With the promise of a weekend full of chocolate eating, our plan was to do a circular walk on the moors surrounding Burley-in-Wharfedale and Ilkley. My IT band problem had been niggling me last week and a gruelling physio session resulted in me being sat with a bag of frozen peas on my leg. However, it felt a bit better and with the best day of the weekend forecast we planned to head out and make the most of it.
Well that was the plan, feeling lazy we slept in and were late setting off so on the outskirts of Burley were met by the gridlocked snake of holiday traffic. I grew up in the area so with a quick change of plan we decided to start the walk at the moors on Burley Woodhead instead of in Ilkley. The walk up from the main village to the moors is quite a steep trek but we’ve walked most of the way up there quite regularly with our family. We were quite surprised that it was here that our smallest child started whinging so early on in the walk, and didn’t really stop the whole time! She is very independent at getting dressed so was rocking her usual eclectic mix of clothing including probably unsuitable lacey ankle socks!
With our change in plan we didn’t have a big picnic with us, the refuelling stop hadn’t happened, so we were armed with hot cross buns, chocolate bars and lots of water. Our little whinge bob had already started to demolish the snacks and we weren’t even at the start of where we wanted to be. The anticipated original walk should have been 7 miles, it just wasn’t going to happen.
We made our way to the top of the moor, quickly putting back on the coats we had discarded only a moment ago as we were met by a howling wind. Plan C? It was soon decided that we would just make our way across the moor to Ilkley and the Cow and Calf rocks and leave the bigger circular one till another day. There wasn’t any point in dragging the kids across the moor trying to find the paths with the wind blowing as it was and their current mood. We couldn’t even bribe them with a decent picnic!
The terrain was more difficult than the kids have done before. Our eldest loved jumping from rock to rock and across the odd stream, he thought this was the most interesting walk we had done so far. Typical!
Just over three hours after we first set off and we made it to the Cow and Calf rocks. Being the Easter weekend it was teaming with people trying their luck climbing the rocks and the carpark was heaving. The Cow and Calf pub and the café in the carpark looked to be doing a roaring trade.
To finish our walk we came down the moor and walked into the town of Ilkley. There was no way our little lady was up for walking back the way we came for another three hours, so we decided to use public transport back to where we came from. In her opinion the best bit of the walk was riding on the bus and pressing the bell for it to stop!
A little bit of liquid refreshment at the Red Lion pub in Burley-in-Wharfedale, a cake stop at Grandma and Grandad’s house and it was early to bed for all of us.
What are your favourite picnic items?
Last week’s snow had thankfully disappeared and after a walk suggestion from a friend this weekend we headed to the North York Moors and Sutton Bank. As the car climbed up to the Sutton Bank visitor centre and we went round a few hairpin bends I was wondering what we might have let ourselves in for! The area is James Herriot country and the famous vet and author once declared the view from the top of Sutton Bank as ‘the finest view in England’.
The test this week was the children’s new hiking boots! Would my little people be as enthusiastic as when the boots arrived? Well, one of them was! I have a nearly five year old and a just turned eight year old, so opinions often range from ‘This is the best day of my life’ to ‘Boring. Everything is boring’. I’d got the boots online and both were in the sale, I do love a bargain!
We chose the walk to the white horse at Kilburn, although there are a few walks in the area to choose from, we thought the sight of the big chalk horse would be enough to lure the children on. Once you’ve crossed the carpark and the main road the White Horse is well signed posted. We were blessed with beautiful sunshine and with the promise of spring in the air it wasn’t too chilly. My Daughter was the leader and cheerily declared ‘Oh Mummy I can hear the birds singing’. She was decked out in not only the new walking boots but sparkly necklace and a flower headband. Well, why not!
We made our way along a well maintained footpath with forest on one side and a cliff drop on the other. The view already was beautiful, although the fog stopped us from seeing for miles, you could appreciate that on clearer days it would be fantastic. All along this part of the path at regular intervals were benches, ample opportunity to just sit and take the surroundings in.
A little further on and we were near the gliding club and despite the fog they looked to be getting the gliders ready. The kids were fascinated and there was a helpful information board about the gliders in the area.
At this point the path splits and we started a steep decent down the scarp edge, this path is apparently known as ‘Thief’s Highway’ and my Eight year old son insisted on walking down with his fists up just in case we met any ‘baddies’! The path is really steep and quite narrow in places but there is a handy fence rail on most of it that you can hold on to. First proper test for the grips on those boots, and with encouragement the kids were fine. They were more worried about getting mud on them. Once you reach the bottom it opens out and you are surrounded by woodland. The kids found sticks and played silly games and we tried looking for woodland monsters.
In no time at all we rounded the bottom of Roulston Scar and a bit further on came to a car park and some steps. There on the hill in front of us was the Kilburn White horse. Running to the end of the carpark the kids were eager to make it out.
Now came the biggest test for me on the walk. Last week I’d had a steroid injection in the tendon at the side of my knee and now I was faced with a wall of steep steps! We all made it to the top, me huffing slightly and thankful for the handy bench we all peeled a layer off. The fog still hadn’t gone so we didn’t get the full effect of the view but it was still lovely to be out. Making our way back along the path we came back along the side of the gliding club and retraced our steps to the visitor centre.
The visitor centre http://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/visiting/see-and-do/sutton-bank-national-park-centre has café, shop, toilets and even a biking centre, there’s also plenty of picnic tables and benches. We treated ourselves to cake which was delicious and huge! Just what you need after a walk. The shop was well stocked with gifts and books and there was a view of the bird feeder with binoculars and information about the birds you might see. To park all day we paid £4.50 at the pay and display machine and there were plenty of spaces when we arrived, it did look quite busy later on.
The boots passed their first test and we had happy kids with happy feet!
All views are my own and I wasn’t paid to to do this.
Do you play games when you go walking with your family or sing silly songs? If so I’d love to hear about them, just comment below.
We had big plans last weekend to take another walk in our local area but then a flurry of the white stuff arrived during the week and soon stopped play. With weather warnings by the Met office of snow and ice for the weekend we decided it was a better day to keep inside with the kids. I didn't want to ruin our earlier enthusiasm with a wet, cold and icy experience.
Minutes into our last walk in the Yorkshire Dales I wished I had invested in some walking boots for the kids. My youngest attracts mud even on the school run and in the Dales she was absolutely covered, there’s always that tempting puddle to squish your feet in! The boots I ordered arrived and both kids were actually really excited. My youngest was sat cuddling them and then proceeded to try and put her favourite Teddy’s feet in them. I can see me having to get ‘Bow the bear’ a pair too. “Look Mummy, I can even skip in them” she shouted.
The biggest news of the week was that I had an appointment booked with my Consultant for a check up on my most recently operated on hip. I was dreading going in case he squashed my trekking plan. Apart from developing a pain to the side of my knee, everything’s looking good and he is so pleased with my progress that I’ve been discharged. Woohoo! My hips have taken over my life for the past five years or so, so for both side to be sufficiently mended is a major thing for me. The pain near my knee has been happening on and off after my physio exercises and I’ve been working hard with my physio to fix this. I mentioned it to the Consultant and he injected the side of my knee with a steroid and hopefully this should settle down. Perhaps overworking on some of the one legged dips and exercises have caused a problem, fingers crossed the injection works. I also told him of my China plan and he was very enthusiastic and told me to go for it.
On the way home from the hospital I treated myself to Prosecco, spring rolls and some cream cakes. The hard physio exercises are paying off and China doesn’t seem so far away!
Have you any walk suggestions that are suitable with kids? If so comment below, thanks.
I'm a 'thirty something' Yorkshire Mum of two, recovering from two hip arthroscopies and hoping to get fit for a new challenge. My aim is to also get my kids out into the countryside and get fitter as a family. Follow my blog about hips, trips, training and getting my kids outside!
I'm taking part in a charity China trek. For my story or to sponsor me please follow the Just Giving link.