Warning! For those of you who don’t like hearing about walking or being subjected to endless pictures of countryside, please look away now. Pud and I took a short break in Yorkshire last week (HUGE thanks to Nana and Grandad Kitten for looking after the chilblains) and we came back still married! Of course I felt compelled to mark the occasion with an extra long, self-indulgent post so read on at your peril……..
We arrived in the sleepy village of Giggleswick at around lunchtime and after much excitement in scoffing the complementary biscuits at what was to be our digs for the next two nights (the Harts Head Inn), we ventured into the pretty, neighbouring town of Settle for a bit of walk and something to eat. It soon became apparent that not much of this neck of the woods is flat and we quickly found ourselves ascending higher into the hills, and I quickly regretted throwing my heavy, doubly-waterproof raincoat over an already overly-warm outfit, as the air pressure lowered with each step we took…..
Fortunately for me, hunger got the better of Pud, so we cut our walk short and headed for food, taking in a couple of glasses of highly over-priced wine (I was robbed but I won’t dwell on it), before finding a chippy and sampling the BEST pie I’ve ever tasted. I’m still salivating over the buttery pastry now.
Later that evening, back in Giggleswick, we found a lovely, traditional pub called the Black Horse where we were asked if we’d like to take part in a pub quiz. Not wishing to appear like anti-social southerners, we jumped at the chance…and came last. To make up for it though, just before last orders, the Landlord announced that supper was being served and so, out of sheer politeness again, we found ourselves munching on fat, juicy hamburgers and more chips before waddling back to our digs for the night.
Following our late night burgers, I wasn’t overly hungry at breakfast so I just went for prunes and yoghurt followed by a full English breakfast, complete with artery-clogging fried bread, two cups of coffee and toast and butter. I did leave half a sausage though.
I don’t know how I walked nearly ten miles after consuming all that for breakfast but make it I did and day two’s walk was spectacular, even if I did have to hold a cooked breakfast-induced poo in for over half the day. The best thing about this walking lark in Yorkshire is that you never go for more than about two miles without experiencing a complete change in landscape and today was no exception. We saw the first waterfall of our trip (I love a good waterfall), a cave perched near the top of a hill, a huge pile of stones (or cairn) called Schoolboys’ Tower where traditionally, graduating students would each place a rock to celebrate the end of their time at the local school, and row upon row of dry stone walls winding high up into the hills. We also saw lots of sheep and, as it’s currently the lambing season, fluffy little lambs with cotton wool coats who snuggled up to their mums as we walked past. I may never eat a lamb chop again.
I felt more than justified in tucking into my ploughman’s later that evening, even though it did have a wedge of cheese the size of a brick on it. We ended up back at the bar at our digs for a couple more drinks and got talking to a friendly couple who were travelling around to see family and had just spent a week in Ireland. They had a cute little dog with them who unfortunately kept trumping. At least I think it was the dog but you never know with Pud and his poker face…..
My favourite walk was on our final day – partly because Pud had expressed a desire to yomp up the steepest hill we could find, then decided against it on waking and finding that his back ached like hell – but mainly because the sun was shining, the scenery was absolutely stunning and our four mile walk took in not one but TWO waterfalls! This walk took us to Malham Cove which was once a giant waterfall following some glacier-related incident back in the day, then high up into the hills and across what was described in the guide as a ‘limestone pavement’ but was in reality a mass of craggy rocks with cracks so deep I had to be careful I didn’t slip between them (being the tiny thing that I am because I don’t eat much). I was glad when we’d finished tottering across these in our highly unsuitable footwear and started the descent towards the first waterfall of the day at the magnificent Gordale Scar. I wasn’t so excited that I wanted to climb the thing, as one man and his two daughters were doing, but it was very impressive nevertheless.
We reached an enchanted wood, carpeted with pungent wild garlic and there was a second waterfall, basking in the sunlight, which we stood to admire (well I did – Pud was halfway through the wood by the time I’d finished looking at it). A fairy called Janet allegedly hangs out in a cave behind this waterfall and whilst I can totally believe this, I have to question why anyone would call their fairy-child Janet. Janet??
We entered back into civilisation and as we headed towards the car park, we passed a plethora of ramblers decked out in all their finery, including those sticks they use to help them negotiate proper hills. Pud wondered how these sticks are of any benefit as surely the discomfort in carrying them for miles on end far outweighs any saving of the odd aching leg here and there? I made a mental note to discuss this again in twenty year’s time when our hip joints have ground down to nothing but a fine powder because we refused to use such implements…..
Three hours later we were back home, hugging Eddy and Molly like we’d been away for months rather than just under three days, making dinner, washing the dishes and once again providing a taxi service for the evening’s various activities – the last couple of days rapidly fading into a dim and distant memory.
And that’s why I’ve written about it really. It was such a lovely break that I’m not ready to forget about it just yet. Sometimes you just need to keep that dream going for as long as you can!