Date walked: 16th September 2014

Distance walked: 5.3 miles

Maps used : OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales (Southern and Western areas) and OL19 (Howgill Fells and the Upper Eden Valley)

Guide book: A Dales High Way Companion by Tony and Chris Grogan

**********

I had stayed last night in the George and Dragon, right in the middle of this most attractive of Dales villages. Breakfast was served in the lower dining  room and was a most civilised affair with no musak, linen table clothes and coffee in cafetieres. The fresh fruit salad of grapefruit, melon and grapes was excellent, though my poached eggs were overcooked.

Today’s itinerary was based on the assumption that Bob and I were going finish our 5 day walk  at Sedburgh and would then  driving back to Skipton and then home. Because he couldn’t make it in the end, I had booked the night in the Dalesman Country Inn (where my bags were being taken to and where I had stayed the night when I walked the Dales Way last year) and had extended the walk by two more days, continuing on the Dales High Way to its finish at Appleby-in-Westmorland.

I liked the pub and Sedburgh so although this was really just a stroll I was looking forward to it. And the sun was shining, if a little weakly.

From the village both Dales Ways share their route to Barth Bridge on the River Dee. Pause to admire the river.

The River Dee at Barth Bridge, Cumbria, photographed from The Dales High Way by Charles Hawes

The river is pretty low in its banks

A pair of ducks caused me to open up my British Birds App on the Iphone but I still wasn’t sure what they were.

Ducks on the river Dee at Barth Bridge, Cumbria, photographed by Charles Hawes

Common Merganser? Widgeon? It’s not a very good pic, I know.

The bridge marks the parting of the Ways (nice pun, eh) with the Dales High Way taking a lane that crosses Blea Beck Gill and then rises steeply towards Long Moor.

Sycamore on the High Dales Way, Cumbria, photographed by Charles Hawes

A superb sycamore

At Lunds Farm ……

Lunds Farm, Cumbria, photographed from The Dales High Way by Charles Hawes

The cross was unusual

…the lane becomes a track with walls either side. Someone was in the process of carefully re-building a section of wall.

Wall building on the Dales High Way, Cumbria, photographed by Charles Hawes

Just showing that such walls need foundations sometimes

I passed  a classic stone barn sitting tidily in its field…..

Stone barn near Sedburgh, Cumbria, photographed from The Dales High Way by Charles Hawes

…… so was all the more surprised to then see a heap of junk a little further on that had been dumped in a sink hole.

Dumped rubbish on the moor near Sedburgh, photographed from The Dales High Way by Charles Hawes

Shame on you!

The moor flattened out around here and ahead, over the other side of  the valley the Howgill Fells immediately began to exert a pull.

View to the Howgill Fells, photographed on ther approach to Sedburgh by Charles Hawes

I was so glad that I had extended to walk to explore them and at the same time sad that Bob was to miss them.

It was a little tricky to be sure of my route here, but I was pretty certain that I was on the right track when I reached the sharply meandering trickle of Holebeck Gill.

Holebeck Gill, photographed from The High Dales Way by Charles Hawes

Classic meandering erosion in miniature

The valley deepened, affording shelter and an opportunity for some trees to have gained a foothold.

Holebeck Gill, near Sedburgh, photographed from The Dales High Way by Charles Hawes

It was only a little further on, though, that the moor gave way to grazing land, Sedburgh just a mile of so away and it was only around Midday.

View to Sedburgh from The Dales Haigh Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

To avoid a walk alongside the A683 I took the back lane to Sedburgh via Millthrop, the hedgerows full of autumnal berries and sloes.

Sloes in the hedgerow near Sedburgh, Cumbria, photographed by Charles Hawes

Better in Gin

The Dales Way approaches Millthrop from the other end of the village but both routes then join to cross over the River Rawthey. Last year I was struck by how attractive the hamlet was; this year I was bowled over by the kitsch taste of one property at the  other end of the village.

Kitsch  house in Milltrop, Cumbria, photographed by Charles Hawes

Irony is no excuse – and I bet this was just bad taste

Gate of kitsch  house in Milltrop, Cumbria, photographed by Charles Hawes

Is it cruel to hang teletubbies from gates and trees?

Sedburgh is a smashing little town, dominated by the facilities and buildings of its public school.

Building in Sedburgh, photographed by Charles Hawes

Though I didn’t find out what this building’s history was

In the churchyard of St Andrews, I made a detour to gaze in awe at some sponsored sheep (they were all over the town) and to listen briefly at the door to the choir singing someone up to heaven.

Sheep in the churchyard of St Andrews, Sedburgh, photographed by Charles Hawes

Fun or pants? I couldn’t decide

The Dalesman Country Inn  is just around the corner from the church and my bags were waiting and the room ready. It was a cosy (some would say cramped but I’ll stick to cosy) single but was en-suite and I liked it immediately. I could see the fells from my window and the forecast for tomorrow being fine I emailed Bob to try to entice him up for the day. After unpacking and showering I found a message back from him that he would come! I couldn’t have been more pleased.

I explored the village in the afternoon, having a look at the colourful fleeces of Farfield Clothing and popping into the visitor centre, map in hand, to consult about how best to cross a section tomorrow where no path was marked (I’ll explain in the next post). I was introduced to a man a little older than me who knew the fells well. We spread out my map on the counter  and he assured me that I would have no problem on a fine day of crossing from one hill to another “off piste”.

Just to break up the text, here's a selfie from me in Sedburgh

Just to break up the text, here’s a selfie from me in Sedburgh

I’d promised Bob the taxi fare back to Sedburgh tomorrow, so after getting numbers off the notice board and feeling well prepared, I retired to my room for a long snooze. I even had time before supper in the bar to finish a book that had travelled with me on my Kindle for the last 5 days but had not opened since leaving home: Meadowland: the private life of an English field by John Lewis-Stempel. A beautiful account of a year’s observation of and engagement with the flora and fauna of a small holding on the Welsh borders. Read it! It is soul food.

{ 4 comments }

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Thumbnail image for Wales Coast Path (Anglesey): Malltraeth to Brynsiencyn

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)