"A Walk on the Moors" - John's Pennine Way Ramble, Day 8 - July 8th 2000, Hawes to Keld
|Day||Date||Start||Finish||Approx. Miles||Hours Taken||Accommodation|
|8||Sat. 8th July||Hawes||Keld||12.25||5.5||YHA - Keld Lodge, DL11 6LL, Tel. 01748 886259|
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I set off from Hawes at about 09:30 after another excellent breakfast and crossed the road directly onto the Way. The weather was cool and blustery so not only did I cover my, by now almost sun bronzed, legs but even began with a sweatshirt. The route goes behind the church and into the shopping area of the town, (I think!) and I crossed a bridge over what I guessed was the River Ure with very picturesque buildings either side of it. Actually, it probably wasn't the Ure because I crossed that some time later. However, it was very nice so I took a piccie and here it is (>). I eventually found the correct route and headed out of town on the main road
Once I left the road and crossed the River Ure proper, the Way took to the fields and comfortable walking to Hardraw where it's possible to pay a visit (and I mean pay!) to England's highest waterfall, Hardraw Force (30 metres) via the bar of the Green Dragon pub. Later, Peter told us that he'd camped there the previous night and had met the Hawes Chapter of the Hell's Angels on their rally to Hardraw. As a result he didn't sleep very much. I didn't bother to visit the falls myself being keen to catch up with Uncle Harry and Auntie Elaine. I'd also heard that it's only worth seeing when there's been a lot of rain and, despite the clouds, it was pretty dry today.
After crossing a bridge, over a stream that feeds the Ure,the Way began a very long, and at times steep, climb to Hearne Top and from there higher still to Great Shunner Fell (716 metres). Before I got there I thought I saw a couple of figures ahead, probably Uncle and Auntie. So I hastened after them. The views from the top of Great Shunner are spectacular and I was lucky that the good weather was still holding out as I reached the summit. The last part of the climb was fairly easy and there was no-one else about. As far as I could see I was the only person walking the Pennine Way that day. Not long after I caught up with Harry and Elaine and they'd managed to catch Peter. So the Gang of Four were together again and together we slowly and painfully walked down the dreadful stony path that leads to the pretty village of Thwaite. Paths like the one from Great Shunner to Thwaite must be specified by some Countryside Agency bureaucrat who has never walked in his or her life because it's agony to someone like me with already sore feet.
We stopped for a short while at Thwaite and I quickly learned that it's not the place where Thwaite's beer comes from. However, the ice creams and tea at the smashing little café were more than enough compensation for the b****y awful path down and we left the village keen and refreshed. After leaving Thwaite we followed the short three mile walk to Keld, ascending through fields where each one seems to have its own stone barn. Looking back (always a good thing to do - in the physical sense, at least) Great Shunner rose spectacularly above Thwaite and ahead of us was Kisdon Hill. Before that, however, we entered a field where there was a sign in Yorkshire dialect (I kid you not) saying No Camping In't Fields (for you uneducated southerners and foreigners that means No Camping In The Fields!). So we didn't!
From the top of Kisdon Hill there were terrific views north along the upper Swale valley and south, the walking was easy and the path much kinder on the feet. We were now high above the river Swale, the most northerly of the main Yorkshire rivers.
Another piece of useless information, this time about the rivers of Yorkshire:At school, our geography teacher ("Boggy" Lee) reckoned that to remember the main rivers of Yorkshire you had to learn the mnemonic SUNWAD. This lists the county's rivers from north to south - Swale, Ure, Nidd, Wharfe, Aire, Don. The Calder comes between the Aire and the Don but try saying SUNWACD, let alone remember it! And do you know, that 35 years after learning that I still remembered it and also almost found it useful for the first time ever. Thank you Boggy!
We soon reached the great metrolops of Keld (population about 40). Peter camped, Harry and Elaine bed and breakfasted and I met Noelene at the Youth Hostel. Having a couple of hours before the YH dinner we drove out to the nearby village of Muker where Noelene (surprise, surprise!) found a small art gallery that even I found quite interesting and she chatted and chatted and ........... to the guy there for what seemed hours. But it was all good stuff and some of it quite experimental. I'd recommend a visit if you're in the area. On the way back it started to rain but there were still excellent views of the barns and fields, very much in the tradition of one of each together. I cleaned my boots put them to dry and Harry and Elaine joined us for a candlelit dinner with about 20 other walkers.
Keld is where the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast path cross and the YH was full of walkers. But I was the only one following the Edale to Kirk Yetholm route. I guess that it reflects the relative popularity of the two walks and we were told by the Dutch Volunteer Warden that a survey last year had revealed that, at the height of the season, almost 200 walkers a day were finishing the Coast to Coast at Robin Hood's Bay. We were to find out later just how many were finishing the Way. All I can say is that I was glad to be in the minority. To me there must be a certain amount of solitude in a long walk.
After dinner we sat in the YH Common Room and chatted to the other walkers. There was a distict unease about the way the YHA seems to be going. As a new member I can't really comment but many believed that it was losing its way and criticised the closure of small country hostels, the concentration on city hostels, the sacking of full time Wardens and their replacement with volunteers. It would be a great shame if we were to gradually lose the small countryside hostels.
Day eight was good but not fantastic. It was relatively easy walking apart from the dreadful path down from Great Shunner to Thwaite. The views were, at times, exceptional and I was fascinated by the one field one barn type of agriculture. I especially liked the Yorkshire dialect sign, the ice creams and everything else about Thwaite and the short excursion to Muker with Noelene was a breath of fresh air. Something different from walking or talking about walking! It was a shame to have not been able to explore Keld more and, with its size, that probably wouldn't have taken more than half an hour.
Shepherds' pie and vegetables
Apple crumbe and great custard
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