Sunday, 25 September 2016

Wetherby to Tadcaster via The Ainsty 24/09/16

18.2 miles, via Bickerton, Bilston in Ainsty, Healaugh, Catterton, Bilborough, Colton,
 Steeton Hall & Oxton.

A weekend at the End of Summer drops from the schedule so that a 20 years since University graduation reunion can go ahead in Leeds, reuniting six of the ten guys who shared a block in the Henry Price flats back in 1993-94, along with two long term associates, to re-establish some old acquaintances and catch up on what's been going on in the last two decades, going from lunchtime drinks and dinner at Whitelock's all the way to the Union and student land in the late quarter. A good way to burn a weekend, and to use Sunday to sleep off the hangover, and after that comes Autumn and the last few stretches of the walking season, as the weather demands long sleeves be worn again, and the low sun reminds you that shorter days are on the horizon, and thus the long trails left on the 2016 schedule need to be approached as soon as possible. Thus to Wetherby, on an overlong bus ride to not get going until past 9.50am, setting course for a long tour around the Ainsty of York, one of those fascinating and baffling divisions of ancient local government that put a large wedge of territory between the Wharfe, Ouse and Nidd in the administration of the City of York, taking in a route that isn't the shortest possible path between my two destinations. It's rare to wander, but sometimes it's necessary to see villages that wouldn't otherwise drop into the schedule easily, and so first steps are taken up Wetherby's High Street and North Street, confirming my belief that this is a town of many boutiques, and also looking pretty ripe for a pub crawl, enjoying the various terraces up to the junction with York Road, where retirement flats have replaced the car dealership and progressing out of town past the old Goods station site and out towards the motorway. Over the A1(M), and gain another fresh view of Wetherby racecourse, viewed from its northern edge this time, and that will be our companion for a while as we pace east past HMYOI Wetherby, keeping to the northern side of the road as it offers a better footway and the best method of keeping away from the hedge-cutting machinery.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Cross Gates to Horsforth 11/09/16

13.9 miles, via Seacroft, Whinmoor, Shadwell, Slaid Hill, Wigton, Eccup Reservoir,
 Eccup Five Lane Ends, Golden Acre Park, Breary Marsh, Cookridge Hall & Cookridge.

Completion of the Wolds Way demands a celebratory meal  at the John Paul Jones in The Bay (named after the American Revolutionary War naval captain, rather than the bassist out of Led Zeppelin), and the last day of holiday away sees the family travel back via Eden Camp, a place well worth visiting, and returning to Morley to celebrate My Parents' 49th Wedding Anniversary with a meal from Full House, providing enough food to keep me fed on Saturday evening too. Sadly hopes that they might have been a taxi service for me to walk the top half of the Washburn Valley come to naught, and that track gets relegated to the 'maybe in the distant future' list, and the folks return to Leicestershire whilst I find myself in the transition weekend of the year which sees the Last Night of the Proms play out and the first weekend of the NFL season start. Still got a Sunday of holiday to use, and as it's not raining this year, the most needs to be made of it, not travelling too far from home, as the reduced levels of public transport conspire to make travelling even a short distance into a minor odyssey, and so we head to Cross Gates for another tour across East and North Leeds, favouring the old roads that have endured among the spread of the city and aiming for a more rural aspect than last time. Off the train at 9.35am, before the shopping centre has fired up for the day and head up the Ring Road past St Theresa's as it still greets morning worshippers, and onwards across Crossgates Roads by Mecca Bingo and the New Travellers Rest to track north on Cross Gates Lane (the failure to be consistent with the district name's spacing is bizarre), once a rural lane that is now a picture of post war suburbia. On to pass over the A64 and to follow the old York Road into Seacroft, but don't get to far on when my camera's batteries run flat and I discover that haven't packed any spares, so 20 minutes of walking time is lost as I'm forced to join the queue outside the local branch of Aldi, hopeful that the ultra cheap cells that they provide will last me for the remainder of the day.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Yorkshire Wolds Way #6 - Ganton to Filey Brigg 08/09/16

12.1 miles, via Staxton Wold, Cotton Dale Slack, Flixton Wold, Lang Dale, Raven Dale,
 Camp Dale, Folkton Wold, Stocking Dale, Muston Wold, Muston & Filey.

National Trail means Selfies!
#6 at Ganton
Second Intermediate rest day is spent on a trip down memory lane, visiting the North York Moors Railway to ride the rails from Pickering to Whitby and back behind 61264, which is four hours worth of excursion in itself, but still leaving enough time to return to base for an evening stroll around The Bay, on the site of Filey Butlin's, which is really crystallising as 'The Village' in my mind, and to wander all the way down to the beach too. I'm not on a coast to coast trail so my arrival by the sea doesn't feel like a cheat, especially as Filey bay must be one of the best beaches in the county, and certainly one of the least populated too, and it's not just good for paddling and sandcastles at it has history too, World War II era pillboxes rest on the sand to provide transportation to another age. Back in September though, and it's completion time, as my second National Trail is due to go down, and the distances needed to be travelled get ever shorter as we ride the Parental Taxi back to Ganton, one time home of Harry Vardon, pioneering late 19th century golfer and 6 time Open Champion, for a 9.40am start by St Nicholas's church, and for the first time in all my walking days, it looks like I might risk company on the trail as another quartet of walkers are arriving as I start out onto the field boundaries that rise through the recently harvested fields that sit above a haze covered Ryedale. The uphill drift on the early going is to be expected, but the hard work in my lungs isn't, and the first hard rise on the appropriately named Wold Lane demands an early watering break, letting the other walkers take the day's lead, before heading up a tree-lined and cattle observed track to meet the 65 mile marker, and my doubts about the Wolds Way's actual length start to surface as I note the miles to go to Filey count has decreased by 6 miles since East Heslerton Brow.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Yorkshire Wolds Way #5 - Wintringham to Ganton 06/09/16

10.6 miles, via Deep Dale Plantation, Knapton Plantation, West Heslerton Brow,
 East Heslerton Brow, Sherburn (sort of) & Potter Brompton.

National Trail means Selfies!
#5 near Wintringham.
After the longest day on the Wolds Way, the first intermediate rest day of this break doesn't have to be too busy, taking a modest jaunt out to Bempton Cliffs RSPB site, and to Flamborough Head to give us our fill of chalk cliffs, birdlife and lighthouses, not a bad way to spend a day that forgets how to be sunny shortly after lunchtime. Back to the trail on Tuesday, we think, the more modest distance on the Way not requiring the earliest of starts, and the odd tradition of Long Trail walking comes around once again, as regardless of how you divide your days, one day always seems to come out unusually short, but that's not a bad thing when it might come on the most straightforward of the whole  bunch. So the Parental Taxi drops me off at 9.50am on the western corner of Wintringham, and having barely seen any of the village last time, we might be seeing even less of it today, as the path skirts the fields to the north, focusing attention on the tree clad hillside to come, and less on the houses, hidden away behind a thick curtain of hawthorn hedges. I do wonder if the Way's presence offended the village when it was laid out, and hope that it wasn't the other way around, but a visit to St Peter's church is necessary before we move on, not least because its slender spire has been a sentinel since coming off the hills, and a view up close will show that it has an impressive collection of gargoyles and carvings when viewed up close. Back to the path, and the 55 mile marker is met at the field corner before the ascent is started up to Deep Dale plantation, and once the wood is met initial going is on a broad track with only the gentlest of rises, which gets you all relaxed before the dread sets in when the fingerpost that indicates straight up is met. The ascent out is 50m up at what seems like 40 degrees, as harsh an angle as we've ever met on any trip, one which needs low gear and lady steps to get up, thankful that it's dry underfoot and not showing up any slick stones, a proper lung-burster for the early going on a day I'd thought might be easy.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Yorkshire Wolds Way #4 - Fridaythorpe to Wintringham 04/09/16

17.4 Miles, via Brubber Dale, Thixen Dale, Cow Wold, Vessey Pasture Dale, Deep Dale,
 Wharram Percy, Wharram le Street, Cowcliff Hill, Whitestone Dale, Settrington Beacon
  & Milburn Fields.

National Trail means Selfies!
#4 at Fridaythorpe
To late Summer holidays with My Parents then, to walk the remainder of the Yorkshire Wolds Way and hopeful for a largely relaxed week, away from the stresses of work, abandoned to its own devices as I dash out at lunchtime on Friday so we can all take a leisurely ride out to Filey to take up a week's residence at Perran Court in The Bay development, south of the town. Unfortunately, an easy start is not what we get as even before we've even gotten in through the front door, My Dad takes a fall in the hallway, cutting his forehead, and we have to get the ambulance responder called out to tend to him before spending a large chunk of the evening at A&E in Scarborough hospital as he gets assessed and glued back together. Fortunately, indications suggest that he hasn't done any lasting damage to himself and the worst knock has gone on his confidence, so we can all return to base for a very late tea and be thankful that we hadn't planned anything for Saturday, as we sleep off most of the morning and do little more than shopping and seeing a few sights through the teeming rain in the afternoon. Thus, Sunday morning means walking time, and rising for an early start as we have chosen to holiday close to our destination on the Yorkshire Wolds Way, and therefore about as far as we could get from our start point for the week, but we've ridden the A166 on our ride out so heading back out there offers no difficulties for my Parental taxi, and it's only a 45 minute burn away. An early start to proceedings then, as this will be the longest day on the Way, and I know that it could get challenging after many miles on the flatter lands of Yorkshire, so away from Fridaythorpe at 9.15am, with its village green and duck pond looking exactly the same as I did the last time I came this way (aside from all the cones set out for Wedding parking at St Mary's church) and head out to meet the farm track off the Thixendale Road, past the animal feed mill and out onto the high fields.