Staying in the UK with relatives who are great cooks ALWAYS means I come home looking like a candidate for “The Biggest Loser”, so I thought Id try something different this visit. Older friends of mine had just completed the Coast to Coast walk across the UK, including a long section across the Yorkshire Dales, in seventeen days, and other than a few blisters came home 3 kilos lighter looking sensational and extremely fit .This was going to be me!
There was some talk before I arrived in UK, of walking for a few days, probably mostly me talking because when I arrived I couldn’t get anyone interested in staying one night in the Yorkshire Dales let alone seventeen. It was going to be an alone affair which didn’t seem so appealing , so instead of “Coast to Coast” walk I did the “Pub to Pub ” walk down the High Street of Boston Spa, a total walk of about 1O metres, thanks Andrew, effort and company appreciated
My cousin Jules did offer to drive me to the Dales for a day walk. After the driest English summer on record the very day we chose to walk, the sky was dark and ominous looking.
I packed a lovely picnic for her friend Chris and I and Jules made her own mayonnaise sandwich.
With two sat navs going, “Bruce”, on the phone and some “female” on the car sat nav, we set off into the Yorkshire Dales. We ended up taking the long scenic route, neither sat nav agreeing on which road to take , however they both did get us to our final destination eventually, a pub at Appletreewick, The Craven Arms.
After the long drive Jules wanted a coffee before we started our walk, this turned out to be a fatal mistake. Chris elected to have a beer and I, a glass of wine and whilst we sat at the pub having our respective drinks the clouds rolled in and it started to drizzle.
Leaving a lovely cosy English pub to walk across desolate barren farm land in the rain was not very appealing, particularly when it would be followed by a two hour trip home sitting in wet clothes.
Jules dragged us out the backdoor of the pub and up a rocky path, the skies getting even darker as we went.
Chris and I got to the top of the path, took one look at the bleak countryside and even bleaker weather heading our way and “piked” it. A few minutes later we were back where we started , at the pub.
We just got back to the car as it started to chuck it down, so we had a typical English picnic sitting in the car with windscreen wipers on and the de mister working overtime, Chris and I had our lovely lunch and Jules had her squished soggy sandwich and we drove home again.
Different venue, different crew, same wet weather.
After another week of very sunny, hot weather, once again the day we plan to walk, it rains.
We started by doing the Fountains Abbey Park Run, 5 klms around the park and ruins, stopping for some photos on the way, mostly done in steady rain. No personal bests for the day but was fun nonetheless.
The rain stopped long enough to have a coffee outside and then off we went back into the Yorkshire Dales, Wharfedale to be specific, this time with no sat nav for guidance just a good old fashioned street map that got us there in just over an hour.
Our clothes were still wet from the Park Run so we got straight into the walk to keep warm. There were some serious walkers about, they all had back packs, hiking boots and walking sticks, we had none of above.
My walking companion Andrew, is a serious walker, he can not only do the 10 metre “Pub to Pub” walk on the High St, Boston Spa after 5 pints but had recently returned from walking thru the Austrian mountains to Slovenia…without a stick!
The pressure was on.
We immediately headed up a hill that was almost vertical, even the sheep were walking around with hip displasure.
It was cold wet and windy and my running shoes were soaked, but it was great fun. We chatted and laughed the whole way.
We hiked up hills, down hills, climbed over rock walls, up rocky paths , down rocky paths and along rivers, it was no doddle!
Once back down walking along the river I thought we were on the homeward stretch, combined with the 5 klm park run I was knackered but Andrew pointed to the top of the dales saying we were parked over the other side, my heart dropped.
Another steep climb, not unlike the climb thru rocks in the movie “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, we talked about the movie to distract me from the pain and agony of it all.
Andrew kept reassuring me “that’s the worst bit done which was promptly followed by “that’s the worst bit done”, I became very suspicious of what was ahead. There was talk of me getting a medivac , well I talked about it, until Andrew informed me there are big fines for people who call for helicopters just because they are stuffed, so I kept going.
Several hours later we arrived back at our car. We drove to Litton, sweet little village in Littondale, with an even sweeter little pub called the Queens Arms, we had celebratory drinks and feasted on gammon, egg and chips and a beef and ale pie.
I had a look at the hikers book Andrew had been using to see how far we had walked, 11.5 klms add that to the 5klm parkrun, it had been a big day. I turned the page to see the rating for the walk. MODERATE TO DIFFICULT!!! No wonder Andrew kept that page hidden from me.
Anyway I can now say Ive walked in the Yorkshire Dales and Ive eaten a beef and ale pie.
I can recommend both.
The highlight tho was my hiking guide, Andrew but I think he has a very exclusive clientele, me. I can always ask tho.
Ps instead of losing 3 kilos on my stay in Yorkshire , Ive put on 3