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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Like Here Only Different ~ Day 10 Keld to Reeth HALF WAY DONE!

Keld to Reeth 11.5 miles / 18.5 Km 5 hours ~ Keld - Muker  - Swaledale Valley( low route)  - Crackpot Hall ( high route) Tonight I stay at The Buck Hotel www.buckhotel.co.uk in Reeth.

Another easy day per the guide books.

  The high route can be desolate feeling but filled with wildlife.  If the weather is fine, an early start and a slow ramble is best viewing.  The route is filled with evidence of the old lead mining that was so much a part of this valley in centuries past.  Crackpot Hall is an 18th century ruin.  Crackpot means 'Deep hole or chasm that is the haunt of crows'.  Lead mining was a big industry and England produced half of the worlds lead in the 19th century.  Yorkshire accounted for 10% of that.  With the advent of more economical lead production in South America the mines here shut down, leaving the area bankrupt and the workers departed for the coal mines of England and America.

While today I took the low route which bypassed much of the historic mining sites, I still passed by Crackpot.  It is a million dollar view, for sure.

With the establishment of Yorkshire Dales National Park, tourism is now a major draw and towns and villages of the region now support a thriving year round industry.

The low route is filled with pretty waterways, woods and gentle scenery.  Distinctive 'laithes' stone barns housing livestock and hay are in every field.

Reeth is a classic Yorkshire village and was featured in the filming of the beloved BBC series "All Creatures Great and Small"  I will freely admit my desire to take this trip was inspired by the landscapes I first saw in this TV series.  I was counting on the outdoor shop here, but it has closed and sadly, so were several small shops in the small villages and hamlets along this days low route.  I hope some are closed simply because it is a quiet midweek day.  I noticed that several of the restaurants in town don't serve dinner tonight.

The village of Mukler (mui-ker) is home to Swaledale Woolens  www.swaledalewoollens.co.uk   The establishment of the cottage industry for home-knit goods helped transition the workers from lead mining to wool production.   I did a detour to the wool shop and picked up a sweater for myself..  I have to eject one from the closet at home, that is my rule.  Swaledale sheep are known for their tough wool, favored for rug making.  I chose a softer Welsh wool, worked by a local woman.

While this route was said to be easy, I think that is only relative to the high route.  Pretty river with a lot of bird action.  Rabbits galore.

The river Swale runs brown from the peat soil.  They use to dam up the many forces that run down these hills, the release the water, using its power to scour out new rock for mining.  It is hard to imagine the pollution from the soil,  lead processing and human habitation.

Now the valley appears peaceful and healthy.  Many ground-nesting birds were met along the way today.  The sheep seem more relaxed in this valley than those I have met til now.  Most just move a few steps away as I pass.  Some did not move at all.

The route did not stay low along the whole way.  I climbed up and across two fells.  Up top it was, as before, quite windy.

But going up high yields great views...

Coming down from the last of the fells, I noted some pretty dark clouds closing in.  Tired six-hour feet kicked into high gear and I made to to the hotel and beat the rain.

I found a bathtub as my reward.

Tomorrow we are heading for the city of Richmond.

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