Walking Weekend in the Yorkshire Dales

Sorry if this is a huge post but I decided the only way I’d get it done was to do it all in one post. What seems like an age ago now, we were invited to a Beer and Food evening at the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, (click here to read about it) I thought it would give us the perfect base for a few days walking and drinking in the North Yorkshire Dales.

Kings head masham

Our room in the Kings Head, Masham

I’ll upload the routes for the walks soon in case anyone wants to use them.

Our first night was spent at the Kings Head in Masham which was close to the brewery, the accommodation was excellent and we were perfectly placed for a short walk round Masham the next day.

The plan was to head to the Druids temple and back again, a total of around 10 miles. However not far from the temple we lost the path and ended up skirting the edge of the wood and couldn’t get in.

After getting back into Masham we quickly nipped into Bah humbugs as I wanted to try their chilli and cherry licorice, Unfortunately they’d ran out but luckily there were 3 pieces left in the bottom of the jar that I got to try, delicious it was too.  Before heading to Hawes for our next stop over, we’d booked our selves into the Bulls Head, which turned out to be a very cosy and friendly place and the breakfast was outstanding. After watching England get hammered in the Rugby and a quick trip round the various pubs in Hawes we ended up in Chaste.

Chaste is a little bistro that’s really nicely decorated, has a great atmosphere and was nice and relaxed.

the view to semer water

Em checking the route with Semer water in the background

It took us ages to decide what we fancied from the menu, the choice was amazing, It was hard just choosing the one dish each. Luckily some yummy nibbles were provided while we tried to make our mind up, In the end we shared a starter of 3 cheese and herb pate with home made bread. It was delicious, bitter sweet and packed full of flavour, the bread was fresh and soft. A great start.

Em then surprised me by going for a vegetarian main, It was something like a selection of mushrooms with brioche and a port sauce and despite the lack of meat it was fantastic and she polished the lot off. I went for the Duck legs with cherry and strawberry sauce, the meat was so tender it just fell off the bone, the sauce was really good too, I’ll admit to being a little worried about the strawberry in it but it worked really well. All of the vegetables were cooked to perfection and the home made chips were to die for.

We were both stuffed by this point but didn’t want to miss out on a pudding, opting for Eton mess, which was as good as any I’ve had. Not long after we ordered ours the trio tray went past (any 3 deserts off the menu to share between two of you) at this point we were so glad we hadn’t ordered it as it looked massive,  just like the rest of the meal there was no scrimping on portion size.

Chaste obviously take pride in their work, the service was exception all, the beer and whisky list was right up my street and every bit of food that went past looked really tasty.

me near hardraw force

Me near hardraw force

Waking up on Sunday morning we were greeted with a misty gray day, not letting that get us down we scoffed our full English, checked out and put our boots on.

The days walk was inspired by the Walking Weekends in the Dales book by Mark Reid who also writes the Inn Way Series. Only being in Hawes for the 1 day’s walking we decided to join the Saturday and Sunday walk’s together to create one big walk that came in at just over 18 miles.

It leaves Hawes through many a squeeze stile up the hill, towards Buttersett then towards Semer water, It was still quite misty, the type that gets you really wet but we could see the sun poking out just as we dropped down the hillside to the water,

From here we followed the river before climbing another hill and then dropping down into Bainbridge, where we stopped for a pint at the Legendary Rose and Crown.

We left the village passing the rather cool looking Yorebridge House B & B, crossed over the road and followed the path through some farmland. This is where our route joined the second day’s walk instead of heading back down into Hawes.

The path takes along the tops before taking you past Simonstone Hall then dropping down to the Green Dragon Inn which is home to what is apparently England’s tallest waterfall,  we thought it would be rude not to check it out so we paid our £2 each, headed through the pub and followed the short, well kept path through the grounds up to the waterfall. To be honest I was a little bit disappointed as it wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be, although that could be because there wasn’t much water flowing through it. After a couple of pics and a scramble across the rocks we headed back down to the pub for a beer, It’s a fantastic country pub, possibly my favourite from the weekend. The beer was in great condition and the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co’s Sedburgh Silver was pick of the day. Light, hoppy and bitter, just what I needed, although I couldn’t have too many as still hadabout 6 miles to go.

view down-to muker

view down-to muker

We left the pub and headed up the walled, undulating track before dropping back down to cross the river and heading back towards Hawes, passing the newly rennovated Wensleydale Creamery and back to the car.

The next part of the trip was to head over Buttertubs pass to the Punch Bowl Inn near Reeth, I was really looking forward to taking the new car over Buttertubs but unfortunately the mist that had been around during our walk had closed in causing low visibility.

It didn’t take long to work our way through the mist and through past the excellent pub in Gunnerside to our destination for the night. On arrival we were again warmly greeted (people in the dales are very cheery) shown to our newly refurbished room, which was absolutely perfect and really well decorated.

I must also mention the shower, it was just what I needed, super powerful and super warm.

The pub it’s self is also really nicely decorated and yet again the food and beer was spot on, the pigeon was top notch as were the smoked bacon chops with poached egg and home made chips. It was also great value at around £112 for the 2 of us, dinner, bed and breakfast..the dinner bit being an allowence of £22.50 per person towards the meal, which after 3 courses each we had only gone about £4 over, it would have been easy to stay under the budget if you are that way inclined.The service was fast and friendly too.

farmers arms muker

Muker silver outside the Farmers Arms

After a great night’s sleep and another fab shower, we headed off to Muker to start our walk for the day. The weather was a vast improvement on the previous day but it was quite windy.

We had planned to walk from Muker, up over the tops to Lovely Seat then over to Little Shunner Fell and onto Great Shunner Fell before heading back to Muker. Unfortunately after climbing all the way up onto Muker common and up the Gill all we could see was bog underfoot and after 40 mins of fighting our way through it we decided to turn back and leave the walk for another day. Heading back down into Thwaite where we stopped for a quick pint in the sun outside the hotel before walking back along to Muker for yet more beer outside the fabulous Farms Arms, the Muker Silver from the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co was top notch and a fitting end to a brilliant weekend.

I love the Dales and will most certainly be back again very soon.

You can see the rest of my photos on flickr here.

Download the Hawes Walk Gpx file here


1 Comment

  1. Tom Chapman
    Apr 12, 2011

    Great post, have just been up around Muker meself, lovely walks to be had up there!

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