Doesn’t time fly when you’re busy?
I pressed “publish” on my previous post and fully meant to follow it up with another one shortly thereafter. As it turned out, I’ve been busy elsewhere – more on that another day – and it has taken me until now to sit down and write it. So, without further ado, here is part two of What I Did On My Holidays…
When I left you last we were on the edge of the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales a distant smudge on the western horizon. Between the two lies the Vale of Mowbray: a dull and uneventful place to walk through, despite what it may say in your guide book. Let us say no more on the matter, other than to fast forward through 26-odd miles of sole-destroying walking to find us in Richmond. Not the one in London, my navigation isn’t that bad.
The Dales are rounder, lumpier, and more picturesque than the moors. Where one is wild and windy, the other is pastoral and passive. But don’t let that beauty fool you, the Dales can still offer up a few surprises. A riverside walk is no stroll in the park (apart from that first bit; that is, literally, a stroll through a park). On your way you will find yourself stepping across stepping stones aplenty, walking along wall tops, hiking up hills, and squeezing through ever-smaller squeeze stiles. Seriously, it doesn’t pay to have the full English option every morning; you will never make it through all of those stiles.
We passed sheep, rabbits, dozens of birds I didn’t recognise, and the odd one that I did. I particularly appreciated the cuckoo that flew over our heads, calling out its name. If only more birds did that then the number of birds I can identify would increase dramatically.
A stop we were particularly looking forward to was our overnight stay in Keld. This is roughly the halfway point but it is also one of the more remote villages you pass through. There are but a couple of accommodation options to choose from and nothing much to do there apart from sit back, sip a pint, and watch the sun fade from the hills around you. Then hurry inside because it’s turned pretty chilly out of the sun.
But you get the idea.
At Keld, staying at Butt House (no sniggering at the back), we had a communal meal with our fellow guests, coast-to-coast walkers all of them. And, understandably, they were all heading in the opposite direction to us. This was a great opportunity to swap stories and to share some tips for the path ahead. It seems some of them had endured the worst of the recent weather – snow up to their knees in the Lake District – while we had managed to escape with only a few hours of rain. We tried not to gloat but…
We pushed on, ever westwards, heading up and over the Nine Standards Rigg. As far as I can tell this is some sort of stone-age Dalek thing. Don’t quote me on that though.
Soon – sooner than we would have liked – we were passing out of the Dales and crossing open country towards the Lake District: our third and final national park. And that will have to wait for part 3. I promise you won’t have to wait as long as you did for part 2.