A circular walk of approx 10½ miles taking in two 2000ft summits with impressive views of the North Pennines and the Eden Valley with the Lake District beyond. Starting at Renwick, the route takes a track direct to Thack Moor, the first summit, then follow the moorland ridge to the second summit of Black Fell before a stop at Hartside café. The return to Renwick is on bridleways, byways and footpaths crossing the recently restored Ricker Gill bridge.
Start: Post Box outside Church of All Saints, (Grid Reference NY 597 436), Renwick, Cumbria CA10 1JT.
Route: Take the minor road North East signposted to Outhwaite climbing until, after approximately 200 metres where the road bends right, a good track continues North East past an Open Access information board. Follow this track up the fell as it heads to the summit of Thack Moor (2000ft), ignoring rights of way to the right, passing through gates until the track ends beside a small disused tip (grid reference NY 611 459). Continue following the faint path which continues steeply until the wall and trig point at the summit of Thack Moor reveals itself. From the summit on a clear day there are good views of the Lake District to the South West and the Solway Firth to the North West.
Follow the wall South East from the trig point for 400 metres before following the moor path keeping near the highest ground to Watch Hill with its distinct ruined Currick at its western prominence. Leaving Watch Hill over a ladder style, continue to follow the intermittent moor path along the higher ground in an East South East direction crossing the wall at a ladder style (NY 636 457) that eventually reveals itself before heading to the distinct ruin with its commanding views South West to the Eden Valley.
From the ruin, continue in a South East direction to follow the South West side of the fence/wall that climbs directly to the trig point on the summit of Black Fell (2178ft). From Black Fell, follow the East side of the wall descending in a Southerly direction over sometimes wet ground where minor detours may have to be taken. With views of Cross Fell ahead of you and Alston Moor to the left, cross the wall at Hartside Height to head South Westwards to Hartside café (1890ft).
Head North West from the café down the old road which now doubles as the coast to coast offroad cycle route. Taking care to cross the main A686 road follow the bridleway past The White House and follow the sometimes rutted and wet bridleway in a westerly direction down the fell. After approximately 750 metres the bridleway improves underfoot as it approaches the recently restored Ricker Gill bridge. Cross the bridge continuing along the track for just over 1km until a minor road is reached. Continue along the road west for 200m then turn left onto the byway which again doubles as the off-road coast to coast cycle route. Follow this byway track for approximately 1500 metres, ignoring two footpaths that join from the right, to its lowest point where it swings left crossing a stream. At this point (NY 609 426) a waymarked right of way joins the byway at a gate on the right. Follow this footpath which heads North West alongside Kiln Beck passing through a gate, crossing the beck, over a wall then across a field to re-join the minor road at a gate (NY 606 429).
Follow the road westwards down towards Raven Bridge then after a few metres take the footpath ahead of you continuing through a kissing gate and climbing briefly onwards in a westerly direction having ignored another path signed to Outhwaite which joins from the right. The footpath crosses fields, keeping close to a wooded area to your right, before climbing steeply to the left of farm buildings where a track then road leads you back to Renwick main street.
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