I’ve been pretty busy over the last couple of weeks and got a bit behind in the what I’ve been doing sort of posts, so hopefully over the next few days there will be a bit of catching up!
In September my friend and I are walking St Cuthberts Way, a 62 mile walk from Melrose in the Scottish Borders to Lindisfarne, a little island off the Northumberland coast, it has a causeway you can use to walk to the island if you time it right with the tides! It sounds a lovely walk, through beautiful countryside, and hopefully not too strenuous. We’re taking a week to walk it, some short days, some longer days. We’re getting pretty excited!
This will be about the 6th walk we’ve done together, so far they’ve all been in Yorkshire or the Lakes, so not too far to travel. We’re spreading our wings a bit this time. Here in the UK there are quite a lot of official long distance walks, a lot of them are route marked, most of them are also marked on the Ordnance Survey maps. I was amazed recently at a talk by the Yorkshire Shepherdess who lives in the middle of nowhere but on the route of the Pennine Way (which I think is the oldest long distance walk) that approximately 12,000 people walk all or part of it each year. This means that many of the B&B’s and farms are geared up for walkers, when we walked the Dales Way a couple of years ago, it was really hot, many farmers had ice boxes with bottles of water in and an honesty box.
Although we do a walk each year, we don’t do much to keep our fitness up afterwards, so we always have to start training walks a few months before. We officially started our training regime a couple of weeks ago! We always put a load of dates for walks in our diaries as otherwise the weeks go by with no walking!
We started off with a 5 mile walk round Otley Chevin. The Chevin is the hill behind our house, it’s all part of a huge moor called Rombalds Moor, which includes Ilkley Moor if you heard of the song On Ilkl’a Moor baht ‘hat.
The Chevin is now managed forestry, with lots of footpaths, it’s great for dog walking as you can walk miles with the dogs off the lead. We did a big loop to take in both sides of the Chevin. From the top you get a great view of Otley, our house is in the trees down to the left.
Running from east to west along the side of one of the paths is a long row of standing stone slabs. It’s always fascinated me. It’s known as the Vacca Wall, it’s obviously very ancient, but it seems a bit unclear what it was for. Vacca is supposed to relate to cows, so it’s thought it may be to keep cows safe from predators.
On the top of the Chevin there’s a rocky area known as Surprise View, and the view on a good day is amazing. It was pretty clear when we were there and we could just make out the White Horse of Kilburn, which is about 40 miles away on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. Ok, it was just a white splodge, but we could make it out! Unfortunately there is little point taking a photo of a tiny white splodge, so you just have to believe me!
Walks on the Chevin tend to involve a lot of up and down, so we were pretty pleased how the first days training went.