Walking in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
I had the pleasure of enjoying three days walking through the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park in July and with Yorkshire Day kicking off August I wanted to reflect on my time there. Walking from Kirkby Stephen to Keld allowed me to cross into the Yorkshire Dales National Park and see the difference in scenery immediately. As soon as I reached the Nine Standards, just outside the National Park, their tall imposing features were a fantastic welcome and I knew my next days were going to be wonderful. As we walked we were surrounded by lush green hills and my walking companions and I often noted a rabbit here and a grouse there. [caption id="attachment_23953" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Paths through the Yorkshire Dales National Park[/caption] Nestled in amongst these hills was Ravenseat Farm – the perfect stop for cream teas and scones, whatever the weather. We took a moment to have a much-deserved drink and scratch the farm dog behind the ears. After leaving the farm I walked through fields sprinkled with strange little buildings. These little stone houses fuelled my imagination all the way to Keld as I imagined myself a 13th century farmer living in them. I could see myself calling in the cattle as a roaring fire burned within. Later I would come to learn they were ‘cow-houses’ used to house cattle in the cold winters and not for people at all! But still, in my head, my dream lives. Recommended Dining: Keld Lodge – Keld - With a fantastic menu to choose from that a little bit traditional and a little bit adventurous, there’s something for everyone at Keld Lodge. Recommended Accommodations: Keld Lodge – Keld - I would recommend anyone visiting Keld to stay in Keld Lodge. It’s a charming lodge with views across the hills that surround it. The staff give walkers a warm welcome and for those looking to escape and find solitude the area is so remote, it doesn’t even have a phone signal. [caption id="attachment_23950" align="aligncenter" width="900"] An example of a cow house near ravenseat farm[/caption] My second day in the National Park began with walking through the beautiful Swaledale Valley. Taking the opportunity to stop along the way in Muker allows walkers to visit the church with the Ten Commandments written on the wall or stop for lunch in quaint tea shops. I spent the day walking through fields of I spent the day walking through fields of winterfeed and wild flowers, enjoying the challenge of squeezing through small gates in the boundary walls. The walls have existed since Elizabethan times originally, and have been rebuilt as and when the land was divided up between farmers. They added a charming rustic feel to my adventure through the fields and I could almost imagine farmers leaning up against them watching the sheep graze. [caption id="attachment_23951" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Examples of field walking and a cow house from Swaledale Valley[/caption] In the evening I was lucky enough to stay at The Buck Hotel, an 18th Century Coaching Inn. I stayed in a charming four-poster bed and enjoyed a traditional fish and chips for dinner. Their bar and restaurant are filled with period features – from the aged beam ceiling to the assortment of horse memorabilia from its coaching days. It was warm and welcoming to both locals and tourists alike – as well as the occasional dog. Recommended Dining: Ravenseat Farm – by Whitsundale Beck - The perfect pit-stop before you reach Reeth. Although it’s not open all the time, their scones and tea are just the thing to spur you on. - The Buck Hotel – Reeth - A traditional pub with pub food. It’s a must-eat for anyone looking to experience a traditional English pub. Recommended Accommodations: The Buck Hotel – Reeth - one of the busier accommodations I stayed at, but well worth it for the atmosphere. My last day walking through the Yorkshire Dales National Park was simply beautiful. I left in glorious sunshine as if the park was wishing me well on my journey. This route through the national park was easily my favourite day of the whole trip. I got the opportunity to walk through fields once more, coming face to face with sheep and cows. [caption id="attachment_23952" align="aligncenter" width="900"] The white cairn near Applegarth Scar[/caption] Much of the day was spent admiring the beautiful rolling fields and the woodland tracks which the trail wound between. I took a quick detour off the trail to visit the Marrick Priory Outdoor Centre site and to learn a little more about its history. Once it was an abbey founded for Benedictine nuns and now it is an Outdoor centre. It retains much of its charm, from the period features to the tombstones on the front lawn. Sad to leave the River Swale behind I headed out of the National Park and onto my next stop: Richmond.