I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than trees.

Henry David Thoreau

I began this day 8 miles from Hawes. Hawes to Keld is the actual Pennine Way stretch, but on that day, I took a train in the morning to Garsdale and walked the first 8 miles to Hawes from there to rejoin the national trail.

Good thing I did, too, because the views were superb on that connecting stretch!

Garsdale is west of Hawes. The train station is very remote. There are 2 or 3 houses immediately next to the tracks, but everything around it is just farmland and countryside. Just after 5 minutes, the trail crosses a Ribblehead-style viaduct.

3 minutes later, this:

That’s the kind of visual effect that you get if you manage to get out at sunrise! Spectacular.

About 2 miles into my walk, hiking eastwards, I crossed River Ure and then Cobbles Hill to my right (or to the south) and somebody up or out there decided they liked me, gracing me with these views over the next mile:

Now the trail winds down towards south-east, getting nearer and nearer to the village of Applesett, just west of Hawes. I was now walking alongside River Ure to my left.

I rejoined the Pennine Way trail just north of Hawes, where River Ure gets considerably wider. The view from a small bridge over it where I made my first food break, left little doubt that there would soon be some hiking up to do!

After another mile, I reached the village of Hadraw. Past here, it’s a constant ascent for the next 5 miles to Great Shunner Fell at 716 m. Once at about 300 m elevation, views are beginning to be interesting again.

By 500 m, the path changes to more rocky and harsher terrain. One can imagine how much more difficult this would be in rainy – and certainly snowy! – weather.

Yet again, I was getting that sensation of awe that I always get surrounded by the overpowering space around me and the views of hills on the horizon.

Eventually, I reach the top. This was February, so not so green! – with grasses of brownish- dried-like colours surrounding me, giving the area an even remoter more inaccessible wilder feeling.

View from Great Shunner Fell
View from half a mile down from Great Shunner Fell
View from half a mile down from Great Shunner Fell

Now, the route begins to descend, first towards Blackburn Edge, and eventually to the village of Thwaite down below. Walking down to Thwaite is about 3 miles.

Near Black Edge

From Thwaite, it’s quickly back up through the green fields surrounding it – now towards River Swale.

This is a quick, rapid ascent from Thwaite, just 1 mile and 200 metres up. Once past the farmhouse in the last two photos above, the path turns sharply towards the north to Keld, overlooking River Swale to one’s right from high above, with I-could-actually-die-here-now-I-have-seen-everything kind of views of Swaledale accompanying the walker.

Now, the ridge walk begins to descent down a very rocky and jagged ground, through a forest, towards Keld, which comes into view in the distance.

Keld has to be one of the most peaceful, remote villages I’ve ever visited. I stayed at a B&B here with beautiful, serene view of the Dales from my window. I spent that evening, just watching the view -the sunset – through my window. I know of no better ways to calm your soul before closing my eyes for the night.

All images from this trip can be seen in the video below:

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