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Photo from the Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve

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.

11:00 - 11:02 11/11/2012 fine art photograph by photographer rich bunce
11:00 – 11:02 11/11/2012, Rich Bunce

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!

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