Leader : John Borrill. Distance : 7 miles.
Left click route and profile to enlarge
Nestling at the base of Melmerby Moor Some 7 miles west of Leyburn lies the village of Carlton. A linear settlement of attractive stone built houses where recent modernisations have been tastefully handled to preserve the local character it is the largest village in Coverdale. This was our base on the lovely early August. Saturday. Once again we were thirteen in number when we parked adjacent the Village Hall. A Baker’s Dozen is fast becoming the norm these days so perhaps we should adopt the Savoy Cat principal and have a member constantly on standby in a glass case to avoid the unlucky number.
Carlton was once a significant coaching centre in the 18th and 19th century as it was on one of the main routes north from the dale and In the middle of the main street (well the only street really) there is a farm house with a curious stone above the front door. This is Flatts Farm, and the inscription was written by one Henry Constantine. the “Bard of Coverdale”
We commenced our tramp by following the main street almost due west for a while before taking a sharp right turn along a country lane which eventually took us down a tricky little descent to the banks of the river Cover. The river eventually joins the River Ure south east of Middleham, another of our favourite walking areas. As we paused for elevenses we mused that having descended quite a way from the village eventually the price would have to be paid in a return climb.
Onwards and with the walking underfoot pleasantly comfortable we soon passed through the tiny hamlet of West Scrafton famous for its many appearances in All Creatures Great and Small and reportedly having a massive population at the last Census of 70. West Scrafton was also the birth place of Lord Darnley, father of James 1 It is thought that the dale itself is named after Miles Coverdale who was the first person to translate the bible in to English in the early 16th century.
Leaving the village we embarked on a period of road walking travelling south west until the hard paving abruptly ended near Swineside after which we took to fields again dealing with yet more of the drystone wall tricky slit stiles that challenged the more rotund of our members. We soon met up with the Cover again near the 13h Century Hindlethwaite Hall, a lonely farmhouse and now, like so many of its peers, given over to paying self catering guests.
Turning north on what was effectively our home run we followed the Cover with its banks shrouded by mature trees, at one stage dropping down to its very edge as we wound our way along a tricky narrow tree root covered track.
Out to open fields again we pressed on until we arrived at a lovely village green type area adjacent the tiny hamlet of Gammersgill where we settled down for our lunchtime repast. A lovely spot but our sojourn was abruptly interrupted when in true pantomime fashion and entering stage left, came the village ‘Widow Twanky’ who informed us all in no uncertain terms that we were in fact picnicking in her garden although there were no warning signs to inform we itinerant wanderers. Oh dear, every village has one– we moved on.
A little gentle climbing followed, part payment for our initial descent, and after crossing the babbling Turn Beck we turned north east for the final long walk along the delightful country lane back to our starting place.
A pleasant alfresco aperitif at the local Foresters Arms concluded what had been a delightful walk in the lovely Coverdale.