Oct 01 2016

Walk 103 – Resurfacing Of The Badgers


route: harewood loop from harewood
Date: 1st oct 2016
distance: 6.7 miles
ascent: 682 feet
time: 2 hrs 40 mins
walkers: cheryl, dave, jane, sarah & trudi

At last… Badger time 🙂 It had been an absolute age since we had got together for a walk without some form of charity angle. We had arranged, and various Badgers had taken part in both the Canal Challenge and the Yorkshire 3 Peaks over the summer months, but we had to go back 9 months since the last time we gathered for a regular stroll. In the meantime life had taken over and other things began to fill the time that used to be occupied by regular walks. By other things I mean children’s parties, days out, lazy afternoons playing in the garden and lots of other fun family stuff. I wouldn’t swap any of that, but when Leanne suggested I try and fit at least one walk a month in I wasn’t going to ask if she was sure.103rd-walk-1It all felt a little bit weird as we climbed out of the cars and stuck on our boots before taking the pre walk team shot. It had been such a long time since we had gone through the regular routine, it was certainly nice to be back though. Picture taken, we left the pub car park by climbing a wooden gate and joined the lane that ran adjacent to it. The morning had a bit of a chill to it but that feeling would soon vanish as we found our stride and got moving. Of more concern was the fog which didn’t look like it was going to clear soon. I had hoped we could get a nice picture of Harewood House for the 2017 calendar that is currently in production, but that wouldn’t happen unless the fog lifted.103rd-walk-2103rd-walk-3After ten or fifteen leisurely minutes we reached a stile and had a brief pause to consult our guidebook. It was at this point I realised I should have brought my GPS and not just assumed that as the walk was local and in a book it would be easy to navigate. It is always nice to have confirmation of our exact position to tie into the map or book in this instance. We crossed the stile and joined a narrow path that was slightly overgrown and the one thing that made me take note was the nettles. I made sure to be careful with my stride to avoid catching my exposed legs and things were going well, until we had to cross another stile. As we stopped to lift the dogs etc I felt a sting down on my right shin which I thought was weird as I had been vigilant when I stopped. As the sting continued and got worse I looked down to find a wasp taking great delight in using my leg for target practice! I used some words my mum wouldn’t be proud of me using and swiped at it with my hand causing it to fly up in the air, circling as if it wasn’t quite finished with me. Ahead of me the dogs and girls were all just about over so I climbed the stile, offered the wasp one final verbal parting and joined the back of the line once again keeping one eye on the nettles below. It wasn’t too long before we reached the A659 which we followed for a short distance before joining a farm track that led to New Laithe Farm.103rd-walk-4103rd-walk-4aThe path descended gradually into the gloom which still showed no sign of clearing, to my slight frustration. As we chatted happily we spotted a couple of cows close by to our left. Both Cheryl and Trudi expressed their dislike for cows so we went half a stride quicker to get past them. That plan would have been a great one had we not been walking towards a load more cows! I have heard stories of the inbuilt distrust cows have for dogs and we had experienced this in a small dose a few years ago but today there was no doubt these cows were more than interested in us. Myself, Jane and Sarah made light of the situation and we went through a gate where the path began to rise ever so slightly. There we found a sign hammered into the grass which stated it was private access only… we stopped!103rd-walk-5103rd-walk-6103rd-walk-7I began to look at the guidebook as Jane look at her phone for our location. We couldn’t understand where or how we had gone wrong but the sign was throwing some doubt on things. As we stood more cows came through the gate from the field we had just left and were checking us out. Cheryl and Trudi weren’t happy at all and had manoeuvred themselves behind the open gate for protection.103rd-walk-8103rd-walk-9As we struggled to get an answer to our exact position we were joined by a nice guy fully equipped with all the walking gear and that valuable commodity of local knowledge. He confirmed we were on the correct path and he had never been able to understand the sign, possibly it was for vehicles, who knows. At least we were underway once more and we could leave the cows behind us much to the delight of two members of our group.103rd-walk-10Continuing on our way we had a little chat to our new friend until he slowly drifted back, following at a distance. This certainly wasn’t due to our speed so I can only assume he wanted to get back to listening to whatever he had coming through his earphones. A short while further on we paused for a drink break and he caught us up spending a few minutes chatting before he forked off…

As we continued the girls made it clear that my position as glorious leader was under threat by this new organised walker who knew what he was doing. I chuckled along with them safe in the knowledge they were only joking, or at least I think they were 😉103rd-walk-11103rd-walk-12We made our way to the road and along to some big iron gates which we would go through before descending and at the same time retracing our steps of a few years earlier during a section of the Leeds Country Way. It was here that I hoped to get a nice shot of Harewood House, but it wasn’t to be as the early morning mist meant our view was not much more than thirty yards. The route continued down, through a gate and over a stone bridge at Stub House Beck. From there we climbed for a short distance before turning right into Carr Wood. The light shone intermittently through the trees as we listed to the music blaring from the Leeds Colour Run that was taking place in Harewood grounds. The path twisted down before taking us to Home Farm where it began to rise once again.103rd-walk-13103rd-walk-14The route followed a large brick wall to our right and guided us to a cattle grid and a gate informing us we were about to enter an area that contained deer and made sure to point out there were stags too. We entered and couldn’t see anything as the path climbed towards a row of trees in front of us. As we got a little closer we spotted a few deer away down to our left and personally I would have been happy with that, but as we turned right we saw some antlers move and noticed a stag moving under a tree. As he walked away casually we spotted a bigger one just sat in the open. There was about 75 yards between us and he wasn’t bothered by us at all, choosing just to sit and gaze into the distance. What a fantastic sight and one that would be bettered seeing one in the wild but even so it put a smile on my face 🙂103rd-walk-15103rd-walk-16103rd-walk-17From this point we only had about half a mile or so back to the pub. Sarah suggested stopping at a little tea room but my personal Badger clan were already en-route and I was looking forward to seeing my sow and two cubs, so we continued the few minutes back to the pub. With our first walk in ages complete we enjoyed a well-earned beverage and a packet of crisps. It had been great to be out and about again and the date for our next walk has already been agreed. We won’t be waiting another nine months that is for sure. The Badgers are back! 🙂harewoodmapharewoodprofile

Sir Edmund

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