Weather: Sunny intervals and warm, windy on the moors
Distance: 7.5 miles
We soon found that the guide books needed close attention to prevent us straying in the wrong direction. I'm going to call it first day nerves. The small guide book had brief notes on the route with detailed maps and the companion guide book had more wordy directions with interesting snippets about points of interest (history, geology, wildlife, plants, etc). We needed both books to get the full picture as we took a wrong turn as soon as we left the towpath - soon back on track.
After leaving the canal we began the gradual ascent up to the wild, Yorkshire Moors. Trench Wood was idyllic - dappled sunlight, moss, bracken and birds. We emerged at Glovershaw and looked back to see the Yorkshire countryside opening up behind us (there was lots of looking back at the view as it was a chance to catch breath and gird loins for the next bit). It was a splendid scene to behold - clear, blue skies and green hills stretching as far as the eye could see with Saltaire nestling in the foreground. We walked a section of path where the guide book warned us to watch out for galloping horses. After an initial thought of "Why are they galloping and will they attack me?" I realised it was racing horse stables and the horse exercise track was part of our route. We passed a golf course and waved to the golfers - a friendly bunch but still think golf is a good walk spoiled.
We reached Ilkley Crags and viewed the town of Ilkley with White Wells Cottage in the foreground. The flags were flying which meant tea was being served so we headed down with a spring in our step until I saw how steep the descent was...very steep. We had a lovely mug of tea, viewed the baths (which have been there since the eighteenth century) and chatted to a family on a day out from York. Dad was Austrian, mum was Ukranian and their two children speak 4 languages. After a loo stop we walked into Ilkley. We bought Sunday's lunch at M&S, called into the tourist information office for weather forecast (Sunshine and temperatures of 19 degrees) and then we strolled along the main street to .Martinez Wine Merchants They now have a wine bar and Mrs C said, "Shall we?" and I said, "Yes!" and so we sat down, slightly dishevelled in our boots and still carrying our rucksacks, and had a cheeky glass of chilled rose in the sunshine to toast the first day. We found the B&B which is lovely (Archway Cottage), showered and then wandered back into town for dinner. Everywhere was very busy as it was Saturday night but we found a new Thai restaurant close to the B&B and had a lovely meal and served by friendly staff. Tucked up in bed by 10:00pm.