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View across Wensleydale from the gallops above Capple Bank
View across Wensleydale from the gallops above Capple Bank

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Route No. 112 - Tuesday 24 August 2004
West Witton, Penhill circuit - 11km
Wensleydale . . .

Map: OS Explorer OL 30 Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central areas at 1:25000
Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base

 


Dairy cattle on Bay Bolton AvenueThe weather forecast was for prolonged heavy showers and some bright intervals today, but we wanted a walk so we drove to West Witton in Wensleydale. It's a good place to start with several options for an interesting route. We parked in a large stoney layby on the A684 just to the east of the village and set off in warm sunshine along a footpath across the fields from map ref. SE 067884 to a farm lane at map ref. SE 075885. As we turned onto the lane a herd of dairy cows was emerging from the farm yard and heading along the lane the same way as us. After all the recent rain the lane was a sea of sloppy mud. We squelched our way along to the woods and up the steep bank, across more field and a final steep bank through more woods to emerge onto the road at map ref. SE 076874. The road runs by the western end of the Middleham gallops and stretch all the way to the edge of Middleham. A trio of horses came trotting along the all-weather track paced by a trainer in a four-wheel drive as we walked along the road, watching the horses to our left and looking at the views over Wensleydale to our right.When we reached the junction at map ref. SE 067874 we took a track between stone walls for about two kilometers to map ref. SE 051873. From here we could see some heavy rain heading our way View up Bishopdale from Morpeth Gatealong the valley, so we stopped for a quick drink and a sandwich before it arrived. In about 10mins the rain had started and we set off again. From the end of the track we followed the path down onto the green road at map ref. SE 044879. We had only been walking for a few minutes and the rain stopped the dense cloud up the valley had cleared and there were patches of blue sky and warm sunshine. So off with the kagouls before we continued along the track for about 2km. to Morpeth Gate at map ref. SE 026875. Here we took the footpath across the fields to our right to the remains of the Knights Templars' chapel at map ref. SE 035887. Just before we reached the chapel the rain started again, this time in earnest and kept going until we finished the walk. From the chapel we climbed up the hill to join a lane at map ref. SE 042886 and we followed this lane back into West Witton. We walked through the village back to the car and drove back into Leyburn for our traditional drink and a toasted teacake. The cafe had an"Exceptionally Large mug of filter coffe plus a free refill" for £2.40, so we both had that and the refill. It was very good coffee too. The whole route was over 11km and took us about 4 hours. We walked a bit faster than usual to get out of the rain.

Approaching West Witton along Langthwaite Lane
Approaching West Witton along Langthwaite Lane
The edge of West Witton from Langthwaite Lane
The edge of West Witton from Langthwaite Lane

The ruins of the Knights Templars' chapel
The ruins of the Knights Templars' chapel

Penhill seen across the gallops
Penhill seen across the gallops

Penhill from High Lane
Penhill from High Lane

Morpeth Scar above Morpeth Gate
Morpeth Scar above Morpeth Gate