Monday, 6 March 2017


We've decided on something a bit more challenging today. For too long we've been playing safe, acutely aware of our lack of fitness and time constraints. So, enough of that, today we're making the most of it!

We squeeze into the full lay-by next to Yorkshire Bridge Inn and start off with our usual swapping session (including an old fashioned ginger beer plant). It starts to rain so we wait it out with a piece of Key Lime Pie and a drink of ginger beer. That sets us up nicely, then it's onward and onward.

We cross over the dam wall and look down it's chilly length. There's always a stiff breeze blowing here, but we suspect that there'll be little good weather today.

We turn right and set off at the side of the reservoir. We haven't gone too far before we reach the track we usually come back down on and make the decision to go up that way instead and do our walk in reverse. Well, it seems like a good idea!

We go up, through the gate at the top, and pause. Is it an age thing? We can't remember how we usually approach this point - and we've been here loads of times. The map is of minimal help, the paths on paper not quite matching those on the ground.

We strike off to the right and then veer left, eventually going through a metal gate. The first wisps of familiarity disappear as we realise we have never been here before. Never mind, it's going in the right direction, more or less.

The path is quite boggy in places, and brings us to an old derelict building. It has wonderful views, but poor access and needs a bit of work doing to bring it up to modern standards!

We head on upwards and come to the fence line beneath Win Hill. We may not be on the path we planned but we've arrived where we need to be.

From here it's a long walk following the line between moorland and forest. In places it is waterlogged, in others it is stony underfoot. 

The path undulates with some quite large dips and rises and we even get a glimmer of blue sky, but it doesn't last. The views from here, though, are superb.

Further along we have a number of options; go down, go on, go to the Roman road, go backwards and up Win Hill. The sheep scrutinize us as we quickly decide to keep going. We'll reach the Roman road soon enough, and our target is Hope Cross.

And after more walking than we recall (why are distances distorted when you do a route in reverse?) we see the cross standing aloof next to the path.

We only pause briefly to look at it before finding the path into the woods. At last we find something to sit on out of the wind to enjoy a late lunch. The Key Lime Pie and ginger beer certainly kept us going! Today's treat is scratched cinnamon swirl bun. Nice and chewy, but I would have liked more cinnamon.

Once we've done we head off again, it's too cold to linger. We're going steadily downhill now, and past the ridge and furrow land under the trees. They look very ethereal given the dark gloom of the woods here.

At the bottom we turn right through the muddy patch that was once the front yard of another derelict building. There's heavy moss growth on the old gateposts and a sense of nature reclaiming everything.

We walk through the trees, and the views open out again. It's downhill and a bit muddy, and we're surprised how far we still have to walk - this is usually behind us on the outbound stretch so it's not our usual view.

It's levellish ground though, and no challenge, especially as we still have plenty to talk about (nothing new there). But the sky is dull and we've had the best of the day. No pause when we get back to the cars, it's been a long walk and we can't hang around. But it's certainly been worth it.

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