Sunday, December 31, 2006

Walking, walking, walking

In an attempt to behave like a normal family and "do things" together, at least three of us, and the dog, today took a long walk in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The half the excuse that we needed was the fact that Jodie is now well and truly signed up for a four week trek in South Africa in 18 months time and we realised last night that the furthest that she has ever treked in her 14 years on earth is...not very far at all.

So we went on a trek to the Bolton Abbey Strid Walk today.

Just as an aside I've also joined this web site which lists loads of walks in National Parks, didn't need their services today but we might do another one tomorrow over Embsay Crag which looks like it might need map reading and compass skills - that should be a laugh as my first question is "whats a compass ?" - I really should check all this stuff out first with our Ned who has walked around the world twice to date with the aid of a big map and a compass.

I've attached a Flickr slide show to the toolbar on the right with a group of piccies that I took today, it really was quite pleasant, a nice four and a half mile walk up one side of the River Wharfe, across an old victorian aquaduct and back down the other side, starting and finishing in the Cavendish Pavillion cafe which was full when we got back so I never got to stuff down the Mars Bar that I'd been craving for after the first mile - lesson number one learned on hike number one - take Mars Bars.

This next bit will probably bore those who prefer not to be reminded that they have sedentary lifestyles - listen to me, I sound like a proper greybeard with a knapsack on my back and a compass round my neck, striding off over someone's private moorland - the pictures ...

Heading up river, nice colours eh ? Yes the river is a little full at the moment, its the rain you know. Its also a really reddy brown at the moment with all the peat that is washed off the fells at this time of year, what ? No it doesn't look at all brown in the photo does it, it is though.

This is the start of The Strid, a 200 foot narrow gorge where the normally wide and docile river is sucked through at impressive speed, only 6 feet wide at its narrowest it presents an irresistable challenge to fools who want to die in an attempt to jump across the always wet and always slippery rocks - fall in The Strid and you don't come out because what you can't see from the surface is that its approx 20 feet deep at this point and those rocks that you see are undercut into huge caverns where the water simply swirls around and around without exiting, go under at this point and you genuinely don't appear at the other end for several weeks.

I've seen The Strid during a drought year when the water was only a few feet deep and the sight is truly awesome when you see just how far undercut those rocks are, its not hard to see why people disappear here and why its a favourite spot for suicides including a honeymoon couple some 15 or so years ago who disappeared at this spot the day after their wedding and were not found for several weeks, there is no safe way of searching those underground caverns, you simply wait for The Strid to spit the bodies back out when its finished with them.

So that made a nice way to pass an afternoon then, I really enjoyed our little hike, even though true backpackers will scoff in our feeble attempt to gain some kudos in their world of compass bearings and waypoints, bollocks to you all, we'll just follow the arrows on the paths until I learn which way up the map goes.

Jodie has 18 months to learn all of this stuff or get eaten by a lion, so that should be motivation enough.

PS - Poor Jake had a bleeding paw when we got back to the car, just checked it and he's scuffed the skin off two pads, bloody soft dog, thats him signed off for tomorrow then.


mal said...

The thing I like about walking or cycling is you get to really SEE the country side. Hard to do in a car. The physical exercise is a bonus *S*

Gary said...

I really enjoyed it yesterday, even when it was threatening to rain, we used to cycle a lot around that area and as we used to say then "you only get wet once, then you just stay wet for the rest of the day".

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