Last weekend I was out with my local Rambling Club when we visited Razz’n’d’l. Well that is how the locals pronounce it but if you want to find it on the map you will have to look for – Ravenstonedale.
It is a quiet village situated just off the main road from Tebay to Kirkby Stephen on the northern fringes of the Howgills. It has an interesting church and two great hotels both serving a good selection of real ales.
We started our walk from Ravenstonedale and followed field paths towards the village of Newbiggin on Lune. Conditions were perfect and there were good views in all directions.
From Newbiggin on Lune we crossed the main road and headed north towards Smardale.
We passed some old lime kilns. They were quite large and were used for the commercial production of lime which was transported to the industrial centres by the local railway.
WE followed a track which led us to Smardale Bridge which is an important crossing point on the Coast to Coast Walk.
Crossing the bridge we headed north east to begin the climb up onto Smardale Fell.
Over to our left we could look down into Smardale and see Smardale Gill Viaduct which we would visit later in the day.
We dropped down into Smardale passing under the viaduct of the Settle to Carlisle Railway before reaching Smardale Hall. From here we headed south to pick up the dismantled railway line.
The track was built in the 1860’s for the South Durham & Lancaster Union Railway and was used to transport coke from County Durham across the Pennines to the steel furnaces of Barrow and West Cumbria. At its peak in the 1880’s over a million tons of coke were transported along the line each year. The line was closed in 1962 when the Barrow steelworks closed.
The track passes through Smardale Nature Reserve and there were lots of wild flowers. However the highlight of the walk was Smardale Gill Viaduct.
This is a Grade B listed viaduct which stands 90 ft (27.5m) high and is 184 yards long (168m) with 14 arches. It was constructed in 1861 by the Cumbrian engineer, Sir Thomas Bouch. The structure is now preserved and adds to the beauty of the landscape.
It was then easy walking back to Razz’n’d’l to sample the real ale in the hotel.
A steady 10 miles amongst beautiful scenery.