The Dales High Way Backpack – Day 7

On Ravenstonedale Moor
Crossing Ravenstonedale Moor in the early morning light

Day 7 dawned to another bright sunny morning. I was up before 4.30am and packed up and out on the trail an hour later – I had a train to catch! This was the last day of my walk, 110 miles were behind me and just another 13 before me and I needed to complete those miles in time to catch my train home.

I made my way up the country lane and out onto Ravenstonedale Moor.

On Ravenstonedale Moor
Ravenstonedale Moor panorama

The moors were absolutely beautiful in the early morning light and there was no one else around but me. I walked in the still coolness, with just some sheep for company, and overhead, the skylarks sang and curlew wheeled around making the most wonderful sounds as they flew. It was one of those very special, memorable times, and a very fitting start to this last day of what had been a memorable walk.

Alone
Sheep on the moors with skylarks and curlew overhead

Although I had a time deadline on this day, I didn’t want to rush but rather to savour this balmy, atmospheric morning. I reached the equally beautiful Sunbiggin Tarn, and crossed the empty road that traverses these moors. It brought back lovely memories of my Wainwright Coast to Coast walk of several years back. I enjoyed that walk very much too, although the weather was very different then – on that occasion, I passed Sunbiggin Tarn in pouring rain and below freezing temperatures! Today, it was already warming up!

Sunbiggin Tarn
The beautiful Sunbiggin Tarn

Ahead of me was the last major climb of this walk, up to the top of Great Kinmond. Great Kinmond is not high but has some beautiful 360 degree views that include the Howgills in one direction and the Pennines in the other. It is topped with another limestone pavement, the last I would pass on this walk.

Great Kinmond
Great Kinmond

Leaving the wild fell top behind, I dropped down into the shallow valley, walking through a luxurious meadow. What could be better than crossing such a lovely meadow with that awesome view before you?! It was how I imagine heaven to be.

In the Meadow
Sumptuous meadows on the way off the fells

The wild fell top turned into a wild meadow, and then again turned into farm land, all the while becoming more tamed. Unlike the sheep that seemed to more untamed and unkempt with their long fleeces and long ears!

Long Ears!
Long fleeces and long ears

I passed on through the farmyard itself and continued to drop down into the rather delightful village of Great Asby. It seemed a quiet, sleepy place, on this day at least, and I enjoyed looking at all the gardens as I walked. The church too was beautiful, with its warm coloured stone.

Great Asby
Great Asby church and village

As I left the village, I passed a sign that told me this was red squirrel district, but despite looking, I saw none. It reminded me of home as I have one of the red squirrel strongholds on my doorstep. The route stayed on the road for some time, a road with great views of the Pennines, but eventually I left that and followed a track through some stables to reach the banks of the Hoff Beck. This beck would be my companion for most of the remaining miles.

After some time, I reached the wonderfully picturesque Rutter Mill that stood immediately beside Rutter Force, although there wasn’t much force in the water on this dry summers day. The water wheel was still in place attached to the side of the mill, and this was clearly once driven by water diverted from the force. What was once the channel carrying water to the overshot wheel was now a balcony, the mill having been turned into holiday accommodation. I thought that it must be a beautiful place to stay, and that balcony an idyllic spot to sit with a drink on a summer day such as this.

Rutter Mill and Rutter Force
Rutter Mill and Rutter Force

I continued to follow the river with its gently flowing mirror-like water which seemed to turn the trees upside down. This was heron land, and I lost count of the number I passed along what was a short stretch of river. There must have been plenty of fish to feed that number. The path wove in and out of the trees, in some places being a little overgrown, occasionally with nettles……and nettles and shorts do not go together well! It was a very minor niggle though in an overall brilliant long distance footpath.

Hoff Beck
Hoff Beck

Ultimately the path detoured away from the beck and climbed up to the top of a rise, a position that gave me my first sight of Appleby in Westmorland, my final destination on this walk. The walking wasn’t quite finished yet though as there was still a mile or two to go before I would reach my stopping point.

Approaching Appleby in Westmorland
Appleby in Westmorland comes into view

Crossing the last few fields, and passing sheep all clustered together under the shade of a single tree, I took my last footsteps into the town itself. The town nestles under the mighty Pennines and they provided a backdrop for my last photographs. In many ways, I wished I could have continued my walk as it would have provided a great extension of the Dales High Way to cross the Pennines and continue into the mountains of The Lake District. But not on this occasion!

Sheltering for the Sun
Sheltering from the hot sun

I reached the town centre and called at the Tourist Information Office to collect my certificate for having completed the walk, and then I went to a tea rooms for a celebratory cup of tea 🙂 ! Then it was time to pick up my train home, so I climbed out of the town to find the railway station, perched at the top of a hill. I was looking forward to the first part of my journey home as it is said to be one of the most scenic routes in England, almost following the Dales High Way that I had just walked, even crossing the Ribblehead viaduct. Unfortunately however, I had chosen the wrong day as there had been a local festival and I joined what was a very crowded train!

Waiting for the Train
Waiting for the train

It didn’t matter anyway, because I sat on that train a contented man, having completed a totally awesome walk – The Dales High Way, Dorset Rambler version 🙂 ! I had covered 123 miles in 7 days in the best weather possible, even if I did complain about the heat! As always, I headed home savouring the walk I had just completed and planning my next trip in my mind 🙂 ! I couldn’t wait!

Thanks for joining me on The Dales High Way. I hope you have enjoyed walking with me!

In case you missed any of the walk, there are links below to the previous days.

Day 0 – Arrival in Saltaire
Day 1 – Saltaire to Skipton
Day 2 – Skipton to Gordale Scar and more
Day 3 – Gordale Scar to Stainforth plus an afternoon climb to Hull Pot and Pen Y Ghent
Day 4 – Stainforth to Chapel Le Dale 
Day 5 – Chapel Le Dale to Dent
Day 6 – Dent to Newbiggin-on-Lune

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All words and pictures in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and may not be reproduced without permission.

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