Wednesday, 1st August 2012 – 12 miles
Packed up the tent in Keld. Quite a sunny morning after a rainy night. Long drive round the hills to Bowes, then it took us a while to find the road that the Pennine Way takes out of town (next to the castle!).
It had looked as if it would be fairly easy walk today, certainly to begin with, but it was a bit of a slog over fields and farm tracks.
There was a bit of confusion when we got to East Mellwaters as both map and guidebook show the Way going through the farm buildings, but the signposts on the ground only pointed across the access track to a new footpath. There had been notices about a statutory diversion, but the Pennine Way wasn’t mentioned anywhere.
Anyway, we decided it was better to follow the new path, expecting it to take us along the stream for two fields before rejoining the Way. It was quite a good diversion – a very well made path, rabbits everywhere and a deer bounded out of a small hollow just in front of us. Then I saw a rustle at the edge of the path and glanced down just in time to see a mole disappear down a hole!
When we rejoined the way, where we expected it, we found the northbound Pennine Way is signposted through the farm, just as on the map! Still, we got to see the deer.
Headed uphill onto the moor at Trough Heads, where the alternative Pennine Way route heads due north, rather than divert through Bowes, and we sat on a clump of heather to have lunch. It is surprisingly quiet and not well trodden round here.
We walked on the hillside above the Sleightholme Beck and wondered how we were meant to get down. Fortunately, I looked back to admire the view and noticed a walker on a lower path – the only walker we had seen today! We backtracked and found the way down.
Once across the beck, it wasn’t far to Sleightholme Farm and the unsurfaced road that led to our turning place.
We headed back to Bowes along the road. A couple of walkers having a snack against a wall stood up and called to ask us if we were Chris and Michelle – the only walkers we met today (we didn’t meet Chris and Michelle). Light rain started and continued pretty much all the way from then on, but you can tell it’s August – I didn’t need gloves today!