Yorkshire Dales. Part One.

If you have been keeping up with my posts just prior to this,  then you’ll know that I was aching to make a trip into the countryside after having become quite dispirited in Leeds.  The number of times I had nervously double-checked the bus timetables was only forcing me into a greater panic about the next leg of this trip,  so you can imagine how relieved I was when I sat down finally and headed for the rolling green hills.

First you must know that the Yorkshire Dales is one of several designated “areas of outstanding beauty” in the United Kingdom. You may be familiar with the Lake District or the Peak District as well and we’ll be getting to those in the next few posts. The area of the dales is made up of hills, spotted with sheep, coursed with stone walls and home to many quaint villages nestled in the valleys between hundreds of hiking paths. Some of these trails lead you to dramatic views from a limestone cliff or to a waterfall at the head of a stream. Like many of the natural areas i visited… if it had been summer time I probably wouldn’t have ever wanted to leave. 

The early spring here has been much like the northwest region at home. The ground is wet and the grass is quite green. The hills are rather brown from last seasons ferns and there are only bulbs in bloom presently. The sun makes everything glow, but on grey days its not so much the English countryside you see on calendar pages. The days are getting longer though, and the birds chirping away are a promising sign. : )

My first night in the area was in a small village on the southern edge, called Burley. (Burley in Wharfedale) This was my first couchsurfing arrangement of the trip and I had the terrific experience of staying at a house in this town with a very thoughtful and enthusiastic local.  My host had done a lot of traveling in his lifetime and because his children have seen the world via couchsurfing he wanted to contribute by hosting. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to talk to about the area. He knew a lot about the trails and attractions. He generously drove me all around to places I very likely would not have seen if he hadn’t offered. In the sweet town of Ilkley he took me to a nice lunch and then we went to hike around the river near Bolton Abbey.  Now that is a beautiful spot! The paths, river, rolling hills, happy grazing sheep, and the stunning ancient abbey all made quite the lasting impression. It was a cold day, but the sun was bright and the sounds of the river kept me well energized. I finally figured out that my walking pace matches that of a 75-year old hiking aficionado. Perfect walking buddy!

When I departed Burley I made another stop up the road in Ilkley to hike the Cow and Calf rocks for a stunning view of the dales. It was a commitment to get there (including the extra mile from where i was at in town) with my pack but brilliant to see everything from the top. Let me tell you, the descent was much less effort and I soon strolled happily to the bus stop. Another spontaneous and rewarding adventure complete.

{Take a look at the following post for a few photo highlights from Burley, Ilkley and Bolton Abbey.}

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5 thoughts on “Yorkshire Dales. Part One.

  1. Sounds magical! Can’t wait to see the pictures. Your Host sounds lovely too. What a great guy to show you around. I hope I’m still climbing hills when I’m 75.

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