Dales Way: Ilkley to The Strid, February 17

Walk details

  • Route Ilkley – Addingham – Farfield Quaker Meeting House – Bolton Bridge – Bolton Abbey – Cavendish Pavilion – The Strid
  • Distance 10.1 miles
  • Duration 6 hrs 40 mins
  • Getting there 874 from Leeds with a Freedom Rover ticket
  • Weather Overcast and cool

Why this route?

  • We were meant to be doing Pen-Y-Ghent this weekend as the forecast was great. However a quick check on Saturday now predicted snow clearing late morning and cloud above 400m all day. I see no point whatsoever slogging up a mountain in the cloud so a quick change of plan was required.
  • We hadn’t yet completed the first section of the Dales Way, and ticking this off required no additional maps or significant planning.
  • We were only missing the 6 miles or so between Ilkley and Bolton Abbey but the route didn’t look very interesting and I need to get my mileage up so we extended it up the Strid, which took it to 10 miles and guarantees interest.

What did we learn?

  • That there’s a reason nobody raves about the start of the Dales Way. We definitely won’t be repeating that section. Most of it is away from the river and either on roads or within close earshot of them.
  • Walking over muddy fields is slow-going.
  • I need to find more walks in South and West Yorkshire. The Settle to Carlisle line is infrequent on a Sunday and the winter 874 is somewhat constraining if you’re aiming to cover a leisurely 10 miles as it finishes early. Also, in this case the forecast was for decent south of Skipton, and I didn’t have any walks planned south of Skipton.

Walk highlights

  • Ilkley Market – first Sunday of the month. With bread, cheese and charcuterie future walks will definitely be taking account of this.
  • The Anglo-Saxon cross at St Peter’s in Addingham. Unfortunately we didn’t spot the bone ornament.
  • The 1689 Farfield Friends Meeting House. This is one of the oldest in the world and has been preserved largely unchanged.
  • The Strid, of course.
  • Bird-song as darkness fell at The Strid bus stop
  • Snowdrops – first sign of spring!


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