The Swale Way
A couple of months ago I finished writing my fourth guide book; The Swale Way. This is the first in a series of three guides, following the rivers that rise on the ridge above the Mallerstang valley on the border of Cumbria and North Yorkshire.
You can buy the book from the Pocket Routes website – it costs £10 inc. UK postage: Swale Way Book Shop
The 80 mile Swale Way follows the length of the River Swale, upstream, from its confluence with the River Ure near Boroughbridge to its source at the head of Swaledale, where Birkdale Beck and Great Sleddale Beck meet, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is a walk of contrasts – along the way it passes through the historic market towns of Boroughbridge, Thirsk and Richmond with their numerous tourist attractions; it passes famous battle sites and historic parkland; through lush meadows and dramatic gorges and travels the length of Swaledale, considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the Yorkshire Dales.
By taking advantage of little known paths on the south of the river between Richmond and Keld, the Swale Way manages to avoid the crowds of the Coast to Coast, which also runs through the valley. The views of Swaledale are expansive as the Way climbs away from the river to follow the path around Stainton Moor to Haggs Gill and down through the hay meadows into Grinton and Reeth. From there the Way crosses the suspension bridge and uses quiet paths beside the Swale before crossing back to pass through Gunnerside and the spectacular Kisdon Gorge to reach Keld. From there, a short walk brings the Way to Birkdale and the start of the Swale. Job done; river followed from end to start, the Way climbs to the iconic cairns on Nine Standards Rigg and then drops down into Kirkby Stephen.
The new guide book includes a planning section with accommodation guide, town facilities, advice and guidance. It includes a detailed route guide with walking directions and a set of annotated maps. The book is peppered with items of local and historical interest, helping to add context to the buildings, bridges and villages along the Way.