The Yoredale Way and Swale Way are sister walks. The Yoredale Way runs for 73 miles from Kirkby Stephen, beside the River Ure, through what used to be called Yoredale, but is now known as Wensleydale. It is a long distance walk that follows the course of the River Ure, from its source on the high fells in the Yorkshire Dales National Park above Kirkby Stephen, to the village of Boroughbridge 73 miles later.
The walk starts beside another great river, the Eden, as we leave Kirkby Stephen and climb up to the ridge above the Mallerstang valley to find the source of both the Eden and, more importantly to us, the Ure. The Way then runs through beautiful Wensleydale, one of the most famous of all the Yorkshire Dales and home to the world-renowned cheese of the same name.
An option is provided to climb out of the valley to the site of an old beacon on Penhill, and look down onto the twisting Ure below. We visit the castle of Richard III in Middleham and one of the great brewing centres of northern England in Masham, home to Theakston’s and Black Sheep.
For the majority of the Way, we are never far from the Ure as it winds though woodland and beside wide pastures, quaint villages and the parks of stately homes. In Ripon we find the modern bright lights and grand ecclesiastical architecture, side by side in a bustling city, with the Ure calmly sliding by it all. A final stretch of riverside path brings us to journey’s end in Boroughbridge, where you could turn around and follow the Swale Way back to Kirkby Stephen.
The Swale Way was originally conceived by John Brock of the Ramblers Association in 1995 and the pen and ink drawings reproduced in the route descriptions are from original artwork by Richard Collier. The 77 mile walk follows the length of the River Swale in North Yorkshire from its joining with the River Ure near Boroughbridge to its source at the head of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Along the way it passes through the historic market towns of Boroughbridge, Thirsk and Richmond, past famous battle sites and historic parkland, and travels the length of Swaledale, one of the most beautiful of all the Yorkshire Dales.
The Yoredale Way/Swale Way Circular Walk has a total mileage of 150 miles starting and ending in Kirkby Stephen.
More information on the walk, can be found on the publisher’s website: www.pocketroutes.co.uk