I was rather apprehensive about today’s walk as it was a long one. Most people take two days to walk from Keld to Richmond- overnight in Reeth- but I had decided to attempt the 21 miles in one day.

I had breakfast early and was on the road just after eight. Reaching the junction of the Coast to Coast and the Pennine Way near an impressive waterfall, I was then faced with a choice of taking either the higher route through the remains of lead mines or the lower route along the River Swale.

Ever the masochist, I chose to take the higher route as it sounded more interesting, and explored the ruins of the former farmhouse of Crackpot Hall with its view over the Swale where the old tin bath and ovens are still in situ.

Crackpot Hall

The track winds across the moor before dropping to the first of the mine ruins. It is difficult to imagine the miners walking across the moors each day to work in this isolated, inhospitable spot. Following this is a climb onto a lonely road, which snakes its way over another wide heather clad moor. Looking back I could still see Keld sparkling in the sunlight but it was cloudy and dull where I was walking which felt a little foreboding.

Looking back towards the Swale

Leaving the track, the Coast to Coast drops steeply to the more impressive remains of the Gunnerside Gill mine before skirting the hillside towards Gunnerside village.

Gunnerside Gill

Instead of reaching the village walkers are faced with an unexpectedly steep climb up Bunton Hush, where I emerged onto what I can only describe as a totally lifeless landscape.

Thanks to former mining activity and newer gravel extractions, all vegetation has been stripped and nothing grows here, giving the landscape a strangely lunar feel. I was quite relieved when the grey gravel started to give way once more to grass and bracken and I lingered a little at the Old Gang Smelt Mine, where a sign implores people to not ruin the ruins.

Looking towards Gunnerside

Old Gang Smelt Mines

I had more moorland and tracks to negotiate before reaching Reeth; it is such an attractive village that I regretted not breaking this stage up into two, but I did give myself an hour’s lunch break for sandwiches and ice cream.

Reeth

I felt fine at this point but as I headed to Richmond I became increasingly more tired and my feet started to ache again. The countryside became much less dramatic, leaving the moors and crossing farmland with some extremely narrow stone stiles.

As I walked through the attractive village of Marske it started to rain, and although I could see Appleby Scar ahead it failed to lift my spirits as I had reached the point where it had become a bit of a slog!

Swaledale Tup

I sloshed, cursing, through muddy woods, but then caught my first and very welcome sight of Richmond- the castle tower standing proud over the rooftops. I was so glad to get to my bed and breakfast and sink into a hot bath.

View from Richmond Castle

The landlady had kindly poured me a large glass of red wine, which I knocked back quite quickly before going out to find food, so explored the town feeling decidedly tipsy. After a dinner of chips and mushy peas in the square I took a walk round the castle and Richmond’s cobbled streets.

Appleby Scar

Feeling completely exhausted, I returned to my accommodation where I intended to write up my notes in bed, but simply ended up falling asleep!

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