Friday, 29 September 2017

Pennine Way

Hawes → Tan Hill

great-shunner-fell.jpg Distance: 16.90 miles
Ascent: 1038 metres
Duration: 7 hours 12 minutes

The lonely Inn on the hill
« Not walked | Not walked »

swaledale.jpgMy abiding memory of today's walk will be of the last half hour; of climbing up and up, across wet, boggy moorland as the late afternoon sun threw shards of light down onto the hills to the west. It will be of slightly soggy toes, and a sense of leaving villages behind. I will remember the bleakness of the landscape, how we seemed to be heading into the middle of nowhere, and how at the last minute a building came into view. I'll remember taking off my boots outside and walking into the dimly lit bar. I'll not forget the welcoming warmth of the open fires and the equally friendly community gathered there.

Tonight we're staying at the Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in Britain.

stonesdale-moor.jpgThe Inn feels like a lonely, solitary survivor, but it hasn't always been out here on its own. The surrounding hills contain coal deposits, which were worked from the end of the 17th century; the Inn provided board and hostelry for the mining community that settled here. When the mines gradually closed during the 1920s the Inn offered accommodation and refreshment to people exploring the moors in newfangled motor cars. We're just the latest in along line of weary travellers.

tan-hill-inn.jpgThe climb from Keld to Tan Hill was the second of two today. The other was up and over Great Shunner Fell, which we ascended during intermittent rain. Between the fells the path took us through Thwaite (with its lovely tea room where we sat outside as the rain fell gently into our cups) and Keld (blessed with waterfalls). The villages are linked by Swaledale, the Pennine Way taking a high route through the valley and providing us with the most stunning views so far.

But all this is by the by. Back at the Inn, ale has been quaffed, a giant Yorkshire pudding has been devoured, and we've washed ourselves in brown water drawn from a borehole. Today was all about the destination. Time for bed.

Posted by pab at 21:52 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!