This third walk was something of a magical mystery tour as we headed to Wharfedale – a bit further south and west than we would usually visit and a place I hadn’t been to before. The scenery was quite spectacular with dramatic moorland raised high above the road and very few houses, farms or people. It really did look like a wilderness.
We started in the village of Buckden which was a typical English village nestled at the foot of the hills with cottages, a church, pub and winding village street. Looking up from the street we could see the hills around bathed in late afternoon sun with multiple shades of green and brown. It all looked very enticing.
We climbed up the hill following the designated footpath. There are thousands of walks all across the UK but it is important to keep to the designated routes. These are usually well-signed and especially here in the National Park they are well-laid out to get you to your destination while showing you the very best sights that the route has to offer. At this time of year also there are many young animals around and also birds nesting and it is vital that these are not disturbed.
Apart from two cyclists, we didn’t meet anybody else on the walk and it felt as if the whole of this world belonged to us alone. The views were breathtaking and looking over such a vast empty space made us feel very small indeed. At the very top of the hill – Buckden Pike is a stone cross, a memorial to a group of Polish soldiers. The views from there are extensive but today we were taking a route along a lower ridge which had at one time been a Roman road for marching Roman Centurions.
As the path began to descend we could hear the noise of the river and crossed this over stepping stones. A pub stood on the corner but, alas, – there was no time today to stop and have a drink.
We followed the river across fields and through a small wooded area flowing the river all the while. At one point we came upon a waterfall – there are several waterfalls along the River Wharfe along with small stone bridges and lots of stepping stones. Today the river was gentle and bubbling and its noise was the only thing we could hear.
The road then climbed back to the village where we ended the walk. The little shop and cafe were already closed – things do close early in the English countryside – most tea-shops and village shops are firmly shut at 4.30 or 5.00 and if you are looking to have lunch in a pub on a walk (which is a great thing to do) make sure you get there before 2,00 as many do not serve food after this time until the evening service. Life in the countryside is definitely not 24 hours!
On the return journey we took a different road which took us right over the tops of the moors – it was truly spectacular. The Yorkshire Dales has some of the most incredible scenery in the country and it truly takes your breath away! On this walk today there were no specific landmarks, no castles, ruins or great houses. What we experienced was pure nature in its raw state but it was truly awesome and beyond words.