Jul 06 2013

Walk 66 – Leeds Country Way Part 4 – Golden Acre Park to Bardsey

LCW Part 4

route: golden acre park to bardsey
Date: 6th july 2013
distance: 8.5 miles
ascent: 543 feet
time: 3 hrs 50 mins
walkers: abigail, dave, leanne, sandra & simon

It had been a month since our last walk, and I had needed that time to let my feet recover after the 34 mile epic along the canal. My big blister had subsided and I had removed all the excess skin from my little toe, taking my toe nail with it at the same time. I had also lost the middle nail on my left foot, and my big toe on my right foot was black, and going to come off at some point. Basically the canal walk had given my feet a severe bashing, but I was now happy to get out again as we looked to continue our journey around Leeds. The weather was set fair and we were in for a great day out. Today would also be the first time we would try Snail in her ruck sack carrier thingy. She didn’t bother as we lifted her in and as I put her on my back she was smiling obviously enjoying life from 6 feet up.

66th Walk 1After the team photo we made our way under the main road and into Golden Acre Park where we turned left before cutting through the gardens and heading for the far end of the park. Me, Snail and Beaky began at a brisk pace and L’Autobus were soon quite a way back, although we could faintly hear them yapping about something for a while and then the distance became too large for us to hear anything but the slight rustle of the wind through the trees. I don’t know if either Wu Tang or Ramblo read these reviews but the sound of silence was certainly more relaxing than a tale of shopping or of other women related things that (being a man) I obviously have no knowledge of. 66th Walk 266th Walk 3It seemed that no sooner had we set off than we had reached the far side of the park and continued through the woods for a short while, until we came out onto a little road and waited for the girls. A quick map check took place as Wu Tang checked Snail was happy in her lofty seat, then we headed off once again.66th Walk 466th Walk 5We soon entered another small wooded section and made our way through the trees. One thing to note for anyone who intends doing the Leeds Country Way is to make sure you get a recent map or download the latest route from the website as the route has changed slightly over the years. The map Beaky had tied in with the map on my GPS but the digital map suggests the route is different. I know there was some issue over a section which used to venture into part of Wakefield, but there was dispute over who would pay for the upkeep. I believe that as it is named the Leeds Country Way it was agreed that Leeds City Council should pay to maintain any bits that need fixing and as such the route was amended to stay within the Leeds boundary. At least that is what I think I have read somewhere, but it may not be the truth. That wouldn’t apply to this section in any case so I have no idea why this bit had changed. 66th Walk 6One thing I was enjoying about the day was the fact that Wu Tang was here. I think we have only walked together six time over the previous year, four of which was last year during her pregnancy until finally at 6 months it became too much. The other two had been earlier this year as we tackled parts one and three of the LCW. We had done so much together over the last three years that it does feel weird for Wu not to be with me. It was nice to have her back along and I am sure Ramblo agreed as it meant she had her fellow L’Autobus member back. 66th Walk 766th Walk 8A short road section was followed by us cutting across a field then following a track for a while. Everything had been going fantastically well up to this point and the day was turning out to be as good as expected. One thing I had forgotten was my trusty old sun hat, so I had to borrow a cap from Beaky to keep the sun off my head. It may have been a fraction small but it prevented me from getting burnt which was the main thing. When out in the open it was pretty warm so I was thankful when we reached a little cover but there wasn’t much to be had on this section. On the plus side, it was flat and decent under foot which meant we were moving along nicely, although I did take a little extra care because of my cargo. 66th Walk 966th Walk 10One thing I did notice was the fact that I was a lot more vocal, choosing to point out verbally everything I saw. This wasn’t because I had gone mad, I was simply trying to point everything out to Snail, although she will have understood none of it. Still, she seemed quite content to gaze around and soak up the sights of the countryside, taking more interest in the leaves on the trees than a passing tractor.66th Walk 1166th Walk 12The route continued to be flat and decent under foot so we still maintained quite a decent pace, not that we were in any rush. From time to time I was sheltered from the sun by trees on both sides of the path and it was lovely just to be in the shade, even if it wasn’t for long. The others also agreed and took advantage by stopping for a little drink in one such spot66th Walk 13As we resumed we adopted our previous positions as L’Autobus dropped 100 yards behind us in no rush at all. Neither were we, I guess it was just a difference in natural walking pace that saw us spread out so much, but it wasn’t as if it mattered. We soon regrouped as we reached the outskirts of the Emmerdale village and waited for the girls. Unfortunately (for some) you can’t get down to have a look around, so we had to make do with a picture from a distance and another quick drink stop before we moved on once again.66th Walk 1466th Walk 15Not much further on we entered another wooded area and passed a group of about 8 walkers who were having a bit of a regroup themselves. I wasn’t quite sure where they were going but I guessed they were on the Dales Way link path which eventually takes you to the start of the 80 mile trail in Ilkley. A couple of them acknowledged us and we reciprocated without stopping as we continued into the woods. As mentioned previously it was nice to be out of the sun and the fact we were now covered for a while gave me chance to cool a little. As my temperature dropped the noise level began to rise as my passenger began to get a little worked up, a quick check of the time suggested it would be time for some milk and sure enough that did the trick. At first we tried to feed on the move, but in the end we stopped and I lifted the carrier down from my shoulders.66th Walk 16It seemed like a good time for us to enjoy a quick bite to eat at the same time so we tucked into our sandwiches before trying for some wind (Snail not us) and we were soon on our way once again. Snail was once again happy and everything was right with the world, or at least it was in this small section of north Leeds.66th Walk 1766th Walk 18By now we were roughly half way through the walk, and the easy terrain meant everybody was still full of beans and enjoying things as we crossed a little beck, reach a gate and began the long gradual climb up towards Harrogate Road.66th Walk 1966th Walk 20It was at about this point that Wu Tang started to feel her back hurting a little and began to give of the signals that she wasn’t enjoying things quite as much as we was previously. This usually involves a little whinge but it isn’t one that is genuine, I suppose it is more a way of getting things of her chest and also letting me know how she is feeling. Just like I know that she isn’t being too serious by whinging, she knows not to read too much into my flippant and often sarcastic replies. As we climbed further we spotted what looked like a two headed sheep which raised a little chuckle. I then noticed that behind us was Harewood House, which is owned by the 8th Earl of Harewood who is 51st in line to the throne and a great grandchild of George V. I tried to recall if I had ever visited the ground and the house during my childhood but I couldn’t recall ever doing so. No doubt my mum will put me straight on that after she reads this. 66th Walk 2166th Walk 22By now Wu’s back was hurting a little more so I took her ruck sack too to give her a break from carrying the water etc. I was hoping that a little break may help her feel a little better, especially as we still had a good few miles to go. Behind me I could feel that Snail had gone to sleep as she kept moving in time with my movements. The giveaway was her head which she was gentle tapping on the strap in between her forehead and my back. I think if I had a second seat Wu Tang would have been in it too as we reached the gate at the top of the track and finally reached the A61.66th Walk 2466th Walk 23Once across the road we slipped into a pattern that we would keep up for the next mile or two. The terrain was pretty flat and we followed clearly defined tracks with Beaky and Ramblo up ahead as I kept chatting to Wu Tang about everything and anything to keep her mind off her back. I couldn’t understand what was hurting her as she has done more walking over the last few months as she is constantly out during the day walking here there and everywhere. Maybe it was the lack of pram/push chair or maybe it was just one of those days, we will never know. Every so often there would be a gate and Beaky would be waiting there holding it open, often checking his map to make sure we were still going in the correct direction.66th Walk 2566th Walk 2666th Walk 27Every now and again we spotted a finger post or some way marker that contained the yellow owl which confirmed we were still on track. We were never really worried as we knew we were on track but it is nice to have that confirmed by something official. It was one positive in what was starting to become a bit of a drag for L’Autobus, who had now resumed their usual position thirty or forty yards behind me and Beaky. Both of them were staring mentioning the heat and I suppose the fact we hadn’t done too much walking recently would mean they were in some way a little out of practice. I offered some sort of reassurance that we weren’t too far away now, but they never believe me anyway, as I have made a couple of timing errors in the past. None of them were deliberate, but sometimes, without knowing the route, terrain, ascent etc it is hard to give an accurate timing, or at least that’s my story.66th Walk 2866th Walk 29We soon encountered a small section of road walking and with it a climb, neither of which were the best things for team (half of the team) morale. Needless to say there was a little grumble from both parties, but it is taken with a pinch of salt as deep down I know they are enjoying it. At least I know they always enjoy the sense of satisfaction when sat in the pub and we would be there in half an hour or so.66th Walk 3066th Walk 31The route took us downhill once again, through a field full of peas which we did not sample, honest. If however, we had tried them I bet they would have tasted wonderful and not at all like the peas you would get from a supermarket. The path then took us under some low lying branches which gave me chance to practice my limbo skills to make sure Snail didn’t end up looking like a hungry giraffe with a mouth stuffed full of leaves. After a bit of careful manoeuvring under branches, around nettles and over stiles we the path continued on before finally we reached civilisation once again.66th Walk 3266th Walk 33We reached a path covered with stone chippings and I felt safe in announcing that we had finally reached Bardsey. A short distance further on were two horses which looked as if they were made from stone as they never moved as we approached them and eventually walked past them. We tried calling them but they were having none of it so we left them to it and a few hundred yards later the path came out right opposite the pub. The Bingley Arms could well be the greatest sight L’Autobus have ever seen! Maybe things weren’t quite that desperate but they were glad to sit down and enjoy a nice beverage. For me, it had just been nice to get out and about again as a group and to have Wu Tang with me. No matter how much she says she isn’t enjoying things (and I know she is lying otherwise why keep coming along), I enjoy it enough for the both of us. The trial run of carrying Snail had been a great success which means there is no reason why she couldn’t come in future. It may also mean that we could go a little further afield and get back out into the hills, now that would give L’Autobus something to grumble about…

Sir Edmund

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