Penhill Round 14 September 2017

Posted by Graham Rogers on 2017-09-14

Penhill Round 14 September 2017

Thirteen of us assembled at Aysgarth on a glorious early autumn morning for a 10-11 miler around Penhill. Glenys and I had done a recce of the walk on the previous Thursday which was far from full of autumn, mellow fruitfulness. Instead it was full of the worst Penhill has to offer and far from inviting. At the outset I did advise the group to beware of falling over and suffering injury. Some of us had attended a first-aid course on the previous evening at the clubhouse. Therefore, any unfortunate was likely to be killed in the rush of first-aiders anxious to prove that they had learned something –“the kiss of death” springs to mind.

But on with the walk which took us past Aysgarth Church followed by a familiar descent down the river bank and the impressive sight of the river in full spate. We then accessed the main Wedneysdale Road for half a mile before turning right to follow a track that leads up to the remains of the Knights Templers’ Chapel which holds a profound connection between our Dales landscape and a distant medieval past. It is always worth a moment’s pause and reflection. From there the route climbs towards the delightful Langthwaite Lane which extends down to West Witton and which was almost certainly an ancient and surfaced trackway connecting West Burton and West Witton. On the approach to the village there is a pathway that cuts up steeply to the extensive caravan park and a retreat for the post-war, well-heeled greylings like ourselves.

There then begins the steep ascent up through Penhill Park and upwards to the shelter on Penhill Beacon which is a fine piece of dry-stone walling or it was, until fairly recently, when alas the moronic element in our society decided to remodel parts of it. The edge took us as far as Black Scar which provides the only clearly defined path down to High Lane. We then followed this long familiar track as far as Morpeth Gate where a few decided to follow the track down to West Burton whereas several of us continued upwards to what Bob Blyth has described as one of the best views in the Dales (and he is absolutely right!). This was a deviation from our original route but well worth the detour despite the very steep descent down to the waterfalls prior to entering the village. From there it is a matter of following the delightful meadows that lead to Eshington Bridge with their sheep shorn of summer’s season and cows with full, drooping udders. “I know how they feel,” said Yvonne who always supplies me with a quick aside or apposite anecdote. Onwards and upwards to Aysgarth; why does the last short climb always feels like the Himalayas? A great autumnal day in the Dales; pity no-one had time to reflect on the day at the (much improved) Wheatsheaf in Carperby. But here’s to the next time…

Graham 

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