After yesterday’s walk from Marske Lynnie has decided she and Dexter need a day off. So Crosby and I head to Surrender Bridge where we start our walk from the small parking area overlooking Mill Gill and the disused Surrender Lead Smelting Mill.
I start my walk by heading towards Surrender Bridge, it is Bank Holiday Monday and a large group of people are setting up chairs and a BBQ for a day in the sun by Mill Gill. It is a short distance to a minor road where I turn left and head steadily uphill. On reaching a footpath on the right I take it to head southwesterly across Feetham Pasture.
I stay on this main path, ignoring others to the left and right. The views along Swaledale are absolutely stunning.
The path leads through the small hamlet of Blades and continues in a westerly direction along a track to reach Low Row Pasture. Here I stay on the main track still enjoying fabulous views.
My planned route is to turn left on a path towards Heights, however, it is warm and I want to get Crosby a drink so we continue towards Barf End and then drop downhill to where the map shows a waterfall. Unfortunately it has run dry.
We follow a path back towards Heights and turn right to head downhill on a walled track, Lane Foot. I soon reach the ruins of two cottages. An information board explains the history of the cottages dating back to the 1680’s. Apparently in 1841 the cottages were inhabited by two lead miners and their families, a total of fourteen people lived in this very small space.
The path continues to descend into Gunnerside, which is a cracking Dales village.
I cross Gunnerside Beck and continue straight ahead on a minor road. This route goes uphill to a cattle grid and then out onto the edge of the moor continuing to rise steadily. After about half a mile I take a footpath on the right heading along a gradual uphill track across Gunnerside Pasture. As I climb great views of the dale open up before me.
The track is easy to follow and I can soon see across Gunnerside Gill.
As the path sweeps towards Botcher Gill I stop to exchange pleasantries with an elderly chap walking in the opposite direction. I spot his “Walk 1,000 Miles” badge, so we chat about the joys of walking. Fifteen minutes later we bid each other happy walking and continue on our routes. Such chance encounters are a real treat on a day’s walking. Before moving on I admire the view up Gunnerside.
This area was once a major location for lead mining and the remains of its industrial past are clearly visible. Starting in the 15thcentury the main activity occurred between the 17thand 19thcenturies. I head towards Lownathwaite where there are still remains of a smelting mill.
Rather than cross the beck at this point I continue on a narrow path on the west bank. It climbs above the beck and at times is difficult going requiring care due to the erosion of the path. I am relieved when the path descends to the ruins of Blakethwaite smelting mill.
I find a suitable spot to cross the beck and then take a path that climbs the opposite bank alongside the scarily named Eweleap Scar.
At a junction of paths I take the right option and then double back on myself to continue climbing up the moor. Eventually after a final steep climb I reach a track and head south. Crossing Melbecks Moor I ignore paths to the right and continue across the desolate remains of the mining industry. Though stark it is stunning scenery.
I follow the track until I reach Level House Bridge where I turn right along the track besides Hard Level Gill. This is a stunning walk. I am now retracing my steps on the walk that Lynnie and I did a few days ago. There are a lot of old mine works; soon I reach Old Gang Smelting Mills.
From here I continue back to Surrender Bridge and the car. The party and barbeque by the waters edge is now in full swing with youngsters cooling off in the beck. I have covered a stunning 11.5 miles and I’m ready to get back to the caravan for a cool beer.
To follow my walk you will need Ordnance Survey OutdoorLeisure Map 30 – Yorkshire Dales – Northern and Central
28th May 2018
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)