Saturday 28th May 2022
Walk 17 "Frostrow Fells and Dentdale" from: The Lune Valley and Howgills, Dennis and Jan Kelsall. Cicerone Press.
For reasons I'm not prepared to divulge I walked this route in the opposite direction indicated in the guide - my direction is shown on the map below.
The authors suggest starting from the centre of Sedbergh which necessitates half a mile each way on the main road to Dent, the only attraction being a view of what I presume is Sedbergh's public school cricket pitch immaculately mown right out to its boundaries by some OCD groundsman.
The obvious place to start the walk, in my opinion, would be at the lay-by parking by the bridge over the river Rawthey. The bridge provides a good view of the more than usually attractive river, even for the Yorkshire Dales. Here I took a zoom shot of a grey wagtail.
My little grumble is somewhat unworthy for this fine walk which incorporates parts of The Dalesway and the Dales High Way, two of the best long distance paths in the country. If one had to recommend a walk in the Dales for a newcomer this would be a strong candidate.
A short road to the left takes one into the tiny and pretty village of Millthrop from where I was soon onto ancient drove-ways and lush terraced paths on soft green grass interspersed with old woodland and views down Dentdale enticing one to explore further than this day would allow. The skyline of Holme Knott on the other side of Dentdale dominates and must provide good ridge walking. I have done part of that in the past when visiting the trig.
I knew I was back in Yorkshire at Leases Farm. An elderly gent was sat chatting to a local visitor with her nwely acquired electric bike. I had stopped to look at my map to see which side of the farmhouse the path followed.
In supposedly jocular fashion the old guy addressed me.
"No I'm not, I'm just checking which way the path goes"
"I don't care what you say! You're lost!"
This went on for a while before we settled down to more mundane conversation about my intended route and the merits and downsides of electric bikes. I do hate it when you are looking at your map and passers by assume you are lost. In the worst cases they then start trying to impose on you some alternative route based on what they consider to be their superior local knowledge.
A stretch of country road followed but with interest and still the overall ambience of just being in a good part of the Dales.
The route now climbed on paths to higher ground. At one point a fascinating gate designed for quad bikes with a system of counterweight had me puzzled for a while before I worked out how it operated. See the photos below.
After this I levelled out following a good moorland path running parallel with the Dales High Way and a few hundred yards to its south-west. At the high point of the undulations a ladder stile crossed the boundary wall and a welcome large flat through stone provided a comfortable seat for my sandwich and coffee break. I lingered there for over half an hour in the warm sunshine with deep blue sky and rolling white clouds. At one point i listened intently. A long way off there was the sound of a hard pressed motor bike exploring its rev limits in each gear, and then nothing but the odd cry from a lapwing and the trill of a skylark.
As I popped over the stile I was startled by a friendly barking collie and a local couple who had this walk as far as the wall as a regular for them. They told me they had never seen anybody coming over that stile before. The moorland on that side of the wall was strewn with abundant bog-cotton and I took an arty photo using that as foreground with the Howgill's southern flanks in the backdrop.
A steady descent and bit more tarmac had me back to the bridge over the river Rawthey and the minor anti-climax of the half mile up the main road to my car.
That was the best walk I have done for some time.
|Sedbergh church. I parked just round the corner.|
|On the main road to Dent down to the Rawthey river bridge|
|Sedbergh School cricket pitch - the whole area mowed to microscopic length.|
|Perfect walking on ancient terraced pathways|
|Looking a long way down Dentdale|
|A bit dead?|
|Unusual tractors (to me) for Alan|
|Above the door - 1635|
|My route ahead. The Dales High Way runs parallel higher up the hillside|
|A projecting through wall-stone below and to the left made a perfect lunch seat|
|The Howgills southern flanks beyond the cotton grass|
|Ignore the cursor details|