Day 2: Thurs. April 21 Burnsall to Buckden

A great breakfast by B&B host Maurice, who then let me use the computer to email wife Cathryn. The sky was almost clear today, very pleasant for walking. I set out along the River Wharfe again, now on a 1000 year old path with huge sycamore trees along it’s bank filtering the sunlight. It was a twisting river with rapids and high cliffs overhead. A spider web of roots from the trees on the riverbank crawled across the path for miles. Mallards were flitting here and there and lazily floating in the water. After passing Linton Church, the higher path gave wonderful views of the river and far bank, the hills covered with sheep and lambs.

River Wharfe north of Burnsall

I reached Grassington by 11 am, much larger than Burnsall but smaller than Ilkley. Quite a tourist center, reminds me of a Cotswold village with its 17th century stone buildings. Older fellows in the square were talking about Thatcher again, complaining that she did Reagan’s bidding. I said it was the opposite!

Grassington town square

I am meeting a walker that I met last fall on the C2C and we have kept in contact by email. Mary lives in Yorkshire and is taking the opportunity to walk with me to Kettlewell and then bussing back to her car in Grassington.. We met up in the square at about 11 am. She was full of descriptions of her trek last November to Annapurna in Nepal, a walk I would like to make someday to complement my Gosainkund trek in Nepal 40 years ago.

Above Grassington looking south

On to Kettlewell, up over high hills overlooking the river far below. Huge ridges and plateaus loomed above on both sides of the valley. Met a Yorkshire trio in their 70’s doing a 6 mile circular walk by Conistone Pie. Mary walked and chatted with the two ladies while I talked with the fellow until they turned downhill to the left. It started raining so we stopped under a tractor shed for lunch, eating saved sausages from my breakfast plus Mary’s rolls, tomatoes and cheese and even a Nestle chocolate bar. What a feast! All that was missing was a pot of hot tea which we later found at an outdoor cafe in Kettlewell. A busload of tourists were getting ice cream. I was tempted, but I’m trying to limit my sweets on this walk. Kettlewell is where the Calendar Girls was filmed, so many tourists come to walk the sites. It’s definitely a picturesque village, but the noise and dust from the house remodel next to our outdoor tearoom table didn’t leave me with good feelings.

Mary was feeling good and fit after a recent walk on the Southwest Coast path, so she decided to walk on to Buckden with me, another five miles. The weather is now clear and warm. Along the river path we see holes in the ground everywhere. At first I didn’t know what they were, but then I saw rabbits disappearing down them. I’m walking through Watership Down country!! Again today, many ducks are on the river. They fly off when I get near, in a straight horizontal line just above the water. What a sight!

We were crossing the river to Buckden when I saw a bus pass through the village. Mary said there was another in 40 minutes. Ok! Ten minutes later we were at the bus stop and she discovered there were no more buses. What to do - hitchhike? I spotted a couple having a pint in front of Buck’s Inn and asked if they were staying in Buckden or moving on. Yes, they were staying, but would soon be driving to a restaurant in Grassington for dinner. Perfect! Mary explained her situation to them and, within ten minutes, she was on her way. What luck! But I was sorry to see her go, she was good company.

I checked in at Romaney Cottage where Gwen and Tim greeted me with tea and cake and local craick. Several of us drove over to the pub in Starbottom which was a great place to spend an evening My dinner was the famous Cumberland sausage (curled like a cinnamon bun) with bubble and squeak and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord’s Bitters. I finished the night writing and reading in my room

<<< Previous                              Next >>>