The two ancient castles of Mallerstang (Lammerside and Pendragon) offer a focus for an excellent walk along this rarely visited dale. The backdrop of Wild Boar Fell and the embryonic River Eden adds to one of my favourite walks.
Mallerstang is an unspoilt dale to the south of Kirkby Stephen. The dale is not only pretty to look at, but also steeped in history. The upper reaches of the River Eden flow through the valley, with the river banks offering pleasant walking and ever changing views. I set off from the train station but the walk can easily be done from the town centre of Kirkby Stephen. My ultimate goal was the ruins of Pendragon Castle. However the valley is so attractive that an A to B walk using the railway may be preferable with a walk down the full length of the valley an attractive proposition.
The two ancient castles of Mallerstang are crumbling reminders of living in medieval times in northern England. The towers were built to keep out the marauding Scots and were part of a system of Pele towers stretched across northern England. Allegedly Pendragon Castle was originally built by King Arthur’s father although this may be the stuff of legend. Certainly both castles are built on slightly raised grounds with splendid views to the north. Both lie in peaceful and unspoilt spots. I can only imagine if these two ruins were set in a more popular place the commercialisation they would attract. Fortunately I saw not another soul whilst sat having a snack under the castle walls. It is one of the great pleasures of walking in these parts.
The train station does offer genuinely awe inspiring views up Mallerstang.
This is one of the few occasions where a road (albeit quiet) is better than the paths. On the return between Pendragon Castle and Nateby the paths are rough and awkward. However the road is quiet and sticks close to the river.
Most enjoyable walk. The weather was good, mind. Gets a bit wet and messy as you approach Pendragon.
I did this hike on a soggy day last June (2012) from Hartley where my girlfriend has a cottage. Pendragon is worth the walk. I thought I was alone upon arrival, but several faces of local residents peeked forth from a castle alcove to see who might be about. Asking if they were damp, they responded with a resounding “Baaaa”. Nice views of the River Eden. Lammerside is interesting.
I spent 5 hours doing the circut, but spent time (an hour?) at Pendragon taking pictures and just “being there”, and obtaining a refreshing beverage in Kirkby Stephen. I do like the Kings Arms for a meal, a pint of Aviator Ale, and Cumberland Sausage & Mash is a good experience.
Mallerstang castles looks like a great walk. Am thinking about doing this tomorrow.
Approx how long do you think it will take ?
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