My blog about developing a passion for walking, seeking out the landscape and industrial heritage of Northern England, and hopefully getting in some healthy exercise before I turn 40, and maybe getting money raised for charity too.
It may be early in my second season of walking, but it's now time to start out on a proper linear walk, not all done in a single expedition, of course, as that sort of thing is still beyond me, but it's time to stop walking in circles and to travel in a distinctive straight line. The Dales Way is the obvious choice, as it's straightforwardly accessible along most of its length and its start point in Ilkley is only 21 miles distant from home in Morley, factor in the Link to Leeds and it's only 7 miles away to a path that leads me all the way to the shores of Windermere. There's still plenty of Winter to traverse before we get to the joy of Spring, and there's no great hurry to get this done in short order, the season can afford me a few short ambles before we get to the real meat of the trail, so my walk to Windermere can start with the walk from home to the Dales Way Link in Woodhouse, getting in the remnants of three lost railways along the way. Weather projections for Saturday had stated the high probability of mist all through the preceding week so it's a surprise to find a bright day opening up when I rise, so I have to get on at the hurry up to make a detour to collect more books to add to the 2013 pile from Morley parcel office before heading to my start point.
Having taken my annual trip up to Carlisle and my favourite second-hand bookshop on the preceding Thursday, I was able to have a reconnoitre with regards ground conditions in Ribbledale and was fully prepared for some snow and ice residue on the ground when it came to hitting the Dales at the weekend. I'd kept my weather eye set to Saturday, and whilst the projection had gotten progressively worse, it never gave indication of heavy precipitation or high winds, so going up the first of the Three Peaks was never in doubt. What I hadn't taken into account was what the weather might do in the intervening time, but surely the conditions couldn't change that drastically? Well, they had and what follows is a walk quite unlike anything I have experienced so far in my walking career.
The 2013 walking season was due to kick off on 9th February with me meeting up with the FOSCL group for a walk over Ingleborough, but as some unseasonally sunny weather greeted the first Saturday of my week of being NIW, I made the decision to get out one week early. Not that there was huge pressure to make an excursion of it, indeed in all of 2012's ambling, I never really did anything close to home other than joining to Leeds Country Way as it made its way past Morley. So this was a good time to rectify that, and to wrap up in my underused winter coat, down fleece and thermals and head out to the end of Station Road because most of my walking excursions had started out from Morley railway station to various parts of the West Riding, so today I will very literally start my walk from there.
No, I haven't given up. And the trail is due to be re-engaged.
The way time passes as you get older is most perplexing, the passage of days is incredibly rapid and recent events can feel like they were an age ago. It's been 12 weeks since my last noted walk and that time seems to have torn through, but it feels like it's been a year since I last went out, and I'm going to blame the dark quarter of the year for that, but now here we are in February and I'm psyching myself for a return to the trail.