The A66 is a bit of a theme for this walk. You can see it rather a lot of the time and you can hear it a fair bit. It definitely felt like autumn today. There were dead thistles everywhere. I followed the Pennine Way out of Bowes by the castle , over fields and past Swinholme Farm where they seem worried about crime, barbed wired on the roof, metal grilles on the windows. On through fields and past more farms to East Mellwaters where a sign notified me that the rights of way have been moved around a bit. There is a path on the map here that cuts a bit of a corner on the Pennine Way but it looked like it no longer exists so I took the long way round. No great hardship. And so on southwards past Trough Heads and along above Sleightholme Beck down to the road and past Sleightholme Farm. A lost-looking man on a motorbike here asked me if the way I was headed was motorable over to Tan Hill. I told him I thought it probably wasn't. (It isn't.)
Now the Pennine Way follows a track for a mile or so till just after a bridge it turns off and becomes a faint boggy path (not motorable) all the way to the Tan Hill Inn. The inn looked very tempting. I should probably have thought to carry some money with me. And so back, down the Long Causeway, for two and a half miles, with lovely views down towards Arkengarthdale, to the track signposted to Bowes, and back across the moors to rejoin the Pennine Way and follow it past Sleightholme Farm again then leave it again and stick to the admirably sleepy traffic-free road up past Bar Gap Farm and on and finally back to Bowes.