Since November 2004 I have been a member a very informal, friendly, local walking group. I was reminded of this date earlier today as the beginning of the walk followed exactly the same route. We meet on Thursdays (usually the third Thursday in the month) and take ourselves off for a hike – come rain or shine. But we definitely prefer shine, of course. At 9am on the appointed day we assemble at a local church car park, decide who will drive and car share appropriately. We take it in turns to lead and plan the walk which is usually 8+ miles. Today’s walk was a little shorter as we welcomed back a leader and fellow wanderer after a third hip operation!
We certainly had shine today! A fifty minute drive from home brought us to beautiful Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales. A handy tip is that parking at all Bolton Abbey car parks is free on weekdays between 31st October and 16th March (except for during school holiday weeks). After a short bit of road walking we headed off through fields and woods and up above the Wharfe valley where the views and colours were spectacular.
Eventually our path brought us down to what is called The Strid car park. From here our path followed the River Wharfe along The Dales Way. First though we stopped for our picnic lunch. This just happened to be at a viewpoint from where J.M.W.Turner painted one of his watercolours. An information board explains the fact and shows a copy of his painting. A Turner Trail has been developed in Yorkshire by the Tourist Board and there are accompanying leaflets and a website.
The final part of our walk kept to the higher paths above the river and eventually the romantic ruins of Bolton Priory loomed into view. These were also painted by Turner and the scene has changed very little since 1816 when the artist toured the Yorkshire Dales. Read here about Turner’s Viewpoint at Bolton Abbey and click the links to the resultant pictures.