Our last full day in Swaledale and I am sad to be leaving. I much prefer Swaledale to Wharfedale – the former is much more natural and remote and a lot less commercialised than Kettlewell and district.
The big surprise of the morning came when I looked to see who Athletic were playing in the second round of the Yorkshire cup. Sheffield Wednesday!! I checked and rechecked – I just couldn’t believe it! Capacity crowd was expected – 4,000. Just imagine – Easterby Athletic v Sheffield Wednesday. Anyway, better luck next season I suppose.
We had selected a 7½ mile walk from Reeth (circular); so we drove in the car the six miles to Reeth. After parking we walked along the Reeth-Gunnerside road to the school, where we turned up a narrow walled lane which was overgrown. Because of the heavy overnight rain (two inches in Cumbria), the vegetation was soaking wet and soon my jeans were wet through.
We emerged onto the moors which were muddy and wet and walked on for quite a way until we reached a small stream within sight of a road, where we had dinner. High above us on the moor we could hear the crack of shotguns as the Lords and wealthy slaughtered grouse.
We reached the road and walked up for a way, pausing to watch the grouse shooting across the valley on Reeth High Moor and Surrender Moss. The beaters waving their white flags could clearly be seen, as too could the puffs of smoke from the gun barrels.
We followed a broad green track across the moor past Calver Hill towards Arkengarthdale and Langthwaite, disturbing hundreds of rabbits and red grouse as we went.
All the way along the Arkle we walked back into Reeth (we only got lost once!) and when I got back I felt sad that we had finished our holiday but in a way glad that all the hard slog was over.
Next stop was a café, where we had toasted teacakes and tea. I felt sad now – sad that I was leaving Swaledale just as I had got to know it. I wonder how long it will be before I return?
When we arrived at South View Cottage we discovered that an old buffet which had stood all week by the cooker, had been moved about 6 foot to the dining room door. At first we thought nothing about it – obviously Mrs. Calvert and co. had been in for some reason. Later though, when Mum and Dad went to pay the £60 for the week, they found out that nobody had been near. When they told Calvert’s son about the buffet he looked thoughtful and wondered if “we’ve a ghost on our hands.”
In the evening we went up Gunnerside Gill to sit for a bit and then when it was dark to the pub’ to sit outside for a while. It was with trepidation that I went back to the house – I half-expected to find the buffet in the bedroom or something – and the place seemed unfriendly. I was glad it was the last night there (so was Mum).