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COAST TO COAST PATH - Day 7
Orton to Kirkby Stephen

Scar Side Farm, Orton
Lane nr Scar Side Farm
Field in the Lune Valley
(1) Scar Side Farm, Orton
(2) Lane nr Scar Side Farm
(3) Field in the Lune Valley

This was another very easy days walking although once again the weather was far from ideal. The early morning rain had stopped by the time we had set off from the very pleasant Scar Side Farm nr Orton, photo 1, however it remained very grey for much of the day and a couple of showers forced us to keep our waterproofs on again for much of the walk. It was also quite windy again, well very windy in fact and this meant that the temperature felt a lot cooler than it actually was. From the farm we followed a metalled track, photo 2, past a couple of farms before heading to the left along a footpath which headed across a number of fields, photo 3. These were mainly being grazed by sheep and run along the edge of the Lune Valley, just below the open moors, photo 3.

View over to the Howgills
Approaching the road nr Sunbiggin Tarn
Ravenstonedale Moor
(4) View over to the Howgills
(5) Approaching the road nr Sunbiggin Tarn
(6) Ravenstonedale Moor

Away to our right we could still see the Howgill Fells, photo 4, gradually appearing as the cloud base rose. Reaching a road we headed to the left and where this ended joined a broad stone lined farm track by Sunbiggin Farm that led out to open moorland. Behind us we could see the two ladies in red jackets who we had first met at Low Cock How gradually catching up with us. It was easy walking across the moorland, photo 5, as we headed down to join a road opposite Sunbiggin Tarn although the tarn itself remained stubbornly out of view. The Coast to Coast route heads down the road for a short distance before crossing over a small stream, photo 6, and joining a footpath on the left that curves round over the very bleak and desolate expanse of Ravenstonedale Moor. Although there were a few boggy areas of ground these were nothing to compare with what we had encountered in the lakes after the heavy rain and Sara was able to do this stage wearing her walking shoes rather than boots. Although my fabric boots had dried out from their soaking on days two and three they had become incredibly smelly. This was very unusual as I have got them wet many times before and they have never really smelt at all but this time around they were decidedly pongy, too smelly to wear even on an open moor! Hopefully I will be able to resurrect them when I get home, as it was for now I was stuck with having to wear my leather boots which weren't really necessary in this terrain.

Moorland enclosure
Path nr Bents Hill
Approaching the disused rail line
(7) Moorland enclosure
(8) Path nr Bents Hill
(9) Approaching the disused rail line

Reaching an enclosure, photo 7, the path bears to the left along the wall and then over a road and on to pass a small grass covered hill top reservoir. The route now follows a path running along the edge of a wall with the moors to the left and fields to the right, photo 8. Just past Bents Farm we stopped for a short break although the wind made it too chilly to hang around for long. We then followed the wall round as the path heads downhill, photo 9, to cross over a disused railway line. Just before we had reached the disused railway line the route runs above the site of Severals, an old pre-historic settlement although little trace of this remains on the ground.

Smardale Bridge
Smardalegill Viaduct
Sara, Smardale Fell
(10) Smardale Bridge
(11) Smardalegill Viaduct
(12) Sara, Smardale Fell

Reaching the railway we had to stop and put on our waterproofs once again before heading on downhill down to cross the attractive Smardale Bridge over Scandal Beck, photo 10. This was the most picturesque part of the days walk as we crossed the narrow limestone valley and headed up the other side. From the path there were good views down the valley towards the Smardalegill Viaduct, photo 11, although this stretch of the walk was also accompanied by the heaviest rain of the day. The path followed another wall as it headed across Smardale Fell, photo 12, before descending down to reach a minor road.

Lunch stop on day 7
Heading under the Settle - Carlisle rail line
Path leading to Greenrigg Farm
(13) Lunch stop on day 7
(14) Heading under the Settle - Carlisle rail line
(15) Path leading to Greenrigg Farm

Here we stopped on a handily placed log for our lunch break, photo 13, a stone wall providing a little respite from the wind. We then had a short stretch of road walking to our right, before heading to the left down another road for a few yards before joining a footpath on the right. This headed across a couple of sheep pastures and through a tunnel under the Settle - Carlisle rail line, photo 14. We then followed the path as it headed downhill over a couple of fields to pass back under another disused rail line by Greenrigg Farm.

Rain on the Pennines
Kirkby Stephen
Kirkby Stephen
(16) Rain on the Pennines
(17) Kirkby Stephen
(18) Kirkby Stephen

Ahead of us we could see heavy rainclouds moving in over the Pennines, photo 16. Although we more or less avoided any rain for the remainder of the walk we did get caught ou tin the rain when having a little wander round town later. At Greenrigg Farm the path heads to the left round the rather smelly farmyard before joining a path on the right that heads up to the driveway to the farm. This is then followed all the way into Kirkby Stephen, photo 17, the path running behind houses before taking a short stretch of road down to the main street, photo 18. From here it was only a short walk through the town to our nights accommodation at the Kings Arms.

Reaching the hotel we had been out walking for 12 miles. Given that we had now been walking for seven days, all be it with a few short days, I was really pleased with how fit I was still feeling. My feet ache a little from having to wear my big leather boots all the time but generally I have plenty of energy and if the spacing of the villages allowed would have been able to happily walk a few miles further each day without any difficulty. As it is I think Sara had planned the stages perfectly as it allowed time to look around and enjoy the scenery without ever being pushed for time.

As usual I have uploaded the route of the walk which can be accessed here: Coast to Coast Path Day 7.

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