Sunday, 12 November 2017

Keighley to Baildon 11/11/17

8.9 miles, via Thwaites Brow, Transfield Top, Druid's Altar, Bingley, Eldwick,
 and Baildon Moor, Hill & Bank.

Well, I'm happy to say that we've made it to the final weekend of the 2017 walking season, having had worries that we might not get here after the physical and emotional beating that I've taken over the last few weeks, but my fortitude has held strong and gotten me out every weekend through the fading days of October and November, so my planned finale can run on the day allocated to it, and what's more the sun is expected to shine on it, so let's give Season #6 the ending it deserves. After doing most of the season in Bradford and the lands north of the Wharfe, Airedale seems the most apt place to conclude this year's trekking, midway between the two, and a sub 10 mile day doesn't require the earliest of starts, arriving at Keighley at 10am, to look to the K&WVR platforms and not that they've already been running for an hour by now, and wonder why I've never asked friends of colleagues out for a social occasion on this most lovable of preserved lines. Emerge into the crisp morning, that's going to feel like early evening all day as the sun never gets that high, to take a right turn out from the station, to admire the backdrop of Rombalds Moor before turning onto Dalton Lane to get the flavour of the towns commercial and industrial quarter, where there's still a lot of business going on around Dalton Mill, that large and dynamic structure that really ought to be at the heart of Keighley's civic pride and industrial heritage. The lane leads on, over the River Worth and on to meet Thwaite's Bridge, passing over the railway and the site of a former MR station that the internet seems to have no visual record of at all, before we split left, past the yard with a steam crane in it, to hit the ascent of Thwaite's Brow Road, a steep, cobbled and very minor road that twists sharply up the bank on the south of the Aire, offering a test for the legs and some fine views into the valley as we go up, encountering more descending traffic that I'm honestly happy with as we go. The views are worth the effort, though and the scattered houses of Thwaite's Brow give the road a bit more purpose as it winds on uphill to meet the terminus of the bus that serves it and Long Lee, beyond where the road gets a bit more normal and the houses a bit more suburban and ordered, still not sure why people might be drawn up onto a hillside like this but you start to ponder that once development space runs out down in the valley, up on these hills is the next obvious place to go.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Cottingley to Cottingley 04/11/17

14.7 miles, via Churwell, Beeston Royds, Farnley Moor Side, Nan Whin's Wood,
 Roker Lane Bottom, Pudsey (Littlemoor, Owlcotes & Waterloo), Thornbury, Fagley,
  Eccleshill, Five Lane Ends, Wrose, Windhill, Shipley, Saltaire, and Nab Wood.

First trip out past Samhain / Hallowe'en / Start of GMT, and a pun walk descended on my mind, having located the Cottingley of Fairies fame in Bradford district, and realised that I've never travelled from the Cottingley station on the edge of Leeds, despite it being the nearest station on the line through Morley, and now we are on the edge of the dark season, we can start out early, as we are really starting out at a sensible hour, and so off we go, on one of the rare days when the ride out is shorter than the walk to the station. Start out on the nose of 9am, beginning our circular walk in a linear fashion, and we won't actually be passing through the Cottingley Hall estate, named for the farm long lost beneath it streets, so we won't be getting any closer to its distinctive pair of tower blocks, as we instead drop down through the growth of Lego houses which has attached itself to the bottom of Churwell, and the ongoing path is immediately vague, hidden by new buildings arriving on one of the few green plots left in this quarter. The way under the M621 is eventually found via a detour and finding Snittles Farm hidden away in the space between the motorway and the railway is a surprise, hidden in plain sight as I've never noticed it in 10 years of passing by, before we finally get on our way along the farm access track, onwards past the embankment of the L&NWR Leeds New Line and on to the A62 to pace along between the industrial plants and the Jewish cemeteries. At the entrance drive to Spring End farm we strike into the countryside, for the field walk over Beeston Royds (or Farnley Wood), rising on a path previously tramped with the Cottingley Towers constantly on the horizon behind us, passing through the sheep and horses to meet Wood Lane at the hillside's crest, pressing on westwards and retaking the panorama of views from the top as the lane presses us on towards Wood End farm, which gives more suggestions of former forestry up here. Soon enough run out onto the A58, at the westernmost extremity of New Farnley, though we don't have to follow Whitehall Road for too long as we can switch off onto Walsh Lane at the suburban edge, to pass through Low Moor Side, and High Moor Side, two odd little hamlets associated to but separate from New Farnley. Full of rural charm at the outermost edge of Leeds, with the Lancasterian school room, a Quaker establishment of 1813, being an immediate point of interest and still in use as the community rooms at this quarter, where rural and suburban mix on a small footprint where Back Lane provides our passageway on towards Pudsey.