My Mother’s Day treat was a walk in the Yorkshire Dales, from Kettlewell to Arncliffe. We’ve done this walk and variations before, without the kids, starting from the Arncliffe, and a similar walk in the area with a big group of friends. We spent the previous weekend at the Outdoor Expo at the NEC Birmingham, looking at all the gear, talking and listening to all things outdoor and meeting Bradders! Now was time for actually getting outside.
From the car park we passed over the bridge and took the rocky path signposted for Arncliffe. Starting the walk from Kettlewell means a lung busting ascent up the hill and the ‘path’ leads you to squeezing between the rocks. There’s a bit of a scramble before you crown yourself ‘King of the Castle’ and look down upon your kingdom below. I didn’t feel very regal, or probably look it, as I made my way to the top of that hill. The kids of course had pushed on in front and declared that this bit was epic! It was another reminder that I’m probably not as fit as I was a couple of years ago. We were doing this walk from memory, OS map packed just in case, but we were confident we could remember the way. I did a variation of the walk for my China training and it’s amazing the bits of it your brain decides to forget. Like the false summits when you think you’ve reached the top of the fell but it actually keeps on going. It was a beautiful day and I’m glad the weather was being kind.
A few rests to get our breath back and regroup with the kids, and finally the moorland levelled out before a long descending path to a drystone wall. This is the bit I’d forgotten all about! On going through the gate you a confronted with rocky limestone to climb down. Stick boy was in his element leaping from rock to rock, whilst his sister was at the back and not too sure how to preserve the precious ballet feet. I was a mixture of telling the eldest not to be daft as I wouldn’t be able to carry him, should he break his ankle, and also be reassuring to the youngest that it was fine and she had nothing to worry about. It did look worse than it actually was and soon we were on a little path through the trees with the wild primrose growing.
From here it was down to the pretty meadow beside the church and babbling stream. It really is picture postcard Yorkshire Dales. We walked over the bridge in Arncliffe, towards the village green and the pub. The Falcon Inn was a welcome refreshment stop to compliment our picnic (they do food too). After a little rest we then had to remember where we went from here. Back over the bridge, a stop to practice some ballet, and then up to the T-junction to find the stile that would take up back up another hill and on to the moors again.
The kids were groaning a little by now that did we have to go up again! Although a shorter walk in distance for us, this walk does have sharp ascents and descents. Back up on to the fells before making our way back down the other side to near Starbotton (forever known as Star bottom from when I was a kid), eventually meeting the Dales Way beside the river to walk back to Kettlewell. At this point you could cross the bridge to go into Starbotton for further refreshments. It’s relatively easy from here and lovely walking alongside the river. A noisy Oystercatcher accompanied us down the river. Once back at Kettlewell, it was back over the bridge and a visit to the café beside the car park for wonderful ice cream!
Parking Kettlewell: We parked in the Yorkshire Dales National Park carpark – the machine does take cards and there are toilet facilities. There is another carpark just opposite to this where I believe you can park for £3 all day.
There is a pub and several cafes in the village. If you want to stay there is an independent youth hostel called the Kettlewell Hostel – they look to do great food!
You can view the route we took here. The walk can be extended into a much bigger walk, from Arncliffe you could walk down to Litton and then over the fells and to the river at Buckden.