Chris (@PilgrimChris on Twitter and at www.pilgrimchris.co.uk) and I have been trying to align walking calendars since our aborted walk along the Cape Wrath Trail in May. Various things have prevented us from getting out together, not least my lack of enthusiasm for anything other than low level, unchallenging walking. However, we’ve finally managed to block out some weekends where we are both free and we’ll be doing some walking over the course of October and November, and possibly even later into the winter, should everything go well.

Last year we spent a number of Saturdays and Sundays walking sections of the Westmorland Way and the format really appealed to us both. We meet up on the Saturday and walk a linear route of about 12 miles, using our two cars; one at each end. We then find somewhere to camp on the Saturday night and do a shorter, 8-9 mile walk on the Sunday, before heading home to spend Sunday lunch with our loved ones. All the ingredients make for a great weekend. We decided to use this recipe for the weekends we’d booked out, but we needed a walk to complete; something to give us purpose.

I’ve been looking at the Nidderdale Way for a while, initially as a possible new guide book, but then just as a walk in somewhere I’ve not spent a lot of time. The established route meanders up and down the Nidd Valley, sometime beside the river and other times on the hills above. It looks like a lovely walk and I had considered using this for our weekend walking purposes, but my lack of fitness and an increasing desire to walk beside rivers made me reconsider this and tweak the route a little.

Head of Nidderdale, beside Scar House Reservoir

To cut what is becoming an increasingly long story short, I modified the Nidderdale Way and created the River Nidd Trail. The main difference is that my route sticks as close to the Nidd as possible – no wandering off up into the surrounding hills, no diverting to nearby towns or points of interest – just the Nidd and nothing but the Nidd! I may turn this into a guide book one day, depending on how things go.

The route starts at the point where the Nidd empties into the River Ouse, near York and runs for about 65 miles, past Knaresborough, Harrogate and Pately Bridge up into the head of Nidderdale beside the two reservoirs and up to the source, just below Great Whernside on the border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. You can see the route I plotted on the map below.

We have a couple of options for the final day up to the source; a linear walk over the top to Kettlewell, or a slightly longer circular from the car park beside the Scar House reservoir. I guess we’ll decide a little closer to the time which one suits us best.

I tried to reach the source of the Nidd last year, but turned my ankle on the way up and had to abandon the walk and hobble back to the car. I hope that’s not a bad omen!

Beside the infant Nidd, looking up to the source

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