Grinton Reeth Loop

Grinton Reeth Loop

Carol is worried about the fog and its reluctance to vacate its current territory. The band of rain has now gone through so the day is looking good. I check a webcam in Low Row that I find on the web and it’s broadcasting quite a clear Swaledale showing considerable promise.

I’d taken the precaution of smearing dubbin all over my boots and was now in the garden and in the process of ensuring it was well absorbed into the leather. Suddenly I felt that I was being watched:

“What’ya doing”, says Bruno.
“I’m getting ready for a walk”, I reply.
“Are we coming?”, he queries.
“Not this time”, I say, “I’ll take you when I come back this afternoon”. This mitigates the situation slightly but he is still curious.
“Where is it that you’re going?”
“Grinton, it’s a three mile-ish circular walk”
“Three miles”, he says, “You must have been really good”.

Bruno isn’t impressed that he’s not coming. Walks can be graded on their length and this is a serious walk, a grade 5. This could only be improved upon if there are hares or rabbits in the area.

Just then he hears the postman pushing letters through the door so he has to go to help Millie guard the house and what I’m doing is instantly forgotten.

So my bag is packed and I’m taking stuff to the car. As I enter the kitchen to pick up my bottle of lemon another voice is heard.

“Where are you going?”, said Millie.
“Oh, just out”, I replied, “Bruno knows, have a word with him”

Peter arrives and disappears in a flurry of fur and licks. The dogs like him!

The drive to Grinton is about 40 minutes although I could have done it rather quicker if I’d used a more sensible route. Peter is already in The Bridge car park, he’s got permission to leave the cars and whilst there is no expectation of our trade they’re pretty much guaranteed it.

Peter has plotted an easy route with very little climbing or difficult terrain, this is meant to be part of my training back into the bigger, more challenging walks and I’m really looking forward to it.

Andrew, the pub manager, arrives as we prepare. He and Peter spend 5 minutes talking at each other both at the same time. Whilst the cacophony of words is impossible for us mere mortals to understand they both fully comprehend everything the other has said and lunch will be taken on our return in less than a couple of hours.

We turn right out of the car park and right again towards the structure that the pub has so astutely taken as its name. As we walk across the bridge the cloud breaks and blue sky lifts the mood. There is still some low cloud drifting along the fell-side that seems to be evaporating as we watch and the river has transformed from a sad grey reflection to multiple shades of blue as the water dances around the boulders lying in the shallower sections of the river. The trees still have a few leaves and they create a border of gold on both sides of the river as it rushes along the dale.

I have been to Reeth many, many times and thought I had walked all of its ginnels and alleyways but Peter introduced us to the most wonderful, quiet and beautiful backwater in the form of Reeth Community Orchard. If you’re in Reeth I would urge you to take a look in this lovely place.

We walk out of Reeth and turn left down a narrow and slippery path. This part of the dale is wider and flatter and the Swale meanders randomly along its base with mini tributaries feeding it with water so cold it hurts.

We follow the river upstream passing some walkers heading in the other direction always with a cheery “Now then” or “How do?”

The going is good and we reach a suspension bridge that looks odd in the middle of nowhere but is also quite beautiful in its own way. Photographs are called for and executed with various permutations of photographer and subject(s).

As we make our way downstream Peter gestures towards the hillside and explains the layout of the dale and the “field/barn” system that enabled the lead minors to supplement their living.

The path is well marked and a little muddy at times. We notice some very beautiful trees and stop to appreciate them as the sun makes an appearance for the first and, as it turns out, last time of the day.

The path leads to the Redmire road and then to a small gate that takes us into the consecrated grounds of St. Andrew’s, the “Cathedral of the Dale”. Now if you chose to walk this walk please do take time to look into this beautiful church. The grounds are protected and there are notices that tell you about the shrubs and bees that frequent the graveyard. They are fascinating and well worth the few minutes to take them in.

As we step into the church the smell and atmosphere is an ecclesiastical hug that leaves me both warm and sanguine. This building is special and you don’t have to be religious to experience its charm.

We reluctantly leave and head to the pub. The Bridge is an excellent pub and we all have delicious meals varying from a starter on a slate to ham baguettes that need a block and tackle to lift. Although I don’t have a beer today, I can warrant that it is excellent and would recommend it.

The walk is very slightly under 3 miles and is easy. I’m grateful to Brian , George, Peter Hymer and Peter Fleming for their company on this shorter walk it’s really appreciated. Highly recommended…Enjoy…G..x

PS. Millie and Bruno got their walk although they did say that the longer one would have been preferable.

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