fields, blue rivers and streams, bright daffodils and specks of white of the newborn lambs dancing in the fields all around.

We came down past Surrender lead smelting mill and this brought us into the almost alpine scenery alongside Barney Beck. This tiny path follows the stream before heading up into the fields and offering once again some fantastic views. Calver Hill came into view before us, this being the hill that stands guard over Reeth, so the end of the walk was not too far away.

Calver Hill

We still had a fine stretch to go, by finally rejoining the river Swale just before the village of Healaugh. Good paths on both sides offer a fantastic riverside walk, with the added fun of stepping stones before fiunally crossing back over to the Reeth side of the river over the suspension bridge.

stepping stones over the river Swale

A final short pull up the hill brings you back to the village green and pubs at the heart of Reeth, perfect!

the square at Reeth

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