6 Dales Trail


Flat calm on Thruscross

Just when you thought this fly fishing blog was going to get back to being only about flyfishing I’ve got a couple of updates on some great walking missions I’ve already completed this year. First, we have the 6 Dale Trail which takes in…wait for it…6 Yorkshire Dales.

Phil had found this walk on the Web, bought the book containing the full route breakdown and decided it was worth embarking upon. It starts in Otley and ends at Middleham Castle and is around 38 miles in total, taking in Wharfedale, Washburndale, Nidderdale, Colsterdale, Coverdale, and Wensleydale.  Needless to say we managed to add on a couple more miles through navigation failures and general faffing. I won’t bore you with the full details but in brief, we did Otley to Pateley Bridge (20 miles) on day one carrying tents, sleeping bags, food, yada yada even though the option of dumping all this gear up at the campsite in advance was available. That’s how macho we are. Well it nearly broke us, weedy office types that we are, lugging all that shit on our backs up hill/down dale. Idiots. It slowed us down as well, so we got to Pateley Bridge too late for food at the Watermill Pub once we’d put the infernal tents up. My tea was therefore 6  pints of bitter and some crisps. Below are some photos from the first leg.

Day One

Ready to set off – Sally, Tom and Phil. Note Tom’s flamboyant Transformer-style gaiters

Heading out of Otley

Looking over to Norwood Edge

Fewston Reservoir


Beautiful conditions at Thruscross reservoir

Stubborn snow drifts

Campsite at Pateley Bridge

Day 2


I’d had a rubbish night’s sleep because my ultra compact sleeping bag is comfort rated down to 10 degrees whereas temp got down to -2 in the night. Every time I woke up (frequently) I  threw a bar of chocolate or packet of crisps down  my neck to generate some heat energy inside me. Breakfast was a starter of disintegrated Cornish pasty, a mug of tea followed by a Tesco Value cup-a-soup I’d thrown in for emergency and by God I enjoyed every mouthful of it all! My feet were sore, my ankles tender and my back mangled but nowt a couple of Ibuprofen couldn’t knock the edge off and we were able to dump the tents in the dog support vehicle to make life easier.

The second half of the walk took us through some hidden gems, including Gouthwaite reservoir which is very pleasing on the eye, wonder if you can fish it?

Gouthwaite reservoir

We then climbed up onto Fountains Earth Moor which had substantial snow left in places. I subsequently discovered we walked right past a Second World War aeroplane crash site whilst up on there – something else I’m interested in!

Fountains Earth Moor

Count Von Tittenstein looking for an Edelweiss ..possibly

Jervaulx Abbey

Arriving at the end of the walk, Middleham Castle. My feet were knackered by this point!

Middleham Castle

I’d never walked more than about 17 miles prior to this, so to do 2 consecutive 20 milers was hard going for my poor little tootsies but most enjoyable nevertheless.


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