Day 5 Bowes to Middleton-in-Teesdale
12.5 miles, 1,634ft of ascent
There are literary elements in this stage of the journey with the first one coming right at the start. Below the castle ruins is the building reputed to be the source for Charles Dickens’ Dotheboys Hall in ‘Nicholas Nickleby’. The route for this stage is entirely on the Pennine Way and starts with a continuation of the Bowes Loop of the Pennine Way. This meets the main route as it drops down to Blackton Reservoir. The farmhouse, Birk Hatt, by the reservoir was the home of the writer Hannah Hauxwell and the path passes through Hannah’s Meadow Nature Reserve.
Another up and down leads to the valley of the River Lune and Grassholme Reservoir is crossed by a bridge. A gradual climb from the valley bottom eventually brings improving views of Teesdale, with the path passing around the impressive tree-topped hill of Kirkcarrion with a tumulus said to be the burial place of a Bronze Age chieftain, before descending gently into Middleton-in-Teesdale.