Monday, 11 May 2015

More Moors. . .

I never get tired of walking on the Yorkshire moors.  I'm also really committed this year to improving my overall walking fitness.  Our ramblers group offers three types of walks on each outing; the C which is usually 6-8 miles with limited ascent; the B which runs from 9-11 miles with anywhere from 1,000-2,000 feet of ascent depending on the area; and the A which can easily be over 15 miles and 3,000 plus feet of ascent.

I normally go on B walks but if the area is relatively flat (as in Yorkshire) and the weather is good, I have often tackled an A.  This walk started from Saltaire which is one of my favourite places in the world so I was sorely tempted to do the C as it would allow me time at the end to have a wander through Salts Mills.

But all the experienced A walkers tell me that the only way to improve is to get that mileage under your feet, so with one longing glance back at the Mill and the Arts and Crafts fair that was on in the town hall, I shuffled over from the C group and joined the As who were already on the move (the pace is much faster on A walks).

I did not regret it.

This was a 15 mile circular hike going up to Shipley Glen from Saltaire and then through Hawksworth Moor and Burley Moor up to Ilkley Crags, and back again through Ilkley Moor and Bingley Moor.  There are several ancient circles on these moors with intriguing names.

This may just look like a pile of stones but these are actually the remains of the Great Skirtful of Stones, thought to be a tomb from the Bronze Age and also known as the Great Apronful of Stones which suddenly imbues it with an imaginative aura, even though sadly it hasn't been well preserved. 

I love the miles and miles of open moorland, that is nevertheless full of colour and texture and the heather isn't even in bloom yet.

These are some of the Twelve Apostles - a stone circle also dating back from the Bronze Age.  I would have taken a photo of all twelve except on the other side was another hiking group having their lunch.

Some more modern stone structures that I'm eternally grateful for are the paving stones that have been put down to allow walkers to cross these moors safely by avoiding all the bogs.

The furthest point of our walk was coming down off Ilkley Crags.  The town is just to the right but hidden in the mist.

Though when we'd reached the bottom, the sun broke out.  These are the crags looking back.

It was uphill once again and onto Ilkley Moor this time, just gorgeous in the sunlight.

From the moor you can look towards Wharfdale in the direction of the Bolton Abbey walk we did just a few weeks ago.

These stones are known as the Thimble Stones.  I wonder if they dropped from the apron of the same ancient goddess who scattered the earlier stones.  More likely remnants from the Ice Age.

Somewhere on these moors are also the Puddle Stones but we didn't pass by them.  Plenty of puddles though - again, you can see how valuable the paving stones are!

I was tired after this walk, but exhilarated too. Sore muscles and fresh air and good company is always a great way to spend a Sunday.


Sara said...

I'm headed up to the Yorkshire Dales next weekend for a couple days of walking. The moors are fantastic- I love how vast and empty they are, but if you stop and are still for a bit you can hear curlews and grouse and loads of other things hiding in the heather.

Blithe Spirit said...

Oh, have a great time. I love the Dales and yes, on this walk we heard tons of birds. I can't tell what they are by their song, but there was a lot of clucking and humming and singing for sure. And the odd grouse does start running out of the heather at times.