Friday, 28 April 2017

Dales Way Day 1 : Ilkley To Burnsall

Here we are again at the start of another long distance walk. This will be the third one that the six of us have done together. This time we are walking the 83 miles of the Dales Way. It is described as an easy, well signposted, picturesque walk.

The walk takes us from Ilkley in Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere in the Lake District through the Yorkshire Dales along the river valleys.

The walk starts here at this 17th C humpbacked old bridge in Ilkley.  It would have been a very smooth start if only Steve had given me the correct postcode to the secure car park instead of one to the Head office miles away. We used Brigantes services which meant that once we had parked our cars we would be taken to the start of the walk. Our luggage would then be transported daily to our overnight accommodation. It is the perfect way to enjoy a long walk.

The skies were blue as we left the town of Ilkley following the River Wharfe as it meandered through fields and small villages.

The next village we came to was Addingham with its ancient parish church of St Peter. It has been a place of Christian worship for over a thousand years. Archbishop Wulfhere fled here for sanctuary in AD867 to escape the Viking invasion.
Walking past the church you can see the unusual large blue face of the clock.

Beautiful cherry blossom trees lined the path from the church.

We crossed a small stone bridge that led us out on to a road which we had to walk along for a short distance.

On the other side of the road was the Fairfield meeting House built in 1689. Inside is some of the original seating and the elders' bench. It is one of the earliest Quaker meeting houses but has not been used since the early 19thC.

Most of the fields we crossed were full of newly born lambs and their mothers.

We saw a couple of men in their long waders out in the middle of the river fly-fishing.

It wasn't long before the ruins of the priory at Bolton Abbey came into view. The priory was founded in 1154 by the Augustinian order but suffered from raids from the Scots and from the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1540. Work was done to the remains in the Victorian era and it is still a working priory today, holding services on Sundays and religious holidays.

It was very busy around the Priory and this part of the river as it was still the Easter holidays in this part of Yorkshire so lots of families were enjoying the Spring sunshine.

We needed to cross the river Wharfe at this point. The boys decided to use the crossing stones whilst Tina and myself chose the bridge so we could take some photos without the risk of falling in.

Despite a clear path in front there was the usual checking of the map, guide books and GPS system!

Walking up the hill we had a clear view of the curve of the river.

Alongside the path were a few felled trees that had coins knocked into them. A tradition apparently going back centuries where passers-by would use stones to knock in the coins hoping it would bring them luck. I wonder how many really old coins are embedded deep inside the trunk of the tree.

The trail gave us wonderful views of the river for the next few miles.

On one side of us we had the river and for some of the way we had a stone wall. Yorkshire has approximately 15,000 miles of dry stone walls (walls not constructed with mortar). Created by craftsmen these walls have been here for centuries as field boundaries.

The last bridge we crossed took us into Burnsall where we were staying. We had walked 13 miles today through the most beautiful Dales scenery. I am hoping the rest of the walk will be as flat as today's.

Burnsall is a small village surrounded by the fells and bordering the River Wharfe.

This is the Red Lion pub where we stayed. Most of our accommodation on this walk is in pubs rather than Bed and Breakfast places as it is very difficult to find 3 twin bedded rooms in the same B and B. The Red Lion was extremely comfortable with an excellent restaurant. 

One final check on our route and mileage for tomorrow before putting the guide book and maps away for the night.

Monday, 17 April 2017

St James's Palace

As you can imagine security is tighter than ever in London at the moment but it doesn't stop ceremonial life of the city. 

This is outside St James's Palace, the London residence of the Prince of Wales as well  as some other members of the Royal family.I just happened to be passing as the Changing of the Guard was taking place. 

Today it was the turn of the 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards accompanied by the band of the Grenadier Guards and the Irish Guards Corps of Drums.

The Guard leaves the Palace on its way back to Wellington Barracks.

The regimental mascot accompanies the Guard. I think it's an Irish wolfhound but I'm not sure.

Marching down the Mall.

The parks are beautiful with signs of Spring everywhere.