A CHALLENGING but worthy walk across the moors near Stokesley from the pretty village of Lealholm to Scaling Reservoir and back past the lovely viewpoint on Beacon Hill.

Lealholm was once described as ‘the prettiest village in Yorkshire’ and they are not far wrong.

The River Esk runs through with the stepping stones providing much entertainment over the years. Park in the village and head north on the road, climbing steeply initially before the road flattens after 400 metres.

Ignore the right turn and carry on for another 500 metres to a sharp turn to the left in the road. Leave the road and carry on north along a farm track to the open moorland.

The track ends at the meeting of a second track going east to west, this is where the return route joins the outbound route. Head in to the moors on a path heading north.

At a fork in the path go right and when you meet a wall turn left and follow the track first north west and then north east along the boundary until it reaches the main path heading north west.

Follow this through a stream bed and alongside another boundary wall to a track that heads just west of north. Arrive at the main car park on the east bank of Scaling Reservoir.

The reservoir was built in 1958 and is unusual in that the dam wall is on the longer north side of the water creating a reservoir, the wrong way round. It is now an excellent place to fish, sail and spot some unusual wildlife.

Spend some time walking the southern shores on a good path till the path turns south at some trees. After a short period turn right and keeping the reservoir on your right cross Boghouse Beck and carry on to the west end of the water taking a track heading west.

Take the second footpath to the left and head south west on to the moors. This is remote and wild terrain, beloved of the grouse shooters.

After 500 metres meet a second path coming in from the right and then head south for one mile.

The path in places is intermittent so take a compass and head south. The land starts to rise ahead and in the distance is the distinctive cone of Beacon Hill.

After one mile the path meets a quiet road, turn left and continue for three quarters of a mile to the summit of Beacon Hill.

It is a superb viewpoint in all directions, the moors to the south and the North Sea to the north. The beacon itself is a recent design (not great in my humble opinion).

However at five metres tall it represents a great history stretching back to 1600 and serving as a successful radar station in the Second World War.

The first German airplane was shot down in mainland Britain with no small thanks to the early warning station. From the beacon take the main track heading east to where you left it on the outbound walk and return to Lealholm.

Fact file

Distance: Roughly 11.5 miles.

Height to Climb: 300 metres (985 feet).

Start: NZ 763077. Park near the bridge in Lealholm and head up the winding road to the north.

Difficulty: Hard. There is some rough moorland to cross and intermittent paths so good navigation skills may be called for in bad weather.

Refreshments: The Board Inn is an excellent pub in Lealholm. The cafes tend to open at the end of March.

Be prepared: The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL27) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass. You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk. Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales:

•Jonathan has written a book, the “Dales 30” based on the mountains in the Yorkshire Dales.

• Beginners and Intermediate Navigation Courses. Dates throughout the year.

•Offers a Guiding serve for those less confident in the outdoors

To find out more details on any of the above and details of the 100s of walks in the Yorkshire Dales & Moors visit his popular website, Where2walk.co.uk https://where2walk.co.uk/