The Walk

Day 8 – Saturday 21st June, 2008 – Keld (Tan Hill) to Reeth

As usual, I awoke at around 4.45 and got up quietly around 6am so as not to wake the rest of the sleeping beauties.

After a great deal of packing and unpacking, sorting out hot spots and blisters on our feet we were ready for breakfast which was to be served in the dining area of the Inn. It was full so they kindly set up a table in the bar after first taking the chairs off the table. At around 9am a customer came in had a pint and left!!!

After the bill was paid we were loaded into a 4x4 pickup and dropped off at Keld where John, a distant relative of one of the group was joining us on the walk to Reeth.

Leaving Tan Hill
Leaving Tan Hill

The day started out fine and we were enjoying the walk, we had taken the low route along the Swale, having heard that this is a much prettier walk. Then the rain started, light at first and then that fine rain that goes on forever and makes everything wet. With waterproofs on again (at least we were getting good use out of them), we continued on our way, negotiating very thin stiles in dry stone walls and enjoying the beautiful hay meadows, with such a variety of wild flowers it almost took your breath away. We didn’t take too many photos as the most of the cameras were safely tucked away to keep them dry.

The Swale on our approach to Gunnerside
The Swale on our approach to Gunnerside

As we approached Gunnerside at around 1pm we were met by an elderly lady at the edge of the village who told us to go along to the village hall where the WI were serving lunch for £5 a head, and that they had not had many customers. We had one of the best lunches of the whole walk, and a good place and time to stop. We received a wonderful warm welcome as three members of our group belong to our local WI.

Gunnerside WI Ladies
Gunnerside WI Ladies

The climb out of Gunnerside on a full stomach was tough, with the rain continuing and poor visibility made the going uncomfortable for us all. The cloud came down and we were completely surrounded by it, and lost the path, so to keep everyone safe I decided to get down to the road asap. There was one member of the group who would have preferred to stay up in the hills, she had never been lost in low cloud and couldn’t understand the dangers.

We walked along the side of the B620 for about a mile and half and then picked up another footpath along the bottom beside the Swale. The rain didn’t take away the beauty of the surrounding area, with sheep continuing to graze, birds flitting around and the sound of the Swale beside us – It was almost perfect.

We arrived at our B&B at 5.30, dripping wet. What a lovely welcome we received at Walpardo in Anvil Street. (Jenny, Celia and I stayed here Val and Di were staying just around the corner in Hillary House). They helped us out of our wet gear and took it away to dry, including my Henry Stedman book! There was an open fire in the grate, providing lots of hot water for baths.

After we had all warmed up with tea and baths, we went along to the Buck and waited for Val and Di, the Canadian group were already seated and enjoying their meal. Val came up the street wearing a bin bag.

Designer rainwear by Val
Designer rainwear by Val

We moved down to the Black Bull for a meal as the Buck was full.

Steve and Chris were staying at the Black Bull and it was good to catch up with them. This pub was full of walkers, some we had seen on the walk over the last week. Jenny, Celia and I left at around 9.30, caught up with our hosts who told us of a murder that had taken place the day before in the next village (Grinton). Apparently a man had killed his wife with a hammer, their teenage son had called the police. She also told us about a paedophile who had just been to court, it was someone she had been to school with. There is nothing sleepy about village life!!!

Having caught up with the local gossip and written up my log, it was time for sleep at 10.20. 

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