Coast to Coast Day 7 – Keld to Reeth

Day 7 of the C2C saw us begin the second half of the overall walk, quite literally, as we had just reached the half way point (mile 96) last night. After also some excellent beef stew and sponge pudding last night we were set up for another full on day, even if this one would be the shortest so far in terms of distance covered. In fact it would be just 12 miles that took us to Reeth, also in the Swaledale valley.

Leaving behind Keld Lodge and heading down into Keld itself…..
…..which is basically a hamlet, but a very lovely one at that.
The start of the Swale River, which we would follow for the next three days (and indeed had done yesterday too).
Looking down at the Swale from the start of our high route.

Swaledale is one of the smaller, and I think the most northerly of the main dales (valleys). It runs east to west and is punctuated by much limestone and of course many many sheep. It is the first time either of us have been here and it is an absolute delight. The end of the day in fact was to reveal for me what I think is the highlight of the trip so far in the shape of Reeth.

The journey to Reeth can be taken by either a high route or a low route. The low route passes many pretty Swaledale villages like Muker, but we were told at the Lodge that it would be very busy with tourists, so we avoided it and took the high route. This route takes in two climbs up to around 2,000 feet, but is generally it has to be said not very scenic in the main, although it has many redeeming features.

The walk across the top of the Dales at around 2,000 feet up is a bit featureless….

……but then dips into very attractive ruins of old lead mining plants.

The area round here was in bygone times the capital of the lead-mining world, and used to apparently produce over half of the world’s lead. We saw much evidence of old lead mines along the route, including smelting chimneys and some old machinery from the mines. The two climbs weren’t difficult, but took their toll on tired legs, and we had a fair old headwind at times too. The weather was also a bit cool at times – while the rest of the country is apparently basking in a heatwave at around 35 degrees, we had around 16 or 17 degrees, and my fleece stayed on for most of the day.

Starting on the descent now towards Reeth.

Another lead smelting relic.

Nearly in Reeth now, a lovely day and a really great walk for any day out.

We got into Reeth early at around 3pm. Reeth Apparently hails itself as the capital of Swaledale, and was formerly the mainstay of the lead mining industry. You wouldn’t know that today though – it is a very pretty natural amphitheatre with a large green in the middle and surrounded by the local hills. Apparently the old TV show All Creatures Great and Small was filed here. We both loved it. It has the feel of being very welcoming, and it very much is exactly that.

Wee stopped in for a beer at the Kings Arms Hotel, where we had also booked for dinner. A good place and very much recommended, even if the sticky toffee pudding was a bit weird and covered in wayyyyyyy too much custard, but there’s a first world problem if ever there was one!

The green at Reeth…..
…….and the very lovely Ivy Cottage at one end of it.

Our accommodation, Ivy Cottage, also serves as a tea room. The hosts were (as everyone has been on this trip) extremely welcoming, and the room had a view of the green and the surroundings and a lovely little window seat where you could have sat for hours. It was a fantastic spot, and I would love to revisit. The breakfast and indeed everything about it was perfect. In fact we both agreed afterwards when ranking (as you do) all 13 B&Bs that we stayed in on this trip, that this was number one. That’ll be a 5 star Tripadvisor rating from me then 🙂

So 108 or so miles done now, and tomorrow would see us again head along the Swale Valley to Richmond, the largest town on the C2C, for another fairly short day. The weather was again set fair, and we looked forward to all that Richmond would bring.

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