So far on this tour we have had really good weather, so it was disappointing to wake to low cloud yesterday. Normally at this time of year such cloud burns off by mid morning, but it was one of those days when it just hung around. I took the dogs out for a couple of miles circuit around Hudswell, but apart from that we did not venture far. So today I am itching to get back into the hills.
The starting point for our walk is the attractive Swaledale village of Reeth; arriving there I wonder if we have made the right decision. Reeth is always popular and being a sunny Saturday makes it even more so, but luckily we find a place to park on the green.
We walk towards the old coaching inn, The Buck, and then turn left along Silver Street to head out of the village. We take the first footpath we reach on the right hand side and head uphill along a walled track, Skelgate Lane, this soon turns west continuing more gradually uphill with fine views across the dale.
It is a cracking day and our exertions soon have us shedding layers before we continue along the track to reach Reeth Low Moor.
This is access land, but due to the ground nesting birds we are required to keep to the footpaths and keep the dogs on short leads. The path follows the wall to the south side of the moor.
We stay on this track, ignoring paths to the right that climb Cringley Hill. Our route reaches Cringley Bottom where we descend steeply to cross the beck via a wooden bridge. This is an ideal spot for the dogs to have a drink. Dexter in particular is grateful for the chance to stand in the cold water.
After an equally steep ascent we soon pass the disused Surrender Lead Smelting Mill. There are a number of websites providing detailed histories of this site. The abridged version is that in 1839 work commenced on this mill to replace the nearby Low Mill dating from 1680 and New Mill. Surrender mill opened in 1841 but only operated until 1880. Apparently in 1902 the owner decided to sell the roof timbers, slates, doors and floorboards and then in 1909 the water wheel was sold. It is a cracking bit of industrial archaeology.
We cross the road and go through a gate to follow a track besides Mill Gill, which is also known as Old Gang Beck. It is nice easy walking along the track and we soon reach the ruins of Old Gang Smelting Mill. This mill was built in 1790 and closed in 1898. It is still possible to get a sense of the scale of the industrial activity here. This was a substantial operation.
A bit further up the gill an old packhorse bridge crosses the beck.
The whole area around here is littered with disused mine shafts. I am sure there are folk that explore these, but nothing would tempt me to enter.
Our route is clear, we remain on the track as it winds steadily uphill through the remnants of mining sites. We are now besides Hard Level Gill.
At Level House Bridge we ignore the path on the left across the bridge and stay on the main track as it continues up besides Flincher Gill. There are more mineshafts clearly visible besides the track.
Eventually after going through a gate the track turns eastwards heading through a desolate area of spoil from the mines. It is amazing how long it is taking nature to reclaim this area. Presumably it is a combination of the lack of fertility in the mining deposits and the harsh environment. Today it is very pleasant up here, but I would imagine it could be challenging in the depths of winter.
Leaving Lynnie perched on a rock with the dogs I make a slight detour from the track to the trig point at Great Pinseat, number fifty-nine successfully bagged.
Rejoining Lynnie we head east and then southeast across the exposed moor.
The path then descends gradually to a minor road where we turn left and walk besides it through the deep cleft to ford the stream at Fore Gill Gate. I make the mistake of stepping on the slippery roadway in the ford and nearly end up in the water. Lynnie opts for the safer option via the footbridge.
We follow the road as it climbs steeply away from the beck and then leave it through a gate to join a track on the right crossing the moor to reach another minor road.
At the road we turn right towards Reeth. To our left is the dramatic scar of Fremington Edge.
We walk besides this quiet road, over the cattle grid and then descend back into Reeth. The village is still busy and there are plenty of walkers sat outside of The Buck. Tempting as it is to stop for a beer, after our thirteen miles, we head back to Hudswell where we plan to pop up to the George and Dragon for some light refreshment. Cheers.
To follow my walk you will need Ordnance Survey OutdoorLeisure Map OL30 – Yorkshire Dales – Northern and Central
26th May 2018
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)