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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Dales High Way - The Return, August 2016, Day 2

Thursday 18th August - Ilkley to Skipton
Distance|:  11 miles
Weather:  overcast to start then warm sunshine

We caught an earlier train from Guiseley today as we had further to walk.  Holly, the Labrador, seemed to be pleased to be heading out again for another walk.  We arrived in Ilkley at 9 o'clock and we were soon on the trail heading up Spicey Gill on the edge of Rombalds Moor.
  There were lots of dogs and their owners out today and Holly was pleased to see them.  We passed the swastika stone carving and the Noon Stone and soon we arrived at Addingham Moorside.  We were following the alternative route to avoid the quagmire of the Millenium Trail through the village and  passed a memorial to a Mosquito aircrew who crashed into the hillside in 1943.  Then we headed downhill along an old pack horse route to Slade Farm past some chilled horses and onto fairly quiet lanes which skirted the village.  On route we admired a lovely cottage with beautiful flowers which spilled out on to the grass verge. 

We crossed the busy bypass and soon we were heading up Moor Lane towards Draughton Heights and walking in the footsteps of the Romans.  A steady uphill climb and suddenly the sun came out and the rest of the day was spent in glorious, hot sunshine.  We met a couple walking in the opposite direction : he was eager to get to the pub and she was happily taking photos of the wonderful views.  They had travelled up from Sheffield the day before and were enjoying a short walking holiday.  We then met the lady from the previous day who was the back up team for her husband so we stopped and had a chat.

The day was getting increasingly hot and we were looking for somewhere sheltered to stop for lunch but we could not find anywhere.  All we wanted was a couple of rocks, some shade and a stream for Holly to cool down in - we made do with perching by the edge of the path while Holly tried to find some shade under my legs (I think she likes me).

We were soon off again with 3 miles to go.  The path was rocky and rutted as we headed down hill.  Eventually the path led into a cool, sun dappled woodland which gave us a break from the sun and  before we knew it we were on the outskirts of Skipton.  We walked slowly into town and enjoyed a refreshing drink at the first pub we came to and it was good.  We found the train station and headed for home.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

The Dales High Way - The Return, August 2016, Day 1

Wednesday 17th August 2016, Saltaire to Ilkley

Weather:  Overcast and warm to start with sunshine by mid-afternoon
Distance: 7.5 miles

A return to the marvellous Dales High Way which I completed with Mrs C in 2011.  I shall be walking the whole route with guest appearances from the aforementioned Mrs C and, on her debut long distance walk, Mrs R and her lovely Labrador, Holly.  I will also be using some of the alternative routes which have either evolved since the walk was formulated or are bad weather options from the official guide book.

Day One dawned and Mrs R and I were off on our adventures. After a leisurely breakfast we walked to Guiseley Station to catch the Saltaire train. They have an excellent train service in this part of the world - clean, with air-conditioning and a frequent, prompt service.  We were on the trail by half past ten but not before Mrs R directed a lost young man to the local FE college.  We were too early to enjoy a cup of tea from the narrow boat on the Leeds-Liverpool canal so we walked on and passed the cricket and football grounds and bowling greens - they are a sporty lot in Saltaire.
We left the canal at the first lock as a narrow boat full of tea drinking gentlemen motored by. We were then assailed by a budding entrepreneur on the lock side.  He asked if we would like to buy any of his wares.  We looked more closely and sure enough he had items laid out on the lock wall - second hand books, stickers and tissues.  Mrs R asked if he was fund raising for a charity and he answered that he wanted to run a business when he was older and you have got to start somewhere.  Good luck to him - Mrs R bought some stickers.

A steady climb up through Shipley Glen then onto Baildon Moor and the views began to open up back over Saltaire and beyond.  We met a lady heading in the opposite direction and asked if she was doing the DHW. She wasn't but her husband was and she was his support team, dropping him off each day and meeting him at the next night's accommodation: a fine arrangement.  We passed Weechor Reservoir after deciding not to take the safer option through the fields as there were cows around the stiles.  We safely negotiated the short, hectic road section and entered the delights of Bingley Moor.

Lunch was eaten  and then Burley Moor was followed by Ilkley Moor and we were surrounded by glorious, full blooming heather which, combined with  dry paths and a following wind, made perfect walking conditions.  The flag was flying at White Wells cafe and we enjoyed a drink whilst looking down on the bright lights of Ilkley.  A short walk into town to catch our train where the tired dog, Holly, lay quietly on the floor of the carriage.  An older gentleman boarded with his bicycle and we chatted as the train rattled along.  Eric Walker is 89 and was returning home after a 10 mile cycle ride.  He writes walking guides for the Santiago de Compostela long distance route,  a keen walker and a member of Otley Cycle Club.  The website tells you more about his guides and his particular interest in the routes followed by English pilgrims.  An interesting chap who illustrates that you never know who you are going to meet on a train and, more importantly, age is no barrier to getting out there and doing stuff one way or another.