Plan B: Reeth – Thursday 18 January 2018

Posted by Trevor Thurlow on 2018-01-21

Plan B: Reeth – Thursday 18 January 2018

For the second time in a month the weather conspired against me in trying to lead a walk from Barden Bridge on the Bolton Abbey Estate. This time heavy snow overnight on the Wednesday led to Yvonne, Graham and Glenys having to cancel due to not being able to get out of their respective villages. Graham Moss, Peter Knowles and Frank Broughton did manage to eventually get over to Barton to car share with me. However, as we were well past the planned departure time and felt it unlikely that anyone else would have ventured down to Barden Bridge (my apologies if you did), we decided to abandon the scheduled walk and go over to Reeth instead.

The journey up Swaledale from Richmond to Reeth was simply stunning with the fields and trees bedecked in fresh snow glistening in the bright sunshine. It was worth going out just to witness that though the roads were icy and care was needed by Graham, our driver for the day.

Once in Reeth we were soon decked out in full winter gear and heading up Skelgate Lane and the SOC marathon route, breaking the path through a good covering of snow, to the junction with the path over the shoulder of Reeth Low Moor to Arkengarthdale. The path was invisible and the going got harder as we ploughed our way through large expanses of knee deep snow to reach the turnoff point for Calver Hill. For the next 30 minutes we could have been in Scotland as we kicked steps up the steep hillside before emerging at the top, which had been completely scoured of snow cover by what must have been very strong winds the night before.

After enjoying the expansive and magnificent winter views in all directions, we decided to set off across country to try and pick up the Fore Gill Gate bridleway. This was a not particularly successful enterprise as due to needing to negotiate our way through what was now generally knee deep and often thigh to waist deep snow on the southern slopes, we eventually found ourselves down at the intake walls above Thirns. Time for another ‘where shall we go now?’ conference.

The decision was to head for Nova Scotia and take the path down through Dagger Stones Wood and over to Healaugh. This we did, now being able to make better progress, and it was just a matter of then progressing down to the Swale and following the riverside path back to Reeth and a welcome pint at the Buck Hotel.  

All in all a challenging day but well worth making the effort.

Look out for the 2 Barden Bridge walks in the next programme – I (we) will get there and complete both walks eventually.


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