Days Seven and Eight: Orton to Kirkby Stephen and a Rest Day

Day Seven of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast: Orton to Kirkby Stephen;  18.5 km, weather: overcast and cool. Day Eight, rest day in Kirkby Stephen.


Click on the map above to enlarge.

Today it’s to Kirkby Stephen and a rest day tomorrow, as we are almost halfway through the journey. After leaving the pretty little village of Orton we veered left up a road to Reisbeck and continued on until we found Knott’s Lane.

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A couple of amusing chalkboard signs we saw outside pubs as we were leaving Orton.

Here we located a stone circle which was more significant than the one’s we had sighted on the previous day.

Stone circle near Orton

Stone circle near Orton

From Knott’s Lane we travelled over farmland until we hit Sunbiggin Farm and Tarn Moor. Sunbiggin Tarn and Cow Dub Tarn were the only significant features as we made our way over Tarn Moor and Ravenstonedale Moor.

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A couple of the friendly locals…

With the weather being overcast and cool, it made for very pleasant walking!

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Sunbiggin Tarn                                                 The trail stretches on…

Eventually we arrived at Bent’s Farm and travelled onto Smardale Bridge where we had lunch on an old railway bridge. From the bridge we made our way across Smardale Fell with glimpses of Smardalegill Viaduct and an old limestone kiln, along the way. As we made our way across the fells and moors we were swooped by the odd jet fighter- the lads playing games with unsuspecting walkers- a bit of “tally ho”!

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Looking down from Begin Hill to the disused railway. The old railway bridge.

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Smardalegill viaduct, close up and then in the distance.

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Disused quarry not far from Kirkby Stephen. Tunnel under the railway line for two and four-footed creatures.


A welcome sign for weary travellers…

The final walk into Kirkby Stephen was across more fields and down a pretty lane where we hit the main street and back tracked to our digs at Lockholme, a beautiful old Victorian house. We were met at the door by our hostess May who proceeded to make us a cup of tea and fill us with home made, jam-filled sponge- what a treat!

Following the arrival of our gear we showered and made our way into town where we did a load of laundry. Ran across a couple we had met on the track, Lyndsey and Julie and had dinner with them at The Black Bull pub. Had a delightful mixed grill washed down with a pint of the publican’s finest and a glass of bordeaux red. Walking home to our B & B we met a Canadian couple who were cycling from the south of England to the north of Scotland over 22 days.


Today was how we planned it. Had a leisurely breakfast and met a local walker, John – a bit of a “know all”, spoke too fast and loud and didn’t allow you to get a word in edgeways! After breakfast we wandered back into the village to buy a few things-postcards and a new lightweight parka for Ann. We wandered into the local church and talked to a couple, Mike and Jane, who had lived in Kirkby Stephen for some time. Actually they used to own the B & B next to ours. Learnt a lot about the local area and the church from them. Wandered back to our digs where we ate lunch and planned our afternoon.

Lockholme-our accommodation in Kirkby Stephen       Picturesque church in Kirkby Stephen

Lockholme, our B & B in Kirkby Stephen.         The local church where we met Mike and Jane.

We strolled along a path known as the Poet’s Path Along this path there are 12 large pieces of granite or sandstone on each of which is engraved a verse from a poem on the life of a farmer- very interesting and tastefully done. The path led us onto Millennium Bridge and great views of the Eden River. Took lots of photos-as one does! From the bridge we took another path which led back into Kirkby Stephen over Frank’s Bridge (the route we will be taking as we leave town tomorrow).

Poet's Path   On the Poet's Path-one of the illustrations and the verse from the poem   Millenium Bridge

Poet’s Path, with beautiful forested pathways and the granite engravings. Millennium Bridge

Limestone rock eroaion     Eden River   More limestone erosion

Limestone formations abound along the banks of the Eden River

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More pictures of the picturesque river

P1030506 Beautiful walking path

Another of the walking trails around Kirkby Stephen which meet up with the Eden River.

Franks Bridge  Stone barn mentioned by Wainwright in his book-

Frank’s Bridge which crosses over the Eden and is also the start of our meanderings the following day. The barn in the second picture features in Wainwright’s reminiscing of the walk.

Stopped at a local bookshop where we endeavoured to solve the world’s problems, chatting with the owner. Dinner that evening was at the King’s Arms where I made short work of a delightful chicken dish. Quiet night in readiness for tomorrow’s walk to Keld.


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