I’d planned to be in Hebden Bridge for 2 weeks but cancelled as I was unwell. Coincidentally, Helen was there last weekend. She had traveled north for her Daughter’s graduation and took the opportunity for a 9 mile walk. As with most of the country, it was too hot so they tried to find some woodland shade. I’m more than a little envious of her visit to Hebden Bridge and will ensure that I get there next year. I hope that they will have cleared the fallen trees by then.
Sunday 27 July 2014. I got back from walking today in time to see the Tour of the Fens cycle race come past my front door. It seemed like a well organised event with numerous police outriders and a cavalcade of support vehicles. The race was divided into two groups each of about 200 riders. They whizzed past so quickly that it impossible to count them
The first group were semi-pros or top class club riders whilst the second, slightly slower group were amateurs. I arrived home to find a couple of spectators sitting on the edge of my front lawn and the roadside. They had cycled from March and had been there for some time as the races had been delayed by a crash. I did my good deed by taking them out a litre of orange squash and let them use my loo. I hope that someone will take pity on me in similar circumstance.
Sunday 27 July 2014. Back to walking with the Fenland Ramblers today for a 7.25 mile walk from East Rudham. 14 walkers turned out for what was a fairly gentle walk with less than 300ft of ascent. A combination of country lanes and rather overgrown bridleways brought us to the church just outside Croxford where we stopped for coffee. More lanes and little used tracks took us to the bridge over the disused railway line where we stopped for lunch. Shortly after, we passed the disused East Rudham station.
The weather was much warmer than forecast and by the time that we had walked 6.5 miles; some of us were wilting in the heat. Phil was standing in for Karen on this walk which was advertised at 6 miles. He warned us at the start that it would probably be a longer than scheduled and his plan was to take in a local nature reserve. At this point, I offered to take a shorter route and about half of us decided that we’d had enough. The remainder took the slightly longer way back which probably meant a total of about 8.5 miles.
Thursday 17 July 2014. I’ve been ill with flu-like symptoms and it has taken me a couple of days to get around to posting this blog on the last walk of my Nidderdale holiday. I felt so unwell that I returned home 3 days early and cancelled my planned trip to Hebden Bridge. I’m pleased to say that I’m feeling a little better but the continuing heat & humidity isn’t helping.
Karen and I were unsure which walk to do today. We had a choice between an 8.5 mile walk to Simon’s Seat which would involve 1,600ft of ascent and a slightly easier 6 mile walk from Pateley Bridge with just 1,260ft of ascent. As it was another stupidly hot day, we opted for what we thought would be the easier walk. Having now done it, I can safely say that it was one of the hardest 6 mile walks that I’ve ever done but this was due, in part, to my health issues. Karen couldn’t fall back on this excuse but she still found the uphill difficult.
Setting out from Pateley Bridge we made our way through open farmland where the gradients weren’t too bad. Soon after we started to climb steeply through Strikes Wood to Ravens Nest. If this wasn’t bad enough, at this point the path disappeared into chest-high bracken as we made our way down a steep sided valley to a footbridge in the bottom and then up the other side to Nought Moor. Here again, the path was no where to be seen. Karen followed a wall side across boggy ground to pick up the Nidderdale Way whilst I climbed a little higher to try to find the path marked on the map and avoid the worst of the bogs. We met up on Nought Bank Road just below Yorke’s Folly for a delayed coffee stop. From here the going became easier as we walked a mile or so alongside the wall at the top of Guise Cliff. The descent through Guisecliff Wood was easy to follow to the tarn where we stopped for lunch. This brought back memories for me as this was the area that I used to go camping with the Boy Scouts.
The path out of the wood wasn’t quite as shown on the map but we were soon in Glasshouses from where it was an easy walk back to the car. Both of us were exhausted by the climbing and the heat. I was so knackered that I didn’t have the energy to go for a cup of tea.
Wednesday 16 July 2014. I bailed out from this walk last week because it was too hot. Conditions today were almost perfect for walking so I thought that we should give it a go. Starting from the NT visitor centre, we made our way to the Obelisk and past St Mary’s Church shortly after entering Studley Royal deer park. A herd of Fallow deer were grazing nearby but seemed unconcerned as we walked by. A little later we entered the valley of the seven bridges. This carries the River Skell from the outflow of the lake in the grounds of Fountains Abbey through to Ripon and beyond. The next 3 miles of the route took us on a rather pointless and boring loop through Studley Roger and almost back to the end of the bridges valley.
A few more miles through more open farmland brought us close to Fountains Abbey but views were very restricted by tall trees. A short climb and a little road walking soon got us back to the car. The walk was 7.6 miles with just over 700ft of ascent.
Karen wanted to have a look around Knaresborough before returning home so we stopped off for a quick walk around. The view from the castle down to the railway bridge over the River Nidd is iconic and must have been seen by almost every visitor to the town. I had an amusing interchange with the guy in the TIC when I called his souvenirs “tat”. He wasn’t really offended and when I explained that I was a Yorkshire man, he responded by saying “that you can always tell a Yorkshireman; but not very much”. We ended the day with tea in Lavender tea room above the oldest chemists shop in England.
Tuesday 15 July 2014. We had a 25 mile drive today to the North Yorks Moors visitor centre at the top of Sutton Bank. The last mile of the drive is up a 1in4 hill with a series of hairpin bends. There was a queue of traffic going up the hill which meant that we came to a standstill at times. Instead of doing a series of hill starts, I held the car steady by riding the clutch. This didn’t do it any good and there was an acrid smell coming from my car as the clutch overheated. I hope that I haven’t done any permanent damage.
The reason for the drive was to do an 8.25 mile walk with 1,500ft of ascent and to see the Kilburn White Horse at close quarters. We started out from the visitor centre by following the Cleveland Way across the top of Roulston Scar. From here we had great views across the Vales of York & Mowbray some 700ft below us. After 2 miles we came to the head of the White Horse where we tried to find a non-existent path. Instead, we took the 151 steps down the side of the White Horse for a coffee stop looking back up at the chalk figure. We were, perhaps, a little too close at this time and a better view was had from Kilburn a few miles further on.
Having taken a diversion down the steps we soon rejoined the planned path which took us across a huge stile over a deer fence and a short while later, a bridge over the fence on our exit from the field. It was here that we encountered more of the dreaded nettles and, of course, more stings on our arms and legs.
We stopped for lunch in the village of Kilburn which is perhaps best known for the furniture maker “Mousey Thompson”. His trade mark was to carve a small mouse on each piece of furniture that he made. It isn’t cheap with an oak dining room table & 6 chairs costing £7,700.
Leaving the hamlet of Oldstead we had a climb of 600ft back to the visitor centre where I bought a couple of post cards which might have been designed with me in mind.
Monday 14 July 2014. Karen has joined me for 4 days walking so I thought that I’d take her to the local beauty spot of Brimham Rocks for an 8.4 mile walk which took in more of the Nidderdale Way. We spent some time looking around the unusual rock formations before setting off on the walk. It gave Karen a chance to practice her role as an HF Holidays walks leader by doing the navigation. There are a great many paths in the area and concentration was required to stay on the right track.
The only photo that I took during the walk was of a lone deer which didn’t want to leave the field as we walked through. At about lunchtime it began to rain and I decided to take a short cut back to the car. This was a mistake as the rain soon stopped and we then decided to continue with the planned route. However, by the time we made the decision to resume, we had followed a small path which took us about a quarter of a mile through head high bracken intermingled with nettles, thistles and brambles. Karen had long trousers but I was wearing shorts. My legs were shredded and 3 hours later are still tingling from the stings.
The walk involved a total ascent of 1,100ft, almost half of which came right at the end as we climbed back to Brimham Rocks.