Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Keighley to Ilkley via Rombalds Moor 20/04/13

In the days before the flight to the seaside or garden centre, it was a tradition for the citizens of Bradford and Airedale to walk across Rombalds Moor on Bank Holidays to crowd the spas and hostelries of Ilkley for the day before catching the last train home, and the walking half of that tradition is well worth keeping in my eyes. This was my plan for May Day, but it got shoved forward as I'm going to need some days out of the walking schedule to replace some necessary household gear, and today was going to be taken out as I desperately need new work shoes (having had both my pairs reach the point of unwearability about six weeks ago), but a gorgeous spring day surely can't be wasted on shopping alone. So a short walk can be dropped in to conveniently link two phases of my walking exploits for this year, as well as allowing me to not have to rise with the lark and to have time to seek out appropriate new footwear afterwards, so onwards to the high moors again!

Keighley to Ilkley via Rombalds Moor.  6.1 miles.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Dales Way #2: Grassington to Buckden 13/04/13

Self in Grassington
Having had a tough week at work, ending it feeling stressed, tired and irritable, does not leave me in the best condition to go for a walk, but I need to go out as I'm sure that Spring is now upon us and I need to make the most of the sunshine and (hopefully) lack of snow. Anyway, walking is my head-clearer and with my walking season having been thrown out with me still having two legs of the Dales Way to do before my jollies at the end of May, it is essential that I get out when the weather is good and I feel even the slightest shred of inspiration. So it's back to Wharfedale, to walk the Dales Way from home, exactly the way I hadn't wanted to, having to ride two trains and one bus to make the trip back to Grassington, but the sun is out and the fields are greening up as I ride past various now familiar locations, and the joys of Spring start to run through me again, even before my feet have hit the ground. Plus, the winter coat and woolly hat can be left behind, with the crazy winter beard having its last excursion, and even if I've not got a heavy load to carry, I'm still going to have a harder sort of walking day as I'm going to be going against the clock...

Walking to Windermere: The Dales Way #2: Grassington to Buckden. 10.8 miles.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Thornton to Keighley 06/04/13

The major lesson of taking on the Alpine Route from Halifax to Keighley is that of knowing your route, I had planned out and projected the route for the week prior to walking it, memorising its various twists and turns, but I'd never actually accurately plotted it and got an accurate distance. Using Google maps and plotting a line along the nearest available roads gave me a distance of 15.5 miles, and that seemed sufficiently different from the direct route of 12 miles for me to use it as the projected distance, even when factoring in the deviations I would inevitably make. Ground conditions and the hill climbs made the first day hard but I still thought I'd projected correctly, but sitting down to plan the unintended day 2, I realised just how badly I'd screwed up my calculations as the unwalked miles totalled not 8 but 10, and I suddenly felt lucky that I had chosen to quit as 19 miles of up and down would surely have been beyond me. So include that in the mix of reasons as to why the 2013 season has gotten off to a sluggish start, along with a general lack of mental and physical enthusiasm, and this winter that just will not end... But, anyway, onward!

The Beeching Report 50th Anniversary Walk, part 2: Thornton to Keighley  10.2 miles

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Halifax to Thornton 01/04/13

27th March marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Beeching Report on the Reshaping of British Railways, and I have already posted my somewhat intemperate thoughts on that matter, but that mix of small-minded accountancy, flawed statistics and socially regressive thought is worthy of a railway walk to demonstrate that we might have gained something from the losses this country suffered. Trouble is, the route that I intend to explore was actually closed down in the years prior to 1963, which demonstrates that the demonisation of Dr Beeching is somewhat misplaced as all he did was accelerate a process of decline and closure which had been in progress since the early 1950s, but when all is said, he still remains a worthy figure of hate in my eyes. So onward to tread the old Great Northern Railway's route from Halifax to Keighley, opened between 1874 and 1884, by what railwaymen used to call 'the Alpine Route', which is one of the most heavily engineered railways in the whole country, and you'll forgive me if I go full-on trainspotter as I seek out every single railway remnant I can find along the way.

The Beeching Report 50th Anniversary Walk: Halifax to Keighley Thornton  9.3 miles