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Swaledale River Valley

Today we followed the Swaledale River through what many say is the most beautiful of the Yorkshire Dales. Compared to yesterday, the walk was blissful. And by that I mean there were no bogs!  We still climbed a fair amount, 1200 feet in 12.5 miles, but it was easy walking for the most part.

We chose the southerly route which follows the river, a longer route but more scenic. We crossed dozens of pass-throughs in dry stone walls, built without mortar. The walls are from Elizabethan times, and are actually two thin walls built back to back with occasional “through” stones binding the fences together.

We inadvertently took the road less traveled (code for got lost).  Our detour took us on a shaded path beneath a canopy of trees and then dumped us back into stone fences.  Since we were not on the intended trail this presented some difficulty.  We hiked up and down the steep hillsides looking for egress.  Once I was forced to maneuver through a small opening on the ground on my belly.  I think it was a prudent decision because my high jumping/rock climbing skills are nonexistent.

Heather in the Highlands

Joseph and I have grown fond of the sheep. How can you not?  They seem to have such sweet temperaments when they look at you. Joseph believes they are the perfect animal because they compliment the peaceful landscape. I’m tempted to pick up stray bits of wool snagged by thistles and wash it.

At some point in our day we realized there were large swaths of heather high on the surrounding hillsides. The purplish hue is such a beautiful color against the everpresent green.

We’re staying at the King’s Arms in Reeth, a larger village that has several shops. We checked into our accommodation with “Harper Valley PTA” playing in the background. I wouldn’t have guessed it’s a British favorite.  Our room overlooks the Village Green.


Since we arrived at 3:30 I had time to peruse the shops. I met a lovely woman, Joanna Denby, who is a textile artist. She comes from a family of artisans, and has her aunt’s paintings and father’s jewelry in her shop. I fell in love with a skirt made of English ties!  Isn’t that crazy? Won’t it be a wonderful memory of my coast to coast walk?

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