Our family walk this time was to Yorkshire Sculpture Park which is just down the M1 at West Bretton, Wakefield. It was a particularly chilly spring day so we decided for somewhere where we could have an easy walk but close enough that if needed we could make a mad dash home.
I’m still monitoring my poorly IT band in my leg to see what, if anything, is antagonising the pain to the side of my knee. But even on ‘lazy’ days it’s still throbbing and I’ve been working hard on the dreaded physio exercises to try and get rid of it. A gentle walk was in order just to see if it made any difference and the kids needed to get out of the house and get rid of some energy.
We’ve been before to the sculpture park but I was particularly interested to go again and see the KAWS exhibition that they currently have on there. We navigated our way across the park following a map we had picked up at the visitor centre, although there’s no route that you actually have to stick to and it’s not long before you stumble across a sculpture. Some are large and from a distance loom on the landscape but every now and again there’s something hidden or screened by trees. The kids found some naked men sculptures absolutely hilarious, can’t take them anywhere can I!
What I love about the park is that the space is massive and although there were quite a lot of people around it didn’t feel busy and there was plenty of room for the kids just to run. They had races with each other to the next Sculpture and when we reached the KAWS one they loved them. We tried to get them to re-enact some of them with varying results!
We made our own route down to the Upper lake through a wood with a carpet of bluebells, back round and made a bigger loop to the other end of the park, stopping for the all-important picnic! Using a new app called Viewranger on my phone I was plotting our route and you can see where we went. Just click on ‘view my route’ and you’ll find our route listed there.
It was quite a short walk for us and although we were absolutely freezing we had enjoyed looking at the sculptures. My IT band was neither worse nor better and I’ve come to the conclusion that walking probably isn’t adding to the problem, phew! I’m working on yet another set of new physio exercises in a bid to make the problem better, although I now have pain at my knee, ankle and hip. I’m not giving up though and I might look silly prancing about my living room doing these exercises, but I have to believe that they are going to make me better.
We paid £8 to park at the Sculpture Park all day.
All thoughts are my own and I have received no financial incentive to write this blog.
Do you use a fitness app? Or have a favourite walk to tell me about? Just comment below and tell me about it.
The last few weekends we’ve missed out on our weekly hike in the countryside, with either the weather hindering us or a car boot sale and a certain little lady’s birthday party!
My IT band problem that I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts has been getting worse and although I’ve been working hard with my physio on exercises to try and improve it, the pain by the side of my knee has been troubling me. I’ve stopped all one legged dips and lunges in case it’s these that have triggered something, but the icepack has started making regular appearances. I’m gutted that if it doesn’t improve in a few weeks my Physiotherapist is going to refer me back to the Consultant. I’m frustrated as I was getting so much better, planning my charity trek and trying to up my fitness.
However, I’m not a quitter and although the China trek seems even further away and a bigger hurdle I still intend to do something and trek somewhere, I may just have to start smaller. The physio exercises continue and we’ll still be out walking.
The kids haven’t escaped from getting outdoors and enjoying themselves in the fresh air despite the lack of walks. This weekend was my Daughter’s birthday, she is a big ‘My Little Pony’ fan and has always wanted riding lessons. We’ve done the play gym parties in previous years and so for something a little different we decided to have a party at a local riding school. Ten children running around either on horses or running alongside them made for a lot fun, also great exercise. My 8 year old had been adamant that he didn’t want to join in, but a missing party guest meant he needed to make up the numbers. A few hours later the biggest grin I have ever seen on his face was still there and he ALSO now wants riding lessons!
Let me know if you have any walk suggestions or picnic ideas.
This week our walk was around Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. Malham is best described as a pretty little village, surrounded by limestone dry stone walls with a stream running through it. It was mentioned in the Doomsday book and has been a settlement at least a thousand years. It’s been on our list of ‘must do’ walks since we started trying to go out every weekend, and has been recommended to us a few times. Just over an hours drive from where we live we thought it a perfect location.
With it being the Easter holidays we knew it would be busy, and a few nights before there was a programme on ITV called ‘Best Walks with a view’ presented by Julia Bradbury, where she walked the surrounding area. I think most of Yorkshire had been inspired by the programme and had descended! Before we even made it to the visitor’s carpark we joined a stream of cars going in the same direction, people were abandoning their cars on any spare bit of grass verge and the chances of getting a space didn’t look good.
Luckily we did get parked and with a well packed picnic this time we were all eager to set off. Having crossed a pretty little brook we followed the signpost for Janet’s Foss, although with streams of people going the same way there was little doubt we were going the right way!
The paths here are really well kept and to the Waterfall it is pretty easy going with just a few gates. The only negative was that with the recent rain there were a lot of puddles and lots and lots of mud. Which is fine if you’re an adult with longer legs but my youngest was quickly covered and at times I feared her boots would be submerged! Daddy to the rescue and she was carried over the deeper puddles.
Just before Janet’s Foss you reach a small gate that takes you on to National trust Malham tarn estate land and a sign for the Bee library. Here Bee themed books have been made into Bee houses and there’s 12 of them to spot! The kids had great fun looking for them and it really is a pretty walk along the stream to the Foss. The waft of wild garlic growing was amazing.
I had been a little worried about the footpaths being crowded with the numbers of people we had seen, but as we are a little slower with little legs we didn't need to worry. The area around the Foss was busy but we all got to have a look. There are plenty of walks in the area and people soon disperse like little ants across the many paths that weave up into the hills. Janet’s Foss is said to have a cave hidden behind the falls where a legendary fairy queen, Janet, once lived. My little lady would have loved to have seen the fairy queen but we didn't spot her!
From the Foss we made our way to the magnificent Gordale Scar with its dramatic cliffs. You can’t appreciate how big it is until you round the corner and suddenly you are in the massive gorge.
There is a small waterfall at the back of the gorge, magically seeming to come from nowhere. We’d had a bit of rain in the days before so it was rather gushing down. This didn’t stop of group of daring people climb it and many of the guide books detail the walk you can take from here. I think you need to be prepared to get quite wet. We decided there was too much water and our children at the moment are too small. Looks great fun if you have the nerve but maybe on a day when the water is just a trickle!
We made our way back out of the gorge and to the original footpath. Here, there are a couple of footpaths that you can take. We were supposed to be following a route in a walking book but at this point my map reading skills let us down and we turned left. Had we turned right we would have followed the book and walked several more miles, as it was in the end we were glad with the walk we did. What did we learn? Don’t trust me with the map!
This footpath led us around a dry stoned wall and with a picnic stop on the way we were on our way to, the now signposted, Malham Cove. The going so far hadn’t been tough, perhaps a bit steep in places but nothing that we haven’t come across before. I was really disappointed that my hip and IT band had really started causing me pain with nearly every step. This was easy, why was it hurting now? I can only think that as we made our way across this bit of the walk the sheer amount of mud had made things difficult. We had tried to pick our way through as best we could but all of us were struggling as our feet slithered to stay upright. I felt like Bambi on ice! Annoyed, I took a few painkillers but was determined to carry on, ignoring a road that would have led us to civilisation.
Walking down a field you suddenly come across the cove and the limestone pavements. It’s so spectacular and we hadn’t even got there! There were quite a lot of people here but it didn’t ruin the experience and we all had plenty of room to explore. My son loved jumping from rock to rock once he’d built his confidence. My daughter being smaller was terrified of falling down the gaps and clung on for dear life to Daddy. The view across the cove was amazing and I can see why it’s so popular with walkers, rock climbers and film makers.
Having crossed the cove and limestone pavement we now had to get down the other side. Steep, slightly uneven steps lead you down to the footpath below. We were slow getting down, meeting people coming up and lots of dogs running up and down. My legs were a little shaky although my hip pain had worn off slightly. From the bottom we enjoyed the view back up and watched the rock climbers.
In this area there is the chance to spot Peregrine Falcon’s that have nested in the area since 1993. The RSBP and National Dales Park authority run a viewpoint here where you can try and spot them for free. It was a bit busy so we didn’t this time but it’s definitely on the list for next time. More details here on the Malham Cove Peregrine Falcon’s on the Yorkshire Dales website.
Following the footpath we made our way back along the road and another little footpath back to the village. We finished our picnic on a little bench by a stream in the sunshine, although there looked to be quite a view choices of places to eat with at least two pubs and a café spotted.
We had a lovely walk, I was a bit disappointed with my hip and leg and we had missed Malham Tarn but there’s always next time!
All views are my own and I’ve not been paid to write this blog.
What makes a great picnic? Does your family have any marching songs? We’d love to hear about them so comment below.
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.