Section 1 – Settle to Ingleton
We climb out of Settle and use a wonderful high-level path across Giggleswick Scar to reach Feizor and the first tea room of the walk. From there it’s across farmland on good paths to the villages of Austwick and Clapham where we find a pub or a café for lunch. Afternoon sees us skirting the southern boundary of the Dales National Park as we pass through Newby and Cold Cotes and then a short stretch along a quiet lane into the village of Ingleton, famous for its waterfalls.
Section 2 – Ingleton to Dent
We can either leave Ingleton by the waterfall walk, or along a tarmac lane, both of which bring us to Twistleton Scar. Here we have another option; a wonderful high-level walk over Whernside, Yorkshire’s highest mountain, or a gentle stroll along the secluded valley of Kingsdale. The two routes join again a mile or so from our destination and we use the fields and hay meadows of Dentdale to reach the charming cobbled streets of its primary village, Dent.
Section 3 – Dent to Garsdale Head
We leave Dent, following the River Dee through Dentdale, using the Dales Way footpath to arrive at the upper reaches of the dale. From here we climb the rugged track beneath the arches of Artengill Viaduct on Dent Fell and follow a lofty track around the upper slopes of Great Knoutberry Hill. The final stretch down to Garsdale Head is along the Coal Road, that used to connect the coal mines on Cowgill Head with the Settle-Carlisle railway.
Section 4 – Garsdale Head to Muker
Field paths take us through Garsdale, over Cotter Riggs and into the heart of Cotterdale. A thin path then transitions us into the head of Wensleydale where we join the Pennine Way to climb to the summit of Great Shunner Fell, Yorkshire’s third highest mountain and an ancient look-out point. The descent of the hill brings us to Thwaite at the head of Swaledale, where we follow a path through the hay meadows into the tiny village of Muker.
Section 5 – Muker to Askrigg
A day of historic exploration lies ahead of us as we leave Muker, following the River Swale through Kisdon Gorge, before climbing up into the beautiful Swinner Gill. We pass many ruined buildings and other remains of the lead mining industry as we descend into Gunnerside, perfectly positioned for lunch in the pub or tea room. The afternoon sees us climb up and over Askrigg Common, returning to Wensleydale and the village of Askrigg, with its James Herriot connections.
Section 6 – Askrigg to Yockenthwaite
We leave Askrigg, using paths beside the River Ure to reach Bainbridge and from there into Raydale and a lakeside path beside Semer Water, steeped in ancient legend. Beyond the lake we take to the hills again, using a fine path across the limestone pavement on Stake Moss, down to the buildings at Cray, one of which is a pub. We complete the day with a late afternoon stroll through the high meadows of Langstrothdale to the tiny settlement of Yockenthwaite.
Section 7 – Yockenthwaite to Arncliffe
We begin the day with a steep climb past the waterfalls in Hagg Beck, up to the rather ominously named Horse Head Moor. We then drop down the other side of the hill into the beautiful, almost forgotten valley of Littondale. We can make a short diversion across the river to Litton, where there’s a pub for lunch, before continuing through the lush green fields to the village of Arncliffe, a filming location for the original Emmerdale Farm TV show.
Section 8 – Arncliffe to Settle
The final day begins as so many others have done, with a climb. Today’s follows the Monk’s Road, to the high pastures above Littondale and across wide grassy tracks to the largest natural lake in the Dales, Malham Tarn. We visit the famous limestone pavement above Malham Cove before crossing more stunning limestone scenery above Stockdale, before we begin our descent into Settle and journey’s end