Thursday 18 October 2018. What a beautiful day. Sunshine and blue sky although a tad chilly to start with. At 10am as I set off on my walk it was only 5c and there was a covering of frost on the grass where the sun was still to shine.
I decided on a short 6 mile drive to the village of Ripley, just north of Harrogate, to revisit a walk that I’d done a few times before moving to live in Cambridgeshire. The first part of this walk followed the route of the Nidderdale Way as it passed Ripley Castle and then on to Clint and Hampsthwaite where I stopped for coffee. The next village on my route was Birstwith where I left the Nidderdale Way and headed uphill to Burnt Yates for lunch. The last leg of my route took me around the edge of Ripley Park and back to the car. The walk was 7.75 miles with a total ascent of just under 800ft.
Nidderdale Wander – walk route
Wednesday 17 October 2018. I had a very frustrating start to the day. I’d planned to do a walk up Beamsley Beacon (1,250ft) which is not very far from the Bolton Abbey estate. The first problem was that I’m staying on the southern edge of Harrogate and to get to the start of the walk I had to cross town in the rush hour. I set off at 08:45 and it took me 25 minutes to drive the first 4 miles to the northern edge of Harrogate. The second problem came when I arrived at the intended start of the Beamsley Beacon walk. There are only 6 parking places and all of these were taken. These parking places were taken the last time that I tried to do this walk and it seems that I’ll never get it done unless I get there very much earlier in the day.
I now had two choices; I could continue further west and do a walk somewhere to the north of Skipton or I could back-track a few miles and do a familiar walk around Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs. I opted for the latter and parked up alongside the A59 at Blubberhouses. This is a very popular route with two other car parks dotted around the reservoirs making it very accessible. I stopped for a coffee break after about 2 miles at the car park between the two reservoirs.
Suitably refreshed, I then headed out to bag Swinsty reservoir. My lunch break was at the 4.5 mile point just before crossing the road between the two reservoirs. The walk was largely on a well surfaced tracks and made for easy walking. It was 6.4 miles with just under 700ft of ascent.
2 Reservoirs – walk route
Tuesday 16 October 2018. After a drenching on Sunday, it made a welcome change to walk on a dry, if a little overcast, day. It was just a 3 mile walk through the deer park at Studley Royal before returning through the grounds of Fountains Abbey.
I had gone in the hope of seeing or hearing some rutting stags but they seemed fairly placid with the heard of red deer split into two resting groups. Each stag had its own harem of hinds. There were others taking photographs so I didn’t want to get too close and disturb them – the deer that is!
Leaving the deer park behind I entered the grounds of Fountains Abbey (£15 for non-NT members). It was a nice stroll with good reflections on the ornamental lakes. I heard mewing away in the distance and was lucky enough to spot a buzzard perched high up in the tree tops. At maximum zoom on my camera I managed to get a reasonable shot.
The Abbey was relatively quiet with only a handful of visitors and one guided party. It was a shame that the sun didn’t make an appearance to enhance the autumn colours on the trees.
Fountains Abbey – walk route
Sunday 14 October 2018. I drove to Duddington hoping that no-one would be daft enough to want to walk in pouring rain. At 9:59 I was beginning to think that my wishes had come true and then Linda Shand appeared. It was just the two of us. Betty had emailed me to say that she and Moira had driven as far as the Collyweston turning before deciding to turn round and go home. I think that they made the right decision as the roads were flooded and becoming unsafe and the weather didn’t look like it would change any time soon.
Linda was going to do the walk, come what may, so I decided to join her. After all, we spend a fortune on wet weather gear and then don’t want to put it to the test. My umbrella was the best thing for today. As planned, we stopped in the bird hide after 2.25 miles for coffee, out of the rain. There wasn’t much to see but I took my only photo of the day from here. Top Lodge was less than 10 minutes further on and, as we had only just stopped, we decided to press on and get back to the cars. I made a short cut between the bird hide and Top Lodge which meant that the walk was just 5.25 miles rather than the advertised 6 miles. This was plenty given the prevailing weather conditions.
Duddington – walk route
Sunday 30 September 2018. Today’s walk was a 6 mile wander around Fakenham which started from the adjacent village of Hempston. Leaving our meeting place the 8 of us on this walk, led by Karen, did a short circuit of Hempton Green before passing the Gas Museum. Although it was closed, this brought back childhood memories of the phasing out of town gas and its replacement by North Sea gas. Prior to this change, in about 1965, I can remember that the street lighting where I lived used to run on town gas. My dad worked as a stoker in the local gas works burning coal in order to produce the gas.
Leaving the Gas Museum behind we soon picked up the path alongside the River Wensum. This was the most picturesque part of the walk with the remainder being on the streets and lanes of Fakenham. We made an early stop for coffee beside the river before tackling the tarmac around Fakenham. Our lunch break was in a grassed play area on the outskirts of the town before moving closer to the centre to experience more of the delights(?) of Fakenham.
Fakenham – walk route
Wednesday 26 September 2018. Readers of this blog may wish to note that the Fenland Group’s Winter Walks Programme has been updated and uploaded to the Ramblers website. The following links provide further details.
Fenland Group web page
Fenland Group Walks List
A printed copy of the walks programme will be mailed out to members in early October but for those who can’t wait and for easy reference a copy is also available at the link below.
Final Winter 2018 walks