The Nenthead to Garrigill walk is highly enjoyable. The fascinating villages at both ends bookmark an area of remote and rarely walked moorland. Ashgill Falls is good as well.
Nenthead has an impressive history. Although the whole area around these North Pennines was intensely mines, usually for lead and silver, in Nethead the community was somewhat different. This is due to the entire village (and the mining) being run by Quakers. However the Quakers fully understood the importance of a happy work force so provided every facility and comfort for the workers and their families. A school, public baths and even a library were amongst the facilities provided. Clearly this was a little double edged, a happy work force tends to be a profitable one and the Quakers ran a very profitable outfit. The final mine was not closed until 1961.
I headed out of Nenthead by the mining road past the Heritage Centre before skirting the flanks of Flinty Fell and dropping past the plantation to the lovely waterfall called Ashgill Force. The return is over some wild woodland and one of the highest roads in the country, it is exceptionally remote up here (Nenthead itself is at 1,500 foot). However for me this is one of its greatest attractions. My latest visit was in high summer but I have walked over Flinty Fell when the cloud is down. As a result it was extremely bleak with a strong chance of getting lost. Not much fun either but when the sun shines it is a great place to be.
Take an extra half hour and visit the small village of Garrigill. Whilst there pop in the small village shop and the George & Dragon….you will be pleasantly surprised.
In bad weather you will need to take a compass bearing whilst crossing the hill below Flinty Fell. The path is indistinct and the terrain rough. However the distances are not too great and it is all circled by roads.
The Post Office at Garrigill serves ‘take away’ pots of tea and coffee -you bring back the pots,mugs and tray when finished – well worth it!
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