The Baldersdale Dash - Sun 7th Feb 2010  
       
    Area: Middleton in Teesdale  -  Distance: 17km / 10.5miles  -  Total Ascent: 409metres / 1342ft.  
       
    A fairly easy walk following the Pennine Way from Lunedale to Baldersdale where Hannah Hauxwell used to live.
There are some good paths, tracks and a little road walking involved. However some rough featureless and trackless moorland terrain must be crossed as we climb to the summit of Shacklesborough and then descend to the far westerly end of Balderhead Reservoir. We then head northeast crossing Mickleton Moor as we return to Lunedale.
Map reading skills are essential on this walk especially in mist.
 
       
  Our walk starts in Lunedale not far from Middleton in Teesdale, it was a cold damp drizzly day as Gerry and I rendezvoused at the small isolated car park next to Grassholme Reservoir which is on the Pennine Way.  
       
  Some of the reflections in the still waters of the reservoir looked strange in the early morning mist.

If you think this looks a little too strange it's because I have turned the picture upside down and inside out just to confuse you!
 
       
  Ok lets press on: -
We cross the bridge and follow the road a short distance up the hill where we pass over a cattle grid, turning immediately right we cross a stile following the Pennine Way through the allotments to How, across the road and southward through the fields and pastures until we reach the road at East Hunder.
 
       
  A few yards down the road we arrive at the entrance to High Birk Hat and Hannahs Meadow nature reserve.

We pass through the gate and follow the road down through the meadow to Low Birk Hat and the isolated farm where Hannah Hauxwell spent most of her life.

Find out more: -
Hannahs Meadow
 
       
  Since the farm was sold and Hannah left to live in Cotherstone the buildings have been extensively renovated etc. and as the property is occupied I thought it wise not to photograph too much.
We follow the sign PW and pass through the iron gate
 
       
  Immediately left a view from the other side of the house and down to Blackton Reservoir and the nature reserve.

Find out more: -
Blackton Nature Reserve
 
       
  Still following the Pennine Way we cross Blackton Bridge at the westerly end of the reservoir and head up to the hamlet of Blackton.

Here this photograph looks back up the reservoir to Hannah's farm in the trees on the right.
 
       
  We leave Blackton picking up a path on our left as we pass through a gate and out onto the fell.
Steadily climbing over rough moorland we follow the path to Turf Hill where we then take a bearing and head directly towards the summit of Shacklesborough - a modest 454m / 1490ft erupting from the bleak moorland and surrounded by a small escarpment of rocks.
 
       
  The summit: -

Shacklesborough - 454m / 1490ft

Gerry checks his GPS reading against the impressive cairn.


 
       
  We take a bearing and head north west from the summit over very rough boggy terrain to reach this track at the far westerly end of Balderhead Reservoir.
We follow the track as it winds its way down to the wooden bridge at the bottom then heads north east up the fell on the other side.
 
       
  Looking back towards the head of the dale and the source of the River Balder as it flows into the reservoir.  
       
  Walking on good tracks now we stop at the parking area where the road begins.
The sheep in the neighbouring field came to greet us, they were obviously under the false assumption that we had brought their dinner!

After about half a kilometre we arrive at East Carnigill, a cluster of farm houses and buildings, at this point we leave the road and take a path heading northeast over wet moorland crossing White Hill and Mickleton Moor to reach the farm at Lane Head where we pick up the track leading down to Selset Weir. 
 
       
  Selset Weir at the western end of Grassholme Reservoir - an impressive sight!  
       
  It reminds me of the bow of a ship Selset Weir is certainly an impressive feat of engineering.

At this point we cross the bridge  and follow the path up to join the road for the short walk back to the car.

This was an interesting and varied walk in unfamiliar territory - excellent!
 
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