Day 20, 21 Reath, Grinton and the Pennine Way

Today’s adventure took us towards the Pennine Way, which will be a theme for these two days. Our first stop was to walk a circular route from Reeth in the Swale Valley, through Grinton and back. This was a fairly easy walk that took us through many pastures filled with sheep. It’s such a joy to see the new lambs in the spring here.

View from the village square in Reeth, the starting point for our walk.
We soon left the village behind and the beautiful farm landscape of the Dales opened up in front of us. All the fields you can see are fenced with hand built stone like you can see int the foreground.
The views never stopped grabbing our attention.
A couple of young lambs, relatively undisturbed as we walked by.
A suspension bridge built for the path allowed us to cross the river Swale

We soon came upon Grinton and the lovely little Norman Church that seems to act as a centre piece. Here we met a local couple who helped us with some interesting facts of the church.

Approaching St Anthony’s Church in Grinton…the lovely bell tower still has 6 bells for their peel.
Looking towards the altar in this old church. Check out the old wooden beams in the ceiling.
The baptismal font cover (hanging above the baptismal font) was interesting ( I credit Glenn with the framing suggestion for this photo!)

The young man then told us about the etched stone upon entry to the church where at some point in history this was used to sharpen swords and axes (a less genteel time perhaps). The other interesting object he pointed out was the “Leper’s Window”. Here the ill could watch the service from outside the church without disturbing the parishioners. Apparently Leprosy was widespread in the UK in the Middle Ages but declined from the 1400s onwards.

Here’s a picture of Gwen viewing the interior of the church through this window. This window, interestingly, was almost invisible from the inside of the church.

We saw sheep everywhere, of every kind and description it seemed. Many ewes here were caring for twins, as we saw in Wales.

These sheep followed behind Gwen and I. They were certainly the oddest looking ones we’d seen. Apparently these are Wensleydale sheep, known for their rich curly coats are one of the best long-wool breads in the world.
More stunning views as we returned to Reeth.

From Reeth we decided to lunch at the Tan Hill Pub, Britain’s highest Inn! It was situated high up on a moor along the Pennine Way, and no doubt provided refuge to many a hiker doing the full Pennine Way hike.

Tan Hill Inn, our lunch stop this day.
Hiking Path leading away from the Tan Hill Inn. The Pennine way was England’s first national hiking trail with a total distance of 268 miles. “Walking the backbone of England!”
We did a short hike along the Pennine Way and you can see how desolate this wind swept moor is.

We soon were back in the car again, and heading towards Hawes, home of the Wensleydale Creamery. As we crossed into a different Dale the views were once again stunning.

You can see the old barns used to store winter food, and perhaps provide some winter shelter for he sheep.
Looking further down the dale.
While the daffodils were long finished in Cornwall and through London, they were just reaching their prime here in the Dales. This was the most spectacular display we have seen on any of the farm properties.
Yes, we made it to the Wensleydale creamery, and certainly had a wonderful tasting of their wares. We came away with some yummy cheeses … maybe we’ll use some with our sandwiches on our trek tomorrow. Pen-y-ghent is our planned hike for tomorrow and we’ll need lots of energy for this!

Day 21, Pen-y-ghent

After a hearty breakfast we set off early for our hike today, which was to summit one of the 3 Peaks along the Pennine way. We have done this peak multiple times before and knew what to expect. It doesn’t make it any easier!!

We arrived at the base at 10 am and headed up the steep side. Only 1.5 miles hike to summit, but an elevation gain of some 2,277 ft or about 700 metres.

Some lovely pastoral sights as we walks through the back road to access the hiking path.
I’m just waiting for James Herriot to jump in to take care of the sheep!
…and this is the peak we would be climbing.

The Asent: Once we cleared the gateway to the climb, we were greeted with a taste of things to come!

Stairway to heaven anyone??
Clearing the stairs, Dan and I tried to give each other strength as we looked at the nose we would soon be climbing! It was at about this point that a gentleman came down at quite a speed, and said, “One down and 2 to go!”. He was doing the 3 peaks today!
You can see Dan making his way up through the scrabble. Our path up zigged and zagged but pretty much stayed within a field of the stone fence you can see running down the middle.
This is looking up to the summit as Glenn and Gwen make their way through the rocky path.
Here’s me followed closely by Dan as we prepare to climb the last few metres.
A happy group indeed! You can just see the second peak in the background over Glenn’s right shoulder; Ingleborough.

Once at the top we took a few photos and had a lovely lunch. They had built terrific shelters out of the rock wall. You can just see one behind us in the photo. We chose to sit on the other side , as you can see from my hair, this side was a little windy!

Through the style and onto the other side, from where we would begin our descent.

The descent was almost 3 times the length as the ascent. We chose to do it this way as we get the hard part over at the start, and then have a relatively leisurely hike down.

This time we’re heading down the stairs! maybe not so leisurely!
The path wound through the grasslands and heather as we made our way down.
Then along farm track in between fields of grazing sheep.
And finally at the bottom, where we could look back in triumph over our accomplishment.

Once to the car, there was another ritual we needed to attend to. Yes, finding our isotonic beverage. Only after Pen-y-ghent our pub of choice is at Hellwith Bridge Inn. A fitting name for this area! We were introduced to this pub 13 years ago as a “true quarryman’s pub, with the ale stored in stone beneath the Inn!”

The bar keep is “pulling” the ale up from the cellar…no carbonation or pressurized tanks here!
As I was waiting for my drink, I saw this on the wall beside the bar!
We all enjoyed our wee break after our hike today. We also enjoyed being able to sit outside on such a fine day! May the Sunshine continue!

From here we headed back to Richmond. We did a quick stop at a farm shop on the way home to reprovision, and then clean up and head out to a restaurant for supper. Rustique was the name of the restaurant and the French menu was lovely. All in all a great day! Tomorrow we are off to Holy Island and we need to get there while the tide is still out! Stay tuned to find out more. Until then!

Categories: Hiking in Iceland and the UK

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