It's been a long while since J and I enjoyed a hike in the Great Outdoors together. I LOVE walking the hills with J, we've been enjoying this pastime ever since we first met seventeen years ago. But in the past couple years due to the bump/baby business happening we've been unable to stride out together and I've missed it. I've missed it a Lot.
Early last week it dawned on me that with a little careful planning and some wonderfully obliging family, we could perhaps finally Make It Happen. We could perhaps spend a day together in the Great Outdoors getting down to some serious walking. Just us two. Just like old times.
And that's exactly what we did :: on Thursday we dropped the Little People off at school, then delivered Little B to his wonderful Grandparents, and then the glorious day was all ours (well five hours of it anyhow).
We chose a ten mile circular route. Ambitious to say that I am quite unfit these days, but we were determined to get up Somewhere High, and a walk to Simons Seat seemed to fit the bill nicely (cos it really is a mighty high destination for hereabouts)
We've done this walk once before and remembered it to be a Good'n'. Starting at Bolton Abbey, the route climbs up through woodland and into the "Valley of Desolation". Nothing desolate about it these days mind you, it's absolutely beautiful up here.
Out of the valley and into the dappled shade of a small plantation....
...then out into the open landscape of the expansive Barden Moor.
Lots of green shrubbery up here on the moor at this time of year, and joy of joys we discover that they are all bilberry bushes, yippeee!!! We love bilberries, and hadn't realised that they grow so prolifically in this area.
On closer inspection we see that the bushes are already laden with little berries (yippee-yipppeeeeeee!) but it'll be August before they ripen and turn purply-black.
We continue to stride upwards across the fell :: by now we've been climbing steadily uphill for almost two hours. My legs feel a little jelly-like.
But up there ahead is our destination :: that rocky clump of rocks is the famous "Simons Seat" and I for one can't wait to get there. Can't wait to view the view, rest my jellified limbs and tuck into the packed lunch cos I'm suddenly starving hungry.
Ahhhhhhh finally we make it to the top and catch a glimpse of the view, and what a view it is!!
It feels as if we are on top of the world up here.
Breathtaking. So high! We have climbed so high!!
Now then, enough of the view for now, lets get down to the business of refuelling shall we? Snuggle in between the sun-warmed rocks and bilberry shrubbery and eat with pleasure :: hams rolls, sweet cherry tomatoes, apples, strawberries and dark chocolate (our usual picnic fare). Delicious.
We don't get to spend a lot of time lolling about at the summit as we have now passed midday and are very aware that in three hours time we'll have two Little People standing at the school gates fully expecting their parents to be present and correct. So down we go, down, down from the heights...
...admiring the view as we descend.
Over there we can see the picturesque village of Appletreewick, a real gem of a place which we know and love well.
We are striding out on the return journey now, following wide easy tracks past farms and campsites...
...until we make it back to the banks of the River Wharfe.
Riverside walking is always a pleasure, especially when it follows lots of climbing. It feels as if ones legs are operating of their own accord. Walking on the flat after all that uphill stuff is a breeeeeze! We cross the river at Barden by way of this magnificent stone bridge....
It is incredibly beautiful in this woodland at any time of year, but most especially in late April/early May.
Because this is Bluebell Time.
My heart soars with the beauty of it all...........
What a day. What a wonderful, beautiful, exhilerating, exhausting, glorious day! Wow. We must do that again sometime. When my legs have recovered that is :: two days later and they are still behaving like stiff planks of wood.
ps Dorset Tales will be coming soon I promise, I've not forgotten :o) x