We Say Goodbye To The Dales As We Head ‘Up North’…
It was time to get back on the trail after two much needed rest days. With our aches and pains almost gone, blisters finally better and food rations stocked up, we were set for continuing ‘up north’. The highlight of the next 3 days for us would be reaching the ‘halfway’ point on the Pennine Way. This is officially marked by the Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in Great Britain, providing us with a perfect photo opportunity and chance for a pint along the way!
Gorgeous views looking down the valley to Muker.
Day 13 – Hawes to Keld. (13.2 miles) – Sunday 6th July 2014 – ‘Soaking Up The Dales’
We were sad to be leaving the lovely Dales town of Hawes. But we’d been told that the walk into Keld had some stunning views for us to look forward to, so it wasn’t all bad. Especially as when we were leaving the campsite, the owners of Bainbridge Ings kindly donated £10 to Macmillan to support our fundraising efforts. That put a smile on our faces.
Leaving Hawes and setting off on the Pennine Way once more…
But we won’t lie, getting up early and getting back on the trail was hard. The bags somehow seemed heavier whilst our feet seemed slower and we still had such a long way to go. It didn’t help matters that to start the day we knew we’d be walking uphill for the first 6 miles. An uphill walk that was opposite the Buttertubs Hill – the one that the cyclists had powered up yesterday to see who was ‘King of the Hill’! One word – a ‘killer’ of a hill!
Going past the Buttertubs Hill, complete with giant bicycle.
Gorgeous skies today!
Heading uphill… Only for the first 6 miles.
The beautiful English countryside!
Soaking up the Dales!
Bog that looks quite beautiful when you don’t have to wade through it!
But we powered on, just like the cyclists and made it to the top of Great Shunner Fell. At 716 metres it was the highest point on the Pennine Way so far and a good place to stop for lunch. It was a rare treat to have Wensleydale cheese with cranberries in today’s wraps – delicious!
Continuing on to reach Great Shunner Fell…
Hawes was already becoming a distant memory down the valley…
Wensleydale cheese with cranberries is a lunch time winner!
We set off again, reaching our next stop along the way which was the village of Thwaite. We were glad of a ‘coffee shop’ joined to the hotel as our feet were aching from walking two miles along a stone track.
The stone track that hurt our feet after walking a few miles along it.
When we’re away from home, this is how we picture England. And this is what we love about it!
The next section from Thwaite to Keld was one of the most scenic of the day, particularly as we had good weather. Blue skies and fluffy clouds always make for a good photo! Wayne even took the opportunity to stop on the hillside to capture a timelapse sequence of the moving clouds and the intermittent sun. It was a perfect spot looking down the valley onto the village of Muker where a festival was in full swing.
Perfect skies for a time lapse.
We continued on to Keld along the high route, which although scenic presented us with a lot of obstacles. Dodging ferns and boulders made a 13 mile day seem unusually long. Not really what we wanted on a day that was hard going on the feet with lots of uphill.
Taking the high route to Keld.
A lovely circular day walk would be to start in Muker, then walk to Keld along the river valley bottom, returning to Muker on the high route which we travelled along.
We arrived in Keld well after 6pm and stayed at Rukins Park Lodge Campsite. They have a great deal for ‘walkers’ as it’s only £5 per person including hot showers. The showers, toilets and pot wash facilities are in green shipping containers which is quite a novel idea. There is also a cafe and small shop where you book in for a pitch, but this was closed by the time we arrived.
The charming Rukins Park Lodge Cafe that we’ll return to on the Coast to Coast Walk.
We were that tired, we didn’t even walk up the hill to the main field to pitch our tent. Instead we opted for a patch of grass near the entrance gate close to the shipping containers. We soon got the tent up so we could escape the midges. (Ever present and even more annoying!) Then it was a quick shower and fishcake sandwiches for dinner before bedtime.
Day 14 – Keld to Clove Lodge, Baldersdale. (14.5 miles) – Monday 7th July 2014 – ‘Entering Bog Zone At The Halfway Point’
From Keld in Swaledale we said goodbye to the Yorkshire Dales for now. (We’ll be returning to Keld in the near future as it’s also on the Coast to Coast route).
Our lasting impression of the Yorkshire Dales.
Our first experience of Durham, lots of boggy ground!
Dark clouds make for an ominous walk!
We made it to the Tan Hill Inn by 11:30am, which was already bustling with walkers. We found out that it’s not just the highest pub in England, but in fact the Tan Hill Inn is the highest pub in Great Britain! (There’s a Guinness World Records Certificate to prove it!) And it’s also the official ‘halfway’ point in the Pennine Way.
Looking across to the Tan Hill Inn – it really is the only sign of civilisation for miles around.
The ‘highest’ pub in Great Britain.
As it was early we opted for a mug of tea and made use of the wi-fi. Yes, even in the middle of nowhere it’s possible to get on the ‘net’ – sometimes.
The Tan Hill Inn is the halfway marker on the Pennine Way!
We set off again around midday and found ourselves entering Durham, an unknown territory for us. Unfortunately, we also found ourselves entering ‘bog zone’ for the first time too! Durham Council had not seen fit to provide us with a lovely slabbed pathway so that we could cross the moors without getting our feet wet, so we had to make our own way across the dreaded bog as best we could.
Preparing to head across the moors…
Wayne trudging ahead through the bog while I’m literally stuck!
We continue forth…
It wasn’t all bad! The scenery improved after the boggy section!
Reaching another cairn means another step closer!
A lovely stream for us to filter some drinking water.
Thankfully, after that section it was mostly walking across farmland and meadows before we reached the A66 underpass.
We continued on to ‘Clove Lodge’ our destination for the night, which is a farm guesthouse with camping barn right next to the Pennine Way at Baldersdale. We just wanted a spot to pitch our tent, so they offered us a little enclosed garden area and use of an unused guest room ensuite for £5 each. Perfect for us, apart from the dreaded midges again that appeared in their thousands! The beds looked so comfy in the guest room that I just wanted to ditch my sleeping bag and snuggle up in one! It was such a tease!
Heading to our destination right on the Pennine Way – Clove Lodge.
Camping in the little enclosed garden area. Beautiful apart from the ever-present midges!
But no luxuries tonight. It was one of our usual camping meals for dinner – tuna and cous cous. This time with the added extra of a Dairylea roll! Then straight to sleep. The downside being a very wet tent in the morning as it rained all through the night.
Day 15 – Clove Lodge to Middleton in Teesdale to Wild Camp. (13.1 miles) – Tuesday 8th July 2014 – ‘Just A Bit Further’
We set the alarm for 6am hoping to be away early. But as we needed the tent to dry off before we left, and to avoid the midges at first light, we ended up having a lazy morning and didn’t set off until nearer 10am.
After climbing over lots of stiles and going through lots of gates (again), our first port of call today was Middleton in Teesdale. We needed a couple of hours in town to resupply with food, then we were going to push on and find a suitable wild camp spot for the night so we’d have less miles to walk the following day.
Setting off for Middleton in Teesdale.
Another stile to add to the tally!
Crossing wild meadows.
A beautiful English country cottage we passed on the way into Middleton in Teesdale.
Our first stop wasn’t the Co-op though as we were too tempted by the chippy for lunch.
Large chips to share.
It was a good re-stock in the Co-op after as we bought some fresh pasta and goat’s cheese for dinner! (I am addicted to goat’s cheese and eat it at every opportunity!) No super noodles tonight, yippee!
We also treated ourselves to a coffee at the cafe next door as we needed to repack our bags. It was a good impromptu stop as the lady serving kindly gave us both a citronella wrist band to try and combat the midges when she heard about our stressful camping episodes and attack of the midges along the Pennine Way.
Thank you to the kind lady who gave us citronella wrist bands to try and combat the midges.
When we left Middleton in Teesdale, we were surprised to see a sign indicating we were only ’23 miles from Scotch Corner’. Wow, that helped to put it into perspective how far we had already walked!
Leaving Middleton in Teesdale in search of a good wild camp spot for the night.
Walking alongside the River Tees.
Another river crossing.
Slightly nervous on the swing bridge!
We had a spring in our step as we carried on despite the bags being heavier once again now that we’d restocked with all sorts of goodies! We were hoping to find a wild camp spot beyond High Force, one of the waterfalls in the area that is popular with day walkers.
Long exposure shot of ‘Low Force’.
On route Wayne happened to save another sheep (this is number 3) that had somehow got separated from it’s mother and ended up in a field by itself. Reunited again, it was the perfect picture of happiness! (Remember we’re still clocking up all this good karma).
More optimistic as the sky brightens.
Not the sheep Wayne rescued!
We managed to find what we thought was a good wild camp spot just after the quarry beyond the Low and High Force waterfalls. I say ‘thought was a good spot’ as after the wind dropped and the sun went down it was attack of the midges yet again!
Continuing along the River Tees to ‘High Force’.
In front of High Force waterfall.
Luckily the rain that had been forecast held off and our spirits remained high as we had the goat’s cheese pasta to look forward to for dinner.
Top menu tonight! My favourite trail dinner so far!
We didn’t manage to get a photo of the wild camp spot as we were too busy hunkered down in the tent hiding from the midges. What we learnt from all of this though is that ‘citronella’ definitely does not stop them. Our great new wrist bands, apart from smelling nice, were not effective in ridding us of the midges at all. We’re seriously hoping midge season will end SOON!
Another 3 days down and well over half way along the Pennine Way! Heading to Dufton next and Wayne’s birthday is in a few days…