Burnsall to Thorpe and back

The walk today was a small circular stroll along easy paths, and was undertaken as an appetite sharpener for finishing in The Red Lion Hotel in Burnsall. Burnsall is a very attractive and compact village sitting on a delightful spot on the River wharfe in Yorkshire, with a very attractive Church, a small village school and a great pub.

Distance – 3 miles.

Ascent – 413 ft

Estimated Time – 2hrs

Map of the Walk
3D view of the walk

When we arrived in Burnsall it was very busy, (as it usually is) and we had to park up near St Wilfrid’s Church. On the walk today myself and Mrs Muddy Boots were joined by our friends and neighbours Paul and Sue. We have known them since we moved into the village where we live, and they are great company to be with. We started the walk by first going in The Red Lion and topping up our fluids, and we were fortunate enough to get a seat outside at the front of the pub. (There are seats at the back on the garden which was very, very busy). After having just the one pint, purely as a taster, and reserving a table for later in the day, we left our seats and walked down by the side of the magnificent Burnsall Bridge to pick up the Dalesway path which runs alongside the Wharfe.


Lambs next to the River Wharfe

The path runs alongside the Red Lion rear garden and passes behind the houses which line the main street running through Burnsall. It is a well made and popular route. As we strolled along in the warm May sunshine, the whole world seemed very green and looked idyllic with the sun reflecting off the slow moving river. We made our way behind the old school and Church, whilst seemingly saying a constant ‘hello’ to people coming the opposite way.

The School and St Wilfrid’s Church
Riverside houses in Burnsall

We continued along the undulating path, sometimes walking next to the river and other times looking down on it from high above, and all the time being on a well made surface. We passed a family who were out picnicking by the river and were having fun with an inflatable dinghy, although I suspect the water was cold.

The River Wharfe near to The Stepping Stones

When we got to the Stepping Stones and suspension bridge, the Dalesway continued across the river in a north easterly direction, and we started to climb uphill in a south westerly heading. We were passing through lush, green pastures and climbing steadily up towards the B6160 that forms the main arterial road through the valley.

Burnsall and Thorpe Fell, with Tennant Lathe to the left (from above the suspension bridge)
Looking back to Hebden Moor from the Bridlepath towards Thorpe

As we climbed towards the main road, the path became easier and flattened out so as to make the walking easy indeed. We crossed the tarmac road, and started walking up the steep single track named Kail Lane. This walled lane lead to the small hamlet of Thorpe. This was a steep climb and soon had us panting for breath. Gradually the road levelled out and the walking, and talking became easier and we took a left turn down down a farm track. We now started walking back down hill and following the track through the fields until it crossed Badger Lane.

The farm track off Kail Lane
The route down to Starton Beck

We continued following the path down to Starton Beck, and crossed this by means of a small planked bridge, and headed uphill through more green pasture, and passing through a number of small Yorkshire squeeze stiles in the drystone walls.

Typical ‘squeeze’ stile.
The hill above Badger Lane

We continued walking along the verdant and vibrant grass until we crossed Badger Lane, which is the access road to Tennant Lathe farm. We climbed up again after crossing badger Lane, before walking downhill into the flat farmland surrounding Burnsall. we passed through a caravan park which I didn’t know existed and crossed a small field before entering the main street of Burnsall via a narrow ginnel in the houses lining the main street.

The path leading to the road through Burnsall

After we had got back into Burnsall we walked back through the village and down to the Red Lion. It was still busy, and a side of Morris Dancers had turned up and were loitering outside the pub. The deadline for our reserved table was approaching so we didn’t hang about to watch, and made a quick drat inside through the low door to bag our table, have a pint and order our tea. The food at The Red Lion is always good, so I was ready to relax after being the days’ tour guide and tuck into some vittles after an enjoyable walk.

The Red Lion at Burnsall, and a side of Morris men getting ready for action

Garsdale and Grisedale


Today’s walk is a bit of something different and I pondered long and hard over the map to try and find somewhere that I was unfamiliar with within the usual areas of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. As usual one of the main governing points relating to walking was the inclusion of a suitable pub, and the pub featuring today is the Moorcock Inn which is just down the road from Garsdale Station. I had been the past the pub numerous times previously whilst driving along the A684 towards Hawes. I did a little bit of research on the Internet prior to setting off on the walk and it transpired that the pub was under new management and have been closed for a brief time for refurbishment so this seemed quite promising, and another appealing point about it was the curiosity I had harboured when I had passed previously.

The Moorcock Inn at Garsdale Head on the A684

As usual we set off on a Saturday morning and approached via Sedbergh on the A684 Hawes road. We managed to park at the side of the road near the adjacent junction with the B6259.

OS Route Map
3D Route Map
3D OS Route Map
Route Profile
Route Elevation Profile

We got out of the car, changed our footwear and pulled our rucksacks out of the boot and made a start on the route, however, that start proved to be short-lived because Mrs Muddy Boots needed to use the loo and so a visit into the Moorcock Inn was required so she could use the facilities. We walked around to the front of the pub and entered through the door and were pleasantly surprised by the internal layout, with the large room on the left being a relaxed seating area with a counter at one and providing coffee, teas and cakes, and the area to our right containing the public bar and dining area. The ‘coffee’ area had stone/slate flooring whilst the dining area to our right was carpeted, there was a large sign reminding inconsiderate walkers about their footwear when entering the dining area.

The discrimination I receive!

Whilst Mrs Muddy Boots availed herself of the facilities I went and purchased two large coffees, a scone with cream and jam, and a substantial piece of chocolate cake and took a seat by the window. I can’t remember the exact cost for this but I did check with the lady behind the counter to see that she added it all up correctly as it seemed a little low, however she confirmed that the price was correct – Yorkshire prices again! You can’t beat’em!

We lingered over our coffee and cakes and then decided we really had to make a move and exited the pub via the front door and turned right onto the main tarmac road. After a short time of walking west along the road we came to a signpost on our left which indicated the Trans-Pennine Bridleway, we took this route and headed towards Dandrymire Viaduct on the Settle and Carlisle line, we passed under the vast structure and then started a gradual ascent of the path leading to Garsdale Station.

Dandrymire Viaduct

We ventured slightly off the planned route and walked onto the platform of Garsdale Station itself, and came to the conclusion that it was a shame that the majority of railway stations in this country were not of the same high standard of architecture and upkeep.  It had all the appearance of being a heritage line, not an actual station on the national network. The station was built in 1876, as was Garsdale Head itself, which is a collection of railway workers cottages and the station buildings themselves. It was originally called Hawes Junction however this changed when the line to Hawes was lifted (although the Wensleydale Railway is trying to reinstate the tracks back along their original route)

Well kept station buildings at Garsdale
Garsdale Station looking south… Next stop St Pancras!
Garsdale signal box needing a touch of paint

Whilst mooching about on the platform I spotted a little red squirrel which had come from the pine forests situated to the south of the down platform and it skipped, hopped and darted along the platform, then down onto the track, across the track and then scurried up onto the platform I was stood on and subsequently disappeared between some of the nearby houses – I went to try and find it to get a close up shot, but couldn’t see it anywhere. I was really pleased at seeing this as red squirrels are a rare treat and I was fortunate to have my camera to hand and grabbed some shots of it.

Red Squirrel waiting for the train

We departed the railway station and descended the tarmac access road until we got back onto the main Sedbergh to Hawes Road. We crossed at a farm called East Clough and then headed upwards through a field with Highland cattle and plenty of mud. Mrs Muddy Boots wasn’t happy about the cattle at all, as she convinced herself that they were all bulls and they were going to charge, in my view they look quite friendly and just generally disinterested.

Image from a shortbread tin

We soon reached a wild, grassy plateau and looked down into the valley to our left in which ran Grisedale Beck, and tried to see what was highlighted on the map as Clough Force, however there was very little to be seen, except an excavator down in the bottom where the beck ran which appeared to be clearing the remnants of the recent flooding; it was possible that Clough Force had been swept away or we were looking in the wrong place. We continued walking along the footpath and came across a recently renovated vernacular Pennine farmhouse which is marked as Blake Mire on the map. It had a new access road created to it and the view from this location was quite extensive and uninterrupted which  gave the appearance of it being quite isolated, which it could be after heavy snow.

Farmhouse at Blake Mire
Disused barn with Blake Mire farmhouse to the rear

We passed through the small picket gate in the surrounding drystone wall, past the shippon end of the farmhouse and we picked up the new access road rather than the public footpath and this quickly took us down to Grisedale Road, which is the main public thoroughfare that runs up the valley and forms the main access route for these isolated farmsteads. Grisedale Road is marked as a public road on the OS map but is really single track tarmac strip and has clumps of grass growing through the centre of it due to its lack of regular traffic. We continued walking north on Grisedale Road and gradually ascending the side of the valley. Grisedale itself is now largely unpopulated but was at one time an area of quite extensive farming, and higher up the valley there are a large number of now derelict farm buildings such as West Scale and East Scale farms which have an romantic, secluded isolation to them, although it is a bugger of a trip to nip to the local shops – I presume Tesco would do deliveries here though.

Looking south down Grisedale from East House farm

We continued walking up the metalled road until we got to East House which is the last farm on this road. The tarmac road continues past East House, going steeply uphill until the tarmac abruptly stops and the route turns into a gravelled bridlepath that runs along the side of the valley at high level. This appeared a little odd at first, as though the tarmac gang decided to knock off on a Friday afternoon and then come back on Monday to continue laying the black stuff and just didn’t turn up again to continue the job. Once we got to the end of the tarmac road the path actually levelled out and we had a choice of turning left, up and over Grisedale Common, or continuing along to South Lunds Pasture. Being the gluttons for punishment that we are, we turned left up the hill and across the tussock strewn moorland grass, and headed along the bridlepath over Turner Hill and then down towards High Shaw Paddock. The steep uphill climb soon had us out of breath and panting, and we had to stop a number of times to get our breath back and to take in the extensive views. As we were ascending Grisedale Common we were being followed by two other people with large rucksacks who gave the impression of backpacking somewhere, although the major long distance routes were not nearby. We continued along the bridlepath, reached the summit of Turner Hill and began the easy descent down to High Shaw Paddock.

The view east from Turner Hill
Looking north to Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang from the descent of Turner Hill
The derelict High Shaw Paddock with Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang Common behind

On the approach to High Shaw Paddock took an offshoot footpath to our right that led to Shotlock Tunnel. The field in which we walked through was a little rough underfoot with very little definition of the path and made for quite hard going, it was obvious that the footpath through it had not been used in years. We quickly descended the hill and arrived at a small metal gate along which which was a gravel track parallel to the railway lines, we passed through this and turned right over Shotlock tunnel and back onto the B6259 road leading up to Mallerstang.

Looking north from Shotlock Tunnel

After crossing the tunnel we arrived at the road and took a right turn to the south west and after about 100 yards we climbed up a steep road embankment to a public footpath that lead through a wall and down a hillside to an area called Beck Side. As in Grisedale, there were a number of run down and derelict farm buildings here, and it must have supported a much larger population that it does currently.

The sign to Beck Side
Remains of an old farm house at Beck Side

We crossed over the infant River Ure and walked alongside it for a short distance, this obvious riverside path removed some of the planned route and we bypassed some recently rebuilt farmhouses in an area called Lunds. The footpath we took actually ran past what appeared to be an old chapel with a number of long neglected grave stones within the consecrated ground surrounding it. We paused here for a short time and actually went into the chapel itself which was a small stone structure the small valve tower at one end and was whitewashed internally with a timber pew against one gable. There was very little information about this building so I made a mental note to look it up when I got back home to find more about it. It was quite sad looking at the structure and the surrounding gravestones as they have long been forgotten by the families that had paid for them to be erected and to act as a memorial to their loved ones. The majority of the headstones were over 200 years old and date from when the population of this area would have been much larger than it is now. The descendants of these people are most likely moved on to other parts of the country or even the world and wouldn’t know they even exist.

The interior of Lunds Chapel
Lunds Chapel with decaying gravestones
Looking north beyond Lunds Chapel

We left the little chapel at Lunds behind and ascended Cowshaw Hill with its lone timber signpost indicating the route of the public footpath we continued making our way along to  Blades Farm. On the way to Blades Farm we happened to cross one of the worst fields in existence.

Lonely signpost atop Cowshaw Hill

The footpath was marked across the field on the map, however we could see no sign of it when we got there.


nd had to make out an approximate route from A to B. The ground underfoot, which could not be seen due to the length of the grass, was rutted and uneven and increased the risk of twisting one’s ankle. After struggling across this extremely poor ground for fifteen minutes we arrived at the farm track that led to the Blades habitations, and we both agreed that this was the worst path we had ever crossed in a long long time and just walking steadily on even ground was a blessing. We continued along the farm track that led to Blades and passed left through a small gate, behind the buildings and crossed a small secluded beck, and ended up on a gravelled track that provided access to Blades.

Secluded Beck behind the Blades farmhouses

Soon this left the Blades access road and turned into a public footpath running alongside the River Ure we stopped at Ure Force where the river tumbled down a number of limestone slabs and created an interesting waterfall and pools.

Ure Force tumbling over limestone slabs

At this point we walked onto a well made track and a substantial bridge crossing the River Ure which led from Yore House back to the main tarmac road leading up to Mallerstang. We took an obvious shortcut of a footpath along the nice grassy swathe which brought us out directly to the rear of the pub.

Bridge leading to Yore House

We arrived back at the car and changed our footwear (again!) and decided to go back into the Moorcock to rebalance our fluids and also to peruse the menu. We entered the pub and as I approached the bar and ordered a couple of drinks, Mrs Muddy Boots found a table and read through the menu. The menu wasn’t huge, but appeared to be good home cooked food; nothing fancy, nothing drizzled, just good cooking which one would expect in a pub like this. It turned out on reading the menu that this was a “temporary menu” and was only in place until the new owners had managed to find their feet and produce something better – I really hope they stick to well produced ‘pub food’ and not gastropub stuff with jus’, drizzled this and that and pan-seared stuff. The pub was busy but we found a table, sat down and sipped our drinks and studied the menu. A large number of people in the pub were eating too, so we could see what was on offer as various plates of food were brought out, and it looked good too, so we proceeded to go back to the bar and order our evening. We both went for steak pie and chips; the pie was home-made and the proportions provided were more than ample for two hungry walkers. We got stuck into the food when it arrived and really made short work of it, and due to the proportions we had to decline the pudding. After finishing our evening meal and ordering some more drinks the time to leave arrived and we had to reluctantly face the long drive back home.

As we made our way along the A683 towards Sedbergh, and the M6, and drove west into the setting sun,  we were treated to a superb sunset with the sun dipping behind the Howgills which was a fitting end to a great day’s walking.

Sunset behind the Howgills



Underground, Overground, Rambling Free

On the walk today I decided not to have a ‘formal’ walk as such, and to have more of a gentle stroll and my map perusal is led me along the flanks of Ingleborough. The main reason behind choosing this area was a work colleague saying that he thought the Old Hill Inn, at Chapel le Dale had been recently refurbished (according to a friend of his) and not having been in their for many a year, I thought this a suitable location to finish the stroll and rebalance the fluids.

The route of the walk
Elevation Profile
The route profile
3D Route
A 3D view of the walk

We drove up to the Old Hill Inn via the road from Ingleton and we found a small layby just on the left after the pub were we managed to find a space to pull over and park. We proceeded to get out of the car, change our footwear and load our rucksacks onto our backs with the intention to head off along a Bridleway at Philpin Sleights. This was the intention, but the magnetic attraction of the pub was stronger than that of the Bridleway and we ended up being drawn into its comfortable depths.

We entered through the front door and were greeted by what seemed a recently refurbished, traditional pub interior which didn’t look too bad at all. I went to the bar and ordered a couple of beers from the barmaid who was ‘on duty’ and started to engage in a little chitchat with her, I asked if they were serving food later, thinking it would be useful to get an idea of the fayre on offer prior to calling in after our walk, to which the response was they “had a party of twenty four people coming from a nearby bunkhouse and that they would be too busy to accommodate anybody else“; it wasn’t quite service with a scowl, but I knew my place. We took the hint, and our beers, and Mrs Muddy Boots and myself went and sat in the “conservatory” which was affixed to the side of the pub to try and come up with a Plan B for our tea. I put the word conservatory in quotes, because in its widest sense the construction we went and sat in was akin to a home-made greenhouse from the 1950s and was desperately in need of refurbishment. Even a lick of paint would have made a huge difference, although this did not stop people coming sitting in it which is probably due to the view which it afforded down the valley, and not the charm of the structure itself. I slowly sipped at my pint of Black Sheep bitter and watched a group of children and their parents playing on the grass adjacent to the car park, and as I got to the bottom of my pint the loud shrieking and screaming from the children made the decision for us to move on, get our walk done and plan for our evening meal somewhere more conducive.

I exited the pub from the front door and turn right back up the tarmac road and after a short while turn right again onto work very well made Bridlepath that led in the direction of Ingleborough and past a well made and substantial Lime Kiln.

Lime kiln at Keld Bank.

As we both made our way along this path we were quite aghast at the numbers of people who were undertaking the Three Peaks challenge walk. As we squinted into the distance, and followed the path that rose rapidly up the flanks of Ingleborough we could see a long line of people that look like ants which were progressing slowly up to the flat top summit of this noble mountain. If I hadn’t known it was the 3 Peaks challenge walk I would have guessed at it being a pilgrimage to a site of religious significance. There must have been several thousand people out that day undertaking this twenty six mile circular route involving Pen Y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

Ingleborough close up

I shouldn’t really complain as I have done the three Peaks about five or six times now, although the last time was perhaps 15 years ago, maybe even longer. Way back then, whilst the walk was popular there didn’t seem to be the same huge numbers of people undertaking it as there are now and I can’t really establish why there has been such a rise in the popularity of this arduous trek. It could be down to the Internet and social media allowing a greater number of people to hear of it, but who knows really? What I do know was that I was truly shocked to see such large numbers of people out on the side of the hill. We ambled along the path and after a short time took a left turn alongside a dry stone wall to take us away from the pilgrimage and this lead us to the top of a limestone plateau where we managed to make out a path which didn’t seem to be marked on the map and followed this along the grassy pasture.

Limestone plateau above the 3 Peaks path

We arrived at a large group of limestone boulders which made an ideal seating arrangement so we sat.  Whilst sitting in the warm sunshine, we looked eastwards towards Souther Scales Fell were we thought we could see a paraglider pilot setting up his wing. We sat for quite some time trying to work out if it was a paraglider pilot or not, when out of absolutely nowhere, and appearing like an apparition would, were two cavers with the knee pads, boots and helmets they wear when underground.

Paraglider pilots trying the breeze

These two human moles came sauntering past us without a care in the world and then proceeded to disappear out of sight again in the middle of a field. We turned away as they walked past us, and within ten seconds looked back and they had vanished – into thin air! We were quite intrigued now and we got up to continue our stroll and headed back across the field, where we once again came up on the two human moles who had reappeared, and we got talking. They explained that they were just exploring the chambers in caverns in the limestone beneath our feet and then proceeded to point out several holes in the ground which led to this subterranean world and these were the holes in which they were disappearing into.

The Vanishing cavers (and pilgrims climbing Ingleborough in the background)
Entrance to a subterranean world!

They did indicate one in particular which was at a field boundary that was so large you could walk into it and progress beneath the field on which we were just walking. We found it where they had described and decided to enter the little chamber. It started to get much darker probably due to the fact that our eyes were not accustomed to the darkness it was quite easy to make your way along although there was a little stream running through the bottom of the cave. We went in for about 50 m but it was becoming quite difficult with a rucksack on my back and the decreasing amount of light so we decided we should turn round and make our way out. After being underground for just a short time the sunlight seem quite blinding and after much blinking and squinting we again became accustomed to being outside.

Cave entrance – near to Douk Cave Pasture
Inside a long entrance chamber from the above photo

We climbed back out of this little cleft in the earth and continued walking towards Ingleborough on the top of the limestone plateau and we progressed until we reached the path that formed the main route of the three Peaks. The numbers of people undertaking the 3 Peaks had not declined much in the time that we are away from this route and more were still coming. When we go out walking we tend to choose Saturday because it is less busy than Sunday, and we seem to see very few people on the routes which we take which is sometimes more by accident than design, however today proved the exception and we became a little disheartened by the numbers of people around us so we decided to make our way against the flow of the ‘pilgrimage’ back to the car and to come back another day when it was less busy.

We made rapid progress against the flow of bodies, and were pleased to reach the car parked on Low Sleights Road, where the decision was made to go down into Hawes, have a pint there and call in Hawes Chippy for our tea – a rare treat, but one that always seems to tick all the boxes. Chippy Tea here we come!

A Circuit Around Littondale

Today is a Saturday, and it is also walking day; the first day of the weekend and the day for catching up on those jobs that cannot be done during the week. One of those jobs related to my car which had been off the road for some repairs and I had been lucky enough to have the use of my mothers car for the time that mine was unavailable. I had agreed to drop it off for her on Saturday morning so I decided to get it washed and valeted prior to taking it back and then setting off on the walk.

We got to the car wash, and they said it would take about an hour as there were others in the queue before me. This gave us time to kill. Fortunately there was a Cafe next door to the car wash and they were open for breakfast. Mrs Muddy Boots persuaded me, against my better judgement to call in and grab some breakfast. I knew temptation would get the better of me, and it did, and a “Full Monty” was duly ordered. We sat down with our cups of tea and awaited delivery of our food. After a short time the waitress appeared with two rounds of toast each and then a large plate each of bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms, black pudding, sausages, tomatoes, hash brown and fried bread. All this for £4.95 including the tea and toast. I did think this would be sufficient to keep me going for the next few days, if not for the duration of our walk today.

The Full Monty

After finishing off the huge breakfast, we collected my mothers car from the car wash and valeting shop and drove it back to her house. We then proceeded to drive to the Yorkshire Dales along the A59 towards Skipton and then up wonderful Wharfedale and into Littondale.

On arriving in Arncliffe the only practical place to park was outside the Falcon Inn. There are no parking restrictions as such, but I am wary of parking outside the houses of others as they may require the place to bring shopping in from their cars and I don’t like being inconsiderate. Additionally, I live in a small village which has a very popular village pub, and many people go for a ‘run out’ to this country pub and then park directly outside my house which is very frustrating when trying to unload my car, and even more frustrating as the pub has a large car park which these inconsiderate people seem unable to use. As is usual on walking trips, Mrs Muddy Boots has to nip to the loo at regular intervals, so we went into the Falcon so she could avail herself of the facilities and thus I started this walk with a couple of pints of Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker inside me.

Distance – 6 miles
Ascent – 937 feet

OS 3D MapRoute Profile

We exited The Falcon through the front door and turned left to walk down the side of the pub. This took us along a walled track past a small, attractive telephone exchange and along onto what possibly was an old drovers road that lead up the fellside.

Old Drovers Road Leading from Arncliffe

As we started gaining height we came across a signpost on our right indicating the path to Malham which was six and a half miles away, via the Monks Road (as the OS Map has it). Fountains Abbey used to own much of the land around here, so it is likely that the name of this path came about from its use by the Abbey.

Signpost outside Arncliffe

We made our way up the Monk’s Path which rose high above Cowside Beck and above Yew Cogar Scar. The sun was trying to break through the clouds and it was quite warm. As the path began to level out we sat down on the soft, springy grass whilst admiring the vista up Littondale. The sun had broken through the cloud and was now beating down on our faces. We lay back on the soft grass looking upwards watching the clouds changing shape and passing by against their blue background. Well, with the huge breakfast, and a couple of Timothy Taylor’s inside we both nodded off for an hour. I awoke to the sound of skylarks and sheep, whilst Mrs Muddy Boots slowly stirred, stretched languidly and mumbled about staying there for another couple of hours.

After a short time we reluctantly arose, pulled our rucksacks on and continued gently ambling our way along the Monks Path high above the tumbling Cowside Beck with the glorious expanse of Littondale stretching out behind us, and apart from us there was nobody else around.

Looking back to Littondale from the Monk’s Path
Arncliffe from the Monk’s Path
The View up Littondale
Looking toward Potts Moor and Out Moor above Litton

We continued walking steadily uphill and arrived at a small dry valley named as Clowder on the map. We turned off the Monks Path and proceeded to walk upwards across the tussocky moorland between small limestone outcrops of this dry valley until we reached the highest point of the walk. We were quite fortunate as there were a number of intersecting drystone walls up here with gates at the points they intersected and some small sheepfolds which allowed us to pass through into different pastures.

As we started the descent to High Cote Moor, Mrs Muddy Boots started walking back uphill towards  a section of galvanised wire sheep fencing blocking a tumbled down part of a wall. At this point there was a sheep which looked like it was scratching its back against one of the timber fence posts. As She got closer she shouted me to come back up as the sheep which she had seen had both its horns tangled in the wire fencing and could not free itself. I walked up to the fence and the sheep was wanting to run away from me. I got a strong hold of it by the horns and managed to free one side of its head, and then the other. Now I know sheep are a bit thick, and their sole ambition in life is to die, but I do feel this one sensed I was trying to help it and it stopped struggling after a short while until its head was free again, and at this point it trotted off and at a distance of about ten yards, stopped, turned around and made several short bleats which I understood to be it saying “Thank You” – you can’t beat a nice bit of anthropomorphism!

After my good deed of the day we continued walking down the hillside to the obvious bridle path at High Cote Moor. We picked up the path and made our way along it north eastwards gradually descending to Arncliffe Cote.

Looking down to High Cote Moor
Cote Gill dropping over a limestone outcrop
Looking up Littondale from above Arncliffe Cote

We made steady progress down from High Cote Moor as the bridlepath was both well made and clear. We passed through the small, ancient farmstead of Arncliffe Cote and eventually arrived on the main tarmac road up the valley. We turned right and made our way along the road to Outgang Lane which lead us to the River Skirfare, which sounds like be a Norse name if ever I heard one, although I am no expert on these matters. Our arrival at the river was greeted by a substantial steel footbridge leading across to Hawkswick, although we didn’t cross the bridge, but turned left to the path which runs alongside the river.

Footbridge to Hawkswick

As we made our along the valley floor through lush, green pasture land back to Arncliffe there were parts of the path that had been washed away by the floods earlier in the year and deep scars in the earth on the river banks were indicative of the force of the water that had come down this valley. As the ground was flat we managed to get a good pace going and we soon arrived back in Arncliffe via the Old Vicarage, which is a grand looking building for such a small place, and we passed between it and the church of St Oswald.

St Oswald’s Church, Arncliffe
The village stocks at Arncliffe, on the approach to the Lychgate of St Oswalds (should be brought back into use in my opinion)

We walked through the little side streets of the village and came out on the Green onto which most of the cottages face. We walked up the green and back to The Falcon Inn. As is usual, we had to rebalance our fluids, and on entering the pub a couple of pints of the landlords finest brew were ordered. The Falcon is unique in that it has no cellar and very little space behind the bar, and the casks are tapped and a large jug is filled from which the Landlord then fills the pint glasses with a practised ease.

The Village Green at Arncliffe
The Falcon Landlord handling big jugs with ease

As we sipped our beers we contemplated ordering our evening meal here, however we decided that as this was the second time we had been in here in one day we should try further up the valley at Litton and see what the Queens Arms was like. After we finished our drinks we drove up the valley a couple of miles until we got to Litton. There were a large number of cars parked outside the pub, so we weren’t hopeful of getting a table, however when we got through the door and ordered a drink the bar staff found us a table for two in the dining room.

Testing a pint of Greene King in the Queens Arms
Wall map in the dining room of the Queens Arms

The dining room was very well presented with attractive table settings. We ordered Steak Pie and Chips and a King Prawn Curry, both of which were really delicious and were served in ample proportions too. We had to decline the pudding. We slowly finished our drinks and reluctantly paid our bill and left the establishment. We got into the car and began the long drive home whilst discussing what a great day we had both had.

Littondale, we will be back!