In the middle of somewhere

I still had two knackered boys this morning so another hill day was off the table. Luckily the pub landlord from last night had mentioned a vast area of limestone nearby which he goes back to time and time again for the views. On the map it’s labelled Great Asby Scar but apparently it’s referred to by locals as Beacon Hill. I had found a little 9k circuit from Orton taking in said Beacon Hill as well as the higher Knott. Nothing to write home about at 412 metres, but it’s not about the height here. Not at all.

Orton was just 15 minutes away by car and indeed we crossed a bleak wide plain just before the village which neither of us remembered as impressive as it was today. Quick coffee in the the village and then off for our loop.

The first string of paths heading North led along fields with sheep securely fenced off so Merlin could roam for a bit. As we climbed up to Orton Scar and the start of the high plateau the path basically vanished and the sheep were roaming free which meant the opposite for the pooch.

Heading out of Orton

We freelanced through dry grass and heather for quite a bit nearly completely surrounded by mountain ranges in the distance. We were really right in the middle of… well somewhere. Somewhere special. We had the Howgills most prominent and probably closest to the South. Right next to them further West we had the Lake District’s sprawling hills with the likes of Helvellyn, Blencathra and even Haystacks easy to make out. Wow. To our North and East the Pennines with Cross Fell free from cloud and South and East the peaks of the Yorkshire Dales. Amazing! This surely must be one of the best and lowest viewpoints in the area.

Heading uphill with the Howgills behind

Add to that the impressive rugged rough limestone veins bulging out of the ground. It was a stunner of a walk so far, even with the amount of freelancing. Had a good look around from Beacon and then headed down and up again to Knott. Some more freelancing on what looked like a very faint vehicle track. You really had to pay attending to where you were going here to not completely miss the summit.

Beacon Hill
No photo does it justice
Washed out and eroded limestone. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Down from Knott we picked a few sheep tracks until we finally hit a decent path again leading back over a few fields into Orton. Merlin was by now a pro in terms of steps and stiles. Good boy.

What a lovely short-ish walk. Only 9k but big big views all around. You don’t have to go high to get them. The limestone rocks where quite unique as well and typical for the Yorkshire Dales I’ve been told. We had to freelance for at least half the route, but in such good weather it wasn’t much of an issue and actually a bit fun too to pick your own way in between the rocks and heather. There were a few paths here and there, but they mostly led in the wrong direction for us. We only saw a couple of people or so and were mostly alone. What a great hidden gem this.

Had some lunch at a café in Orton before heading back to the cottage for a bit of chill time. Sure I would’ve loved to be up on a big hill today, especially in fine weather, but you know what… I had really enjoyed our short outing today. It was truly special and I’m glad we went to see and experience it. I could see now why locals keep walking there again and again.

Out for food at the excellent Butcher’s Arms pub in the evening in yet another quite unique little valley halfway to Orton. It’s very green and flat at the bottom with a little stream and houses more or less dotted around, but surrounded by low hills it feels like a peaceful world of its own hidden away from everything.

Yet the pub was bustling with locals coming from all over the area and we very much enjoyed the atmosphere as much as the food. What a lovely end to a lovely day.

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