Keld, Swaledale, Old Gang & Gunnerside - Sunday 27 September 2015
Keld - Crackpot Hall - Swinner Gill Mines - Blakethwaite Mines - Melbecks Moor - Level House Bridge - Old Gang Mines - Surrender Bridge - Blades - Gunnerside - Ivelet - Ramps Holme - Swinner Gill - Keld
Park Lodge Car Park (£2 all day) - Grid Ref NY892012
Stony tracks and grassy paths
Warm & sunny with no wind
OL30 - Yorkshire Dales (Northern & Central Areas)
Click on the map for a larger version
Todays walk was one we have done several times and is in a beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales. The starting point, Keld, is a picturesque little hamlet and is the point where the Coast to Coast Walk & Pennine Way meet up. Indeed, today would see us follow a section of the Coast to Coast route as far as Surrender Bridge where we would then make our back to Keld via the lovely villages of Gunnerside & Muker. Add into the mix historical interest, lonely moorland and fantastic weather and we were in for a real treat today.
Before arriving in Keld we travelled over the Buttertubs Pass from Hawes. The Pass is famous for its 20 metre deep limestone potholes and is so named because farmers would rest up here on their way to market. In hot weather they would lower the butter they had produced into the potholes to keep it cool. The pass is a popular cycle route and featured in the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France. There is a fantastic view from the top of the pass over towards Muker and Gunnerside.
The walk started from the large Car Park at Park Lodge Farm which also has toilet facilities and a very good cafe. As is tradition, we relieved them of two of their fine Bacon Rolls and sat in the sun, enjoying this soft start to the walk. Food over with, it was time to get cracking and we left Keld via the footbridge over the Swale, passing East Gill Force and heading gently uphill to reach an old tractor. Forking left, the path continued uphill to reach the ruined farmhouse at Crackpot Hall, enjoying superb views down the Swale towards Muker. The path continued above the ruins and contoured around the lower slopes of Hall Side before reaching the head of Swinner Gill and the old mine workings.
From Swinner Gill the route continued up on a gradually rising path to reach a track coming in from Ivelet. Resisting the urge to detour and bag Rogan's Seat, we followed the track almost dead level to transit delightfully to a pair of cairns which marked our descent to the Blakethwaite Mine workings. Reaching the mine workings we rested a while in this strangely haunting place before zig zagging once more up High Gorton to reach the moon like scene of Melbecks Moor - all is crushed stone up on Melbecks and not much sign of vegetation. The route undulated now and then before dropping down to Level House Bridge, reaching the many old mine buildings at Old Gang. It seemed strange to think that just over 100 years ago this area would have been a hive of activity - now it is deserted although the majority of the buildings remain - particularly the chimney.
Shortly after Old Gang we reached Surrender Bridge and left the Coast to Coast path to head back to Gunnerside. The route back to Gunnerside is the low level Coast to Coast path and was a delightful ramble, latterly on wide grassy paths which eventually delivered us to this lovely village and its pub. It was really good to see that Gunnerside had its pub back as last time we visited The King's Head was looking pretty sorry for itself - today it was busy. After a nice cool drink we left Gunnerside to head for Muker via Ivelet and its impressive bridge. The path to Muker has the Swale for company and is another super walk over springy field paths and there is an option to visit the village however we headed for the bridge at Ramps Holme, bypassing it to head back along the Swale to Keld and journey's end. Another cracking day out in the Yorkshire Dales.
Driving over from Hawes to Keld via the Buttertubs Pass - just had to stop and take in the view
Looking towards Muker from the top of the Buttertubs Pass
The walk started from the Car Park at Park Lodge in Keld.......
....... which does great Bacon Rolls!
Keld United Reformed Church
East Gill Force
Leaving Keld, the route headed out on a gently rising path towards Crackpot Hall
Lots of these ruined barns scattered all over the valley
Where to Guv?
Looking back towards Keld - the path we took towards Crackpot Hall is to the right
The ruins of Crackpot Hall......
..... and from the path above. Just look at the view they had from the property. Kisdon Hill is to the right.
Leaving Crackpot Hall the path heads uphill towards The Old Mine Smithy
The Old Mine Smithy above Crackpot Hall
Superb view looking down the Swale towards Muker - we would handrail the river on our way back to Keld later
The stone bridge at the head of Swinner Gill
The old mine ruins at Swinner Gill
Looking back at our route up to the head of Swinner Gill
The path out of Swinner Gill eventually reaches a long flat stretch
These 2 cairns mark the turning down to Blakethwaite Mine Works
Up above Blakethwaite
The route down to the mine workings is along a delightful zig zagging path
The valley floor at Blakethwaite Smelt Mine
A Blakethwaite panorama
Above the old Peat Store at Blakethwaite
To exit the valley floor was by way of another zig zagging path up High Gorton
Melbecks Moor - felt like we were on the Moon
Still great walking though
Our path to Blakethwaite can be seen on the opposite side of the valley
You will never get that Moon Buggy started Fudge (apparently it is the remains of an old stone crusher)
Big Mountain Bike race on today - Fudge the good boy got out of their way off the path
Trundling down towards Level House Bridge from Melbecks Moor
Level House Bridge
Old Gang Smelting Mills
A closer view of the remains of the Smelting Mill
It would have been good to see this at the height of its use
The Coast to Coast Route continues on towards Reeth, following the course of Barney Beck - we headed right here over Surrender Bridge
Super grassy paths as we head to Gunnerside
Gunnerside below and a welcome drink hopefully
Not much shade about but this chap found some
Cheers for Beers as Mrs W gets them in at The King's Head, Gunnerside. This was shut last time we were here.
Heading for Muker
Clearly not an instruction to the Sheep but we obeyed
The lovely 16th century bridge at Ivelet
The path to Muker hugs the Swale
Leaving Muker the route reaches lower Swinner Gill
Looking back to the point where we left the path at the old tractor to reach Crackpot Hall - not far to Keld now
The bridge over the Swale at Keld where the Coast to Coast & Pennine Way meet
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