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 have only covered four walking days, but I'm glad that the final stretch of the Bradford Millennium Way has arrived, as this has proved to be quite a challenge, probably fitting in more metres of ascent than the Dales Way managed in all of its mileage, and even with a week off work to do it, I feel like I'm going to need another holiday to get over it. Still, if you only do on walk in Bradford district, uh, don't do this one, there are far friendlier tracks among the three valleys than this stretch, and I may have unreasonably maligned this district, but this trail does show off most of its good faces and convinces me that the council should change the district's name to something altogether friendlier or amusingly amorphous like Wharfeaireworth, for instance. Many points for putting in the effort to get people interested in the district, and the number of different circular walks attached should invite many more people to these hillsides, perhaps ambling during the week has given me the wrong impression and these paths actually buzz with life at the weekends. Onwards, anyway, the last corner of the trail awaits and a final day for this holiday on the Bradfordian hills with my sore calves and even sadder looking boots...
Bradford Millennium Way #4: White Wells to Bracken Hall 7.4 miles
It's always good to have a plan for your holidays, and when you are holidaying from home you don't really have any excuses for your plans going awry, and this holiday's plan was sound, in that I had a 9 day break which would allow for 4 days of walking and 4 days of blogging. What I hadn't considered was starting the holiday week feeling run down after expending a lot of energy at work, and then having a dinner invite sent my way for Saturday evening, and as Last Night of the Proms is a regular tradition for my closest circle, as well as indicating the decline of the year, it wasn't an opportunity to be turned down. Of course, sleeping on the Sunday has me losing a second day from the schedule, and whilst fitting 4 days of walking into a possible 7 is pretty straightforward, getting in the 4 of blogging is not, as 3 of those have been burned, so what was intended as a display of walking and writing prowess, only the physical aspect has been successful, the mental aspect has let me down, and I'm still trying to force the words out more than a week after the holiday is over, and again I ponder, Why did I start writing when I honestly don't enjoy it all that much? I should go back in time and tell my June 2012 self to set up a flickr stream instead...
Bradford Millennium Way #3: Silsden Bridge to White Wells 12.9 miles
Having my parents up country on one of their flying visit proves handy, as getting a lift out of them means I'm not having to start out from home at 7.30am to make a 9.30 start in Oxenhope, it can allow for an extra hour in bed and more rest time for my aching calves. Plus we get journey of only 45 minutes to my start point, and it can offer my folks sight of some of the views regularly described to them but not previously scene, especially as we pass through Queensbury, and my choice of route has me realising that I have done lamentably little walking close to home this year, when I've had no good reason to avoid the Spen Valley, Lower Calderdale and Alpine Bradford, and I'll have to start putting them on the slate for next year as I've probably got more walks for this year than I have weekends available before the end of the season. Those thoughts need to be put aside for now, though, as I know that I have got a hardcore day of walking coming my way, I'm prepared for a day of clustered contour lines and many stiles and I might be starting out much later than I'd wanted to but I'm not going against the clock today, so enjoyment, rather than speed, is the key for a day in more virgin territory.
Bradford Millennium Way #2: Oxenhope to Silsden Bridge 15.4 miles
It has been a while since I last did a formal trail, having spent the last three months wandering under my own influence around the high moors of the West Riding, and with a whole week off work on my plate and me not having the desire to spend £100 for nights away in Wharfedale means that now is the best opportunity to burn through another of West Yorkshire's circular trails. I'd put the Wakefield Way on my slate for 2013, but that was bumped onto next years plans once I picked up the route guide for the Bradford Millennium Way, which promised more challenging walking and would make much better use of my all-regions Metrocard. 45 miles long and instituted in 2000, naturally, the Millennium Way promises to visit all the high lands and scenic valleys of its district whilst it deviates from the template of the trails the other five districts of West Yorkshire, insofar as it does not place its administrative centre within the loop, so that the Bradford district walk does not actually go anywhere near Bradford, and I'm not going to offer any commentary on that, so make of that what you will...
Bradford Millennium Way #1: Bracken Hall to Oxenhope 11.4 miles
The last day of August arrives, and make no mistakes that The End of Summer is coming down upon us, as the sun sits noticeably lower in the sky and 4 degrees C drop from the air temperature, and it's also my favourite time of the year. Absolutely ideal for walking as the heat of high summer no longer gets to you and the days are still long enough to not risk wandering into the fading light of Autumn, and all weather projections point to a glorious start to this fragment of the year, as I seek the trail over the High Moor of the Aire-Calder bracket that has been observed the most from afar without me going near it. Plus starting out from Halifax means I get in another route featuring a pair of tributaries of the Aire and Calder and to bag photographic opportunities with a couple more industrial relics, which have largely been forgotten about in my explorations this year, also, I'm back onto Saturday wanderings, so a day of recovery will be coming my way if today proves too challenging.
When i got my all-areas Metrocard back in march, i saw opportunities to maximise my travel around West Yorkshire and get in as many trips as possible that would otherwise require the purchase of two train tickets, but my obsession with Wharfedale has meant that I have yet to make any trips across the moors between the valleys of Aire, Calder and Colne. I thought I'd have got going in June but here we are at August Bank Holiday weekend and are in danger of running out of Summer, and despite me saying that I wasn't going to start doing regular Sunday walking, here we go again after another grotty Saturday, but on the middle day of a three day weekend means that I should have let my legs recover by the time it comes to work again. So, onwards, for what is remarkably my first ever trip from the Calder to the Aire, and amazingly my first stretch in Calderdale in over 9 months.
Hebden Bridge to Keighley, via Walshaw Moor & Penistone Hill 12.7 miles