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Bowes, Gilmonby, Bar Gap,God's Bridge, Co Durham.
[14.2 km] Wed 14 Jan 2015

OS Grid Ref: NY 99606 13470
Lat/Long: +54.516531, -02.007592

My original plan was to drive via the A66, over the high road Reeth and walk over Booze Moor. There was snow around on the drive but the A66 was clear. Once I left it and headed south along the lane there was snow on the road and some was drifting in the wind. I managed to get up some of the hills but as I approached The Stang there was a steep descent to negotiate. I knew if I went down it I’d not get back up if I couldn’t get through ahead. I decided to retreat and find another walk. Even turning round wasn’t all that easy. I got back to the A66 OK and drove to Bowes, parking in the Village Hall car park.

Post box in the snow

I walked down to Gilmonby on a snowy and slippery road. I’m glad I left the car where I did. The weather was clear and mostly sunny but felt very cold in the strong wind. I headed up the cul-de-sac road towards Bar Gap up on the moors.

Low sunshine on the trees

There were nice views back to Bowes Castle and the low sunshine shone through the trees by the road. It was hard going as the strong wind was straight in my face. Past the farm at Bar Gap I descended to a gate by the road where the Pennine Way path goes.

The road to Bar Gap
and Bowes Castle in the distance

I followed it into the field but there were no further path signs. I crossed Intake Bridge which is a substantial wooden footbridge on steel girders. I took advantage of the wall to shelter from the cold wind and eat my sandwiches. Though out of the wind it was still felt very cold. The path climbed to a track above Sleightholme Beck where I saw a farmer on his quad bike herding sheep. At Trough Heads House I came to a path sign marking the two alternative options for the Pennine Way.

Intake Bridge

I took the left branch across open land but the path soon vanished and I had to make my way across snowy ground to a far gate in a wall. Here the path sign had rotted and way lying on the ground. The path was then easy to follow down to God’s Bridge on the River Greta. I turned right to follow the well-marked path by the river. I reached West Charity Farm which has a steep access road down from the A66. A van was trying to drive up it back to the main road. With snow and a steep uphill gradient it couldn’t get up. He was an internet engineer who’d be trying to fix a problem at the farm.

Path by the River Greta

I made a diversion from my walk to tell him of the farm track behind the farm that he could use to get out via Bowes. He was on the phone to cancel his jobs and said the AA was coming to get him out. He wasn’t interested in trying to solve his problem himself. I continued my walk to Lady Myres Farm then across the field to cross the footbridge and up to Swinholme. I then crossed some fields to reach Bowes Castle which looked very impressive in the snow and sunshine. I then walked down the narrow lane and back to the car park and my car.

Bowes Castle