Walking in my footsteps

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17th February
Menston to Addingham Moorside 7.7 miles

Phew! A couple of days at home with Dr. Ian have done the trick. I’m off again.

I had a meeting in Bradford this morning, and then Ian and I had lunch in a strange cafe in Shipley, where I changed out of my businessy clothes and into my hiking outfit. I felt like Wonderwoman, emerging from the loo in trail shoes, soft shell trousers, and my cosy ninja windproof jacket.

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Ian dropped me off in Menston, and off I strode, quickly reaching the open moorland and expansive views.

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I walked along the northern edge of Ilkley Moor, with wonderful views of the Wharfe Valley below.

I’ve had a super afternoon’s walk. Probably the best so far. It’s lovely being in the hills at last.

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My BandB is a really cosy farmhouse in a tiny hamlet. There’s no pub or anything so I’ve brought a supper picnic to eat in my room. My main course is sardines in a bread roll. Yum.

18th February
Addingham Moorside to Hetton 14.7 miles

My longest day so far! And hilliest. And most enjoyable. Whisper it softly, and cross your fingers, but it’s just possible I am starting to feel like myself again.

It’s been a grey, soft sort of day, with a fierce cold wind to start, but it lost its bite by the afternoon. And I was even bathed in sunshine for, um, 5 minutes. The light was lovely all day though – constantly changing and showing off the hills all around me in different guises.

This morning I had breakfast at the kitchen table with the lovely couple who ran the BandB. They had decided I’d feel a bit of an odd one out if I ate all by myself in the dining room. So I enjoyed a friendly breakfast, full of conversation. And good porridge.

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Seeing the yellow bikes still makes me smile.

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After a 7 mile tramp over a hill, I reached Skipton, in time for lunch. As always, it felt like sensory overload to suddenly be in a busy town, after a day and a half out in the peaceful countryside and quiet hamlets. The town was heaving: half term + market day = lots and lots of people.

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My afternoon shift took me over Sharp Haw and Flasby Fell (love that name!), past my first lambs of the year, and finally to Hetton, with its rather nice pub and very comfy rooms. And a bath. Bliss!

Yesterday I saw a pair of boots, carefully placed in a scenic spot on some rocks. Some sort of memorial , perhaps? Today I spotted a more mundane object, but one that also left me wondering about its story:

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19th February
Hetton to Settle, via Malham 13.5 miles, 2,300ft ascent

Splish splash. A wet day. But a good day. Very low cloud covered the moors in the morning. The walking was lovely though, and I soggily descended to Malham at midday with spirits high. There is something I enjoy about being out in the hills when most other walkers are nowhere to be seen. The honeypot of Malham was peaceful and almost devoid of visitors. For me it was special occasion – reaching Malham, and walking up to the Cove and climbing up to the beautiful high valley above it. It’s the point where I crossed over my own shadow from May 2013 on my Lands End to JohnO Groats Walk. What a place to pass east to west across my south to north line!

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So dramatic limestone gorges and cliffs were the order of the afternoon. Including the impressive cliffs that are in a high valley, tucked out of sight way above Settle. I’d never seen this valley before. It was beautiful.

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I finished the day with a steep descent down into Settle, entering the handsome grey town via tiny twisting cobbled lanes.

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