Having bought a copy of Mark Reid’s original “The Inn Way” guide book in 1997, we finally set about walking a variation of the route from Reeth to Leyburn, covering 74 miles in 6 days this October. Eight SOC members completed 65 miles of the route in 5 days, the final day being abandoned due to storm Babet. Three other members of SOC walked sections of the route each day and one of the original group was invalided out until the final two Inns where he joined us and helped with the transport operation.
From Reeth the route headed to Castle Bolton then onward to our first Inn, the very welcoming Wheatsheaf Hotel in Carperby, the honeymoon hotel of the real-life James Herriot in the 1940s.
An early start was required for our 15 mile walk next day and the staff delivered our breakfast very efficiently. Wonderful views as we descended towards Kettlewell with the low sun casting shadows on the scenery. All but one of the party slept in The Blue Bell Inn, Peter being accommodated over the road in The Racecourse Hotel which boasted the Inn Way sign.
A steady climb out of Kettlewell next morning in beautiful sunshine and typical limestone scenery took us to an interesting area of sink holes and old mining debris. The route took the party downhill to meet the Wharfe which was followed to Grassington for our night stop at the Black Horse Hotel in the centre of the village. Next day the main party set off for a hard 14 mile walk to Buckden via Kilnsey Crag, Littondale, then over the moors to reach the Inn at Buckden. A barn of a place but very welcoming. Our luck with the weather changed next day and having reached Buckden Causeway we donned waterproofs for our journey to Stalling Busk where lunch was taken at the old church, but the sun came out to glisten on Semerwater. The day’s walk finished in Bainbridge from where the party were transported by our support party to Aysgarth Falls Hotel.
This was to be the final walking of the tour as we awoke next morning to gale force winds and torrential rain brought by storm Babet. Fortunately, we had three cars at the hotel to transport the party home safely. A rewarding walk in beautiful scenery with excellent company to enjoy the walking and the inns. Many thanks to James for organising the trip.