Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Day 7 - Kirkby Stephen to Keld

Day 7 - Kirkby Stephen to Keld

12 miles
Start: 9:30am
Finish: 4:30pm

Stayed at Rukins Campsite at Keld, a wonderful riverside spot amongst the hills of Upper Swaledale (slight midge problem though), with wonderfully hot and powerful showers (which I am now starting to really appreciate). Ate at Keld Lodge (veggie lasagne), where we also had an impromptu quiz night, which was won by the ladies in the group (re-match to follow at Osmotherley!)

Route: Kirkby Stephen, Nine Standards, Ravenseat, Keld.

I was looking forward to this day's walking. I've been up Nine Standards several times, but never continued on over the fells into Swaledale. Now, Swaledale is where I had my epiphany moment back in 1985, a moment that changed my life and began a life-long love affair with the Yorkshire Dales. Swaledale is (by a country mile) the most beautiful place I've seen. 
So, we set off from Kirkby Stephen in bright sunshine, and I had one of the finest day's fell-walking in my 20 years of professional fell-walking. It's all about the light on the land, the far-reaching views and big skies.... and this was just the first day of three days walking the length of Swaledale to Richmond. There aren't many valleys with a song, but Swaledale has one. And here it is...

Beautiful Dale, Home of the Swale

I will sing of a place that is dear to my heart,
A place where I always would dwell
And if you will kindly lend me an ear
A few of its beauties I’ll tell

In that beautiful dale, home of the Swale,
How well do I love thee, how well do I love thee?
Beautiful dale, home of the Swale,
Beautiful, beautiful dale.

Oh, it’s far far away from the noise and the din
Of colliery an’ factory an’ mill,
From the bustle and stir of town life, shut in
By verdant and radiant hills.


And how often as boys have we wandered along
Beside of the river so clear;
The birds never failing to sing their sweet song
And lend a charm to your ear.


And if fate ee’er compels me to leave this dear spot
In other lands far away roam,
My earnest wish whatee’er be my lot
Is to end my days here at home.


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