Airedale Way walk report

Although we walk in one of the most scenic parts of the country, we sometimes like to escape for a weekend. This October weekend saw us heading to Yorkshire to follow a less well known Dale along the route of the River Aire. Our route started from Leeds and took us along the Leeds – Liverpool Canal at first heading out of the city on some very attractive scenery. It was then on to Bingley, Shipley, Skipton and for the final day a very pretty route which joined up with the Pennine way to pop us out into Malham. The route ends by dipping one’s toes (or boots in this weather) into Malham Tarn, the natural start of the Aire.

The canal took us past a very interesting community café where people could come along and learn horticultural skills at the allotments or just eat scrumptious fayre. We settled for the scrumptious fayre! It was then on along the Aire itself, passing some interesting industrial scenery and bridges along the way. We were entertained on the way into Saltaire by a Sculpture trail and one or two of us met some of the kids who had helped to put it together – they were rightly proud of their efforts and enjoyed telling us all about it. Saltaire is a very interesting model Victorian town, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many interesting buildings and a beautiful mill turned into an art gallery hosting the work of David Hockney amongst others. Several of us vowed to go back and have a good look round sometime.

Our overnight stops were very good – one night in a Premier Inn just after the 5 rise locks near Bingley, and one night at the home of a group member where we were spoiled rotten!

Our final day took us through the villages of Gargrave and up to Malham (more cake, there is a theme to our walking you will see). Then a stiff climb at the finish to the fields beside Malham Cove and a bird’s eye view over the Cove. Someone seemed to be walking a tight rope over the Cove so we turned away and hurried on to the Tarn. There was a nervous moment as we waited for our taxi as it grew cold and dark but he soon appeared and took us all back to Skipton to head for home.

A successful weekend, one of many more to come. Keep looking out in latest news for details of weekends away in 2016 and beyond.