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 April 2010

Day 23 - Ilkley to beyond Grassington

Wed, 14 April
Distance: 19 miles (Tot: 403 miles)
Number of other people out: about 4000

Once again our public transport trip back to yesterday's end point didn't go entirely to plan. We seem to be jinxed, but this being the last time in the walk that we plan to do any such shuffling back and forth, it shouldn't happen again.

Thanks to the problems we had, it was 10am before we strode out of Ilkley, towards the River Wharfe, which we were to follow for the next 17 miles.

With Addingham being so close after Ilkley, it seemed to take a long time to get away from civilisation, but by and by we did get out of the sight of houses and quite lovely it was too.

It was north of Addingham, just after we had passed a restored Quaker Meeting House and just as we were ascending a stile, that someone asked whether we were walking the Dales Way. A chat ensued with a very nice group of people from Lincolnshire, who set out from Ilkley this morning to walk the length of the Dales Way (three of whom we had already encountered as they backtracked in search of a missing walking pole). A big thank you goes to Eileen, Ron, Ann, Christine, Terry and Tony for their generous contributions to Help for Heroes. It was a pleasure to meet you all and I hope your trip was a good and successful one.

The remains of Bolton Abbey (which looked good with the blue-skied backdrop) came into view well before we reached them, but at that point we didn't appreciate how far up the river the grounds extended (miles!), and how popular that riverside section would be. Admittedly today was a glorious day during school holidays, but if it was that busy on a Wednesday in April, then what must it be like on a summer bank holiday? There was picknicking, paddling, rubber-dinghying, playing and relaxing going on - and what a good setting for all of it.

Having been powering along (struggling to get past some ignorant women on a narrow path who knew we were behind them but seemed intent to make us walk at their pace) we weren't paying a great deal of attention to our progress, so it was a surprise to me when we found ourselves at Appletreewick (which seemed like an excellent location for an afternoon break). It was an equal surprise to Mick to learn how many miles we still had to go (that's the downside of late starts).

Incidentally, does anyone know whether Appletreewick is pronounced as it's written?

Grassington was reached at 5pm and a brief sojourn followed in the Black Horse, chatting on our way in to a quartet of Americans who are setting out tomorrow on the Inns Way. Having refreshed ourselves with pop and topped up with water (our bags were already heavy today with six evening meals apiece; with three litres of water added they became groan-worthily heavy), we were on our way again when Jacqui caught up with us to donate all of the money she had in her pockets. That brought our total donations for the day to £19, and we far exceeded any previous record of individual donations in a single day.

With new smiles on our faces we took ourselves out of the village (nice little place, Grassington) and uphill onto Grassington Moor, which was quite a contrast (and a pleasing one at that) to the rest of today's terrain. Unfortunately, what it gives in its scenery and rugged appearance it lacks in flat pitches, so there's some bumpityness going on under the tent tonight!

After such a fine day (gloriously sunny, but seldom warm enough in that north-easterly wind to take hat or gloves off), I think it's going to be another chilly night in Susie.

(As a complete aside to all that, anyone who is paying close attention to the itinerary may have noticed that we were due a day off a couple of days ago. We decided that we didn't need that day, but so as still to stay with Ma-in-Law for two nights, as planned, we did the unplanned shuffle back and forth from Ilkley. That puts us a day ahead of ourselves for the moment. We'll likely take it in due course.)
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  1. Think that I have seen a mention somewhere that Appletreewick is pronounced "app'trick". Others may know better but best of luck with the rest journey anyway. Well done on getting this far.

  2. I think it's something like Aptick. By the way, Bolton Abbey estate and the Strid are one of the most popular places to go to from West Yorkshire.

  3. Another one going with the Ap'trick pronunciation.

    Kettlewell's grocery store was doing bacon buttys the last time we passed through.

    And if you're stopping in Dent; the campsite to the south of the main high st, was doing cooked breakfasts when we stayed there in '07