2017 08 03 Pork Pie Perambulation

The fab five set out from Addingham, the forecast rain making an appearance soon after accompanying the climb across fields, faint trods & open moorland to reach the trig at High Addingham Moor as it well & truly chucked it down!  Still the show must go on so across the moor to Whetstone Gate & the paved “yellow brick road” to the Thimble Stones to visit one of the Stanza Stones & the nearby trig. Unexpectedly the rain stopped, only with us for the first hour & a half:  thereafter the views opened out & sun made a welcome appearance for the remainder of the day.

Faint grouse moorland access trods & a few field paths to the first stop near Little London farm where waterproofs were discarded by some. Bridleways & fields were followed to emerge in Hawksworth , then up & down with fine views of the onward route to reach the grounds of what was formerly High Royds Hospital. This started out as West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 1888 with “treatments” for mental illness such as electric shock therapy all the rage, some patients spending over 50 years in the self contained grounds with around 3000 buried across the road in High Royds Cemetery  in rows of mass graves. The prominent clock tower is a permanent reminder of it's grizzly past though now the grounds are the site of new housing .

Ascending from the outskirts of Menston to Otley Chevin with long distance views from the toposcope in warm sunshine. A steep long descent into Otley town centre with a call at the butchers famous for their super pork pies, then a couple of minutes to the riverside & the second stop. The Welcome Way was followed for the next few miles, paths skirting the back of houses then regaining open fields & rougher terrain, revealing views above Ilkley to the moorland tops explored earlier.

Near Dunkirk Farm we left the Welcome Way for a super little used moorland path surrounded by purple flowering heather at it's very best to reach the final stop at Ellarcarr Pike. Here the wind really whipped up so we sheltered behind the wall with clear views across to the prominent “golf balls” of RAF Menwith Hill. In bright sunshine & a strong head wind boggy moorland trods across Lippersley Ridge & Middleton Moor were followed amidst the sweet smell of the flowering heather, a perfect time to be on the uplands. After some time on the tops enjoying the wonderful views we finally descended to Addingham via High Lathe to cross the impressive suspension bridge over the Wharfe which was in full flow with all the recent rain .

A super walk with a significant amount on the moors in good company with no hanging around, almost 30 miles covered in just over nine hours with three stops & back at the cars a little after five. Thanks to Kevin, Paul, Andrew & Norman for the banter: 29.8 miles & 4000 feet ascent.