Stuck in the Middle of Middleham Moor

Horse jump, fence Middleham Moor I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "there's worse places to be stuck than on Middleham Moor..."
A train stuck between two stations after someone's nicked the copper from the railway line?
Stuck in the city, waiting for the night bus among a crowd of strangers who've evidently had a better night than you?
Or stuck in the ninth circle of hell, also known as the M25?!


Yes, there are indeed hundreds of worse places to be stuck but getting stuck; like getting lost, can sometimes be a good thing. Continue reading Stuck in the Middle of Middleham Moor

The Healing Waters of Gordale Beck

Janet's Foss Waterfall landscape in late autumn It's 5.30am on a Friday, I haven't slept very well, I haven't slept very well all week. My wife and two year old boy are asleep in the same bed after an unsettled and at times fractious night. I lightly kiss them both on the cheek and forehead, grab my camera bag and head downstairs. Our Lurcher Alfie is awake and happy to see me, he seems keen for an adventure. I hesitate for a second and then slip his collar on; it will be nice to have some company that is oblivious to the seismic changes our world seems intent on.   Continue reading The Healing Waters of Gordale Beck

The Heavens open in God’s own county

3D animation of photographers at Malham Cove A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to visit one of my favourite Yorkshire Dales locations and for the first time it wasn't even my suggestion! But if you're striding out in God's own county, you can't be surprised if the heavens open and drop 10 gallons of water on you from time to time! Drinks break at Malham as the rain starts Continue reading The Heavens open in God’s own county

Festival Season in Yorkshire

Robot Scarecrow at Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival
Robot Scarecrow at Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival Those who follow my activity on Facebook or Twitter will not only know that the Burley Summer Festival is in full swing but will also know Aflie (my trusted walking companion) won Handsomest Dog and Best in Show at the annual dog show! Continue reading Festival Season in Yorkshire

A Day in Malham isn’t Enough!

Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales This week the National Trust revealed a concerning set of statistics. In recent surveys they discovered that 17% of people asked never walk more than 500 metres from their car and 1 in 4 people walk less than 5 miles in a month. These statistics were announced in conjunction with the launch of their annual Walking Festival: 'The Great British Walk'. They also revealed a list of top ten secret trails that can only be accessed by foot. One of the places featured on this list is Malham Tarn, which we happened to visit just a few weeks ago. Continue reading A Day in Malham isn’t Enough!

Birthday Hangovers, Walking in Historic Hackfall

Tractor on Road in the Yorkshire Dales

Now, I already know Mrs B (CB and I were Wed in Dec 2012!)  is pretty awesome...  But back in autumn, for my birthday, she set a new awesomeness record! A surprise weekend in the stunning Yorkshire Dales village of Masham and a tour of the Black Sheep Brewery served as an awesome reminder that I was a very lucky husband to be indeed! After a brilliant day and night  eating and drinking Masham's finest, I was in need of some fresh air and open space. Luckily, the remedy lay just round the corner! Hackfall is just down the road from Masham, Thorpe road, to be precise, just outside of Grewelthorpe. It's rather gentle walking, which was perfect for someone of my rather 'cloudy' disposition.  The woods and surrounding area are a joy to walk through and full of little hidden surprises.  This maze of wonders is largely thanks to John Aislabie who bought and landscaped the grounds in the 1700s. Hackfall has everything, every turn and corner reveals something new and exciting, waterfalls, ruins, viewpoints, and a working fountain that is going on three hundred years old! You can not escape the sense of history in this place. After investigating a rather unusual and old looking tree a passing dog walker stopped and chatted for a minute. "Beautiful tree isn't it..." she said and continued to explain how she had found a 18th century coin embedded in the bark years ago. Tales like this only add to the magic and intrigue of the place. It wasn't just me in my foggy state that was bewitched: many artists including Turner have painted here and writers too, Wordsworth himself reflected on the beauty of the surrounding area. If you don't enjoy walking Hack Fall you might as well lock yourself away and see out the rest of your days playing FIFA and eating Nandos! After we had almost too casually walked the grounds, taken in the the views and explored the ruins, we headed into Grewelthorpe. At the Crown Inn's beer garden we were greeted by some friendly Morris dancers who were just finishing their liquid rewards. A pint of Marstons' EPA in the sunshine and the metaphorical clouds lifted as we reflected on a delightfully original day's walking!

Panoramic views at Penhill

Landscape Photograph from Penhill Walk

Walk Summary

Start Point: West Witton

Walk Guide /Map references OS Explorer OL30 & Collins Ramblers > Yorkshire Dales, David Leather

Distance: 7.5 miles

Highlights: Awesome Views from Penhill

Wildlife spotted: Shrew, Curlew (plus Chick), Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Wheatear, Raven, Kestrel. (Walk is reputed to offer sightings of Peregrine Falcon and Brown Hare too!)

Watering Hole: Fox & Hound - Very quiet on arrival but it's a multi award winning pub with a good range of  local ales and real beers

Tipple Tips: Swinithwaite Silver, Yorkshire Dales Brewery - Light and tasty

Continue reading Panoramic views at Penhill

Winter Walk and Fine Ales in the Dales

Walkers at trollers gill, Yorkshire dales, wharfedale Having double checked the handbrake, twice and debated leaving the car in first, I tentatively made my way to the back of the 45 degree angled parked car to put on my boots. It wasn’t until later we realised there was actually a car park  in Appletreewick which we could of used.  This oversight was probably due to the excitement of  embarking on our first Dales walk: The walk we had originally planned to do in “Perils of Coffee” (A lovely walk round Burey in Whafedale). Appletreewick is a village in the Yorkshire Dales and is pronounced “Aptrick” by locals. The locals also boast of Sir William Craven, described as the village’s own Dick Whittington, having left the village for London to make his success and ended up becoming Lord Mayor and sheriff of London before returning to Appletreewick. The walk begins along the bank of the river Wharfe and the sun starts to thaw my rather chilled face, I realise what an awesome picnic destination these banks would make in the summer months.  As the walk develops a diverse range of  landscape and terrain is experienced. One minute a rocky valley the next a small picturesque village with a population no more than 30. Highlights of the walk include a derelict resevoir called Skyreholme dam, which used to supply water to a paper mill and Trollers Gill  which involves clambering over a rocky stream for a mile or so before an obligatory investigation of a rather large cave entrance; could this be the hide out for the spectre hound of Craven. Dare you to go in! (umm… please note: I take no responsibility for anyone who does themselves a mischief from taking up something I say in jest and that may not actually be the opinions of the writer: insert any other appropriate legal jargon here). This is walk that is steeped in history and intertwined with folklore. Having the Ramblers Yorkshire Dales guide by David Leather really helped add context to the conveyor belt of lansdcapes and really bought the walk to life. On completion of the walk we stopped in the Craven Arms for a pint of Black Witch,  Moorehouse brewery.  The pub was so inviting and charming we stayed for a pint of Cruck Barn (Brewed by the Craven Arms) and in case you’re adding up the points, CB stuck to the tea before driving us back on a scenic journey made all the more beautiful by warm glow of two fine ales in the system!