Ilkley Moor & 12 Apostles

21st March. Ilkley is only a 30 minute drive from Leathley Manor House where I am housesitting.

Special old carvings on rocks attracted me to the Ilkley Moor. I found a face.

Set high above the town there were distant views to moors and farmland.

The ground was dark and springy. Was that peat?

Heather, undergrasses and dry ferns have good cover for grose birds. They are preceded by their clucky call and either stay hiding in the Heather or fly away with whirring wings and a blubbering screech!

Once again the tracks were poorly marked but well formed. I was guided by fellow walkers and my book. I found the 12 Apostles and they formed a special ring on top of the moor.

Then I sniff thé breeze to activate my compass and hope to wander back towards the Cow and Calf pub.

I saw a sturdy stone rest area with a poem letter box. It had a wheel at the side but I forgot to see if I could remove a poem! A red grouse appeared and I was too busy taking photos!!!

Around the corner and down the hill I see the Cow and Calf.

At 1630 I’m still in time for a late lunch and it was delicious.

Spare ribs on a fresh salsa with mango, tomato, beans and more.

A really nice day all around.

Now time to drive home intime to check that the chicken had roosted in their house before the auto door closed on them.

Lunch with Liz, Adam & Reggie. Malham Cove & thé Settle bootmakers

10-20th March.

Time passes. Snow and wind seem like they will never end.

19/3 I drive through a snow storm to a village Oldham, in the Peak District for a big hug and to see old work friends from Redland Hospital. They spent 2 years there and a year travelling home. Now enjoying family life in Glassop and a 8-5 job with NHS.

It was a lovely day. Just like time had not passed!

21/3 I put on nearly all my clothes and off I go to Settle and Malham Cove. There is snow on the peaks and I walk in the raining fog.

I park near the Tarn so have a look there then cross the road and join the Pennie Way to Malham Cove.

Apparently a scene from Harry Potter was filmed on the limestone rocks at the top of the cliff. Rowena says number 7.

The track followed a stream then crossed it. Waterproof boots proved to be waterproof!

Then the tracks Criss crossed and faded. I spoke to the Swaledale sheep and they just laughed!

I think I scrambled down to Gordale Scar.

In the distance i spotted a well formed track so I joined it and found Malham Cove and the cliff top.

This is the Harry Potter 7 stage.

Thé view was breath taking. One felt like fairies and magic eagles might fly one down to the valley below. That’s where quidditch would have been interesting!

Later I found a sign pointing to Gordale where I had been “lost”.

The stream that I walked through earlier disappeared into the ground. Probably into a cave as there are many around in the limestone.

I sat with a couple of locals for a snack. They recently did 500 miles on the Camino de Sandiago in Europe. Much easier walking and well set up with hostels.

They point up and up a steep valley that took me back to my car. The photo is looking back

A warm mulled cider and an open fire made the day glow.

On to Settle to the bootmaker get a few more holes in my belt and to get my gaiters repaired.

He did not have a machine small enough but gave me linen thread and material to splint thé torn join. Homework for me!

My 99p Vinnes Gortex gaiters are proving to be very useful in the wet and boggy tracks.

While in the shop he told me the history of some of the boots. The earliest styles date from the 1400’s. They had a leather shoe for inside and added a wooden clog to go outside.

The hob nail walking boots with special nails were very heavy. They would have have made lots of noise on. Hard floor!

Some of the shoe patterns they copied from remnants dug up in the peat. Apparently that preserves them. Fashion was important. Pointy toes were in here!

Modern walking boots have similar patterns on their sole.

York and local hiking 5-10th March

Wednesday 5/3

Yorkminster here we come!

We drive into the walled city, then a scenic walk through the streets to the cathedral.

Magnificent.

Can you see all the different heads carved in the stone?

Then onto the Museum. interesting burial style. Roof tile inspired.

These life sized statues have been found. One was even used as footings on a bridge.

Pop in on a boutique distiller. Amazing bottles. Three that fit into the size of one with recessed places for the necks.

A barley wine at the Dodger Bar.

Saturday 9/3

Patrick heads home to Melbourne. He was great company even if he beat me at canasta a few times.

Wharfedale viaduct was worth a visit. Very graceful in the distance and enormous close up.

Hiking in my local area at Lindley Wood reservoir. Snow and strong winds roared through the tree tops. Tracks everywhere but which way???

Needed google maps to help out a few times. The tracks wind around so one loses ones bearings.

Then I walked around the narrow lanes with the wind pushing me along.

It was great to find the car. Snow on the windscreen! Off to the pub for Sunday roast. Wow it was good!

Hackfall Wood & Pheasant dinner

Harrogate & Hackfall Wood.

Walking boots on and we go driving to Harrogate Bath House and the Yorkshire dales.

Lovely old stone buildings and big hotels at Harrogate. The baths were interesting but underwhelming. We walked up to the park and enjoyed the crocus bulbs on mass.

On the road again we drive to Hackfall Wood hoping to walk among some trees. Perfect. A series of ruins and follies keep us walking up and down dale.

Sunday.

Day at home. Me sneezing and Patrick improving.

But I managed to cook an amazing pheasant breast with raspberry and baked apple sauce. Baked parsnip and pumpkin, caramelised onion and garlic, on a bed of mashed cream potato. Side of sprouts and broccoli.

There was a trick to tender pheasant. Cooked in an oven bag with a punnet of fresh raspberries, oregano and a few crushed juniper berries at 65C for one hour then into a hot butter pan for 60seconds on one side.

Bon appetite!

Leatherly, Nth Yorkshire

Leathley, North Yorkshire. Our first house sit.

Waking to the birds and boards.

Squeaky floor boards announce that Patrick is up.

My door is open. He brings in a big cup that I thought was tea!

Stella’s cup and she wants breakfast! Key required from my pocket.

Solomon and Stella fed.

Then I hear a tune on the ivories. The grand piano is at thé bottom of the stairs so music wafts up.

Now I’m thinking of the bread we bought at the local baker. Time to get up!

Yes breakfast was good.

Now down to the paddock to do the morning chores.

Harvey the horse of 26 years.

6 Hebrides sheep and

5 chicken fed.

A drive to Shipley for an Indian restaurant. Disappointed.

Bathed in lovely stone villages every way you turn. Guess that’s the way it is.

Somehow we end up in a pub. They are really such nice places.

Paperwork issues continue.

Proving I live here is tricky. Need it for car insurance, bank account and driving license. It will happen.

Thinking of pheasant for dinner. We have some in the freezer that we’ve been invited to eat.

Leicester 24 -27/2

Only a few days to visit all the pubs in Leicester.

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Bank account done through the back door. Joint account with Patrick for a start. Without further proof I am then able to open my own account!!!

20.6C today. This is highest recorded temp in winter in the area. Locals have been saying the weather is balmy. Maybe I’ve brought a bit of Queensland.

Lucky I say.

Tuesday 27/2

Showers done. Aloe Vera wipes give me an easy option in the cold in a grotte group house.

Exercises done with the elastic Powertube.

Screwfix now. Yes no joking! That’s the name for the local Bunnings.

At Screwfix one stands in an entrance room and looks through a catalogue and orders at the counter. No up close or personal with the tools. They even have ikea style pencils to write down the item number.

Market Harborough signs so off we go. 14miles from Leicester.

Dad was born there in about 1922. We find graves x4 for people named Woods, his birth name.

John born 1874 & Ada 1877

Joseph died 1968 aged 74 and Ivy in 1953 age 55. See above.

John died 1912 aged 70 & Jessie in 1926 aged 73years. See below if you can.

And George who died 1924 at 30yrs

Melton Mowbray is famed for the beginning of pork pies. We wander to the best shop and yes, they are good. Online orders accepted.

I see a stall with Harris tweed jackets, but at £160 it stays there.

Then onto a deer park at Wollaton near Nottingham. Grand old house and stable block converted to tea rooms on a broad acerage on which two deer herds graze. Nice walk around the lake.

A quick pint at the Admiralty Rodney then home.

ISLAY

Thursday 21/2

Arrived at Islay after about 2 hours on the ferry.

Then, walk or bus? We walk.

The community project to make a path complete with rest seats was great. Three distilleries within 5km.

Laphroaig poured us a wee dram then onto Lagavulin. Enjoyed another wee dram then onto Ardberg for lunch and a tasting.

Back down the road to Laphroaig for a 3pm tour. Susan our guide was a reborn school teacher. A great tour and the only brewery that did own peat smoking and sprouting/malting of the barley.

Below the malting is smoking the fire with peat. This is infused into the barley while malting.

Peat cut by hand in clumps is better as it retains its moisture and therefore smokes the barley more.

Back to the Port Ellen ferry. I Find cards and we play canasta on the 2 hour crossing. On to our glamping pod. Harder than you think with no internet or phone connection.

An hour later we accidentally find it then go onto Tarbert for dinner. All closed except a little supermarket. Bit lucky at 2110hrs in a village.

Friday 22/2 & Saturday

On the road again. Up and down lochs on narrow roads. We pass a fuel tanker from Chivas Regal. Guess it was Scottish whisky fuel.

Then we drive 6 hours south to Leathley for a community dinner and introduction weekend with Ann and John at our house sit in North Yorkshire. Lovely people, lovely place.

My room at The Manor house, complete with a rocking horse.

Ann shows us around the closest town of Leathley and later we walk along lanes, across paddocks and burns to a forest. Public footpaths through private farms and onto Riffa wood was nice. Not sure how often we found the designated track!

We drop in at the local church on the way home. The graves date from the 1700’s and the name on the gate is St Oswald’s Leathley.

Later we find ourself at The Black Bull in Leathley.