Kirkby Stephen to Keld via Red Route (May to Jul)
Distance: 12.0 miles
Height Gain: 2,100 feet
Highpoint: Nine Standards Rigg (2,165 feet)
Walking time: Approx 5-7 hours
Part 1: Kirkby Stephen to Lady Dike Head
Most eastern-bound streets out of Kirkby Stephen will lead you to Frank’s Bridge, with it’s very friendly ducks. Cross this and take the riverside path to the tiny hamlet of Hartley and from there take the road that climbs away up the hillside, beside the large quarry. The road soon runs out, but the easy to follow path continues to climb up Hartley Fell. You will find a sign post pointing out the Red and Blue routes to Nine Standards and providing you are walking between May and November, follow this. You are soon amongst the most impressive set of stone cairns in the country. From the cairns, head south to the trig point and continue across what can be very boggy ground, over White Mossy Hill to the pile of stones at Lady Dike Head.
Part 2: Lady Dike Head to Keld
The route should be easy to follow, even when wet, taking you to an impressive, thin, 8-feet high cairn called the Millstones. A short distance after this turn left onto a more established track, past a series of grouse butts and follow the wall down into Whitsun Dale. The path fords a river then cuts back on itself, keeping above and to the left of the river now. Walk through a number of fields looking down onto the river and its waterfalls, until you meet a road. You can follow this into Keld, or you can stick to the footpath for a little longer and enter Keld from the other side, after visiting the falls at Catrake Force. There is a small tea room and shop in Keld.