After having had a splendid time at Rick & Lindsey’s I set off on the short hop over to Leeds (via Oxford, for more tests) to spend a few days with my Brother Dave and the Masterful Debs.
By now Dave had been clambering around the Helvellyn horseshoe and was back in the swing of things at work and seemed to be back to perfect nick. So he took me on one of their favourite afternoon strolls in the Dales.
GRASSINGTON WITH BROTHER DAVE – CLICK TO ENLARGE
Now this was pushing the boat out. I had already done six miles with Lindsey, but this was a wopper; SEVEN miles, with about nine hundred feet of uppishness.
Grassington looked lovely, but we only had time to visit the pie shop, before striding off down to the River Wharfe’s gorgeous meadow. The river was running well.
This stretch of the river is really popular with walkers – easy to see why, really – as it is quite gorgeous. We were passed on the smooth-surfaced minor road by dozens of lycra-clad cyclists on impossibly slender bikes, swishing past with friendly waves. These cyclists seem like quite a nice mob.
This led us into Conistone, which looks like a rather splendid little place to live, and we had our pies on the little bench on the village green, as troops of ramblers trooped past.
I don’t know what it is about Ramblers groups. I’m sure individually they are all fine people (apart from the pair I know from Liverpool, who are despicable, stupid, drunken oiks), but when I see them in a group, I can’t help myself; I just descend into a mad dose of horse’s burial. The leader never appears to know where they are going. They all carry those ludicrous great map cases slung around their necks on green string, but they obviously haven’t a clue how to read them. The leader asks you where they are, and when you tell them, they shake their heads in disbelief.
How they ever get back to their cars I’ll never know.
We waited until they were long gone, and then headed up into Conistone Dib ourselves.
CONISTONE DIB & BROTHER DAVE – CLICK TO ENLARGE
This is a frabjous little hidey-hole, with pretty little flowers in every crevice. I’ve no idea what they are, so perhaps you’ll be kind enough to let me know? Ta.
PRETTY BLUE FLOWERS (ANY IDEAS?)
After leaving the gorge you enter a beautiful dry valley, which reminded me of Velvet Bottom in the Mendips; both are limestone dry valleys.
CONISTONE DIB & A HANDSOME BASTARD – CLICK TO ENLARGE
We clambered up on the Dales Way to a long shallow dry valley with sections of limestone pavement for added interest. Drystone walls, limestone scars and rocky atolls are all about. This is a glorious stretch, with lark-song as your musical backdrop.
HANDSOME DOG ON THE DALES WAY
You can’t possibly get lost as the route takes you straight as an arrow back to Grassington, with glorious views back to Grass Wood tumbling down to the Wharfe. We made it in time to visit a couple of the pubs, where there was plentiful supplies of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Black Sheep to occupy the remainder of the afternoon before Debs finished her stint at the library.
Dave pointed out that these pubs were on the Yorkshire Dales Inn Way, which is a six day walk of seventy six miles that takes in twenty six pubs. This sounds like just the sort of walk to get me back to full fitness… I can feel a plan coming together.