From Coverdale to Colsterdale overlooking Nidderdale is a long moorland trek. It is enjoyable if you like solitude, large skies, uniform terrain and exploring little visited dales. It is, in fact, typical Dales.
One of the great pleasures in walking the Yorkshire Dales is crossing the vast moors between the dales. These routes are rarely trodden and often remote. Often they then drop down in to a valley almost untouched by the modern world. This walk from the lower reaches of Coverdale and visiting Colsterdale is one such walk.
I headed off with Mist and never saw a soul for twelve miles. However there was one section where an error in navigation did put me on a moor that no self respecting person (or dog) should be on. This was my search for Great Haw. Without doubt the return trip over Masham Moor and the ‘Haws’ is not to be undertaken lightly. Here some of the marked paths are intermittent at best. West Scrafton and Caldbergh are idyllic dales villages and a joy to explore and spend time in. In addition the quiet valley of Colsterdale with its isolated farms and shooting huts is lovely and rarely visited. There are not even any villages nearby.
The route offers two options at the top of Colsterdale, I took the longer detour towards South Haw for the views of Nidderdale (although the reservoirs are agonisingly out of sight) – the path that cuts south after Dawson House I cannot vouch for but it starts well enough.
The paths around the summit of Little Haw and towards Nidderdale are tricky to follow. I ended up looking over to Nidderdale having waded through some thick heather. It is a walk where taking a bearing with a compass is important. Being in some thick ground at time also slows the walk down.
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