My favourite walk in England beckoned. Sedbergh to Ravenstonedale across the Howgill Fells. Always a slog out of Sedbergh and rucsacs loaded with vittels.
Hills that look like pale green ghostly pillows lobbed randomly but perfectly. Up on to the Calf and views of Morecambe Bay, Lakeland hills (is that Great Gable and so on), and Ingleborough peering out again. There can be few more remote and silent places in England that offer so much with so few people about.
We look down on valley bottoms with distant meandering streams and wonder how many people have ever been there.
In sunny weather it is a complete joy, we think back to days in Summer when poor visibility has led us to abandon the idea of walking up here.
After many miles of ridges, the long downward slope leads us off the fells and we wend our way through small upland farms, a tree nursery and boggy meadows. Better field paths and minor roads lead us to the edge of Ravenstonedale to be lifted by the sight of the King’s Head.
Obviously doing business with Marston’s…61 Deep and Mansfield Cask on offer. Why no local Jennings’? Out of curiosity I rehydrate on Mansfield. The blandest bitter I’ve had in a very long time. Not kept badly, it just seemed as if they’d used the cheapest ingredients in the beer factory and not much of them.
We wander on through the churchyard to arrive at our billet for the night, the Black Swan. A wonderful country pub hotel if ever there was.
A GBG regular, they seem to have a clever strategy on the beer front to keep their place. Black Sheep to keep the non-CAMRA punters happy and a couple of changing obscure local micros to meet the ‘needs’ of local CAMRA folk. Is this how it’s done?
The beer is fine and we rest our Howgilled bones and joints in preparation for a trip tomorrow on the Settle to Carlisle and a wander round Skipton. The Woolly Sheep beckons.