The Ravenber Way (ish)

Date walked: 06/05/2024

Time taken: 14 days

Distance: 401km

Ascent: 10244m

The Ravenber Way is a coast to coast route from Ravenglass in Cumbria over to Berwick on the east coast. It's a completely unsigned route (not on OS maps either) and it utilizes a lot of bridleways and less frequented routes as well as well-known routes like the Pennine Way.

Day 1

Ravenglass - Wasdale Head

Miles - 15
Steps - 31,890
Ascent (metres) - 616
Moving Time - 04:58
Stopped Time - 00:47
Moving Ave - 3mph
Overall Ave - 2.6mph

I started at Ravenglass on an overcast but fairly warm morning. Walked along the length of Main Street to find the tide was in and there was no access to the foreshore so backtracked to where the alternative high tide route started. After about 100m I came to a footbridge over a railway line and this was completely barricaded off so no access - great start! Back down to my starting point again and I followed the road round and under a railway bridge and then through the railway car park and I managed to find my way to the footbridge (but now on the correct side for the path I needed).A lot of faffing about - hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come.

Quite a lot of low level woodland walking today on good paths with a bit of climbing in the second half of the day. Having climbed up through Miterdale Forest I slipped up by missing a path heading off to the right over Whin Rigg and Illgill Head. By the time I realised, I had lost a lot of height and was nearly down to Wast Water leaving me either the road or the sketchy scree path on the opposite side of Wast Water from the road - I chose the road for an easy last few miles to Wasdale Head.

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Approaching Wasdale Head

Day 2

Wasdale Head - Ambleside

Miles - 17.9
Steps - 40,302
Ascent (metres) - 1154
Moving Time - 07:34
Stopped Time - 00:37
Moving Ave - 2.4mph
Overall Ave - 2.2mph

A surprise to start the day. The low cloud and haze of yesterday has lifted overnight and it's a blue sky start with all the tops clear. After an hour's walking along Moses Trod heading for Sty Head another surprise, the blue sky has gone, replaced with more bloomin low cloud!!

With limited visiblity I changed my plans and rather than taking in Great Gable I just made directly for Sty Head and then on to Sprinkling Tarn. A short diversion off the track and I climbed Allen Crags which at 785m was clear of clag. A steady descent down to Angle Tarn followed by a short climb and another detour to climb to the top of Rossett Pike where I had good views of the route ahead (looking down the Mickleden valley in the direction of Old Dungeon Ghyll).

A steep descent and I had dropped down to Esk Hause and the relatively flat next few miles to Skelwith Bridge were familiar as I did the reverse route on the Cumbria Way last September. I knew once I reached Skelwith Bridge that I was into the last 4.5 miles and hoped for a nice easy finish but the route took me on a 20% climb on a minor road out of the village before more climbing up onto Loughrigg Fell with a final descent down into Ambleside. Even without Great Gable it was still a tough day.

Looking back to Wasdale Head

Sprinkling Tarn


Day 3

Ambleside - Askham

Miles - 19.7
Steps - 46,102
Ascent (metres) - 1453
Moving Time - 07:57
Stopped Time - 00:26
Moving Ave - 2.5mph
Overall Ave - 2.3mph

In advance of this walk, this was probably the day I was looking forward to the most. A walk along High Street taking in a few Wainwrights and hopefully getting some great views along the way.

From the off I could see that the clag was down and I would just have to hope that by the time I gained some height it would have burned off.

The climb out of Ambleside and up on to Wansfell Pike was steeper than anything I faced yesterday. This hill may only be 484m high but on a warm and humid morning it made me work hard to get to the top. I was only at about 300m when I went in to the mist which wasn't promising for later on and there was no view to be had at the top of Wansfell Pike so I just stopped for a second layer as with the hard work done, I soon cooled down on the downhill into Troutbeck.

From Troutbeck it was an easy gradual climb on a good track running parallel with Hagg Gill. The steeper climb came as I reached Park Fell with the climb back into the mist to reach High Street. Visibility was now down to 20 - 30m so nothing to see. It was also very quiet and I only saw three couples the entire length of High Street and on each occasion voices could be heard long before anyone appeared out of the mist.

I came off High Street for a short walk to the top of Thornthwaite Crag and thereafter the track widened as I headed north east on High Street. Over the top of High Street at 828m I also took in Rampsgill Head, High Raise, Wether Hill and Loadpot Hill as I slowly descended towards Barton Fell. And finally, I was out of the mist to discover a blue sky roaster of an afternoon.

The walk down to Askham felt like it took an age but with great views it was a really enjoyable finish to the day, just a shame I missed out on the higher ground.

Another tough day.

Road works sign in place - all we need now is a road!

Out of the high ground clag and it's a beautiful afternoon approaching Askham

Day 4

Askham - Dufton

Miles - 18.3
Steps - 36,195
Ascent (metres) - 508
Moving Time - 06:42
Stopped Time - 01:16
Moving Ave - 2.7mph
Overall Ave - 2.3mph

Today would be a low level day so no clag to contend with but it was really warm with little in the way of a breeze.

The day started with a walk through the grounds of Lowther Castle which is only about half a mile from Askham. Impressive looking pad but a bit of work required certainly to the outside of the building. Once clear of the estate grounds there was about a mile of tarmac walking along a really quiet lane where I think I only saw one car before arriving in Hackthorpe. Headed for Townend Farm and then under the M6 and over the West Coast rail line before entering some fields. Initially the fields were either empty or had sheep in them as I went through Melkinthorpe, Great Strickland, Morland, Kemple and King's Meaburn. In King's Meaburn I met a guy working in his garden and he was happy to top me up with water that would keep me going for the remainder of what had been a really hot day. As we were chatting, he warned me about a herd of cows in the second field I would enter after the village. They had just been let out the barn after a long winter indoors and were very active. A few years ago I had a really scary experience in a field of cows and on that occasion, I started to wonder if I would get out of the field without being badly injured and it totally transformed my opinion of cows. Yes, 90% of the time they are completely uninterested but when that changes you see at close quarters how powerful and intimidating they can be. Today, I was about 50 yards into the field when one of the herd spotted me and started to move towards me, closely followed by a few others and in turn the entire herd were running straight towards me from all directions. I was quickly surrounded but continued to walk towards a distant gate with cows all around me that I could stretch out and touch. As I got to within about 80 yards of the gate out of the field half the herd ran on ahead of me and congregated at the gate I needed to get through so as I got much closer I put on the confident voice and threw in some industrial language and eventually they gave me a gap and I was able to climb over the gate and calm down a bit. It's fair to say that that wasn't pleasant but what was worse was when I checked my Garmin and realised I had exited the field through the wrong gate and the correct gate was about 100 yards away. Checked the field I was in, nothing but barbed wire so no choice but to re-enter the field for round 2. The cows were more than happy to follow me again but I got safely over the correct gate and away.

And, as luck would have it, two fields later - another bloody herd of cows! More industrial language, more cows charging towards me from behind, from the side and from in front of me but eventually I was clear of this field as well having used up a month of "swearies".

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of field walking. There is too much stop start going on for me. Climb stile, open and shut gate, check Garmin, check guidebook and all the time feeling as though I really shouldn't be walking through a farmer's field even when I know it's a public footpath and I do have the right to be there. Add in to the mix herds of troublesome cows and it fairly puts a damper on the day. On reaching Long Morton I noticed a road sign for Dufton (1.75miles) and decided enough was enough, the last bit of the day would be uneventful tarmac.

A warm day, a day where I covered the ground between the Cumbrian Fells and the Pennines so great scenery as I watched the Pennines slowly get closer but not an enjoyable day.

Lowther Castle near Askham

A trip back in time

Spot the ringleader............

Day 5

Dufton - Garrigill

Miles - 16.3
Steps - 37,210
Ascent (metres) - 1071
Moving Time - 06:19
Stopped Time - 00:29
Moving Ave - 2.6mph
Overall Ave - 2.4mph

Today was another highlight day that I had been looking forward to and a day where the weather played ball. A blue sky day and the tops all the way to Cross Fell were in full view from Dufton.

I had a choice, walk the first half of the day on the Pennine Way (as per the Ravenber Way route) then head down the valley at Dunfell Hush or remain on the Pennine Way all the way to Garrigill. It was never a choice, I was always going to stay on the Pennine Way as I know the route from doing the Pennine Way twice before and the appeal of leaving the way too big guide book in the rucksack was just too appealing.

It was warm work climbing up to Knock Old Man then Knock Fell but in the main the gradient is fairly consistent so I was able to keep to a steady pace. Some of the ground between Knock Fell and the road leading to Great Dun Fell radar station was boggy but there was always an easy detour so no great issue.

After climbing Great Dun Fell and Little Dun Fell it was then time for Cross Fell and the end to the day's climbing. A brilliant high level route but some of the Pennine Way slabs were under water and the ones that weren't under water but still wet needed to be avoided on the downhill bits as they were a bit slippy.

I stopped for 5 minutes for a nose round Greg's Hut (pretty posh for a bothy!) before the walk out to Garrigill on Corpse Road. The first time I did Corpse Road (2015) it just felt like it went on forever. Last year on the Pennine Way I knew what to expect and it wasn't as bad. This time I really enjoyed the walk but even with a few sprays of my neck, arms and legs I was still burning in the heat of the afternoon sun. Still, unlike my first two visits, my stop was at Garrigill rather than a further 4 miles to Alston.

Just a great day, and for the first time ever I wore shorts whilst hill walking (only three members of the general public got to see this rare sight and they seemed to survive the ordeal).

Cross Fell in the distance

The never ending Corpse Road heading for Garrigill

Day 6

Garrigill - Allanheads

Miles - 10
Steps - 20,302
Ascent (metres) - 584
Moving Time - 03:26
Stopped Time - 01:01
Moving Ave - 2.9mph
Overall Ave - 2.2mph

This was the shortest day I have ever had on a long distance walk and I found myself stopping for much longer than normal just to pass the time.

The day started with a steep climb out of Garrigill and after that it was never flat but the undulations were on easy gradients.I split the day between the Ravenber Way and the cycling C2C route so a bit of tarmac walking on a very quiet narrow country road up on the moorland.

On reaching Nenthead I was in the square when a lady driving a 4x4 shouted on me from 30 yards away asking if I had seen her dog. I responded with a yes and pointed her down the road I had come from and only after she headed off did I realise she never told me what her dog looked like and I never asked ( :? ). Five minutes later she drove back in the opposite direction and gave me a big thumbs up so the dog I had seen when I entered the village had been hers (or she preferred the one she found and just took it instead).

A nice easy day, really warm at times but there were also spells where high clouds kept the direct sun off me. Another shorts day, this could be the new me!

Hey kids - come and look at this idiot!

Day 7

Allanheads - Hexham

Miles - 17.5
Steps - 34,010
Ascent (metres) - 428
Moving Time - 05:34
Stopped Time - 00:19
Moving Ave - 3.1mph
Overall Ave - 3mph

The first mile out of Allanheads was on a quiet road and then an equally quiet B6295 before I headed off on to moorland and Green Hill. I then picked up a really good track (Broad Way) for a couple of miles before it narrowed eventually to a goat track. I could see moorland in all directions for miles with not a house or a road in sight. Really nice today in the sunshine and good visibility but probably not so much fun in poor conditions with little in the way of landmarks to guide you. Rowantree Cleugh was a spongy damp spot with the water coming up to the edge of my boots but it didn't take long to get through and back on to drier ground. I continued on over Hangman Hill and Watson's Pike before the path came out on a minor road on lower ground. At this point I chose the quite roads for the last few miles in to Hexham. This is by far the biggest place I have been in since setting off a week ago and feels quite strange.

Easiest bit of the track on the open moorland

Day 8

Hexham - Wark

Miles - 14.3
Steps - 27,382
Ascent (metres) - 349
Moving Time - 04:33
Stopped Time - 00:27
Moving Ave - 3.1mph
Overall Ave - 2.8mph

For days, the BBC had been warning about the weather breaking and this was due to be the day. This morning, the regional weather forecast was for the thunderstorms to be further west than had been predicted and that now that I was on the eastern half of the country I should have a clear and hot day.

Hexham has a Greggs!!

Selected some grub for the rucksack and handed over a crisp new £20 note which seemed to be heavily scrutinized (I assumed because it was a Scottish note). Another member of staff was called over and following a long discussion the £20 note was taken through the back with the second lady advising me that they had had some dodgy £20 notes lately so they just needed to scan it. The first lady then came back and placed my note on the counter and stared at it (this was starting to get a bit weird). I joined in and stared at it till a third lady appeared (the supervisor), she asked if I had any other means of payment so I said no and she said they couldn't accept the note. I picked the note up and turned round to leave when the supervisor called me back and said I had forgotten my food. When I said I hadn't paid for it she just told me to take the food anyway - wanted to say I forgot to add a can of Tango to my order but thought that would be pushing it so scarpered with my grub!!

I took the River Tyne Trail out of Hexham and stayed with it to Warren then followed a fairly quiet road to Newbrough where I picked up the Ravenber Way again. The route now headed north out of Newborough on a quiet lane before continuing north on a fenced off wide area of grass between fields. This led eventually to Brocolitia on Hadrians Wall. A short road walk on the B6318 and I picked up a bridleway still heading north to Greenhaugh. Greenhaugh is at the end of a dead end road and with cattle in the next bit of my route I took to the roads for the last few miles to Wark.

Another hot and sticky day but good scenery and an enjoyable day.

All trains must be photographed!

Day 9

Wark - Elsdon

Miles - 14.7
Steps - 28,520
Ascent (metres) - 492
Moving Time - 04:31
Stopped Time - 00:25
Moving Ave - 3.2mph
Overall Ave - 2.9mph

Today I was on low ground all day so I checked the maps and plotted a road route taking quiet country roads. The route seemed to work quite well and there were no issues other than too much tarmac on warm days (and this was another one) was increasing the risk of blisters but so far so good.

Leaving Wark

Day 10

Elsdon - Alwinton

Miles - 23
Steps - 43,347
Ascent (metres) -515
Moving Time - 06:56
Stopped Time - 01:02
Moving Ave - 3.3mph
Overall Ave - 2.9mph

Another low level road day as my aversion to cow fields continues. Today I was combining two stages from the guidebook into one longer day. The two stages were Elsdon - Rothbury and Rothbury - Alwinton so as I saw a sign for Rothbury in Elsdon as I was setting off, I decided to leave checking the map till I reached what would more or less be my midpoint. In Rothbury I found a good bakers and scoffed a scotch pie and a sausage roll then had a look at the map.only to discover I had to walk 5 miles back the same road and then branch off for Alwinton (the bakers was good but not sure if it was that good).

A flat and easy day with only the heat as an issue but the feet coped fine with another day of tarmac.

River Coquet

Day 11

Alwinton - Hethpool

Miles - 22
Steps - 48,077
Ascent (metres) -1283
Moving Time - 07:59
Stopped Time - 00:47
Moving Ave - 2.7mph
Overall Ave - 2.5mph

Today I have a choice, Ravenber Way all the way to Hethpool or continue on the Pennine Way till the high level route links up with the St Cuthbert's Way and follow it to Hethpool.

It was 9 miles along Clennell Street from Alwinton to pick up the Pennine Way south of King's Seat. Really good grassy surface most of the way and an easy gradual climb. There was about a mile of cleared forestry where the track changed to a wider forestry track and I could hear heavy machinery not far away so another section of the forest was probably being cleared. The high level cloud had cleard off the tops before I arrived so I had great views as I walked over King's Seat and West Cairn Hill.

Near the shelter and Red Cribs was where I should have headed down the valley on the Ravenber Way but I preferred the longer route staying on the Pennine Way as I went over The Schil heading for the split in the Pennine Way 4.5 miles from Kirk Yetholm. Just before the track split an adder squirmed on to the track a few feet ahead of me and crossed my path no more than six feet from me. I could hear a quiet hissing warning sound as he headed into the long grass and then the heather where he disappeared - and me still in shorts!!!

Took the high level route and suddenly from nowhere the cloud descended and the last hill of the day (White Law) only appeared out of the gloom as I started to climb it. This was probably the steepest part of the day and by the time I was on the top of the hill the clouds had lifted again and I headed on to pick up the St Cuthbert's Way which gave me an easy last three miles in to Hethpool.

Loved this day and it made me wish I was doing the Pennine Way rather than the Ravenber Way (which was daft having done it for the 2nd time in May 2023).

Picnic stop on Clennell Street!

Paving slabs on the Pennine Way - familiar ground!

Day 12

Hethpool - Norham

Miles - 16.7
Steps - 31,825
Ascent (metres) -349
Moving Time - 05:04
Stopped Time - 00:19
Moving Ave -3.3mph
Overall Ave - 3.1mph

Another roads day as lower ground. By and large I managed to find quiet roads but a couple of miles on the A698 were interesting with very fast moving traffic and some drivers not seeing the need to give me much space. I was only on the Ravenber Way for about a mile of today's route.

Yet another hot day, feet still coping with the heat and the tarmac.

Near Norham

Day 13

Norham - Berwick

Miles - 13.7
Steps - 26,432
Ascent (metres) -250
Moving Time - 04:23
Stopped Time - 00:28
Moving Ave -3.1mph
Overall Ave - 2.8mph

Last day on the Ravenber Way (or should I say the last day not on the Ravenber Way?).

Covered the first few miles on the road then joined the Ravenber Way (at the Union Bridge over the River Tweed) for the last 5 miles into Berwick. The path took me under the impressive rail bridge, under the road bridge and then over Berwick Bridge and into the town. I walked round by the estuary and out to the golf course where I dropped down to the beach and stuck my boot in the water.

My coast to coast route is complete but my walk isn't finished yet.

Railway bridge at Berwick

Coast to coast completed

Day 14

Berwick - Cockburnspath (Berwickshire Coastal Path)

Miles - 30.2
Steps - 58,424
Ascent (metres) -1195
Moving Time - 09:26
Stopped Time - 00:22
Moving Ave -3.2mph
Overall Ave - 3.1mph

I set off through Berwick at 5:30am and as I walked through town I spotted a Greggs. It crossed my mind to get that £20 note out again then remembered the time so not much point really.

The previous night and this morning there was a haar and with the low cloud preventing the sun from breaking through I was thoroughly soaked walking along the narrow grassy track with thigh high vegetation on either side. With nothing to see (other than mist) I stuck the earbuds in and listened to a bit of music to keep me going as everything was a bit drab. The early miles were flat and I made good time to Eyemouth.

Between Eyemouth and St Abbs the terrain changed and became hillier, at the same time the sun broke through the clouds and the views inland and out to sea opened up. With the sun breaking through the temperature rose and the last 7 miles were hot and harder going. Seemed a bit frustrating having to come a mile inland to Cockburnspath to the finish but at least it was flat.

A long final day but a really enjoyable one and I suppose with this finish I've created my own RavenCock Way :)

It's only been a couple of weeks but it's good to be home!

The all too familiar mist is back

It's all go at these holiday chalets.........

Cove Harbour

This was the first long distance walk I've done for a few years where afterwards I'm still not sure how much I really enjoyed it. The big day on High Street was spoiled by low cloud but that's just the luck of the draw. The encounters with the cattle put me off field walking on the lower ground resulting in a lot of road walking which I still managed to enjoy. The two days on the Pennine Way were highlights, brilliant high level walking days. Hexham and Berwick were two places I had never been to before and both were really interesting. I also went through some lovely villages and met some really friendly people but these were the quietest paths I've been on for a while and with the exception of the last day on the Berwickshire coast I only met three guys walking together near Cross Fell, one guy on Clennell Street and one other guy on the outskirts of Berwick. What this walk confirmed for me is that I don't enjoy field walking (forgetting the cattle) as I find it too stop-start. Forever checking which route to take through a field, opening and shutting gates (many of which can be difficult) and climbing.stiles just gets a bit tedious after a while.

If you like a well signed route, this probably isn't the long distance walk for you as there are no official signs. And all that sounds like I didn't enjoy myself which couldn't be further from the truth. I thoroughly enjoyed the vast majority of my 510,018 steps, I just wouldn't choose to do this route again.

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A Wander from Glen Doll

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Munros: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Càrn an t-Sagairt Mòr, Tolmount
Date walked: 02/05/2024
Distance: 30.3km
Ascent: 1376m
Views: 11

CCP Again

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 28/04/2024
Distance: 35km
Ascent: 607m
Views: 6

Back to CCP

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Date walked: 08/04/2024
Distance: 34.7km
Ascent: 572m
Views: 13

Back On The Rollercoaster

Attachment(s) Date walked: 31/03/2024
Distance: 30.6km
Ascent: 1221m
Comments: 2
Views: 263

A Walk of Three Thirds

Attachment(s) Date walked: 04/03/2024
Distance: 30.1km
Ascent: 820m
Comments: 4
Views: 459

Back to Glen Esk

Attachment(s) Date walked: 01/03/2024
Distance: 30.5km
Ascent: 1250m
Comments: 2
Views: 324

The 2024 Season Has Started

Attachment(s) Date walked: 26/02/2024
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 649m
Comments: 6
Views: 616

Correcting An Error

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Wainwrights: Bakestall, Great Calva, High Pike (Northern Fells), Knott, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man
Hewitts: Great Calva, High Pike, Knott, Skiddaw, Skiddaw Little Man
Date walked: 23/09/2023
Distance: 0.1km
Views: 43

The Cumbria Way

Attachment(s) Date walked: 20/09/2023
Distance: 127km
Ascent: 3583m
Comments: 4
Views: 1024


User avatar
Location: Nr Forfar
Activity: Wanderer
Pub: None (I like them all)
Mountain: Ben Macdui
Place: Tiree
Gear: Platypus Hydration System
Member: None
Ideal day out: I love a long walk into a good hill (doesn't need to be a Munro)

Munros: 114
Corbetts: 65
Fionas: 30
Donalds: 38+0
Wainwrights: 41
Hewitts: 44
Sub 2000: 35
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Borders Abbeys Way    Cateran Trail    Dava Way    Fife Coastal Path    Formartine & Buchan Way    Great Glen Way    John Muir Way    Moray Coastal Trail    Speyside Way    St Cuthbert's Way    Berwickshire Coastal Path    Rob Roy Way   

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