Wednesday 19 August: Hawes to Tan Hill Inn

Miles walked: Today 16.8. Cumulative 735.7

Today started brightly with an easy walk across farmland to the hamlet of Hardraw. Hardraw boasts a 13th century pub with a waterfall, the Green Dragon. The origin of the name is unknown. I don’t know whether Tolkien visited here or whether the name of the pub in Hobbiton is coincidence. The waterfall claims to be the highest in England and is worth a visit.

The PW now starts to climb Great Shunner Fell via High Abbotside. This moor is almost completely grassy, there are plans to try to re-introduce heather. For the first time, a few boggy areas were not protected by limestone slabs. I still didn’t get my feet wet, but this must have been a difficult moor to cross back in the day. There were great views across the valley and back towards Hawes. There were a few PW walkers but they soon overtook me

Skyline of Great Shunner Fell

The weather began to close in and views from the top of the fell were again limited by mist. It was windy and I was grateful for the summit shelter

Rain was forecast so I had a quick sandwich and set off downhill to Thwaite. I then climbed steeply uphill to enter Swaledale, my favourite dale.

The grass seems greener here (honestly). Almost every field contains sheep and a haybarn. The path followed a high line along the Dale. It was now drizzling but the view of the Dale was still good. I wanted to press on before the rain came but the path was uneven and slippery in the drizzle so I took care and progressed was slow. Just below Keld the PW crossed the Swale by Catrake Force

The path climbed steeply out of the valley. The weather was deteriorating and I still had about 4 miles to go. I pressed on as fast as I could (not fast!). The rain got heavier and the wind picked up. Eventually the Inn appeared out of the mist.

Tan Hill Inn

Tan Hill Inn claims to be the highest in Britain and this seems to be confirmed by The Guinness Book of Records. I would have thought it has a claim to be one of the most remote as well. I first became aware of it in the 70s when Ted Moult advertised double glazing from here. I remember he would arrive, like I did, from the windswept moor. He would enter the pub and drop a feather by a window. The feather would gently fall to the ground without being blown across the room.

The pub is very remote. It was actually built to provide a hostelry for coal miners who worked on Tan Hill which lies to the south of the pub. My food was nice and I was able to sample some local beers. Recommended.