The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Ilkley to Gordale Scar

Tuesday 13 July
Distance: 20.5 miles

Two late changes were made to my plan for this trip, one following from the other. Based on Saturday's weather forecast for the upcoming week, I voiced the possibility of delaying my departure by a day so as to get the best of a not-great looking week's weather. Mick in turn decided that if I delayed the trip until Tuesday, then he could come along.

And so it was the two of us that strode out of Ilkley train station this morning, after an early start, to walk a chunk of the Dales High Way.

It wasn't a bad day for it. Cloudy it was, but pleasantly warm and only a moderate breeze. However, we knew that we had quite a distance to go, and that rain was forecast from about 4pm, so we wasted no time heading off towards Skipton.

The track from Addingham to Skipton was pleasing, being well defined and having sufficient elevation to give a good view, and arriving in Skipton it seemed reasonable to seek out a tea room. We went in the first we found, which was right at the far end of the town, and then found after we left that there are five more within ten paces after that.

Four sets of people were met coming down off the lump-in-the-landscape that is Sharp Haw as we made our way up at just after 1pm. It was a false representation of how busy our route was as not another person was then seen until we passed the almost-empty Winterburn Reservoir where three mothers with babies strapped to them were heading the other way.

The climb up to the second trig point of the day, atop The Weets, seemed never ending, so long and gentle was it. The descent was somewhat faster, thanks to its knee-killing steepness.

By this time there was rain to the west and to the south of us and we were clearly on borrowed time until it hit.

We were lucky. It was about 200 yards before the campsite when it started to drizzle, and the worst of the shower held off until the tent was up.

Our position on the campsite was decided by the presence of two groups here, one of which is rather a big one with lots of matching orange ridge tents. We've pitched about as far away as we can get, alongside the families, and so far from the facilities that most people with a car would probably drive to them.

The benefit of being so far up the campsite is that we're almost in Gordale Scar, which is a mighty fine natural feature indeed. From the point of view of picturesqueness*, there are certainly worse places to camp.

(*made up word alert)
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  1. don't panic, there is no need to make up the word 'picturesqueness' as it already exists :-) Keep up the good work!

  2. Picturesqueness is Timperley dialect.



  3. you are right it is picturesqueness. My friend and I scrambled up Gordale scar a few years ago on a walk in that area. I live in Chorley which is just over 1hr away in Lancashire. so you see I am not just an armchair follower - only little walks though compared to you 2


  4. That is a campsite! Nice view.