Jul 30 2011

Walk 33: Less is Moor

Kilnsey Crag

route: Kilnsey Moor from Kilnsey
30th July 2011
distance: 5.5 miles
ascent: 977 feet
time: 2 hr 45 mins
walkers: Dave, Leanne, Sandra & Simon

Again it had been a lengthy gap in between walks and I was itching to get going as we pulled into the lay-by just near Kilnsey Crag and prepared for the off. Today wouldn’t be particularly tough but it would certainly feel good to get the legs ticking over again as we ticked off another trig point. The Sherpa was a noticeable absentee and that meant that today’s crew would be Wu Tang, Beaky, Ramblo and of course, me.

We made our way to the Tennant Arms (which we be our post ramble refreshment house) and turned right immediately after it, climbing ever so gradually through some houses I never knew were there. After a few minutes we had left the house behind and we looked back to the little hamlet behind us and also the Kilnsey Trout Farm that was down to our left.

The sun shone down on us and the day was clearly going to be a glorious one as we continued up the farm track and away from civilisation. I think by this stage I could tell I was really going to enjoy this walk. The weather certainly does make a difference and whilst I don’t mind rain and don’t particularly cope with the sun very well, it is always nice to see the surrounding scenery bathed in sunshine. I found myself thinking that Wharfedale may be one of my favourite dales and I told the others that as we chatted and strolled along without a care in the world. Eventually we came to a fork in the track and we paused to have a look at the map and also to consult Gordon. This wasn’t some random guy we met coming the other way, Gordon is the name of my GPS although I can’t remember how this came about. I am not one to name objects/cars/intimate parts and can’t think of anything I have ever named in my life but Gordon Peter Smythe has helped us out on many occasions, and hopefully he’ll do so once again.

The sign post clearly pointed straight on but in a moment of madness, possible sun stroke, we decided to go right! Off we went not realising that we should have carried on, and to be honest it didn’t really matter. We were in no rush and were in danger of getting back to the pub before it opened so a detour would be welcome. The detaour soon took us into a grouse farm or at least it seemed that way. We had never come across anything like this in the past but there were dozens of grouse wandering all about. Some were in a purpose built feeding pen and as we approached they began to get stressed and tried to fly away only to fly into the mesh. We eased back and let them work out that the only way out was the two large holes they needed to walk through, and once they were all safely out we carried on.

We came across a second feeding pen and this one not only contained grouse but four crows or some other type of big black birds. They seemed even more determined to fly off but whilst the grouse walked out, the crows continued to fly into the mesh. Ramblo slowly approached and opened the door on the front allowing them to fly away before she closed it once again. By now we had realised that we had taken the wrong path and we turned left and followed the wall back towards the track. In front of us were dozens more grouse all just walking alongside the wall and over the tiny little ridge in front of us.

Some even chose to walk down the wall rather than be part of the main group below them.

Eventually our longer legs meant we were catching them up, but before we got too close they took off like a swarm of bees and disappeared into the distance. At least the fact that they were in clear sight and in front of us meant we expected it, usually when walking through thick heather you get no warning. Little did they know it but in two weeks time they would be flying for their lives as the grouse season was nearly here. No sooner had we said goodbye to the grouse then we were walking into a group of rather chunky looking sheep and it didn’t take long to work out that these were rams as one of them seemed to be showing himself off as he stood like a statue away to my right. In front of us a couple more walked away at their own pace making sure we got proof they were male.

With the grouse and the sheep behind us we then approached a small herd of cows huddled around a gate, the same gate we wanted to go through.

Normally cows stand their ground for a little while but if you continue to approach they will move away leaving you to pass through. These however were the most curious cows I have ever seen. Each time we moved they moved with us and as Beaky and Ramblo walked towards the gate so did they. Beaky tried his mind bending techniques on them and they must have worked as he managed to get to the gate and climb over leaving myself and Wu Tang to make our way through.

I am not bothered by things like this but Wu was a little nervous so I made sure she could safely make her way over the gate leaving me on my own. I took a couple of pics and filmed as they took a couple of steps towards me each time I took a couple of steps towards the gate but I can’t upload it as I said a naughty word and my mum would tell me off. Once over the other side I said goodbye to my new friends and the headed back towards the track.

As we rejoined the track I was pleased we had taken the wrong route a short while ago as it certainly added to day. Had we stayed on course we would have just walked up between two wall and as nice as the surroundings would have been we wouldn’t have had the encounters with various creatures. Maybe I was wrong about that though as up ahead there were dozens more grouse walking away from before flying off as we neared.

With the path all to ourselves we continued up heading for the ridge we could see up ahead. The climbing had all been gradually and at no point did we have to stop for a breather. We had stopped for pictures and animals but at no point did we feel like we needed to stop for physical reasons. I suppose it is hard to compare how we would have gotten on had we done this walk at the beginning of our rambling exploits, would we have found it this easy or would we have struggled? I don’t suppose it really matters and we didn’t have that on our minds as we neared the ridge.

As we reached the point we had been aiming for we Gordon told us that we need to be over the wall to our left. Fortunately we had the simple task of finding a lowered section before we made our way across the longish grass towards the trig. Underfoot conditions were a bit dodgy with clumps of grass which can cause you to go over on your ankle interspersed with some pot holes or rabbit warrens. Fortunately we had no such incidents and we soon had the concrete column in sight and Kilnsey Moor was about to become another completed trig point.

We checked the watch and we had been going for under an hour and a half and with the descent not expected to take a long time we realised that we would be back before eleven and the pub being open. I suppose we could have gone off wandering or picked a longer route back but as is usually the case we have things to do in the afternoon and I was taking a new tent round to my sisters to help my brother in law put it up as they were borrowing it and it hadn’t been out of the bag since I bought it. When I plan the walks I try to make them early enough to allow people to have a social life too enabling us to walk fairly often and not have to worry about totally free weekends. The fact that we had somewhere to be a little later meant we couldn’t extend the walk which was fine, the only concern was would we be at the pub too early. We took our pictures and chatted a little longer than we usually would at a trig as we were in no rush, before heading off on the way back. It wasn’t to be the same route we used to get here and we set off heading South away from the trig and through lots of little lime stone clusters that are found in this part of the World.

Eventually we walked onto our desired footpath as it came in from our right and the tufty grass was replaced by a smooth carpet of green which was perfect for walking on. It makes such a big difference to me when the underfoot conditions are nice. I find it means I can take in that little bit more of my surroundings if I feel I can trust the ground in front of me. When you are conscious of hurting your ankles or having to look where your feet are going you are always looking down.

For the next mile we followed this path until it led us into a walled track which in turn led to some sheep pens or something similar.

As we left the pens behind I turned to look back and could see the track we had followed earlier snaking up the hillside and over the ridge. I thought to myself that one day I might follow the track over the ridge and on to Malham Tarn as that route would be nice. The little bit we had done was very pleasant so I saw no reason why the rest wouldn’t be. The one slight problem with that is the fact that all our walks have been circular or we retrace our steps. We have never done a linear walk but that doesn’t mean to say we couldn’t get there and back in a day, or that we can plan a route involving public transport.

We soon came across the double fingerpost we had reached earlier and ignored. This time we were in no doubt of the route back to Kilnsey and as we passed it we joked around with someone commenting “which idiots would ignore a sign post and go up that track as it obviously doesn’t lead anywhere”. I would beg to differ as it brought us face to face with all sorts of animals and no doubt added to the walk. Maybe I meant that or maybe I was just trying to argue that so as to avoid the fact that we went the wrong way. I did mean it though… oh and we did go the wrong way!

A little further on we took a small gate off to our right and followed a different footpath back towards the car. Where possible we try to keep the routes different so we get to tread different ground and see different things. Down this path it seemed we had entered a field full of sheep who had been having a see how long you can go without a wee competition as no sooner had one decided to go than four or five others joined in. Whilst I think the game is great for sheep I have no intention of adding it to the Rambling Badgers itinerary any time soon, the girls would lose anyway…

After leaving the sheep to their game we next encountered a riding school coming the other way up the path so we moved to one side to allow them to pass. None of us fancied taking horses head on so we smiled and greeted each rider as they went past, some seemed a little happier than others but then that is the norm anywhere I guess. Personally I don’t see the point in going horse riding (unless you have been forced and have no say in the matter) and having a face like thunder, just stay at home.

Chickens were the next things we came across as we walked through a little farm they were sat under a tree try to get some shade from the sun that was poking out from behind the odd cloud. We didn’t stop to watch the few who were messing about down near a tiny stream, instead we chose to carry on and join the road for the final few hundred yards.

As we walked past the trout farm we could see numerous fishermen/anglers/cheats waiting to catch a fish. I say cheats as to me that is exactly what they are, I have no problem with people fishing but let’s make it a fair fight. Get yourself onto a river somewhere for hours on end and take your chance, don’t stand there next to a little pond stocked with hundreds of fish and claim to be a fishing god. To be fair to them, they probably didn’t think they were gods but that is my opinion (an opinion that isn’t as strong as these words suggest) and it won’t change (not that anyone will try and convince me otherwise as it really isn’t a big talking point). One guy had nearly landed a fish and it was flapping around as he tried to remove the hook as a a couple of dozen ducklings swam past oblivious to it all.

We were now literally 2 minutes from the car and we walked past the pub and quickly got changed before heading back for a drink. I had really enjoyed today. It was great to get back out into the countryside and explore a little more. That feeling was of course helped by the fact that the weather was nice and we could take in the views without feeling like we were going to be drenched at any point. Before today I felt a little like we were in danger of getting out of the habit of walking and that had worried me a little. One thing I realised today was that I do enjoy the walking more than ever and the other three in attendance today said the same. Before today I was concerned that this was the beginning of the end for the Rambling Badgers when I now realise it was the end of the beginning!

Sir Edmund

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