Total Distance:- 24.3 Km (15.1 ml)
Ave Speed:- 3.92 Km/hr (2.44 mph) [10.56 am – 17.10 pm]
Bus did not turn at Scotch Corner – therefore late start
Max height:- 330 m (1082 ft)
Total ascent:- 610 m (2000 ft)
Peter led, 12 in group. Leaving the bus at Leyburn, we headed south thro a housing estate opp the church and made our way to Howe Hills under a fairly bleak looking sky. Joining the A6108 for a short time, we then made a loop to the east away from the road to avoid the traffic. Unfortunately there is not a path on the ground as shown on the map and we wasted some time before accepting that the only route was not alongside the R Ure. Crossing Middleham Br., we made a loop to the west to again avoid the traffic, having our coffee stop on the way. Entering Middleham from the west, several people commented that they had never come that way into Middleham before – there’s always a first! Passing the castle, we headed south up the hill and then downhill to Cover Banks where we headed east. There were good views of the castle from the top of the hill and it is a pleasant walk along Cover Banks. Planning to cross the stepping stones en-route to East Witton, I did have a get out continuing along the north bank of the river if the stones were impassable. In the event, even Angie made the crossing without too much difficulty although she demanded that Bob help her. Arriving in E Witton, we made for the seats at the east end of the village where we ate lunch.
After lunch, we started climbing, something I normally try to avoid. After quite a steep climb, we arrived on the top of Witton Fell. After dropping down to Sowden Beck Farm, we had another gradual climb onto Witton Moor. At this point, the cloud had dropped, visbility was poor and the wind increasing – a delightful day!! There were several tracks leading across the moor only one of which is shown on the map, but fortunately (with the help of compass & GPS) we chose the correct one. While the walk across Witton Moor was relatively flat & easy, when we began to descend from Agra Moor, the path became very stony with potholes, particularly as we passed Slipstone Crags – not ideal! Eventually, we joined a very minor road near W Agra and continued ESE along the road to the small attractive village of Healey.
From Healey we joined the Ripon Rowell Walk and headed east along a gravel track. Where the Walk heads away from the River Burn, I had intended heading ESE on a path alongside the river. However I was persuaded that continuing on the Ripon Rowell Way was the best option. It wouldn’t be because you could get to the pub more quickly, was it Bob? In the event it probably wasn’t the best option as the nice gravel track turned into a badly signposted, very narrow path thro cultivated fields. Nevertheless, we arrived in Masham in time for Bob to get his 2 pints.
Footnote:- for those who questioned the origin of the name “Ripon Rowel Walk”. Rowel refers to the spiked disk on the end of a metal spur used in horse riding and Ripon was famous for the production of these in the C16. The walk of course starts and finishes in Ripon.