Sheep on Kisdon

On location 17th August 2020

Parking: For this walk I parked in a small layby just outside Keld village but it would be better to use the facilites within the village itself.

Route map: click on the arrow to play the route. GPX route available by clicking in the link at the bottom right.

Warning! There are more than a fair share of sheep pictures in this post 🙂

I never need much of an excuse to head over the hill towards neighbouring Swaledale. So it was on this day that I had business to do up at the famous Tan Hill Inn.

A simple drive up and over The Stang and the road drops down into Arkengarthdale. A dale that I have great affection for as we lived there for a number of years.


The light across the valley was sublime, especially with the heather being in full bloom.

CB Yard and heather

The neat cluster of houses of CB Yard were backed by a hillside of purple. I turned right and took the long road north through the dale up to Tan Hill.

Tan Hill Inn

The Tan Hill Inn which is always popular due to the fact that it is the highest in Britain. It was even more so today as a recent release from lockdown has allowed folk to revisit places that they had been missing for many weeks. I had to drop of an original painting there, task complete I headed on down towards Keld.

Now I had planned to just do a walk over Kisdon but the light was looking rather special so I continued down the road to get a couple of shots of the Upper Swaledale field barns.

Keld barn
Upper Swaledale

These are popular locations for photographs and I have many shots in my archive of this scene but today the light and shadows across the patchwork of fields made it a bit different and worth the short detour.

From there I headed back towards Keld. I found a very small layby and parked there to start my walk.

Heading down the lane and past this classic dales barn (or Cow House) tucked into the hillside. Potential for a paintng of this I think.

Cow House

Crossing the unusually named beck of Skeb Skeugh I headed up the well made track on the flanks of Kisdon.

Above Keld

Looking back to Keld from Kisdon. (You can see my car parked in the layby).

Kisdon farmhouse

There are a couple of very remote houses up here, they may have outstanding views but they must face bad weather full on.

Lovely Seat from Kisdon

It’s simply a case of ascending the hill on the track. It provides some fine views down the valley towards Lovely Seat in the distance.

Kisdon track

The route continues and flattens out. Passing through the gates we then head left over the open moor towards the summit of the fell. There are good tall boundary walls crossing the high ground. We found a tunbled down gap which we passed through to approach the tall cairn which is down from the summit. *Note: this gap may be repaired at some stage so another way of getting to the cairn via a stile or gate may need to be found.

Swaledale tup on Kisdon

Heading towards the carin we were greeted by a very handsome looking tup. He wasn’t bothered by us (Bailey was on a lead as usual) and in fact he approached us, he wasn’t shy.

Kisdon sheep and cairn

We reached the cairn and the tup was joined by others.

Swaledale Tups

Having recently been clipped these guys were looking in fine form and the afternoon sun gave me some great opportunities for photos. I have plenty of shots of sheep but these guys were real posers.

Three Swaledale tups

It was the cairn with its commanding view that I had come to see though. And the light was almost perfect.

Kisdon cairn

I heard the sound of an approaching quad bike. The farmer was on his way. I had a good chat to him. It turns out we had mutual friends. He had turned up to give the tups a daily squirt of fly repellant on their heads. To get them close he tempted them with feed nuts, the reason they were so freindly towards me, they thought that I had brought tasty treats. With his job done he departed back the way he came.

Swaledale tups in the afternoon sun

For me it was a chance to do a quick sketch of the cairn. The light was not as good now but still a pleasant way to spend 30 minutes out on the hill.

Kisdon sketch

By the time I had finished the light and weather was on the turn. In fact it was now quite dark and there was a spit of rain in the air. It made for some nice moody shots though.

Swaledale tup group

The tups were still close to hand and the heather added to the scene.

Swaledale tup team

The sheep were still happy to follow us around.

Cairn on Kisdon

and over to the west I could see a nice patch of light developing in the gloomy sky.

Swaledale tups at sunset

I was able to manoeuvre myself into a position where the sheep were in a perfect location in the foreground. Chances like this cannot ever be planned and it is once again a case of being in the right place at the right time.

Kisdon tups

After a few moments the sheep had got bored and began to wander off. No matter, I had got more than I bargained for on my visit to Kisdon. The rain was now starting to fall and we headed quickly off the fell.

Keld barn

In a short time we were back on the lane and striding up the lane and back to the car.

It’s not a long walk and in fact it can easily be extended to a route of three or four miles starting and finishing at Keld village.

For me it was a couple of hours very well spent. I was heading home will some bonus images.

These have proved to be very popular with customers. Pure luck but who cares 🙂

tup prints

Many of these images, and others are available to purchase as prints or canvases on my Yorkshire Dales album.

Thanks for reading.

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