My friend Denny and I have been walking the Yorkshire Dales together more than usual just lately (Den is the one in the picture) we’re in training to attempt the National Three Peaks, Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike, and Mount Snowdon, beginning of June but what better training ground than in the glorious Yorkshire Dales and this time walking to the top of Penhill.
Our planned walk turned out to be a wonderfully sunny spring day, and we set off prepared for anything, or so I thought. After parking in the large layby to the east of West Witton we headed into the village and took the path opposite the bus stop and by the post box with a finger marker to Capple Bank. We followed the path well enough up to the next level, of course we had lots to catch up on, I was vaguely watching our route but then as we approached two gates together on this flat plateau realised we had over shot our intended route. I did say prepared for anything but what am I always saying, plan your route (I had) and take your map! What had I forgotten to pack, yes, the map? Anyway all was not lost, the farmer was there working with his dogs, ‘Are we lost?’ I shouted. ‘Where are you headed?’ was the response. ‘Up to the road, up there’ ‘Oh you need to be going over to the tree in the middle of field in the wall and to the right of there you’ll find a stile’ Neither Den nor I had seen the stile as the day was so dazzling and the stile perhaps too far away anyway for us to see.
After ten minutes of putting the world to rights we said our goodbyes and we progressed south up the hill to the stile then onward and upward to the next stile and into a little wood, now the going is really quite steep, which brought us out onto Common Lane.
Turning right here we followed the road to Penhill Farm and turned left for Melmerby. Continue up the road a way until you reach the next footpath on the right hand side, it’s quite well marked, but if you get to the cattle grid you’ve missed it. Skirt round the hill in the first field and keep going until you get to a gate, the path then is quite visible as to where you are headed now. At the base of the really steep last incline, I promise you it is, you can either take an easier route and walk round to the left and come up to the beacon that way or be intrepid and take the short, sharp route, which was what we did! At the top, time for a well earned pause, a snack, a drink and just marvel at the vast panorama of Wensleydale and Coverdale and across to the North York Moors. It really is quite sensational and well worth the effort.
So far so good but from here the map seems to differ with the actual path, or it does on my map which was published in 2009 so perhaps different now, anyway from the beacon follow the way trodden to a gate going due west, pass through the gate and turn to your right always keeping the wall on your right but make a triangle with your route and the wall to meet up with the wall again in front of you, there is only one wall so you really can’t go wrong. Be careful though, you’re on proper moorland now and it can be boggy in places so keep an eye on what’s going on underfoot. Eventually you’ll reach another gate after passing the trig point and the path down Black Scar. Follow the path down and head off east towards Flint Lane which you can see as you come down Black Scar. Follow Flint Lane back to Penhill Farm. We finished our walk by just walking down the road, Witton Steeps, or there are footpaths which you will find on your map to take you back to the village and your vehicle.
We walked just over seven miles, some of it was quite hard going, but a most enjoyable walk. Again please do make sure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear and take your essentials, plus something to drink and to eat. Appropriate map is OL30. Want to come and stay near this amazing walk, you know who to call, me Nadine or my daughter Joanne, on 01969 663559 or book online. We look forward to hearing from you quite soon.
Written By Nadine Bell