Carlton in Coverdale 13 May 2018
13 May 2018 – Carlton in Coverdale
This was a change from my planned walk (re-arranged for 8 July – see programme) for reasons I won’t bore you with now. The replacement however turned out to be a cracking walk helped by great weather, and – as always – good company.
The plan was basically a circuit of Penhill with the option of going over the top if the weather was good (which it certainly was). 4 of the usual suspects: Anne, Yvonne, Patrick and Brian; plus newer members: Jane and Nicola, met up at Carlton Village Hall.
We took the bridleway heading north from the centre of the village, but, instead of following it on the circuit option to meet the road from West Witton, we peeled off on a bee-line over cropped heather to a rough vehicle track going up the side of Penhill. Here we stopped for a coffee break among old mine or quarry spoil heaps just beneath the plateaued top of Penhill. Here we were in pleasant sunshine but sheltered from the cool breeze we soon encountered on proceeding to the summit trig point where we had a brief group photo stop (thanks Nicola for the photo). Great views: you can just pick out Bolton Castle in the distance.
More good views walking along the North edge of the plateau before dropping down on an old sunken track then through fields to High Lane which becomes Morpeth Gate. The lane heads west to West Burton, but we took an easily missed left turn before the village, through a bit of woodland and out into fields where we took our lunch break in a lovely spot, looking across to Carperby and West Bolton moors.
We then headed through more fields, one with lots of cute plump lambs, obviously recently separated from their mums, and probably, by now in some of your freezers.
Briefly following the road from Cote Bridge into Walden Dale we then headed up the long drag of the bridleway back over to Coverdale. As we climbed, Ann drew our attention to the call of a cuckoo, which might otherwise have been drowned by conversation. This was the first I’d heard this year (I’m now up to five). Sorry to keep going on about the views, but most of the walk was on fairly high ground and, on a clear and now sunny and warm day, looking back, the views right up Wensleydale to Addlebrough and beyond were splendid.
“All downhill from here” as we crested the western shoulder of Penhill and had Coverdale, once again before us (more great views, I’m afraid). Lots more birdlife all around – curlews, sky larks, meadow pipits, and lapwings, including some tiny lapwing chicks scurrying for cover (not very successfully) among marsh grass at the path edge. Very cute, but easy prey for any passing stoat, fox, kestrel, etc.
So we had an easy and pleasant stroll back down into Carlton in Coverdale, still with bunting and yellow wooden bikes festooning nearly every building after the Tour de Yorkshire came through a few days before. But then a very disappointing end to the walk: We found ourselves almost racing another group through the village to be first to bar in the village pub, but Shock, Horror! The Foresters Arms was closed. Never mind, the Three Horseshoes at Wensley was on the way back, so - taking care not to give away our planned destination to the competition - Patrick, Nicola and myself headed there and had a very enjoyable drink in the sunshine on the outside terrace to finish off a splendid day in the traditional SOC manner.