Length: 11.48 miles. Height change: 1,448ft. Time: 5hrs 21mins.
Even in the height of summer, you will not see many people on the first part of this walk, but what it will give you are some stunning views up and down the Dale.
This is a figure of eight walk and so can be cut short if you want or you could also start it from Low Row.
Starting from Strands, turn right and follow the road to Rowleth bottom where you will find a gate leading into a field. Take this and follow the path through meadows to Isles Bridge. Turn right here and then right again at the T-junction. Before you cross a small road bridge, turn left over a stile and on to a foot path. Keep a sharp eye out for it since in summer the path can be very over grown and the sign difficult to see. Follow the path up the side of the beck which should be on your right until you meet a meadow. The ascent of Whitaside now begins.
Follow the path up through the meadows – keep looking behind you, the views are excellent. The path can be quite hard to follow since it is so rarely walked, but in general keep walking towards the farm.
Eventually you will come out onto a road, cross over and follow the track passing old lead mine spoil heaps. Eventually you will come across a track on your left – take it, passing grouse butts. Take the second track on your left. It is difficult to see, if near a line of grouse butts. Follow the track down to the sheepfold, through the gate and into a high meadow. Follow the track to high lane, turn right and down the hill. Great views of Low Row.
Towards the valley bottom you will find a track on your left marked Swale Trail. This is Low Lane – a very old lane. Eventually it becomes tarmac’d. Keep going until Isles Bridge. You can now re-trace your steps back to Strands or
continue on passed the over grown path and onto Dubbing Garth lane and on to Gunnerside. Once in Gunnerside, you can stop for refreshment at the Kings Head or head back via the river to Strands.