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The climb up from Carlton towards Howden Lodge
The climb up from Carlton towards Howden Lodge

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Route No 49 - 9 July 2002
Pen Hill circuit - 15 km
Wensleydale

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Outdoor Leisure 30 Yorkshire Dales Northern and Central areas. 1:25000


At about 10:00 this morning I met a couple of friends just outside the village of Melmerby on the road to West Witton (map ref. SE 075857) where there is room to park off the road. Contrary to the weather forecast it was dry and bright with patches of blue sky. We set off heading north along the road towards West Witton for about 250 metres to a track off to the left. We followed the track for a kilometre until it met the intake wall. Here we took the path to our left heading south across the fields for just over a kilometre to the edge of Carlton village. We walked along the road through the village for another kilometre to the bend in the road at the western end of the village where we took the tarmac track straight ahead on the bend. View over Walden Dale and Bishopsdale to AddlebroughAfter about 150m we kept to the right hand track, a bridleway, straight up the hill. After another 200m we sat on the bank at the side of the track (where it turns sharp left) for a drink - it was quite hot and there was a lovely view over Coverdale. We continued for about 2.5km on the bridleway to the col between Harland Hill and Pen Hill. There was a superb view over Walden Dale and the end of Bishopdale and up Wensleydale itself with the shape of Addlebrough prominent in the middle distance. Chimney of 18th century lead smelter The descent into Walden Dale is just under 300m and quite steep so by the time we reached the road in the valley bottom my old knees had had quite enough. Where the path joins the road there is a tall square chimney and flue from the lead mining industry of the 17 and 18 hundreds. We walked about 150m along the road to the bridge over Walden Beck and took the path downstream on the east side of the beck. We followed this footpath for 1.5km across the fields to a stoney track called Morpeth Gate. We kept on the track for about 4km until it joined the road above West Witton. We walked about 400m up the road to Penhill Farm. This is the start of Middleham High Moor with its racehorse training gallops which continue on Middleham Low Moor all the way to the edge of Middleham. We walked along the road on the north side of the gallops for about a kilometre to a footpath heading south to Melmerby. We took the path across the gallops and then across the fields to the open moorland above Melmerby where we had started. We got back to the cars at about 3.00pm and drove into Middleham to find a tea shop to round off our trip. I asked for a toasted teacake but they only had what the waitress called 'crumpets' left - they were very nice with plenty of butter but when I was little in Yorkshire we called them pikelets. To-day's walk had been about 15km all together and the weather forecasters got their own back and we had two light showers on the way round but nothing to grumble about.

Lambs and goat kids on High Lane above West Witton
Lambs and goat kids on High Lane above West Witton

Pen Hill seen from the gallops on Middleham High Moor
Pen Hill seen from the gallops on Middleham High Moor