For some time I have shunned the idea of repeating previous walks on the grounds that every opportunity, at my age, of discovering things new must be taken. Occasionally there are exceptions, and I would happily repeat all parts of the Dalesway which I have previously walked in sections (I have yet to fill in the five miles from the start in Ilkley up to Bolton Bridge.) Every section of that walk is shear delight, on old tracks, cropped turf, accompanied by lively streams and seventeenth century farms and barns, skilfully blended into the landscape. One can let the imagine wander on tracks along ancient hawthorn and holly hedgerows where pack horses would have trudged.
Sunday gave us intense blue sky with a nip in the air and ice on puddles as I set off with daughter Jill and granddaughter Katie on a typical section not far from the finish of the Dalesway at Bowness-on-Windermere.
I particularly enjoy this fringe of the Lake District terrain where sheep graze in fields of mini undulating fells, mainly untrodden by cows, and topped with enticing outcrops of the kind of solid rock so redolent of the classic climbing crags remembered from my erstwhile rock climbing days.
With my recovering knee the distance of 2.21 miles was just about enough: the discomfort seems to fluctuate, from almost normal walking to quite unpleasant pain and stiffness, but I am pretty sure I am not overdoing it. We meandered and stopped for half an hour on the high contour above Crag House and munched biscuits with cheese tomato and basil. We could just glimpse a bit of Lake Windermere to the south-west vividly reflecting the sun. Katie had brought a book; she has all at once started reading properly - I am not saying Katie is exceptional, but seeing young children acquiring language then reading ability is a fascinating business. I am gruntled to see her enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment of books.
All along Katie was way out in front, in cowboy language "riding point", but I'm not sure about "heading them off at the pass." She was summiting rocks, playing King of the Castle, and poking at icy puddles with her stout driftwood staff gleaned from the beach at Arnside a few days ago, and it was a joy to see her imagination running wild.
Including our long brunchy stop we managed a relaxing 0.83mph - that's the way to do it.