Herriot Way – Leg 3

Thursday 8 October 2015. After the washout of yesterday, I’m pleased to report that this morning was bright and sunny, if a little chilly. I knew today’s route fairly well having walked it as part of my Coast to Coast escapade 4 years ago. Leaving keld Lodge just before 9am I stopped soon after to take in Kisdon Force on the edge of the village. From here it was uphill to the ruined Crackpot Hall, along Swinner Gill and then followed the climb up the side of East Grain. Although it is only 450ft it always seems more as the path is a little challenging in places.

A short section of level walking brought me to Gunnerside Gill, one of my favourite places in God’s own County. I took a break here before heading upstream to follow the line of the Herriot Way. I was supposed to cross the Gill at some point but it was too wide and flowing too quickly to safely complete this maneuver. Thwarted, I headed back down stream where there was a safe stone bridge taking me to the opposite bank. From here, I had another 400ft climb up to Melbecks Moor and a walk through an area of abandoned mine workings. I took another break here on a bench sheltered from the breeze but bathed in warm sunshine. It was so warm that I took the opportunity to air my Paramo top which was more than a little moist from the perspiration generated by two serious climbs.

After reaching Surrender Bridge, I had the choice of two paths. The lower level path that I used on my C2C caused me great problems as I couldn’t find a safe point to cross the small stream at Cringley Bottom. I got a boot full of water for my troubles and was anxious not to repeat it. I was therefore pleased that the Herriot Way took the higher level path and that there was a wooden footbridge, although this isn’t marked on the OS map. I’d been listening to music on my MP3 player all day and by sheer coincidence as I approached the footbridge the Simon & Garfunkel track “A Bridge over Trouble Waters” started to play. You couldn’t make it up!

The rest of the walk was uneventful as I followed this higher level path to Healaugh and then across fields to Reeth. It took me 6 hours to complete this 12.4 mile route with a total ascent of 2,400ft.

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