Walk 5 - A superlative but strenuous high level linear walk from Kirkby Stephen Station to the Moorcock Inn taking in Mallerstang Edge [709m] with some spectacular scenery and good views of Wild Boar Fell - 13.5 miles - allow 6.5 hours. By Car or train - if arriving by car it will be necessary to park at Kirkby Stephen or Garsdale Stations and travel one stop on the train. Back to Moorcock Walks
Start at Kirkby Stephen station and pass though the gate off the station access road following footpath downhill and parallel with the road to Kirkby Stephen. At the bottom of the hill, at Halfpenny House, turn right along a concrete private road leading to Wharton Hall. Before reaching Wharton Hall turn left and cross a field to a farm bridge across the River Eden. Turn left and immediately through a gate proceed right and uphill to a small gate in the fence. Cross the open pasture towards Nateby passing to the right hand side of a former school emerging at a minor road serving the Mallerstang valley.
Turn right and proceed along the road for 1/4 mile. Just beyond a lay-by a foot path strikes off to the left crossing several fields passing through a large gate with the wall on the left and then right. This crosses Thringill Beck by a footbridge [actually a dried up ravine] and continues to the right hand side of the ravine now proceeding uphill in a more or less straight line passing the hillock of Bells. From Bells it is necessary to select a line to the summit of High Pike as there are no distinct path. The going is a bit rough over open pasture and gets steep, passing the remains of a quarry working before reaching the first summit at High Pike Hill [642m].
From High Pike follow a faint track which continues across the plateau rising slightly to get to High Seat [709m]. The views open up at this point and the path drops downhill slightly before ascending to get to Gregory's Chapel [695m]..
From Gregory's Chapel [actually a pile of stones] bear south west and proceed down the shoulder of the hill passing White Brow and Ravens Nest. This quickly becomes a spectacular cliff edge path along Mallerstang Edge with excellent views towards Wild Boar Fell. After a short while the path will emerge at the side of Hell Gill Beck which is followed all the way down to Hell Gill Bridge.
Turn left to cross the bridge across a very narrow and deep ravine. This track is in fact the old coach road known as Lady Anne Highway. Follow the gently undulating 'highway' eventually with a wall to the right. After 1 mile the ruin of High Hall is reached and a ford. Another 2/3 mile further along the highway there is a gate.
There are two main options for the return from this point. The easiest and preferred option involves passing through the gate and carrying on along the highway for about 2 miles. The track dips into a small ravine and has been subject to landslip in the past and passses the reamins of High Dyke farmhouse. About 1/4 mile after the farmhouse look for a new gate in the wall [no sign-post at present]. Pass through the gate with a lime kiln on the left. This is the new Pennine Bridleway and is waymarked with wooden posts down to the side of Cobbles Plantation and emerging through a gate at Ure Force waterfalls. Cross the bridge and follow the bridleway to the Moorcock Inn.
The second option takes in Shaws Waterfall and Lunds Church: Passing through the stile immediately before the aforementioned gate on the Lady Anne Highway proceed diagonally downhill to a gate at the rear of Shaws and the by steps down to a wooden footbridge in front of the waterfall. Shaws, now a private house was formerly the Garsdale Youth Hostel until the 1970s. Continue downhill across another footbridge and passing through a deserted farmyard to the little hamlet of Lunds with it's now disused church.
Whilst there are various ways back from Lunds - the most straightforward way is to cross the river by the footbridge at the perimeter of the churchyard and follow plantation access track up towards the main road. About half way up the track there is a path cutting through the recently-felled plantation and diagonally across a couple of fields to reach the main road. Turn left along the road and thence back to the Moorcock Inn. The downside is 1/2 mile of road walking!
For the return walk to Garsdale Station, on leaving the Moorcock turn right and proceed along the main road towards Sedbergh for a very short while then turning left through a gate to follow the recently opened Pennine Bridleway which proceeds directly to the rear of the station passing under Dandry Mire Viaduct enroute. The station is slightly under a mile from the pub and 30-35 minutes should be allowed for this uphill walk! Remember that southbound trains run from the farthest platform and it is necessary to pass under the road bridge to gain access.
This page was last updated on 16-Nov-2014
©John Carey 2009