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Last week’s weather played out like a typical English Summer’s day… Rain being the predominant feature, with just enough sunshine to keep the optimistic hopeful!
As I had to go London for a few days last week, I didn’t have as much time to discover Burley’s wildlife but I still managed to squeeze some wildlife, slash walks, slash photography in…
Swifts have arrived, I see them daily now from my home studio skylight, they’re brilliant!
Much to my amusement (only because it was a sociable hour) I watched a greater spotted woodpecker hammering away at the metal top of a telegraph pole in the village, it made a brilliant noise.
I’ve also noticed now two black bunnies, one on Burley Moor near the entrance by Coldstone Beck and one by Stead Hall Wood. Apparently they are more common in Yorkshire than other UK areas. There seems to be a debate on whether a lot of black bunnies are melanistic or just the result of a domestic pet embracing freedom! Having done a little inter-web research, it appears that black rabbits have been hopping about the UK for over 100 years, who’d of thunk it!
As I said, I didn’t get much time to get out in Burley with the camera last week but the interchangeable weather made for some cool landscapes and one evening I just couldn’t resist heading out. As well as the landscape at the top of this post I took the following two… too!
In this last photo, you can see a tuft of grass in the foreground. I walked right by it only to discover a Skylark, who quickly chirped up, beautifully requesting that I vacated his ‘patch’! To have such a close and serendipitous encounter was a real thrill!
That’s it for now, I hope to catch some new plant life with me lens next week, so watch this space!
Nearly a year ago, we were supping our pints and sharing a packet of roast beef Monster Munch in the Red Lion following an awesome Burley in Wharfedale walk. I couldn’t have imagined that by November 2012 we’d actually be making our home there! Well, actually, I probably did imagine that; we tend to envisage ourselves living in every place we walk through. Nevertheless, to find ourselves living in the location of one of our first Yorkshire walks following our move from London is both a little surprising and really cool!
On the second weekend in our new place, CB was away on her Hen weekend and the two weeks of numerous trips to hardware stores, assembling flat pack furniture, moving all our stuff room to room, day by day in accordance with the work being carried out, was starting to take it’s toll! I was desperate to be outdoors!
Despite my overwhelming urge (which I had been repressing for two weeks) to head straight out onto the moor, I had one obstacle. We still had no kitchen or washing machine and as of Monday (this was Sunday) I was going to be out of clean undies.
The obvious solution was to head into Leeds, where there was more chance of finding an open launderette, but my heart sat heavy at the thought of this. So I decided to take the less economical path, walk to Ilkley via Rombald’s moor, buy some new boxers and visit the launderette on Monday! Decision made, soul appeased, I headed out at a quickened pace up the road and towards the moor.
It was Remembrance Sunday and I had the idea that I would observe the customary 2 minutes silence from one of the peaks on the moor that overlook Burley in Wharfedale. This rather sentimental notion failed to materialise as I hadn’t realised that the walk leading to the moor (despite nearly jogging in excitement), was in fact longer than I had remembered. I compromised for two minutes of quiet thoughtfulness, on foot. Thinking of Grandparents and other inspirational people I’ve met and then into wider pools of thought, of people far and near who still experience extreme violence on a daily basis, which turns to prayer, that I will never become desensitized or neglectful to such thoughts and that I will have courage and wisdom to act on them when needed.
I wasn’t too disappointed at not reaching a viewpoint for the customary show of silence, I contemplate best on foot with a camera in my hand. I documented my two minutes of silence, automatically shooting from the hip; no composing, no construction, just a continuous finger on the shutter as I walked in thought.
I continued to walk the moor, aimlessly meandering towards Ilkley, generally moving and turning away from any sign of human activity. Embracing the solitude with the moor and selfishly attempting to keep the moments for myself. As I approached Ilkley the paths and tracks got busier and I conceded it was time to head into town and purchase those boxers!
At this point I had thought I might grab a pint, a sandwich and 45 minutes of Premier League football but the light was glorious and the air so fresh that I decided to press on. I walked on towards the River Wharfe.
It’s hard describe the walk along the River Wharfe to Burley in Wharfedale. It’s not the sort of walk you jump out of bed for, but there were certainly moments of interest that made it worthwhile. The walk is a little broken in places meaning there are stretches of walking along the A65. One particular point of interest was the Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve which, despite the continuous noise of cars, is paradoxically peaceful and worth exploring.
After the Nature Reserve I crossed the A65 and made my way back to Burley in Wharfedale via several country tracks, crisscrossing the various areas marked “Private Land”. As I did this I stumbled upon a beautiful Red Kite and true to form, before I could lift my camera, it had flown over some trees. Though unrecorded, it was a great moment that I enjoyed reflecting on as I supped on a pint of Landlord (Timothy Taylor Brewery) in The Red Lion, almost a year after my previous pint there!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll know just how dangerous ‘popping out’ for a coffee is. My most recent coffee excursion led to a browse around Waterstone’s (or Waterstones as I believe they are re-branding themselves). Anyway this ‘browse’ led to the purchase of £30 worth of OS maps and a rather cool book on Yorkshire Dales walks. No wonder I got an espresso maker for my birthday!
The following morning I woke up like it was Christmas, all excited about doing a new walk in the Dales from our new book, using my new OS map. Caroline was more like the parent at Christmas, who would like just five more minutes in bed and wishes the kids would go and quietly entertain themselves with their new pressies. Anyway a quick wash, a round of toast that barely touches the sides and we were off! Or so we thought. It seemed the car didn’t share our enthusiasm for the Yorkshire Dales, so 10 minutes into our journey we had to turn back and book the car in for a check up.
Luckily due to my premature, or arguably immature, overexcitement it was still relatively early. Remembering that we had been given an AA Walks Around Leeds and West Yorkshire book for Christmas we started hunting through the walk cards looking for a walk that was relatively accessible on public transport. We found one that started and finished at Burley in Wharfedale train station.
The walk begins on Hag Farm Lane leading up to and through the farm, over some fields that offer the residing sheep lush panoramas and on through a variety of gates that remind you that you still haven’t burnt off as many of those festive calories as you would have liked.
The highlight of the walk is Burley Moor. This relatively busy heath provides some great views, even on a hazy winter’s day (is that a Simon and Garfunkel song?) with low thin cloud you could still take in the sights. We took a moment as we crossed the moor to take in the scenery. There were plenty of different paths that offered interesting diversions and investigations. Pretty soon the moor quietened down as people went off exploring their own routes. We came across a beautiful icy stream cutting its way through the hillside, which was particularly fascinating. The walk then took us back onto a B road and a country lane, and then over some pretty lowland fields that we’d previously been looking down on. We eventually ended back amongst some pretty impressive houses that surround Burley in Wharfedale station.
This was a very enjoyable walk, not too short and not too long with some lovely scenery and a good mix of terrain. Typically my keenness to photograph EVERYTHING meant we missed the hourly train by 5 or 10… But with every cloud… Rather with every missed train there is usually a good pub and Burley in Wharfedale is no exception, we headed into the village where we went to the friendly Red Lion Hotel for a pint of Midnight Bell from Leeds Brewery while resisting the mouth-watering specials on the board!
A wonderful end to a day that began rather ominously.