Weather: fine morning, steadily clouding over, maturing into a drizzly afternoon.
After a bright start, today's weather went slowly downhill. But we can hardly complain, we reached Spencer's Café Bistro in Skipton soon after 2pm and took full advantage of their excellent tea and cakes (pictured).
This morning we headed back along the path to the south of the houses of Ilkley, continuing easily past the Swastika Stone, where a Victorian replica has been carved on a stone in front of the large boulder which houses the faint original markings from the Iron Age.
As we progressed gently up to Addingham High Moor we passed the sites of several more stones with cup and ring markings, but our main distraction was the constant bubbling trill of the resident curlews.
Shortly after Airedale came into view we headed north off the moor towards Addingham Moorside and in the general direction of Wharfedale. However, this 'High' route that we are walking eschews the delights (and crowds) of Wharfedale in favour of a direct line to Skipton by way of Moor Lane and a pathway known as 'The Street' and locally referred to as 'The Roman Road'. Despite official documents supporting that description that date back to the 19th century, there is no clear archaeological evidence to support the wide belief that our path follows the line of a Roman Road linking Ilkley with Elslack, near Skipton.
With rain looking imminent, we lunched just in time to avoid getting our butties wet, but we did leave our perch fully clad in waterproofs.
Whilst the views became muted by the drizzly weather, it was a very pleasant path across the tops and then down past an old toll house to the centre of Skipton and the comforts of the tea shop.
With plenty of time on our hands we decided to visit Skipton Castle, the site of a wooden fort from soon after 1090, which was replaced by a castle that passed to the Clifford family in 1310 and was their main residence for over 300 years. It's a magnificent and truly historic building, remarkably complete, and a pleasure to visit. As Andrew commented, shouldn't we be more appreciative of such places, especially when you consider that they pre-date sites like Macchu Picchu by several hundred years?
We had already learnt in the café that Chinthurst B&B is the best in Skipton, and given the friendly reception and our large, comfortable room, we can't disagree with that. Tonight's restaurant, Aagrar, has to be the best Kashmiri restaurant in Skipton. We've enjoyed a superb meal there, as has the owner of Aston Martin reg no R5OEL (think about it!).
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