Sounds a bit dramatic, scaling the east side of Penhill in Wensleydale, but it is an achievement to reach the beacon and depending on where you set off from as to how far. To be really extreme set off from Wensley Bridge but for us we parked on Common Lane, the long single track road above West Witton, by the footpath that crosses over the road. Plenty of space and off road. The weather was a bit uncertain but we’d packed our waterproofs just in case but for us we soon realised we were below the blue hole and the sun shone on us for most of the way although we could see rain clouds down the dale but they never reached us. Another lovely surprise was the cottongrass on the high ground which was in full bloom and making quite a show this year.
This walk is about six miles and can be quite hard going at times and a short stretch of moorland walking which can be testing but quite achievable. Do wear appropriate clothing and sturdy boots, take something to drink, lots of snacks and be prepared and of course plan your route beforehand and take the map, GPS, compass etc.
As mentioned we parked on Common Lane, SE 07602 87452, in between Capplebank Plantation and Middleham High Moor Gallops, and turn west towards Penhill Farm. Turn left, south, at the farm and walk along the road until you come to a gate indicating the route which is just before the cattlegrid onto the moor, SE 06722 86915. Right into the field and go straight ahead up the incline, once up here you can easily see your route and the beacon at the top of Penhill. We accidently timed our walk perfectly to see the cottongrass on the moor, quite a show this year. Follow this well worn route to the summit. Stop here a while to soak in the view and catch your breath.
Our next destination is Black Scar and you have a choice, you can take the route to the right of the beacon above Penhill Scar or to the left and past the trig point and onto Black Scar. It was a bit windy so we took the path to the trig point, my vertigo starts to ping along the scar. Neither of these are shown on the map but they are well walked and the destination is the same. Once at the gate at Black Scar, SE 04314 86681, there is a track, take this going south. Follow on until you eventually come out on the road to Melmerby, just over two miles.
Once on the road turn right again and pick up the footpath on your left after a short walk on the road. You will need to look on your map for this, slightly ambiguous but the aim is to get to the wall and a stile to take you over into grassy fields, SE 07543 86316. Over the stile and keeping going more or less in a northerly direction through fields, a little moor, over the gallops and back to your vehicle.
If you haven’t booked your holiday with us yet we would love to hear from you, all our cottages are well within reach of this walk. Call me Nadine or my daughter Joanne on 01969 663559 for friendly help and advice or of course book online if you wish. Hear from you soon!
Written By Nadine Bell