With Christmas just days away and storm Barbara beginning to make an appearance, I’m not sure how many outdoor adventures we're going to have in the next few days. Hopefully we can have a small walk on Boxing Day to walk off the turkey, depending on how bad this storm really will be.
Last weekend we had a small trip to one of our favourites, Bolton Abbey. I actually wanted to go and discover the Valley of desolation and then on to Simon’s Seat but with the daylight hours being so much shorter, and with the little legs in tow we decided to just walk to the first waterfall. It’s a famous sight that I keep seeing many photos of and down a tiny winding path and then over a troll bridge we found the view. A cold foggy day and the crowds stayed away and we had the wonderful views of the waterfall all to ourselves. We’ll leave the bigger walk onto Barden moor and then Simon’s seat for a better day.
Having seen the waterfall, we walked along the opposite river bank and discovered there was a pantomime themed trail. The kids loved it and even sat in a sleigh and were provided with hats by a kind Elf!
As Christmas approaches we’ve managed a few trips with friends including a walk by the canal at Bingley. Six exuberant children just before Christmas by a canal might sound like a recipe for disaster but no one ended up in the water, thankfully!
I can’t believe my blog is 11 months old! At the start of last year, I had no intention to write a blog, walk all over the place or be planning a trip to China! It really shows how far the rehab of my hips has come and I’m so excited for what next year holds. My own wellbeing from walking is evident in that I now actually sleep at night! I’m so proud of my family for joining in too, we’ve visited some fabulous places and are all so much fitter as a family, my little people can walk miles.
That just leaves me to say Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year, I hope you’ll follow me on my adventures and who knows I might even bump into you!
Just north of Otley, in the Washburn valley are the Yorkshire Water reservoirs of Swinsty and Fewston surrounded by woodland and great footpaths it’s just our sort of place for a family adventure.
There are three car parks to choose from and we parked at the middle car park, (which has toilets and an ice cream van serving hot drinks!) planning a big looped walk around both reservoirs. The weather was dry and actually warm at a balmy 10°!
We set off at a good pace, conscious that the winter sun that was struggling to break through wouldn’t be around for as long. We’re determined to get out walking for as long as we can, but to keep up my fitness I’m trying to get in more sessions at the gym. It’s really not the same walking along on the treadmill but I need to keep my mileage up and my legs strong.
The paths around the reservoirs are easy, with only a few steep inclines, and surrounded by woodland with some very impressive pine trees. “Now they are trees!” my Son commented. We breathed in great lungful’s of the pine scent and fresh air, now you can’t get that in the gym.
The kids were able to run ahead along the paths playing with my walking pole pretending it was a twirling baton or a sniper rifle. They were completely splattered with mud all up their legs but were having great fun. My son even did a little tree hugging!
The scenery was beautiful and we loved the reflections on the water. We had heard that King Fishers have been spotted in the area but we didn’t see any when we visited, although we seemed to have numerous Robin’s escorting us but none wanted to pose for a picture.
In just under three hours we had walked around both reservoirs and really enjoyed our walk of just over 10.3 km and there were hours of daylight left, phew.
The route is popular with joggers, walkers and dog owners and more information about accessibility can be found on the Yorkshire Water website where there are details of other reservoir walks.
All views are my own and I’ve received no incentive to write this.
Havre you a route idea for us or tips for my training? Comment below or pop over to my Facebook page and say hi.
I’ve lived in Yorkshire all my life, but I’m ashamed to say I’ve never walked on the Haworth moors made famous by the Bronte sisters. With a dry weather forecast we set off in search of Heathcliff with a walk to the Bronte Waterfall and Top Withens, the ruin that may have been the inspiration for Emily Bronte’s book ‘Wuthering Heights’.
After hideous weather during the week we were all wrapped up and eager to get outside into the fresh air. It was really chilly and this was our first walk with frost and ice puddles. The kids loved the ice on top of the puddles and loved the satisfying crunch they got as they walked across them.
We started the walk on a quiet road that eventually led to a footpath and once we had reached it the kids were able to run ahead and play their puddle game, trying to get there before the other so they could be the first to ‘crunch’ the ice. With it being cold we had picked up a good pace and after a mile and a half were nearly at the Bronte Waterfall. As we had made our way down some rocky steps we heard some birds chattering and Hubby spotted them across from where we were walking. I only caught a glimpse and we think they might have been Merlin’s but they flew off before either of us got a camera out or a good look.
The waterfall wasn’t as spectacular as I had imagined so we quickly posed for a few photos and then walked across the small footbridge. After a steep climb we found a fingerpost pointing us to Top Withens, not only written in English but with a Japanese translation too due to the popularity of tourists visiting.
With the sun out the landscape was quite beautiful although I could imagine on a windy, overcast or rainy day it could be quite exposed and bleak. We were all by now quite warm with all our layers on and the path had been narrow and winding and then we came across some stepping stones over a small stream before, finally a big hill up to Top Withens.
Top Withens is a ruined building and we found the plaque that says itself that this farmhouse ‘may’ have inspired part of Emily’s book ‘Wuthering Heights’. We had a good wander around and a rest on one of the benches.
We had explained to the kids about the Bronte sisters and a summary of the book ‘Wuthering Heights’, the character Heathcliff and about Kate Bush’s song ‘Wuthering Heights’. My Son at 8 years old has raided Daddy’s old tape collection so has already listened to quite a bit of Kate Bush! I had annoyed everyone all morning singing it although I was about three when the song first came out. I’d shown the kids the music video that morning and me and my son did a quick re-enactment whilst we were up there!!
Retracing our steps, we headed back down the hill until a fork in the footpath and this time we headed straight on across the moor until eventually we came to a small village called Stanbury. We passed a few pubs and well it seemed kind of rude not to stop and have a little drink!
The sign outside the Wuthering Heights said that walkers and well behaved dogs were welcome, nothing about unruly cheeky walking children but we chanced it and were welcomed inside.
A pint and some of the best onion rings later, we left and continued on our walk and I was thrilled that it led us across the reservoir dam that looked spectacular with the sunshine glistening on it. I wish we could have stopped and got some better photos but it was very narrow with just enough room for cars to pass each other carefully.
From here we took a left turn down a bridleway and eventually joined the start of our walk. We had really enjoyed our adventure, walking just over 6.5 miles and had found it not to be at all Wuthering, but still and sunny. No sign of Heathcliff either, but if I was him I’d be back at the pub!
All views are my own and I have received no incentive to write this. We parked for free in a lay-by by the side of the road near Cemetery Road, Haworth. There are lots of guides for this walk on the internet and it is well sign posted but we used a route from The Happy Hiker website.
Have you got a route you think we should try? Comment below and let me know or pop over to my Facebook page and say hi.
The past couple of weeks have made getting out a little interesting with a wild weather forecast, snow, floods, bugs and soggy leaves.
The first lot of snow (beautiful for a few hours!) had melted and we were keen to get out but my eldest came down with a sickness bug and I had some dizzy head cold that resulted in me spectacularly falling down the stairs. I’m laughing now as the moment it happened was just when as our shopping was being delivered so I had an audience! A few bruises saw us both feeling pathetic and we stayed in wrapped up watching films whilst Hubby worked the weekend.
Later in the week another dumping of snow thrown in between lots of rain our plan to go into the Dales with the kids was again put on the back burner. Seeing a break of the sleet and snow showers my Daughter asked to play outside blowing bubbles, in her fancy dress skirt, like you do!
We later visited the kids Grandparents and after wearing Grandad out playing football we went out for a small walk around their village.
Gone were the gorgeous autumnal leaves that invited you to kick through them, to be replaced with sad soggy clumps now blocking roads and drains. My Daughter still wanted to play with the leaves and with Grandma’s help we turned it into a game trying to find different leaves from different trees.
The hardest part of the game was trying to find any dry leaves but my Daughter had a lot of fun finding leaves that she could peek through. She’s better at identifying leaves than me now after her lesson with Grandma!
Since we went on our leaf hunt we’ve had a load more rain and there has been flooding in many areas of Yorkshire including outside my parents’ house. They were even out in dark with a neighbour desperately trying to clear the flooded road.
I’m crossing my fingers for a drier nicer weekend this weekend for everyone’s sake!
Our latest Hip2trek walking adventure was another visit to Malham but this time with a planned stop for hot chocolate and candy apples!
We visited marvellous Malham about seven months ago and loved the walk we went on, but with a bit more walking experience behind us and my hips being better we wanted to go back and try a bigger walk this time going to Malham Tarn.
The weather forecast wasn’t great so armed with hats, gloves and lots of layers we were prepared for a very chilly walk, and crikey it wasn’t wrong we were absolutely freezing.
Last time we had arrived in Malham the day after a popular TV programme had been aired and were met with hordes of people and an overflowing car park. This time we had our pick of parking spaces but Hubby was a bit miffed the contactless payment at the parking machine was a little eager and took his payment twice! We weren’t off to a great start.
We retraced our steps along familiar footpaths and through kissing gates to Janet’s Foss still looking spectacular in the autumn the water was crystal clear. We have this really silly tradition of when coming to a kissing gate as we go through you ‘mwah’ to the person behind you. Anyone else do silly things like this? No....Oh just us then that are a bit bonkers! My eldest was sulking at this point so didn’t really want to take part.
This time we didn’t visit Gordale Scar but took the path up the hill to the side of it and it was here last time that we had to take an easier path to cut the walk shorter due to my IT band problems. I was determined that this massive hill wouldn’t get the better of me and it would be a good test of my newly improved leg strength. The wind was so strong but we were well wrapped up and although we had a few stops on the way up we made it to the top. My eldest is like a mountain goat and was waiting for us at the top.
From there we followed an obvious footpath which would eventually lead us to Malham tarn. We were walking right into the wind and I had tears streaming down my face and my youngest kept asking why were we doing this walk! We had promised that we would have hot chocolates as soon as we got back to the village and that kept us going. The scenery was lovely even though it was bitterly cold, and we could see the tarn in the distance.
From the tarn we followed a footpath which would take us through a very narrow gully and rocky limestone terrain. We knew the cove was about half a mile away but it felt like miles as we picked our way across the rocks. It was quite hard but the reward was a blast of sunshine and gleaming in the distance was the limestone pavements of Malham Cove.
My Daughter last time had been terrified of the limestone pavement but this time she was so much more confident and we stopped and had a quick picnic on a natural bench like rock!
We were so much quicker down the steep steps, me and my Son quite a bit in front and all the way down in the distance we could hear my Daughter chattering away. These steps are as close as I’m going to get to the ones I’ll meet in China so great training for my legs. Happily, my IT band had remained quiet and there was no pain or niggles, phew.
I thought we still deserved hot chocolate so we made our way to The Buck Inn and we had hot chocolate, candy apples (well it was bonfire night!) and a warm by the fire.
A great walk with lots of steep hills, I finally saw Malham tarn and there was a lovely treat at the end.
Do you play any silly games on your walks? Or do you have a walk you think we should try?
All views are my own and I’ve received no incentive to write this.
With half term and a full weekend of kids parties our adventures recently have been a little bit different, so we’ve managed to fit in a woodland walk on Otley Chevin, pumpkin picking in Pontefract and we even dragged the kids Grandparents up Burley Moor. I also have a new best friend!
We were introduced a few weeks ago and I already feel this might be the start of a love/hate relationship. My new best friend is the leg press machine! I’m still having physio after my hip surgery last year and working hard to get stronger, with my charity trek next year I need to be as strong as possible so the jelly legs need a workout. I’m trying really hard to go to the gym every other day to do my prescribed exercises but the lurgy and half term had scuppered things slightly. Having said that my legs are definitely getting stronger and on the exercise bike it’s a lot less like cycling through treacle.
With a fully packed party weekend planned for the kids we only managed to fit in a few short walks to help with my training and try some steep inclines. We’ve walked on Otley Chevin before but there’s lots of it that we still haven’t discovered so this time we started our walk in a slightly different place. The autumnal woodland was gorgeous and the steepness of some of the paths were just what I needed. The kids had a great time in the woods kicking leaves and hiding behind the trees and we managed to spot a few planes taking off from the nearby airport.
Walk for Wellbeing at RHS Harlow Carr with Fenetic Wellbeing & my tips for getting your family active.
Our adventure this weekend was to RHS Harlow Carr and we were invited by Fenetic Wellbeing for a Walk for Wellbeing event. I’m all for getting outside and part of my own mission is to get my family outside and us all fitter. More and more the advice for better health and mental wellbeing is to get outside and I’ve found myself that my mood is brighter and I sleep better having been out and active.
After a treat at Betty’s of tea and scones we were taken on a guided walk of the beautiful RHS gardens, we learnt about the history and some of the hidden secrets the garden holds. Despite a little rain at first we had a great time wandering around and the kids found a fabulous tree house, some colourful fallen leaves and my Daughter made a new friend!
We had a lovely morning and by the end of our guided tour the rain had stopped and the kids were ready to go back and explore the playground again. We had definitely walked off our cakes!
Lurgy has stopped play the past few weekends and we haven’t been on any big walking adventures as I haven’t been able to stop coughing. I’ve also had to stop the gym and physio exercises but my abs still got a great workout from all the coughing!
We did go out for some fresh air and managed a couple of very short walks first of all testing out the kid’s new coats in some local woodland and then this weekend three of us went back to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Although my China trek might be months away I’ve very conscious of the fact I need to continue improving my endurance and fitness. My hip was starting to hurt from being in the house all day and I needed to get my boots back on and get out there. The fresh air was bound to do me some good too. Our youngest was at a party so we headed for somewhere close by and although we’ve visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park before for a stroll amongst the Sculptures, it’s big enough that we haven’t discovered everything about it.
It was a bit strange without our youngest chattering away but the three of us had fun as we picked a path we hadn’t taken before through the woodland. We let our Son choose which way to go and as soon as he found the ’71 steps’ he was decided as part of Mummy’s training that this was the way we were definitely going. He actually looked at me and said “Go on then, get on with it, you can do this one a few times”. Had my chest been better he may have got a smart remark back but we headed up the steps with him counting all the way.
Climbing up through the woodland and under the canopy of pine trees we found a little den made of logs that our Son would have loved to be able to hide in. He ran from tree to tree pretending to jump out on us and I think he was playing some sort of sniper game, like boys do!
The well-worn path led us eventually to the Longside gallery and we were able to wander around and have a look at some of the interesting exhibits. My Son loved the monkey and I liked the interesting blue tiles making a person.
Our adventure this week took us Baildon and a walk on Baildon Moor and Shipley Glen. I found the walk on our local Bradford Council website countryside page and the walk itself has been devised by Baildon Walkers are Welcome group.
I’ve passed through Baildon a few times and knew there was a memorial in the centre of a roundabout, I didn’t know that it was locally known as The Potted Meat Stick! The kids thought this was hilarious and were eager to see what this potted meat stick looked like. Our walk started from the car park next to the roundabout, it was easy to find and is a pay and display car park. There was a bit of a market on when we visited and a band playing music. The local pies, pasties and cakes looked amazing. My Son’s eyes were out on stalks and he was desperate to buy a pie with his pocket money! We promised on the way back he could get one, but we would pay.
The instructions for the walk were really detailed and have to be the best instructions we’ve had for a while. A lot of our time spent on some of the walks has been spend deciphering what the instructions mean and comparing them to a map. We confidently strolled up to Baildon Moor, past the golf course, through farm land, over stiles and eventually we were at Shipley Glen. On the way a narrow path leads you through woodland at the side of a farm. It is a little spooky, especially if you’re 5 years old. My Daughter however soon forgot she was scared as she spotted a horse wearing pink shoes. Her two favourite things being pink and horses!
Our recent family walk was a stroll along the Leeds Liverpool canal from Bingley 5 rise locks to Saltaire. After doing the 2 Yorkshire Peaks the week before our blisters had subsided but we decided to have an easier walk this time.
We drove to nearby Bingley for the start of our walk and the chilly day started to warm up nicely. As we walked to the swing bridge to cross the canal the kids were thrilled to see their first Narrow boat going down the locks.
The walk is easy with a bit of a steep descent to start with and only a few ups and downs. Just what the adult’s legs needed post Yorkshire Peaks! The kids were fascinated with the narrow boats and the locks, scaring me slightly as they peered into the water. A popular tow path with cyclists and runners led us towards Saltaire. We spotted Swans, Geese and Ducks and even a family canoeing! What I loved about this walk is that by the canal it was quite relaxing with only a few bike bells ringing now and again.
The temperature had certainly warmed up and we were soon stripping off the hoodies and applying the sun cream.
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.