NB - title says "last few miles", but I still have one unwalked section left - from the start at Ilkley following the river Wharfe to Bolton Bridge, just over five miles.
My eyes detect something huge and red in my peripheral vision as I approach Levens again (you may remember it was at Levens a couple of days ago when I decided to return home to retrieve my forgotten camera). Levens is starting to haunt me.
I react and look left. There is a massive Virgin, red, hot-air ballon perched on the rim of a bright green field a few hundred yards off the road. I do an unpremeditated u-turn and park in a lay-by opposite and get a quick photo, and then a zoom to the basket of people. After a few moments the balloon falls over on its side, still fully inflated, and lies horizontally on the field horizon, and a surprisingly large number of occupants start clambering out. All quite a bonus start, along with the bright sunny weather for this penultimate Dales Way fill-in campaign.
A muddy pull-off on the B5284 overshadowed by large trees and all gloomy provided parking fifty yards from the minor road heading off south to start my walk. After ten minutes down that road I remembered I had packed my boots, day walking rucksack with valuable contents, my Tom Tom satnav and various other items in preparation for my departure to Scotland on Thursday. Normally I don't leave valuables in the car, but today I couldn't help worrying, and envisaging the return to a scenario of broken glass and arguments and frustration with my insurance company. As the walk progressed with the ever changing scenery, old lanes, close cropped footpaths, ancient stiles,and little tarns and streams in this delightful, hummocky, fringe of the Lake District those thoughts were dissipated.
My own devised route took me on a sweep to the south of the B5284 heading east, to rejoin that road at The Howe. From there the climb through fields and several farms to get back to the point on the Dales Way where I left it last time was fairly hard going, and although there were footpath signs careful navigation was required entailing many stops to look at the map (on my iPhone), and to climb stiles. At the house of Boxtree I took a wide berth of half a dozen young bullocks resulting in me missing an insignificant gate in a hedge accessing a narrow footpath round the perimeter of Boxtree's garden, and I spent a lot of time finding this essential link to cross a mini wooded ravine next to the house - that footpath was the only way trough barring barbed wire fences and shredded clothing.
The Dales Way continued, always living up to my previous praises, and the distant Lake District hills came into view.
I met a group of six Duke of Edinburgh Gold expeditioners sheltering under the shade of trees. They were full of good cheer with much better organised rucksacks and smarter appearance than the Bronze debutantes one often meets. It is always good to see these youngsters (almost young men in this case) getting this experience whatever stage they are at.
Further on I met a couple with an English Setter dog and we had quite a long conversation. They found my blog on their mobile, but I hope they will look at it in its proper version later on a laptop or pc - mobile phones produce their own format for blogs and other websites which horribly downgrades the appearance.
I haven't a guide for this walk but the path marked on the map ends where the Taramc into Bowness begins so I descended a steep rocky path for a couple of hundred yards to the Tarmac, took a photo, then re-ascended to pick up my return route to the car. As I approached the B5284 I could hear non-stop traffic whizzing by, and this B road was unreasonably and puzzlingly heavy with traffic even allowing for its function as a secondary route into the Lake Distrrict. The car was thankfully intact.
|I saw no bull.|
I'm a bit concerned about that grey patch above the gate, but it doesn't seem to occur on other photos
|Old water tanks, rusted right through - for my Relics folder|
|On the climb from the B5284 back up to the Dales Way|
Scruffy farm contrasted with the pleasant scenery
|I know people from abroad view this blog so this and next two give a feel for scenery that fellow UK viewers will be familiar with|
|Distant Lake District fells|
|First glimpse of Lake windermere - big zoom|
|Windermere, above Bowness, looking north|
|CLICK TO ENLARGE|
Specially for Alan R after his comment:
|Alan - does this help?|