A lovely day above Swaledale with classic Yorkshire countryside – moors, dales, drystone walls and barns.
James Herriot’s Yorkshire, a pictorial book authored by the late English vet many years ago and with photos by Derry Brabbs (who subsequently went on to take the photos for many books produced with Alfred Wainwright) gives a very good overview of this area. He calls Swaledale “the most beautiful part of England”; at the risk of being a traitor to my county of birth I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but it is undeniably attractive. Herriott also describes, in the “Youth Hostels” chapter of the book, a walk that visits Keld, where he stayed at the Keld Lodge (then a Youth Hostel) and then continues along the current c2c route past Crackpot Hall, a former shooting lodge, and the Swinner Gill Lead Mines through to Melbecks Moor, at which point he turns to Gunnerside and eventually reaches Reeth.
At Melbecks Moor we continued east across the top of the moors and suddenly found ourselves joined by many others – but runners not walkers – it being the day of the Swaledale Marathon, and when we reached Reeth it was packed with runners recuperating in the various pubs which were also filled with spectators and supporters.
Because of the marathon, Reeth’s accomodations were fully booked, so we continued on to a small village called Marrick for the evening.
(Total distance approx. 15 miles)