This was a weekend for my ‘Pyrenean Friends’ and a few others deserving a treat, based at Collett’s lovely B&B in Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales.
Some of us are pictured above outside the lodge on Saturday morning, but fifteen of us had arrived in time for some stew on Friday night, followed by the launch of my book, which is a companion volume to my offering in 2013. The following two images should be self explanatory.
Copies are available for £10 including UK P&P, but I won’t be able to despatch them until after 17 December. (The next post will explain why.)
Let me know if you’d like a copy.
Time is tight, so this posting is basically a pictorial summary of the weekend.
Autumn colours were vibrant despite the overcast day.
It was warm though – shorts and t-shirt weather. Sheila had recently acquired a ‘very good value’ ‘Selfie Stick’. It worked whilst we enjoyed elevenses with cake.
Bolton Castle hove into view, warranting a close inspection from all but Alan S, who headed straight for the Bolton Arms in the hope that JJ would be in wait, propping up the bar.
A dog walker on the lane leading to the castle pointed out this dragon, which believe it or not we may otherwise have walked past!
By now, Conrad and Graham had slipped away muttering something like – “I think we’ll follow the scent of that Black Sheep”.
The rest of us admired the ancient (14th century) ramparts of Bolton Castle, in the delightful hamlet of Castle Bolton.
Lunch was taken on a stone bench, then we headed off to a suitable rendezvous point. Richard discovered he’d over-indulged, and we wondered how Conrad’s wonky knees had managed to negotiate this narrow squeeze…
There were lots of mushrooms and fungi in evidence this weekend, including those shown below.
(There were plentiful field mushrooms should anyone have been collecting.)
Autumn colours were many and varied.
The stroll to Redmire soon saw us re-united with our walking eleven, and Ali and Sue B who had come by train, outside the Bolton Arms, where Black Sheep bitter was flowing in a flavoursome sort of way.
Soon, even JJ strode into view. No pub gathering is complete without JJ. We stayed a while longer.
Eventually we managed to extricate ourselves from Redmire’s fleshpots, leaving the village past this magnificent tree.
Beyond Preston-under-Scar, the superb path along beautifully named Leyburn Shawl afforded fine views up Wensleydale into the glare of the setting sun.
Back at base at 4.30pm, we had plenty of time for tea and the excellent cakes provided by Henry, Graham and Kirstie at Eastfield Lodge, before another sociable evening.
Here’s our route for the day - 21 km with 300+ metres ascent, taking 6.5 hours.
Dinner was provided, on Henry’s recommendation, by ‘Thirteen’, where Michael’s food was great and Sarah’s front of house skills were immaculate.
Mick and Gayle had been absent for the walk due to their need to make a hospital visit. We were pleased to see them return with smiles on their faces.
Sunday morning saw most folk head off in various directions, leaving just six of us to enjoy a November walk in what seemed like baking heat.
As yesterday, we set off from the Lodge.
This time we headed towards the racehorse village of Middleham.
The River Ure was crossed via castellated Middleham Bridge, seen here in the distance.
Grassy slopes with a carpet of closely knit cobwebs led up to the village.
Elevenses, and a pause to reflect. Just four of us now, as JJ and German Martin had sped off to Manchester.
The carpet of cobwebs isn’t visible from this angle.
Trees laden with berries feature strongly at this time of year.
Middleham, with brightly coloured houses and a 12th Century castle.
Then it was a long uphill stroll beside the gallops of Middleham Low Moor, where we noticed a two legged ‘horse’ trying in vain to ‘gallop’.
Then a descent down Naylor’s Hill led to a perfect lunch spot with fine views across the valley.
The Ure was re-crossed at Wensley Bridge, for an easy walk through Wensley and back up to Leyburn past trees in fine autumn fettle.
The church at Leyburn is virtually next to Eastfield Lodge. The conclusion of a lovely stroll in the best of company.
Here’s our route - 16 km, with 300 metres ascent, taking 5 hours.
I’m afraid time has deprived you, dear reader, of a slideshow to accompany this rather prosaic and hastily compiled record of what was a really delightful weekend.
Thanks go to everyone who came, and to the providers of various items – gin, beer, wine, etc when what we brought ran out, and special thanks to Graham B for his liberal donations of apples, jams and chutneys.
Shall I go ahead and book it for next year?