Lady Anne Way

Lady Anne Way…a 100 mile long distance walk following in the footsteps of this popular historical figure. From her Birthplace in Skipton Castle to where she spent her final days at the age of 86 in Brougham Castle, Penrith. She was famous for the restoration of several Castles and churches of which she finally inherited after a long legal battle with her uncle.


This is our journey visiting several important sites en route:-

Day 1 Skipton to Kettlewell…23 miles.

Skipton Castle, the Birthplace of Lady Anne. Her restoration here(along with the parish church) came as a results of a ‘bit’ of damage by Cromwell’s army.

Andy, Anne, Val and I decided not to start the trip from the town centre but from our second home at Tarn House…Tarn house was not part of the ‘Lady Anne’ historical trail…but they do serve a fantastic breakfast. Suitably fuelled we were soon rerouted and heading through the villages of Embsay and Eastby. The weather was fine but there was always the threat of showers present.

We passed the Ice Cream farm at Halton East where we spent several mins laughing at the plastic cows…The cows had the last laugh as events unfolded???

From here we climbed over Halton Moor and into Wharfedale..’Trollers Trot’ territory .We passed Barden Tower(The second Lady Anne Restoration) and picked up the Dales Way to Bursall. We had a short lunch stop at the bridge where Anne and Andy regaled each other with the pronunciation of ’Appletreewick’ (pronounced ‘Applewick’)Andy was having non of this…This was a re occurring theme throughout the trip and included the pronunciation of ‘Kirkby’ and ‘Semer’ to name but a few. Fed and watered we left the Dales way and headed over to Hebden via a steep path away from the river. This did afford superb views up Wharfedale. Our next break was a coffee stop in Grassington. While supping plenty of tea we had the wettest shower of the day…thankfully we were behind glass.

Our last 6 miles were gonna be the hardest of the day as this involved a 3 mile climb up to the trig at Capplestone Gate high above Kettlewell. On our ascent we came across a field with several large Blueface Leicester rams .Val said “oooh..look, a ‘Bachelor field’ “ This was said with such conviction that we thought Val had read this somewhere…infact it was a made up term…but was used on several occasions.

All that was left was a (very) quick skip into the village where a minibus was waiting to whisk(make that death race 2000style whisk)us over the moors to our first nights B+B at Garsedale Head.

I must mention the B+B…this is one of the best B+B’s I’ve stayed in. Fantastic location, loads of complimentary stuff, a power shower that had jets where you wouldn’t expect jets…much to Andy’s surprise!!! , superb home cooked food….and to top it all there was a decent pub next door…Thankfully it was ‘Beer o’clock when we arrive so Andy and I partook in their hospitality[Symbol]
Day 2…Kettlewell to Hawes…24 miles.

Although today’s mileage was a little on the high side we were blessed by the fact we only had to carry day kit. We were being transported by the Yorkshire Dales very own ‘Lewis Hamilton’ back to Kettlewell where we made our way back to Hawes. This involved a few more miles of the Dales way but we soon left this to cut over the steep climb of Stake moss. Again the weather was a little showery but had the potential to improve. At the highest point of Stake moss we were greeted by far reaching views of the Howgills,Widdop Dale, Dent Dale, Garsdale and the splendid Whensleydale. As we were about to descend we came across a group of farmers shearing hundreds of you can imagine Val was in her element and proceeded to tell the farmer about HIS breeds….he was obviously impressed as he offered her a job.

Despite lighter packs the rucksacks didn’t appear any lighter….tiredness was beginning to show so we had a well earned rest in the shadow of Addleborough. Our next objective was ‘Nappa Hall ‘across the valley. Although it looked near it took a considerable amount of time to reach. This was a form of B+B for Lady Anne while she was on her trips. Highlight of the day was the river crossing on our approach to Askrigg…In normal water conditions this was a simple ford…today was a raging torrent of brown flood water. After several mins of looking for a suitable crossing point Val and I removed boots and waded in….this was so refreshing and provided instant relief to tired feet. Andy was still wavering on the opposite bank and in the end I ended up wading across to give a helping hand…Val thought this was hilarious and was rolling on the bank laughing.

We had a swift drink in Askrigg then polished off our final miles into Hawes. This was beautiful as the late afternoon sun was out, there was a music festival in town that could be heard from miles away drifting up the Valley….The final bit of drama was a rather giddy cow and calf preventing us crossing the bridge into the village. After a bit of arm waving she finally shifted.

Our turbo fuelled chariot awaited to take us back to the B+B…just as well as it was well past beer O’clock. A fantastic meal was prepared for us and this rounded off a perfect…if tiring day.

Day 3……Garsedale Head to Kirkby Stephen….14Miles.

After 2 big days this short day came as a welcome relief. After yet another fine breakfast we bid our farewells and headed up onto the ‘Lady Anne Highway’ for our trip down the upper Eden Valley to Kirkby Stephen.

After a short steep climb onto the bridleway the views before us unfolded. Wild Boar fell looming on the left, Mallastang Edge reaching off into the distance and the North Pennine fells of Cross Fell and Dunn Fell on the horizon. This is now the route Lady Anne took enroute to Pendragon Castle…another of her restorations. We passed the water shed for the ‘Ure’ and the ‘Eden’ and soon started our descent to the Valley floor. We had a quick rest at the castle ruins and soon pressed on through delightful meadows towards Nateby. We passed several novice parasceders who were under instruction as to the merits of floating under a bit of silk…some looked a little apprehensive but provided us with a few mins entertainment.

By now Andy was suffering somewhat with his feet…Thankfully it was a short stroll into town.

We were mega early at the B+B and well before beer O’clock. We were greeted with tea and cake from the owner. After a short rest, Andy and I hit the town. The others joined us and we fed and watered ourselves in several of kirkby’s hostelries. Anne, Val and I decided to have an eve stroll to carry out some ‘Parrott watching’….to which we were not disappointed…several huge macaws roosting on chimney tops.

Back at the B+B Anne carried out some rather intensive surgery on Andy’s feet…new career maybe?

Day 4…Kirkby Stephen to Appleby….18 Miles

We were now onto the final two stages of the walk…Both days were going to be pancake flat. Having said that we were still afforded fine views of the Pennines…and now in the distance the Lakeland Fells were evident. The weather today was baking hot!!

Our first objective was Brough Castle. This was gained through a variety of fields of wet grass, lanes and fields full of overly curious cows …..At the castle we partook in ice Cream, tea and Scones…Delightful place and we were soon exploring the ruins of the castle. This was also the place where Andy uttered the immortal words…” we having more fun than you can shake a stick at!”…??????.This became the phase of the holiday…and will no doubt continue to be used.

Pressing on we did encounter some overgrown areas…something we were warned over but nothing was too desperate. The only disruption came from the sound of heavy artillery being deployed at Warcop Barracks and the fighters buzzing overhead….this along with the noise of the A66 this does not endear me to want to live in this area…We did leave the noise behind and we were soon approaching the outskirts of Appleby. The last few miles along the banks of the Eden.

The castles that stands in the middle of town is now closed..this is a shame is it housed many artefacts from the ‘Clifford Dynasty’. The Parish Church of St Lawrence does house her tomb and that of her mothers.

We staggered up to our final B+B and I was actually sharing a room with Val..It was a delight to find we had a roof terrace, view of Blencathera and a ‘Bachelor field’ of rams outside the window.

All illusions of Val and I enjoying a romantic interlude were shattered as Anne set this up as her field hospital to carry out more surgery on Andy’s feet[Symbol]….it was beer O’clock so I went to reccy the pub…for food of course.

After a lovely meal down the road Val, Anne and I went in search for more historical facts only to find the church was closed….this was to be our first objective for our last day.

Day 5…Appleby to Penrith..22 miles.

We kicked off our last day with a quick visit to Lady Anne’s Tomb before we set off. Again today was flat walking along lanes and fields…with the associated bothersome cows thrown in for good measure….The main objective for the day was the hall and castle at Brougham…This was where lady Anne spent her final years.

The pace was good, conversation flowed and plans were made for the future….The only thing that marred the day was a 2 mile stretch along a busy road. All too soon our journey was coming to an end. We reached Brougham Castle and all that was left was a few miles along the river bank into town…..the final insult came from me who after 100 miles of near perfect map reading led our merry..if knackered band to the bus station instead of the train station.

The journey back was a synch as Anne had left her car at Oxenholme where we were ferried back to Skipton….superb logistics.

This was truly a fantastic trip with many highlights.

The company was great.. all we seemed to do was laugh….particularly at Andy’s rather patriotic shorts.

We were accompanied by a variety of birds where Andy demonstrated his vast knowledge .

Thanks to Anne for arranging this holiday and choosing some of the best value B+B’s I’ve ever stayed at.

On a final note…if ever you fancy a base at Garsedale head stay at the wont be disappointed!!