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Orton Scar - A wild walk in tame surroundings

Orton Scar - A wild walk in tame surroundings

Postby past my sell by date » Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:28 pm

Date walked: 23/10/2020

Time taken: 4

Distance: 14.3 km

Ascent: 400m

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The limestone scars between Orton and Kirkby Steven form a rather narrow North-South band only 2 - 3 km wide. However when I lived in Soulby I wanted a rather longer walk and developed an East- West route across them starting in Orton - or more conveniently at the cattlegrid where the B6260 Orton to Appleby road enters the open access land - and finishing at the Black Swan - a friendly watering hole in the village of Ravenstonedale (Rassendale or even Russel to it's inhabitantants).
I even managed to persuade the local authority to construct two new stiles so that walls could be crossed without damaging them.
N.B. There are lots of paths on the route, but by and large you don't follow any of them, so a map and compass are essential, and I have written this report as a series of instructions

Starting at the cattle grid at the top of the hill follow the North side of a wall past a plaque to commemorate Queen Victorias diamond jubilee, go R through a gateway and continue on the South side of the wall until it turns sharp L. continue in the same line until you meet the wall again and descend to a gate in a dip - not easy to see from a distance.
If you start in Orton itself, you join the walk here following paths through Scarside farm.
Go through the gate, but instead of following the big track, head off at about 2 o'clock towards a lone bush on a limestone ridge, descend to a stile - also not obvious from afar - and cross into Great Asby Scar Nature Reserve. The terrain on this section is much the most difficult - it tends to ease as the walk progresses
There is a wonderful section of limestone pavement up to the R, but the next objective - straight ahead - is a group of three large cairns: It is easiest to keep on the low ground on the L, go through a gate and climb up to them.
From the cairns head diagonally (about SW) to a wall and follow it for nearly 1km into a square corner with gates on the S and W side.
Follow a large track through the former, but after about 50m head almost due E - slightly uphill - and cross a new stile
Continue following the N side of the wall - yes it's the same old wall you started along :lol: - until it turns R, then head along a shallow grassy depression (about ENE) and bear R up to a ridge with several cairns overlooking the unclassified road between raisebeck and Great Asby
Drop down, cross the road, ascend the other side and head just S of E keeping close to the Northern edge of the open access land.
Potts Valley
The sides of Potts valley are steep - precipitous in most places - and the only easy way in is by a path at the Northern end. Cross the beck - usually managed dryshod - cross another new stile, head briefly S and follow a diagonal track up the other side.
Where this track turns L - heading for Crosby Garret - it is necessary to head on a compass bearing (about SE) for the 382m top of Nettle Hill . you cross two tracks but ignore them.
From Nettle Hill descend about SSE through a metal gate and then S to join a path that crosses the disused Smardale railway by a bridge: You are on the Coast to Coast path at this point. Turn R and descend to and cross an old stone bridge over Smardale beck. it is interesting that although this area sits between the two sources of the Lune, these two becks have cut though the limestone and run North to join the Eden.
Immediately beyond the bridge go R and follow head S though fields to Ravenstonedale, crossing the main A685 (care) - there are stiles on either side. After crossing the road follow the track though the field and over a tiny rivulet to a stile. Beyond the stile turn L and then immediately R down a track. at the end of this the Black Swan and a well earned pint are about 50m on the R.
Instead of crossing the stone bridge, you can also follow tracks on the W side of Smardale beck and arrive in the village

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past my sell by date
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