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]

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Day 22 - Denholme to Ilkley

Tuesday 13 April
Distance: 14 miles (Tot: 384 miles)
Number of hats in our possession whilst walking over Ilkley Moor: 4

Arriving back in Denholme at 7.25 this morning, Mick broke all previous records for the earliest 2nd breakfast when, as he paused outside a bakers for a shoe-faff, I popped in and bought him a sausage bap.

With Mick suitably fuelled we headed out through a housing estate which has been built since my map was charted, and onto farmland that would have been green had it not been sporting a good covering of white by virtue of last night's heavy frost.

The sun streaming through the high arches of Hewenden Viaduct was a fine sight, matched by the perfect reflections in the still surface of the adjacent reservoir. As much as viaducts are more impressive when viewed from below, we both fancied walking over it, but it wasn't until we were immediately below that I looked at the more detailed map and found that there is a permissive route over the top which we could have taken. We'll just have to return another day to appreciate that view.

Within a short distance (and not before christening my new shoes by plunging a foot deeply into a boggy area) we were exclaiming on how lovely our surroundings were, and so they continued for much of the day. It may not have qualified as spectacular, but with the streams (sometimes tumbling and falling) and delightful woodland, with some wonderfully uneven paths, festooned with root/stone obstacles, it was all certainly lovely.

By the time we joined the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (7th canal of the trip) for a very short distance, the sky had clouded over and not long after there was moisture being felt in the air. That wasn't ideal, given that we had not expected rain and thus Mick had no waterproof jacket with him and I had no waterproof trousers.

It was only the slightest hint of moisture, though, so clinging to the hope that it wouldn't amount to anything, we put all our layers back on (with the sun gone and that northerly wind blowing it had turned rather parky again) and turned off into Shipley Glen to enjoy some more delightful woodland.

We ignored our plotted route at this point as a very nice path seemed to be going in the right direction, and it turned out to be a good choice.

It was then but a bit more farmland before we were heading up onto the moors.

By the time we were up there we were in the cloud, it was jolly nippy and that bit of moisture in the air had developed into light rain. That rain was an annoyance to me as, giving my eyes a break from continuously wearing contact lenses, I had my glasses on, so the world was soon obscured by rain drops. Fortunately, it didn't amount to enough to make us rue our lack of full waterproof cover (good job I re-proofed Mick's windshirt before we left home, mind).

Having passed over Ilkley Moor with hats most decidedly in place, we met the masses on Ilkley Crags and on our descent into Ilkley, passing the White Wells bath house on the way (the cafe at which was, unsurprisingly, not open).

With spectacularly good timing we arrived at the train station in Ilkley (at 1.15pm - a nice easy short walk today) with just enough time to buy tickets before stepping straight onto a train, which (with a walk and a pause in Bradford) took us back to Halifax.

I had some errands to run in the town, and it turned into a pleasing couple of hours. Firstly there were the very friendly staff in H Samuels who chatted as they changed my watch battery, and then donated the charge to Help for Heroes (thank you Kirsty!). The next task, on the way to the barbers, was to see if I could get internet access in the library so that I could order some more socks. Jean on the Customer Services desk was extraordinarily helpful, and even though I don't live in Calderdale had me signed up with a library card in no time, giving me the same access as locals to their internet facilities (up to 2 hours at a time). Socks were soon bought (I resisted the new Montane Venture Jacket, at a very good price, which Mick was egging me on to buy), and I was impressed with the library service and facilities.

Alas, I failed in the hair cut. The only barber I know of in the town was closed, so the hair will have to wait another while yet.

All in all, a very pleasing day.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. Hi Gayle,glad to hear that you are making good progress northwards.Sorry that I was unable to join you and Mick on the walk to Hathersage-sounds like you had a really great day.The carpet was fitted today and I did manage to get it changed to a more suitable colour.In truth I was able to sort everything out on the phone on the Friday morning but as my wife seemed a little stressed out with things,I thought it better to return home to oversee the remaining home improvements. Anyway,good luck with the rest of the walk and I hope that our paths will cross again after your return home.

  2. Sorry about the Anonymous tag.CHEERS JEFF

  3. You can guarantee, the day I chose to wear glasses instead of lenses, it will be cold, wet and we'll visit a warm pub, thus steaming up on the way to the bar!

    Should've gone for the jacket, btw. Can't beat a Montane bargain.

    Really enjoying your journey from my armchair.