Day 1: Wed April 20 Ilkley to Burnsall

A good long sleep at Roberts B&B and a hearty English breakfast set me up for the day. A couple from Scotland at the B&B were also walking the Dales Way. We’ll cross paths again. The footpath began two blocks from the B&B, following the River Wharfe to Bolton Priory, majestic, gray ruins rising out of the misty day with a cemetery brightly filled with yellow daffodils.

Approaching Bolton Priory on the River Wharfe

I crossed and recrossed the Wharfe on wooden footbridges, stopping at an unexpected pavilion for a cup of hot tea as this April day was cold and rainy. Walking by the Strid, a narrowing of the river bordered by natural limestone slabbing, I slipped and fell flat on my back, splat! I wasn’t trying to jump across, honest! The slippery stone left me a sore left shoulder which I’ll nurse for several days. I know, I should have been using walking poles.

The Strid on the River Wharfe

On to the small village of Burnsall and Wharfe View B&B, nice and quaint with a roaring fire in the lounge. I had a pot of tea, cleaned up, and went down to the lounge to relax. Chatted with an English couple living in France who have a house exchange business on the internet. They told me about their favorite type of beer called “mild”, actually a dark stout, which used to be quite common but is now hard to find. I’ll be looking for it! Dinner at the pub featured lamb Moroccan with rice and veggies plus my favorite ale, Black Sheep Best Bitters. Back at the B&B, my late night routine includes journal writing, map/guidebook reading, then reading a novel in bed until I fall asleep.

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