~Keld and Gunnerside~
25th June 2010
An annual visit to Swaledale, this time extending the walk beyond Muker and Keld and exploring the dale of Gunnerside, which is rich in mining history and the scars of past industry are all around....
Hide & Sheep
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk
Park Lodge, Keld
The walk started and finished at Park Lodge Farm in Keld. At 08:30, I was the first customer of the day and a bacon butty got me fuelled up for the journey.
East Gill Force
Keld holds a unique position on the walkers' maps, where the Pennine Way and the Coast-to-Coast Walks cross paths. East Gill Force is the first feature of the route which will take me to Swinner Gill.
A glance across the valley and I can see that a major rockfall has occured since my last visit. I'll be able to take a closer look on my way back, later in the day, as the footpath runs just under the cliff!
The day has started rather gloomily, with a distinct lack of blue sky. However, it's dry and there is no rain forecast.
Swinner Gill Bridge
In the area of Swinner Gill, there is plenty of evidence of old mining activity. The main beck is very dry, the bedrock is a mixture of stone types and where the limsetone is in the ascendancy, the water often disappears underground. In the right-hand photo, you can see lead deposits which are usually under the water.
Swinner Gill Kirk
You can walk up Swinner Gill to this are known as the "Kirk", said to be used as a place of worship in less tolerant times. A cave down there to the left can be entered (at your own risk), you would need torches and "mind your head". It is accessible for about 50 yards (guesstimate). Numpty here, left his head-torch in the car, which was a bit silly, really.
Hind Hole Beck
I decided to follow the stream further uphill and it becomes known as Hind Hole Beck. There are many small waterfalls and cascades and here you can see an exploratory mine entrance to the right. I carried on up the hill in a NE direction until I met the moorland track, at which point I decided that the best way was to follow the track back to the path and rejoin the main path to Gunnerside.
Hide & Sheep 2
Soon enough I was into the vast old mining area of Gunnerside - there is so much to see here. I took loads of photos - a small selection are shown here ...
Unguarded Mine Shaft - Beware!
Blakethwaite Peat Store
As I moved down the dale, the scars of industry are less abundant.
I had time on my side and hot feet needed a dip, so it was boots off and a paddle developed into a play and I wanted to see how many stones I could stand in a tower, all sourced from the stream bed. I managed 11, simple things ....
Picnic Area, Gunnerside
Village Centre, Gunnerside
My plan had always been to catch the 14:30 bus from Gunnerside to Muker, shortening the walk by two and a bit miles and avoiding somewhere in the order of 30 fields to cross. Along came the bus, the three mile (road route) journey cost £1.75 and needless to say, I was the only fare-paying passenger.
Just past their best-by, in my opinion. I followed the instructions and walked in single file.
Lower Kisdon Force
Nothing like the usual water flow. Last year there was much more water about about:
6th June 2009
Down to the River
The rockfall must have been fairly recent as there is very little in the way of vegetation growing through. Another pillar looks ready to fall. Some of the rocks have reached the river, it must have made quite a nosie and anyone in the way would have been squashed!
I decided that my stay was longer than short, but a little short of all day - I paid £2, honest.
Walkers: Just Me.
Time taken: 7hrs 45 minutes over a distance of about 10 miles, not including the bus journey
Route: Keld, Swinner Gill, Hind Hole Beck, Moorland, Gunnerside Mining Area, Gunnerside Village, bus to Muker, The Meadows and back to Keld.
Weather and conditions: Overcast, brightening up, very warm.
Greetings Count: Very quiet early on, two groups in Gunnerside plus late starters, busy in Muker and the meadows.
Richard's Refreshment Review: Park Lodge Cafe, in the care of the Rukins. Straighforward, good food and drinks. Tiffin of the very highest quality and inquisitive sparrows will visit your table if you sit outside.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2010 ©