Weekend Walk - Buckden to Kirkby Stephen | Saturday 29 Septermber - Sunday 30 September

Walk Leader: Andy Ward
Participants: 13
Mileage: 35 miles
Walk Report: Wendy Leete


Lady Anne Clifford, an indomitable woman, was born in Skipton in 1590.  She fought and succeeded in regaining the right to the family estate.  She was responsible for improvement and expansion of many of the Clifford family’s castles in the Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley, including Skipton Castle and Pendragon Castle, Brough Castle, Appleby and Brougham Castles.  The walk is primarily some of the steps she would have taken in her journey from Skipton to Penrith in the mid 1600’s.  I say “steps” ad lib as she was probably carried most of the way.  However, some of the many servants that accompanied her would have followed on foot.

After all arriving in Buckden – together, what a start – we climbed our first hill of the course of the weekend, although there was so much chitter chatter I’m not sure anyone really noticed it was a hill.  Thirteen of us (from a variety of regions) gathered to walk two of the best days of this national trail. 

Our first 18 mile day rose out of Bucken and around the bottom of Buckden Pike up to and along Gilbert Lane, turning slightly east on to Busk Lane and Carpley Green Lane, and under the flank of Addlebrough.   We scaled beautiful moorland, which seemed less frequented, with the sun shining we had wonderful views all day long.  After passing Nappa Hall (where Lady Anne is said to have stayed on her own journey) our walk soon took us into Askrigg and heading west again, before we detoured to Hawes for an evening at the YHA and the enjoyment of good pub grub, and a beverage or two, in one of the local pubs.

Eager to set off on our next stage (or just that too much snoring in the YHA kept us awake!!) we left Hawes, (after observing a beautiful sun rise), in a less sunny climate.  It wasn’t too long before we hit our first hill, continuing on The High Way which runs along Mallerstang Common (the common runs on both sides of the valley) and eventually down to Hellgill Bridge. After an early lunch at the angels wings (see photos), actually they’re not called angels wings, but we preferred to call them that, we dropped down the valley and crossed to the other side. Skirting one or two fields we reached the remains of Pendragon Castle.  Once again, our journey of LAW ended here and we detoured from here, along well made tracks/footpaths, to make our way to the railway station for our journey back to Skipton.

Many thanks to our walk leader for being, well….just himself really, and also to our resident reader who entertained us by reciting the story of Lady Ann and Hercules (no, they didn’t know each other) to us at the station whilst waiting patiently for the train to arrive; and to each and every one who joined in the journey and made the weekend a very enjoyable weekend.

Photos by Jon & Wendy Leete / Caroline & Roger Wandless / Andy Ward