Walk around Keld - Sunday 16th July

by Chris Massey

On a beautiful sunny morning, twelve members assembled for a trek up the hill from Keld, which is at the head of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

We started along a section of the Pennine Way, up a gradual slope, into open country with magnificent views. The steady climb got the lungs working and the three hardy souls in shorts benefited from their decision as we started to shed garments. We passed near the disused Tan Hill colliery and reached the Tan Hill Inn (built 1737) that claims to be the highest inn in England at 1732 feet and recently of double-glazing fame. The Cat & Fiddle Inn on the Buxton road, at 1690 feet, also lays claim to this distinction so there is the making of a good dispute about the figures. The inn, which once catered for miners and pack-horse traders, was crowded with eager walkers and bikers.

After refreshments, we rambled on and with a few pauses to check our position and some nifty compass work, it was confirmed that we were not lost and we arrived at the Ravenseat ford as planned.

This proved to be a more treacherous crossing than it appeared. One member slipped and fell full length, feet in the air, splash! into the water; unfortunately the writer was not able to witness the spectacle! On coming out the other side, we were informed by the friendly girl at the farm that there had been two broken arms at the spot already this year. Luckily we only suffered one set of wet clothes.

It was getting hot and a renegade section of the party was eager to take a short cut; more training needed for next year. As it transpired, they came across a yellow bus beside the road, woke up the resting driver and persuaded him to drive them the last mile.

The rest of us walked swiftly on the designated route past East Gill water fall and back to Keld, having covered about 11 miles.

We then drove to Kirkby Stephen to meet the bikers at a tea-room. We arrived at 5:00pm just as it was closing but it was no hardship to wend our way to the Pennine pub, which was wide awake, and have something stronger. Eventually, the bikers turned up, all muddy and hot, and we swapped notes about the successful day.

Many thanks to David Taylor for organising a most enjoyable day, appreciated by all.


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