Following the mammoth previous day’s hike, this one was to be shorter and I took it generally slower. After a good breakfast at my B&B, I set off on my way. The trail was literally passes by the B&B house, so I was straight on it. The weather was changeable that morning, and it was cloudy at first with occasional rain for the first 2-3 hours or so, although it cleared up by the end of the walk.
A quick and steep ascent takes the walker up to an elevation with excellent views of the surrounding hills, walking north in the Blea Moor area. At first, only a small path exists, but after about 10 minutes’ walk this changes into a wider road.
After 2 miles’ walk, the dirt road reaches Newby Head Road, which one follows for the next good few miles. Currently, upon reaching it, I took a turn left to north-west and was greeted by incredible view of the Dent Head Viaduct as the road steeply descends towards it.
It is a quiet road and it’s definitely a good spot to just observe the area for a few minutes. It’s a commanding, inspiring view.
Soon, along the same road, the trail joins River Dee and will follow it for 6 miles into the village of Dent. This is an easy, not just flat but descending gently, walk, only occasionally leaving the road. It passes through a few smaller and picturesque villages.
At Bridge End, I made a short stop in what looked like a secluded and serene spot near the river – love the sound of fast-pacing streams.
Unbeknownst to me as I was under a cover of trees here, it now started to rain for about 10 minutes, and then suddenly cleared up in what felt like seconds. It was that kind of a day. The road took me past Mount Pleasant, Stone House and Harber Gill House, some of which seem to be single farmhouses rather than even hamlets.
At Lea Yeat, the trail goes off the road for a few minutes and follows along a small (very slippery stones) path along the river and then a campsite for just a few minutes before rejoining a road that goes all the way west into Dent.
The next stretch follows, generally, the road but tries get off it on smaller paths whenever it can past farmhouses; some high grasses here and it was quite wet on the legs here. The weather was turning cloudier and within half an hour now it turned into a patch of very rainy weather now.
Eventually, the path (to the left of the Dent road) rejoins the road, crosses it and then over some fields and a tiny bridge (to the right of the road) it takes one over River Dee for a few minutes before reaching another bridge to go back over to the original side. This is now the final approach to Dent, now about 1.5 miles away.
The next bit is on pastures with path not so easily discernible and I lost my path for a minute or two there before going back to the trail. There was one steep ascent before a descent back towards a single house near Deepdale Beck.
Just one mile east of Dent, Deepdale Beck joins River Dee, and this is what I was now approaching. The next photo shows the rather enchanting slightly overgrown path I was now following – it looks like it’s just wild bushes with no path – there was was one, but not so clear in the photograph!
It is now a gentle, easy and relaxed walk along the Beck and then River Dee into Dent. There are cafes there and I was planning to take my lunch there. At 9.5 miles in, this was more or less half of my walk that day.
As a point of interest, Dent has a rail station which is the highest located operational train station in England (1,150ft / 350m). However, I should actually say that the station is nowhere near the Dent village itself – it’s actually near Cowgill / Lea Yeat about 5 miles to the east! On the way to my cafe in the north-western side of the village, I found a little grocery shop; I masked-up and got some food as I would be camping at Holme Farm later that night: saved me the trouble to go into Sedbergh on the way.
I spent about 40 minutes at the Meadowside Cafe; lovely soup and sandwich and lovely staff! Then I headed off out of the village. During the first 5 minutes, I was caught in the last outburst of the rain that day – after that I was getting progressively sunnier and brighter – good timing given the views that I was about to encounter on those last couple of miles.
Going north-west, the trail continues along River Dee out of Dent for the next 3 miles, first on some paths and then on a minor road. All around is magical and enchanting as you would expect, but it is progressively getting more and more impressive as you begin to approach Sedbergh, about 4.5 miles from Dent. Walking the valley, with Helms and Holme ridges on both sides is pure Hobbesian pleasure.
Having walked along the southern (going north) banks of River Dee, eventually the path turns north, crosses and road and follows onto Gap Lane, a short steep climb. As it climbs, very quickly the best views of the day appeared, first of the Holme ridge and then of the fells north of Sedbergh. Just watch:
Millthrop is the last village just before Sedbergh on the trail; past Millthrop, the trail crosses River Rawthey, a wide but shallow one, and follows it west on its northern bank. The last photo above was taken just after crossing that bridge.
I, however, needed to get back to the southern bank as my campsite that day, now less than 2 miles away, was right next to River Dee, but on its southern bank. 10 minutes’ walk took me to another bridge. The rest was crossing a golf area and going along Jordan Lane to the Holme Farm, where my extremely peaceful camping site was. The views never let up until the very end!
After pitching my tent, it was a very pleasant and quiet relaxing time on my mat in front of my tent – lovely views all around – and a short quiet walk along the river. I returned to my tent for food when the mosquitoes started biting at dusk. This was another stunning day.