Day nine: Hawes to Keld, 13 miles
Hawes is an obvious re-supply point so I guess that we must have shopped for provisions in the morning. The weather was good, mainly sunshine with some cloud. When we reached Hardrow, we dumped our packs and had a look at the waterfall. From there we started one of the most dispiriting climbs you’re ever likely to encounter.
Although it’s not hard, the ascent to Great Shunner Fell is four miles long with numerous false tops. When we did it, it was also rather squelchy under foot. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining and the views kept some interest in the walk, even if the immediate vicinity was not very inspiring.
So far on the Way we had met surprisingly few people, but my recollection is that we met some today. I’m not sure that they were doing the Way, though. My guess is that we had lunch on the top and almost certainly, having passed through Wensleydale, cheese would have been on the menu.
The descent to Thwaite was pleasant and the path above Muker and around to Kisdon Force was a lovely traverse high above the valley. A couple of years previously we had camped on the meadow opposite Muker, but our objective now was the YHA at Keld.
There were several other walkers at the Youth Hostel, but I’m not sure that any others were on the Way like us. I have a feeling that was no pub in Keld, but I wouldn’t swear to it.
Day ten: Keld to Deepdale Beck, 12.5 miles
The weather smiled on us again. There was an early shower before we got going, but by the time we headed out of Keld, the sun was shining. From what I remember, the early part of the path was fine, but it deteriorated somewhat in the two miles before Tan Hill. It was quite wet under foot, but we had the added incentive of the prospect of a pint in the highest pub in England.
We arrived at Tan Hill in good time for a couple of beers and the treat of a pub lunch. I can’t remember what we had but I’m sure we had chips with it! We dawdled in the pub a bit, not looking forward to the next section after the dire warnings that appeared in Wainwright’s guide.
We had some discussion as to whether to take the road alternative, but decided that we should stay true to our purpose and take the route over the moor. While the walking couldn’t be described as pleasant, it certainly wasn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be. It was, however, quite hard work in hot sunshine and in a bit of an alcoholic haze.
We eschewed the Bowes Alternative, and ploughed on to God’s Bridge, which is an impressive natural limestone bridge over the River Greta. My first memory was that we camped here, but my Wainwright tells me otherwise. It may have been that we camped here once on another trip.
From here, the walking was straightforward and I can’t remember anything outstanding occurring. I also can’t remember much about our pitch at Deep Dale. Looking at the map, it’s very secluded, so I’m sure it was a good one.