Feb 01 2014

Walk 74 – Leeds Country Way Part 9 – Carlton to West Ardsley

Leeds Country Way 9

route: carlton to west ardsley
Date: 1st february 2014
distance: 7.6 miles
ascent: 635 feet
time: 3 hrs 30 mins
walkers: charlie, dave, graham, jane, joseph, karen, katie, lyla, sandra & simon

Our ninth and penultimate stretch of the Leeds Country Way saw the return of some familiar faces from past Badger walks as well as a new face. Sherpa G-String and Charlie were in attendance for the first time since our 34 mile sponsored canal walk last June, but it had been just over two years since Katie joined us. She was in attendance for the first time since our visit to Mam Tor back in 2012 but this time had an extra little face along with her too, that little face belongs to Lyla 🙂 The team shot was taken by Carol who unfortunately is no closer to a return to action after nearly 3 years off with foot, knee and back troubles. It was nice to see her and we said goodbye (until we met in the pub afterwards) before heading off on our way through Carlton.
74th Walk 1After a couple of minutes following the pavement we made our way between some houses knowing that we were soon about to find ourselves in the countryside, or at least that had been how it had worked on previous sections of the LCW. On this occasion we were confronted with a flooded path due to the heavy downpours we had had earlier in the week, but we spotted a dry route off to the left and followed it to a pylon.74th Walk 274th Walk 3At this point we checked the map to make sure we chose the correct heading as the route wasn’t obvious. In fact we could just see rows and rows of cabbages in every direction. We could see a row of trees in the distance and they looked like they flanked what was an old disused rail track we needed to reach. After one more final check to ensure we were correct we were confident in our decision and set off across a sea of cabbages…74th Walk 474th Walk 574th Walk 6It was all a bit surreal walking through thousands of cabbages all of which must have been surplus to requirements or deemed not good enough for use. To the untrained eye lots of them looked good to eat, although we didn’t try! Instead we reached the bank and climbed up to the old train track and checked everybody was in attendance before heading off towards an old slag heap not too far away.74th Walk 774th Walk 8As we approached the mound of what we presumed was coal, it bore a striking resemblance to the Howgill Fells which we have visited on a few occasions. The Howgills aren’t surrounded by a field full of cabbages though!74th Walk 8aJust before we reached the slag heap we turned back on ourselves and headed out towards the A61 which we crossed and followed for a minute or two before following a track behind some houses. This dropped gradually until we came out at the A654. Here we turned left and walked underneath the M1.74th Walk 9As we went under the motorway I joked with G and Charlie about them coming along for one section of the LCW and choosing the one that has the most walking in built up areas. Fortunately it didn’t last too long as no sooner had we gone under the bridge then we picked up a path off to our right. From here the route climbed ever so slightly alongside a small plantation until we reached a finger post where myself, G and Beaky waited for the others. 74th Walk 1074th Walk 11We spent the time waiting checking the map and found that with an extremely small detour we could add a trig point to the walk, but we didn’t tell the others just yet. Instead we waited as we followed the path through some farm buildings and out the main road once again. 74th Walk 12At this point we told everybody, if they wanted a bit of a surprise detour to follow us, if not we would let them know where to wait for us before continuing along the route. Needless to say everybody was in for a little extra and walked straight past the LCW fingerpost like we didn’t have a care in the world and almost instantly the trig came into view. By now the excitement was almost at fever pitch (it wasn’t really) and we took a team shot after avoiding a truck going past a matter of inches from us.74th Walk 13With the trig ticked off a hypothetical list, we retraced our steps for 100 yards or so then re-joined our intended route, crossing a field towards some houses in the distances. We reached the houses, walked along a fenced path between two gardens and reached the bridge over the M62.74th Walk 1474th Walk 1574th Walk 15aOnce over the motorway we dropped down a little slipway and into another housing estate. After safely negotiating the painted roundabout we made our way towards a path that dropped once again before turning left and taking us on a path that ran parallel to a new housing estate. Myself, G and Beaky were fifty yards ahead of the others but we heard footsteps closing in behind us and turned to find Joseph running to offer us a Cadbury’s Mini Egg 🙂74th Walk 16We left the path and joined a road which began to climb past a pub (shut unfortunately) and towards the M1 once again.Just before we were about to follow the road underneath the motorway our path could be seen going off to the right through some trees. We joined the path and followed it for a while before taking a fork off to the left and follow a track up towards Cave Lane. 74th Walk 17We soon left Cave Lane and joined Stubbs Lane for a short time before we spotted the finger post for the LCW. The arrows seemed to slightly contradict the direction of the path so we stopped for a map check.74th Walk 1874th Walk 19With the direction confirmed we started out across an exposed field and the wind was much more noticeable than before. Unfortunately this was too much for Lyla who was finding the conditions not to her liking. Katie lifted her down from the carrier and held Lyla close to shelter her from the wind as G took over baby carrier carrying duty. Fortunately we soon found shelter between some houses and with it the temperature seemed to rise which suited everybody.74th Walk 2074th Walk 21By now we had reached East Ardsley and were well over half way for the day. We spent a few minutes walking through a built up area before we reached the A650 which we followed for a little while as we looked to cross.74th Walk 2274th Walk 22aOnce over the busy road we followed a track towards Royston Hill Farm. I was chatting with Jane about our Lyke Wake Walk plans whilst at the same time trying not to slip on the muddy path. We also discussed Abigail who wasn’t in attendance due to her going to a 2nd birthday party, which in turn had prevented Leanne from coming. As much as the previous walks had been fine with Abigail on my back, I commented how much easier it was without having to carry her. Not that I mind, far from it, but I hadn’t quite realised how much difference she makes, especially after 6 or 7 miles. I noticed up ahead that everybody had stopped and Beaky was checking his map. We had reached a crossroads of paths and it looked like we needed to go right, so off we went with Beaky lifting branches to allow others to pass.74th Walk 2374th Walk 24It seemed the map had lied, or at least we had gone wrong because not 100 yards after taking the path to the right we had come across a dead end. I checked my GPS and found we were just short of the marked path, so we went back to the crossroads, continued on our original course a little while longer and then went right.74th Walk 25From here we were on the homeward stretch and people began to discuss plans for the pub. There was a suggestion that we may have some lunch but we would wait to see the menu upon arrival. We soon reached Woodhouse Hall Farm and followed the little road for a short while as it took us towards Blind Lane Farm.74th Walk 2674th Walk 26aThe route took us alongside the farm rather than through it as is sometimes required. We spotted some young Highland Cattle and they didn’t seem overly fussed with our presence. As we reached a gate directly across the road the path went through a small gap in the wall and continued towards West Ardsley which we could now see on the other side of the small valley.74th Walk 27The map suggested the route went straight down the fence but looking ahead we couldn’t see a stile or gate. To the right of view was an open gate and clearly visible trodden path going diagonally across the next field, so we decided to choose that route. Everything seemed fine until we reached the gateway between fields which it is fair to say was a little bit churned up and muddy.74th Walk 2874th Walk 29I had to be careful not to lose a boot in the sloppy mess but after taking care I escaped with both boots attached to my feet and made my way up the hill towards the finish. It had been another nice section of the Leeds Country Way but one that contained more signs of urban life than any other so far. It is hard to feel totally in the countryside when you cross two motorways and numerous A roads, but I suppose walking around any city you are going to encounter that. It was a shame that for G, Charlie and Katie as this may be their only experience of the LCW and it certainly won’t give a true reflection of lots of the path. We now had less than six miles if the 62 mile route to do, but it will be June before we get round to them. The next four months are all geared up to the Lyke Wake Walk and making sure we are ready for those 40 miles across the North Yorks Moors. It is time to put the LCW on hold and get back out to the hills for some practice…

Sir Edmund

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