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 Great Departure Through Burley

Boy cycling This weekend was the first weekend in a long, long time when I didn't have anything work related in the diary. So what did I do? Just take a few hundred more pictures to take up more mac book space and photo editing time that I already don't have! Well, I couldn't watch the greatest spectacle to depart Yorkshire in our lifetime without a camera! Continue reading A Great Departure Through Burley

Test Touring Ilkley Moor with an iPhone

Last weekend me and Alfie braved the wind and rain up on Ilkley Moor to test out some routes for Walking Photographer Tours. The horizontal rain didn't dampen our spirits; even accidentally planting a foot in Coldstone Beck (cold!) didn't put us, well, me off! Continue reading Test Touring Ilkley Moor with an iPhone

Walking with Friends

Walking with friends on Ilkley moor After seeing a request from Countryfile for suggestions on new locations, I decided to email them and suggest Rombald's Moor. While I was looking for some photos to support my suggestion I stumbled upon some pics I'd taken while on a walk with friends visiting us from Ireland. Continue reading Walking with Friends

A Sheepish Walk to Harewood

Luscious green leaves on silver grey trees It was a sunny bank holiday Sunday and our only obligation for the day was a BBQ in the early evening. Having wanted to check out Harewood House for quite some time, this the perfect opportunity. Encouraged by a discount for people arriving on foot we decided to walk. Parking in Bramhope we started our Harewood House walk. The walk begins on Breary Lane East, which possesses an eclectic mix of houses, all of which seem to have no linking characteristics other than that they all look like they cost a rather large amount of money! After walking through several large fields with enough sheep to send the hardiest insomniac to the land of nod, we reached a point where we could either continue onto Harewood or make a detour via Eccup Reservoir. I'd heard rumours on twitter that Eccup was a bit of a wildlife hotspot and the fact that we were sandwiched between two large walking groups (clearly taking the direct route to Harewood) made the decision that much easier! When we made it to the reservoir we realised walking round it and making it to Harewood House may be a little too ambitious, so we settled with sitting on the reservoir wall eating our Branston pickle and roast chicken sandwiches before getting back on track to Harewood. For those unfamiliar with the area of Harewood (near Leeds), the Harewood Estate is (to me at least) mahoosive! The grounds (and house) have been in the Lascelles family since it's completion in 1771. The landscape within its expansive borders is both vast and diverse, with many views looking like they've been copied and pasted straight from a Constable painting! Lancelot ""Capability" Brown is the man to take much of the credit (not to mention the contemporary grounds staff, who I'm sure should take a good slice of credit too!) for the stunning scenery. Brown designed these grounds that have undoubtedly influenced many artists including Thomas Girtin. It's a funny realisation that something we now consider to be so natural is, in fact, very manufactured! We appeared to arrive tantalisingly close to the house, yet couldn't find an entrance! It seems (as far as we could tell) you can only enter through the main entrance, which is accessed via the main road. By the time we had walked the boundaries and made it into the village of Harewood we had missed the last entrance to the house. Inevitably, armed with this knowledge, we simply went into the first pub we came across! After a refreshing pint and packet of roasted peanuts in the Harewood Arms Hotel we headed back to Bramhope; via the direct route! By the time we made it back to the car the BBQ was in full swing, and by the time we made it home we were very tired, hungry and feeling particularly unsociable. We opted for some hot food and some bottles of Ilkley Pale on the sofa while watching Swedish crime drama on the internet! While you could be tempted to label this walk a failure, not achieving any of our aims and then missing our only social commitment of the day, it was still a very memorable and enjoyable walk. A pub was frequented, beer and bar snacks were consumed which for many (myself included) constitutes a successful outing! Some people may also be interested to know that on this walk we passed by the set of Emmerdale which lies within the Harewood Estate. The route offers great views of Red Kites who were (introduced to Harewood as part of a very successful conservation initiative). Other wildlife highlights included a Yellow Hammer and spotting two hares bathing in the sun near Weardley. (I know, awesome name for a small village!)

BBQ Season…

Chevin forest Park, Otley, yorkhire, landscape photograph This week has started to show promise that the snow may have finally retreated and some warmer weather might just be around the corner! Such times, (much like the sprouting of bluebells and the arrival of swallows,) are typically marked by overzealous Fathers reaching for a pair of shorts and optimistic shops filling their shelves with BBQ kits. The excitement got to us too though and we headed up to Chevin Forest Park, Otley for a beautiful evening walk. The light was gorgeous and the woodland bursting with bird song. We caught sight of two courting nuthatches which was a particular highlight; but the sunset really stole the show!

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!  

Perils of Coffee

Country road, walk, burley in wharfedale, west yorkshire 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.