June 9 – This morning we walked back to Leeds Station to catch the train to Ilkley. Jim got us a discount rail pass for off-peak riders, so all our tickets are 30% off. Once again, we were reminded of the dreaded gap!
Ilkley is a lovely little town, bustling with weekend tourists on a bright Saturday. We checked in at the Dalesway Hotel, and took a little walk about the town. It seems to be a canine-friendly place.
We ducked in to All Saints Church, as I knew there was a special stained glass window there, dedicated to handbell ringers, in memory of Jasper Snowden, killed in WWI, and his family. Grandfather John Snowden was the vicar here, and both his son and grandson were avid change ringers and writers of handbell music.
There were also some eighth century stone pillars:
I particularly liked the embroidered kneelers at every pew. No two alike!
Quaint country buildings that look like they could be in Germany or Austria:
And lots of flowers in bloom!
June 10 – This morning we started our Dales Way hike. It is Sunday, and our hotel offered breakfast at 9am, but we opted for coffee and oatmeal in our room and an early start. We were on the trail at 7:30, with 14 miles ahead of us.
Here is the map provided at the starting point. Do you see Ilkley all the way to the south?
The weather was foggy and a bit chilly in the morning. Today’s route follows the River Wharfe all day. It didn’t take long for us to run into some sheep.
We crossed one farmer’s field after another, pausing at each boundary to open and close a gate or climb over a stile. A stile is a simple ladder that allows people over, but confounds the sheep. By the twelfth stile, they confounded me too – my first leg went over easily, but convincing my back leg to join it became harder each time!
Unlike the US, where property is private and “trespassers will be shot”, England and most other countries have what is called the right to roam. Don’t litter, don’t disturb the livestock, and please close the gate behind you. What a wonderful philosophy!
We walked past some cottages that had originally been a mill built in 1787. Wouldn’t you love to live in Cobweb Cottage?
In an hour, we came upon a Friends Meeting House built in 1689. Inside, there were transparent silhouettes to remind us to honor the soldiers who died in the Great War.
By mid morning we reached Bolton Abbey, with the ruins of a priory attached to a working church. A sign said people have been worshipping here for 850 years.
My mom instructed me to take pictures of castles. As Windsor and Buckingham are not on our itinerary, here is a building in the Abbey and a bridge that look sort of like castles!
Bolton Abbey is part of a large park that we walked through for the rest of the day. Lots of families enjoying the River Wharfe, either fishing or wading. Here’s a place where you can opt to cross by jumping on stepping stones or going over a bridge. Which do you think we chose?
There’s a fallen tree into which hundreds of coins have been hammered. Couldn’t tell you why.
As we left the walk to get some lunch, we were surprised to find we had been walking through the Valley of Desolation. We thought it quite cheerful.
We encountered a full complement of fauna as we tromped through the fields on what turned out to be a warm and sunny afternoon, with the River Wharfe always at our side.A wonderful first day!