Walking Diary 2019


WALDEN WALK - Saturday 19th January

A splendid turn out of ten walkers arrived at Simon's house at 8:30 for delicious Bacon, Egg and Sausage butties, before setting off through the village at the start of their epic exploration of the dale called just Walden,

The walkers fortified with their Egg, Bacon and Sausage butties are ready to take on anything 

The walkers soon reach the first of many bridges and were greatly relieved

The bridge quality proves to be very variable as the walk progresses

Conditions worsen as the walkers traverse Walden and the route becomes indistinct.   The walkers have faith in their leader, despite his numerous consultations with the map. 

The group spreads out due to the difficult conditions, but Simon stops regularly to re-group

The walkers cross Walden Beck close to Walden Head and they start their return via the traitorous southern side

Some discussion was heard regarding the validity of certain bridges, but this one was deemed to meet the required specification 

The walkers were relieved to locate the West Burton falls, knowing that their lunchtime stop was close by

  Alan was pleased with the performance of his new boots

The walkers feast upon chips in the Fox and Hounds in West Burton, together with much Black Sheep and Theakston ales

  The walkers were amazed at how dark it became on the last stage of their journey back to Thoralby


Chip Score:     Ten individual generous bowls of high quality chips.

Weather:     Damp and cold conditions with snow on the higher areas

Walkers:     Simon (Leader), Paul, Ed, Tom, Michael, John, Colin, Alan, Kevin & Dick

NORTH STAINLEY WALK - Saturday 16th February

Eight walkers arrived at the lay-by just south of North Stainley before tucking into delicious Bacon, Egg and Sausage butties, before setting off alongside the side of the Lightwater Valley amusement park.

The walkers are ready to tackle the difficult walk in warm conditions, hoping to be locate the infamous Hackfall Woods 

The first bridge located disappointed the walkers, but they vowed to locate more on their adventure

Great confusion was caused by identical bridges

The walkers were pleased to meet some of the local inhabitants, but felt they were more interested in the grass than the progress of the walkers.

Very quickly the walkers located the folly in Hackfall Woods, where they feasted on their Pork Pie rations

The walkers proudly showed off another bridge and instinctively posed for more group photos

The Bull Inn in West Tansfield was chosen by the walkers for their lunchtime refreshments, where much ale and chips were consumed.

The last bridge was crossed after leaving the Bull Inn before the walkers took a riverside walk back towards North Stainley.

The walkers were quick to imprison John in the grade 2 listed lock-up on the main road through the village

The walkers were pleased with their performance on what was agreed a successful and enjoyable walk


Chip Score:     Individual bowls of chunky chips, but not considered to be crispy enough

Weather:     Warm and pleasant walking conditions

Walkers:     Colin (Leader), Paul, Ed, John, Colin, Simon, Alan, Kevin & Dick


  Although five hardy walkers arrived in Starbotton to commence the planned walk, the depth of the flooded roads they had encountered, persuaded them to abandon the walk.   They travelled to Bucken to find a shelter where they were able to enjoy Cliff's bacon and sausage butties, before heading home.

It soon became apparent that several of the walkers gathered to enjoy much ale, with chips in a local hostelry.  The other walkers were not amused!!


GILLING WEST WALK - Saturday 20th April

Seven walkers arrived in the centre of Gilling West, north of Richmond on their walk in the hopes of reaching Ravensworth, via an unusual and difficult route.

The walkers can be seen clutching Cliff's Bacon and Sausage butties at the start of their walk in the sunshine

Crowds of local inhabitants, turned out to catch a glimpse of the walkers as they headed to the farm up Old Hall Lane.

The walkers were relieved to turn to their Pork Pie rations, as they were acutely aware that no bridges had been located on the walk so far.

The hot weather continued towards the village of Kirby Hill and still no bridges!!!


Cliff quickly constructed a swing from a disused ladder in Kirby Hill, much to the relief of the other walkers.


Much concern was witnessed as the walkers bravely passed the open 'Should of Mutton', without any temptation to stop!

Ravensworth was located with extreme accuracy and the walkers gathered in the garden of The Bay Horse Inn for ale and chips

The return route to Gilling West was littered with many bridges to the immense relief of the walkers

Cliff remained smug as the walkers stopped to admire the ancestral home of Lord Bailey of Thorably.
Crossing this bridge, signified to the walkers that their walk has been a success and their arrival in Gilling West would be assured.

The walkers were relieved to reach their cars after what they agreed was a testing, but very enjoyable walk


Chip Score:     Individual bowls of fresh home made chips

Weather:     A hot and sunny walking day

Walkers:     Dick (Leader), Cliff, Paul, Ed, Simon, Alan & Tom

Quest F’ T’oly Dale - Saturday 18th May   (Re-run of the abandoned Starbotton Walk from 16th March)

The group of intrepid walkers assembled to re-enact the ancient walk, known only as “up t’dale”, though this name has long since been a lost in antiquity from the ancient OS maps.  The route traces that followed by their fore bares, known as the “quest f’ t’oly dale”, which too has been lost in antiquity.

Fortified by excellent Bacon & Egg butties', supplied by Kevin (the day’s leader), they headed due west toward their first great challenge of the day:-

the bridge over the River Wharfe (known locally as “bridge owa Whaaaarfe”).

The technical challenges of negotiating the bridge were swiftly overcome due to their collective experience and knowledge of surmounting such obstacles, but the real issue lay in delegating the task of “Recorder of the Walk’s Imagery” or as the group fondly refer to him as “the snapper”.  Following a lengthy discussion lasting 6 or 7 seconds, a consensus was reached that they should share the responsibility of the Recorder of the Walk’s Imagery, by taking it in turns to get their equipment out and be a snapper.

(An independent decision by the Recorder of the Walk’s Narrative was that the snapper’s identity should remain unknown to all except those with outstanding powers of deduction and elimination.)

Heading north from Starbotton along the river path they trekked through wet grass and some stiles for what seemed like 3.5km to reach Buckden and the bridge over the river Wharfe (also known locally as “bridge owa Whaaaarfe”).  This caused much confusion amongst the group, sparking a frenzy of activity in search of clues regarding this apparent discrepancy. Thankfully, using all his years of experience in the construction industry and some very clear thinking, Colin concluded this must be a different bridge over the river Wharfe and they were still on course in their “quest f’ t’oly dale”.  They concluded this bizarre way to name bridges must have been devised by ancient inhabitants to create confusion in the minds of hapless adventurers.

Climbing out of Buckden towards Cray, Tom raced ahead in an effort to summit Buckden Pike before anyone would notice.  Fortunately for Tom, John was able to spot the attempted break-away and advise him of the perils of 'going-it-alone' and the high risk of missing the first round in the pub.  As the true impact of his actions dawned on him, and that the first round was Paul’s birthday round, Tom reluctantly accepted the error of his ways and re-joined the group.

Upon reaching level ground above Buckden, a chance encounter with legendary Gate Guard of Cray was the source of some anxiety within the group. This mystical figure, which took the form of a large, white-belted bull (and weighing as much as a large, white-belted bull (if not more)), as well as sporting the largest pair of back teeth imaginable, kindly allowed them to continue unhindered.  Sadly, there was no visual record of the creature as no-one had the back teeth to get their snapper out.

They descended into Cray, without incident, only to find the bridge at Cray Gill was not called the bridge over the River Wharfe, but in fact was known as, the stepping stones of Cray Gill.  

They deduced this must be for 2 reasons …
  1) Stones cannot be considered to be a bridge;
  2) Cray Gill is not the River Wharfe. 


Leaving Cray with time pressing on and with heavy hearts, as the White Lion was open and they weren’t stopping, they journeyed on along the policeman’s leg (they were proceeding in a westerly direction – sorry) towards Scar House.

Colin, Kevin and John raced ahead to prepare the pie stop, whilst Simon, Tom and Paul made sure that they weren’t being followed by any highway pie thieves.

Relieved of the burden of the pies and with renewed vigour, Colin prepared to give them all a sneak preview of his song-and-dance routine for Britain’s Got Talent, when Simon appeared to have been struck by a bolt of lightning.   They all considered this strange as it wasn’t stormy, nor had his face suddenly blackened as his clothes shredded themselves, nor, intriguingly was there any smoke coming out of his ears either (though there could have been some slight hair loss?). “OMG” said Simon “Where’s the chocolate-toffee-crispy-thingees?” Upon the realisation of this critical omission, the mood amongst the walkers dimmed into sombreness'.

Dejected, but not beaten, Captain Kev knew it was time to re-evaluate his plan.   He knew he needed to motivate the lads and set a new goal for the walkers: chocolate-toffee-crispy-thingee or no, he knew what he needed to do: He had to drop the “d”. Yes, this could no longer be a “quest f’ t’oly dale”; things had become a whole lot more serious: this was now a “quest f’ t’oly ale”.

Hubberholme: 'The George';  just one more bridge to cross…

As they prepared for the perilous descent into Yockenthwaite, the group was approached by a band of would-be pie thieves dressed in training shoes and armed with some children.  However, despite their hostile appearance they turned out to be nothing more than a group of ill prepared townies in need of a sugar fix for one of their ill prepared members who wasn’t expecting hills. (In the Dales? Really?)   At this point Paul excused himself from the group as he needed to make a quick phone call from a nearby phone box.  Unfortunately for him, Paul missed all the excitement as a crazy dude appeared from seemingly nowhere, wearing a poncey cape, his boxers on top of his shiny tights (not a good look) and brown socks, carrying some dextrose tables and a nutty bar.  The sustenance was gratefully accepted by the townie before Boxerman just seemed to disappear in a swirl of dust.  Sorry Paul, I don’t know what was so urgent about the phone call, but he seemed to have missed all the drama! How did he get back from the phone box so quickly, too?  Simon said he got his snapper out to record the event, but it was all done in a flash!

Using the policeman’s other leg, they tracked back along the valley bottom from Yockenthwaite towards Hubberholme and their lunchtime salvation.  Boyed by Kevin’s regular, motivational team-hugs, as well as the prospect of being re-united with Mr Theakston and the Black Sheep, they pressed on to 'The George'… and the bossy landlord.   Upon reaching Hubberholme and the bridge over the river Wharfe (also known locally as “bridge owa Whaaaarfe”) Colin and the boys quickly surveyed the structure to reveal yet another device to confuse any unsuspecting traveller.  In the confusion they remained un-confused and Colin declared this to be yet another bridge over the river Wharfe.

Sensing the group would need some moral support, Clifford abandoned his domestic chores in Thoralby and raced over the hills to 'The George'.   He knew if he could not repair the bar, at least he and Paul would be able to prop it up whilst the latter procured the first round.   Not convinced by the quality of the ale (though it was absolutely fine), the walkers elected to take more beer samples to satisfy their thirst [for knowledge] and to re-assure themselves they had not been drinking water.   The generous chip butties were warmly welcomed, not just because they were very hot, but also because they were very well made and truly delicious.

Mission accomplished in the “quest f’ t’oly ale” the final leg of the journey would have been quite straight forward were it not for the fact that the river meanders considerably.  In his determination to extract maximum value for money from his new boots (and nothing to do with Mr Theakston)Tom elected to mimic the river and covered the final 5.2kms in 6.3kms.

In the midst of Tom's meanderings, he declared an important discovery: a new bridge over the river Wharfe. (As this was believed to be a new discovery it had no known local name).   In his seemingly infinite wisdom of all things bridgey, Colin declared Tom had erred for 2 reasons:

1) It was not on the River Wharfe and
2) It was in fact a culvert.

In a final twist of fate, the ever level-headed Colin tried to avert a breakout of massed hysteria by warning the walkers that the last bridge, over the River Wharfe, was in fact the first bridge over the River Wharfe, and also known locally as “bridge owa Whaaaarfe”.  

Much confusion ensued, so they decided that they should all go home to get some rest.

Kevin                    (Master of the Walk’s Navigation)
Colin                    (Purveyor of the Walk’s Pies),
Simon                  (Master of the Walk’s Carriages)
Paul                     (Master of the Walk’s Medicine Chest)
Tom                     (Master of the Walk’s Jest)
Clifford                (Master Orator & General Yorkshire Factotum (part time)
John                     (Master of the Walk’s Words).

Ale score:            4/5 good, but not so good we stayed all day.

ChipAdvisor:         5/5 excellent chip butties.

Weather:             4/5 better than forecast – cool and dry.

WENSLEY WALK - Saturday 15th June

A depleted group of just five brave walkers assembled at the layby next to the bridge over the River Ure, close to Wensley, where they eagerly devoured Paul & Susan's excellent Egg and beefburger butties, much to their great delight.

The route took them alongside the river all the way to Lords Bridge,
where the customary group photo was taken.  


Alan was quick to point out Clifford's country residence in the distance.

Progress was slow as the walkers had to patiently wait for the cows to return to their pastures after milking.

The leader of the walk, Andy, led the way across the dangerous railway line, much to the concern of the others, but no disaster occurred.

Redmire was reached in record time, but they noted that it was too early to visit the Bolton Arms

The walkers were in great spirit when they stopped outside a chapel in the quiet village of Preston-under-Scar, for their mid morning pie stop, where they shared one of their two giant pies

With guidance from a local goose and her goslings, the walkers were able to locate a section of woodland, which revealed, to their great delight, a plethora of bridges.


However, they remain concerned that they had mislaid one bridge and rapidly set about trying to locate it !!!

The walkers were concerned that their leader, Andy, seemed to be leading from the rear.  Or did he have a cunning plan to locate the missing bridge?

MYSTERY SOLVED - When their leader found the missing bridge, which had been moved away from a ford to avoid it being stolen.    They were greatly relieved!

The walkers were amazed at the giant reception party that had been laid on for them on reaching Leyburn, but the locals seemed more interested in the food and drink on offer, than welcoming the walkers.

The walkers headed straight for the Golden Lion, where they feasted on three bowls of chips, with accompanying ale.

Leaving Leyburn, with its party atmosphere, the walkers headed towards Wensley, stopping briefly in the Rugby Club, which was boasting a Beer Festival with many interesting ales on offer.


John tastes the blueberry cider ordered by Kevin. 
The others are unsure of the beverage!!

Chip Score:     Tasty home made chips, but considered slightly too soft

Weather:     An overcast day, but the rain stayed off until the Rugby Club visit.

Walkers:     Andy (Leader), Paul, Kevin, Alan and John

WETHERBY WALK - Saturday 20th July

The group of 8 keen walkers arrived at Alan's House for Bacon, Sausage and Egg Butties, before setting off down the old railway line to join a section of the Ebor Way

DISASTER STRUCK within 5 minutes of setting off, when Alan received a telephone call from Tom, who had become lost when returning to collect his stick!!

The walkers were humbled to see that the staff at Wood Hall had closed their car park to ensure that the path of the walkers was clear of the hundreds of well wishers that would have arrived to see the famous walkers pass through.

Alan was quick to notice that the hotel had specially installed a rapid charger for electric vehicles, in case it was needed by the walkers.

Several of the walkers complained that the walk appeared longer than Alan had stated, but he new that this was merely caused by the lack of bridges on the walk.

Cunningly Alan located a poor example of a bridge, which he confirmed met the strict bridge criteria and the walkers, except Tom and Ed gathered for photographic evidence.

The walkers soon arrived at The Railway Inn in Spofforth for Sam Smiths ale at 2 per pint.

A further disaster was narrowly avoided when it was discovered that the pub kitchen was closed and that no chips could be procured.   Alan arranged with Sue for supplies from Wetherby to be brought in in special bio-degradable containers.

Chip Score:     Fish shop chips imported from Wetherby were considered to have travelled well.

Weather:     A hot day, with the threat of a couple of showers which luckily did not materialise.

Walkers:     Alan (Leader), Paul, Cliff, Tom, Ed, Colin, Andy & Simon

SCARHOUSE WALK - Saturday 17th August

Six keen walkers arrived at the Scar House Reservoir car park to start Tom's testing walk.   After consuming Cliff's excellent bacon, Sausage and egg butties, they felt ready to tackle anything and set off towards the massive Scar House Dam at speed.

The walkers crossed the giant dam with great confidence and showing no fear.

Cliff and Kevin look back at Scar House reservoir, knowing that only minutes beforehand they had crossed the mighty structure.

The walkers accurately followed the northern edge of the Dale to reach the familiar shooting lodge, where they shared their rations of Pork Pie and Crispies.

Dropping down from the shooting lodge the walkers were relieved to cross the only solitary bridge of their walk, before starting the climb into Middlesmoor and their planned lunchtime stop.

The walkers were delighted to arrive at the Crown Hotel in Middlesmoor where they enjoyed several pints of Black Sheep ale and individual bowls of high quality home made chips.

Arrival at the car park indicated the end of another successful walk and the walkers remained in high spirit, vowing to meet again in September to test their walking skills.

Chip Score:     Generous individual bowls of very hot chips.

Weather:     A mixed day, with periods of cloudy weather and sunshine at other times, but generally very windy throughout the day. The threat of a couple of showers, which luckily did not materialise.

Walkers:    Tom (Leader), Michael, Alan, Cliff, Kevin and Dick

FEARBY WALK - Saturday 21st September

Just four walkers arrived at the crossroads in Fearby eager to start Paul's walk.  The walkers were aware of local folk lore that compelled them to search out an destroy an Ancient Order of Druids that was rumoured to exist close to the village of Ilton.

Initially the walk took them on parts of the Ripon Rowel Walk, which was familiar to them and gave them considerable confidence for what might lay ahead.

In the excellent weather, the walkers proceeded in high spirits     

Their quest for bridges was soon rewarded as they crossed the River Burn

Their spirits sank, when through the trees came the sight of a medieval bridge, that they instinctively knew meant that the Ancient Order of Druids and its Temple must be getting close.





The bridge was deserted, but the walkers showed no fear.

Much to the surprise of the locals, the walkers even posed for a group photo on the bridge    

Within seconds, the walkers found themselves in the centre of the Druid's Plantation and they found themselves compelled to search out the 'Druid Master'

The fearsome Druid Master appeared before them !!!!!

The walkers knew that the only way to appease 'The Master' was to offer a sacrifice and unanimously John was chosen   As John was duly despatched, Cliff rang ahead to the pub to reduce the chip order by one portion.

A solemn atmosphere existed in the Theaksons Brewery at Masham, as the walkers consumed their beer and chips

Chip Score:     Solemn portions of very hot chips.

Weather:     A hot and sunny walking day.

Walkers:    Paul (Leader), Michael, Cliff and John

GUNNERSIDE WALK - Saturday 19th October

Following a hearty breakfast sarnie of Clifford’s home-cured bacon, homemade sausage and (presumably, home-laid somewhere in Thoralby) egg, the group of six set off from Gunnerside village hall, along a stretch of the new “Swale Trail” and Alfred Wainwright’s “A Pennine Journey”, up along Dyke Heads, past Gunnerside Lodge and Ivelet before descending back to the river bank, close to (but avoiding) Ramps Holme Bridge

.Now heading north along the Swale Trail (built for mountain bikes, but the TWADS mountain goats were a match for it)

The boys encountered a potential easy ride to Muker and an early pub stop. Sadly this endeavour was thwarted by the realisation that, despite Colin and Tom’s undoubted engineering skills, the old grey Fergie was unlikely to better a 0-walking pace time of one ice age.

Undeterred by the Fergie set-back and fortified by Voakes’ pork pie (with jelly – thank you Colin) and a piece of banana cake (with banana – thank you Julie), the six continued on the higher ground above Kisdon Force before turning south at the foot bridge near Keld

Dropping down to the lower ground once again the lads were full of appreciation for the magnificent upper Swaledale and its rich pallet of Autumn colours in the pale, early afternoon sunlight, thankful their foul weather gear remained redundant in their rucksacks.


In an unusual turn of events, Clifford suggested they should explore the possibility of the public house at Muker being open, and whether or not it sold beer.

Sadly, although open for beer sales, the warm welcome seemed to rush out of the door that Simon held open for a few seconds longer than permissible. Not put off by the reception, the lads re-charged their batteries on what Masham does best, as well as bowls of reluctantly supplied chips.

(How much planning does a weekend’s worth of chips take?)

Re-energised and fortified the TWADS headed back across the flower meadows and the Ramps Holme Bridge to take the lower, riverside route back to Ivelet Bridge and finally Gunnerside.

Although the weather had finally turned typically Swale, the light drizzle was not sufficient to warrant additional clothing nor to dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic walkers.

A good walk of 18km (11.2mls) with two significant uphill stretches.

Chip Advisor:             Good, but not outstanding like the butty or the cake.

Beer Score:            3.5     Good, but not “Knock me over with a rolled copy of the Northern Echo” good.

Weather:                 Although the weather had finally turned typically Swale, the light drizzle was not sufficient to warrant additional clothing nor to dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic walkers.  

Walkers:                 John (Leader) Clifford, Colin, Dick, Simon & Tom

GROMONT WALK - Saturday 16th November

Seven walkers gathered at an early hour in the station car park at Gromont, ready for a day's walking in the familiar areas of the North York Moors.

Setting off through Gromont the walkers were surprised to note the quiet and sleepiness of the village, as it was noted that the railway was not running until Christmas.   After an initial steep climb out of Gromont the walkers took a right turn into Crag Cliff Wood.

The walkers were relieved to find many bridges on route and took full advantage of them.

Very quickly the route became indistinct and much confusion was witnessed as the walkers consulted their various electronic navigation systems. 

Disaster Occurred

 When Colin announced that he had mislaid his glasses and would have to backtrack to the beginning of the walk.   However, using his super human skills and much to his obvious delight, they were quickly located.

Great skill was demonstrated by the walkers in negotiating dangerous flimsy bridges, but no disasters occurred.

Tom was disappointed when he learned that the route did not require them to cross the river by the slippery stepping stones.


The walkers remained pleased with their progress.

Arriving at the eerily quite Goathland Station, the walkers quickly gathered for the statuary group photo before heading off through the village.

More bridges had to be crossed before the walkers could continue their walk, knowing that they would soon arrive at Beck Hole for their planned lunchtime stop.

Familiar sights were passed at the walkers closed in on their much anticipated lunchtime stop at Beck Hole

Second Disaster Occurred

 When on arrival at Beck Hole the pub was closed until the 23rd November.

The distraught walkers walked in circles clearly in total confusion over the news 


The walkers decided to head back to Gromont by the shortest route, where they knew that the Station Tavern would be open.   They travelled at speed stopping briefly for a group photo on another bridge.



Third Disaster Occurred

 Total disbelief was the only description of the walkers feelings when they discovered that the Station Tavern in Gromont was also closed  



As the walkers returned to their cars, they consulted with the local shopkeeper and quickly hatched a cunning plan.  They headed off to Egton Bridge where they knew that the Postgate Inn was open.

The walkers enjoyed chips with their ale at the Postgate Inn in Egton Bridge.

After the disasters of the day faded, the walkers all agreed that this had been a very good walk.

Chip Advisor:             Expensive, but good quality chips served with bread to make chip butties.

Weather:                 A damp day, but although the rain did not dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic walkers.  

Walkers:                 Sean (Leader), John, Kevin, Colin, Alan, Tom & Simon

CHRISTMAS WALK - Sunday 29th December

A splendid turnout of Twelve walkers arrived at the 'Cross' in Middleham.   Before setting off they were treated to excellent Bacon & Sausage butties courtesy of Cliff.

The walkers headed uphill onto the 'gallops' where they
paused to discuss various important current affair issues
before continuing shortly to turn into Tupgill Park.




Passing the entrance to 'The Forbidden Corner', they noted that the new dragon was emitting significant quantities of steam


A group photo was called for, although it was noted that the "bridge" was in fact single sided and totally false!  The walkers chose the ignore this important fact as it was Christmas.



Tom, Cliff and Ed chose to take
an alternative route,
missing entirely this bridge

Although cunningly disguised, the walkers instinctively recognised this as a bridge and gathered for a statutory group photo 

Cliff's pork and game pie proved a great success with the hungry walkers, which was consumed with much Timothy Taylors Ale



Bowls of steaming
chips were served
to accompany
the excellent pie

A taxi collected the walkers (except the Richmond and Catterick contingent at around 4:30 and the walk was deemed a great success.

Chip Advisor:             Bowls of excellent quality chips, served by attractive table staff.

Weather:                 A dry and at times sunny walking day, although cold and muddy.  

Walkers:                 Cliff (Leader), John, Kevin, Andy, Colin, Alan, Tom, Michael, Ed, Dick, Ian & Simon

NEXT WALK - Saturday 18th January 2020



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