For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Monday, 1 April 2019

OS Grid 38 (northing) SD 305 380 to TA 269 379 - Day 8

Friday 29 March 2019 - Saltaire to Leeds,

Compared with our six single day walks so far this was proper backpacking with a completely different feel -  more of a promise of adventure and walking into the unknown.

BC, master of logistics, vetoed leaving two cars at Salts Mill then walking to Leeds to overnight, then walk to Barwick next day and bus back to Leeds and train back to Saltaire. Our previous experience of fighting rush-hour traffic through Keighley had been fraught. BC has friends in Skipton. There we rendezvoused. Ten minutes walking had us on the train to Saltaire, and we were off by 10:00 am.

Saltaire is a Victorian model village created around the massive Salts Mill by Sir Titus Salt, and now a world heritage site. The mill houses a huge collection of David Hockney paintings and is a must see attraction. One can walk straight from Saltaire train station onto the start of the Dales High Way, one of the best long distance walks in the country.

Sunny weather, just warm enough for only a base layer and shirt, and a gentle start along the canal to Shipley was walking perfection.

A couple in a narrow boat had lost forward power and were trying to do a three-point-turn with some difficulty and seemed to have run aground. We watched and chatted and then walked on wondering if they had been successful.

Our straight line coincidentally passes through several significant locations, one being Thackley Cricket Club where I was told my father had been captain of the second team before I was born and before WW2. A bit further up the road Thackley Primary School provided more nostalgia. I attended and left there in 1947! Little had changed at the front entrance where I had a fight with Norman Lawrence (I wonder what happened to him)  then I spied the wall outside where we jumped from pretending to be Spitfire pilots bailing out. I was probably not much aware but the influence of WW2 presumably still prevailed. Whilst taking all this in and photographing we happened on a lady pushing a pram and chatted - she also had been a pupil. But only fifty years ago. 

We were soon back on the Leeds Liverpool Canal - more nostalgia - my uncle had been headmaster at Birkenhead Grammar School and on his appointment as headmaster at Bradford Grammar School in 1963 he journeyed from Liverpool to Bradford along this canal on a punt making national headlines. Fortunately that was after I had departed BGS in 1956.

We continued along the River Aire skirting the huge sports grounds of Woodhouse Grove School, also an important centre for archery.

The Aire valley provided surprisingly pleasant greenery and country walking considering our location between two major cities and we were even able to avoid major roads as we passed through mostly high class residential areas to arrive at our hotel in Otley Road, north of Headingley. 

The Ascot Grange Hotel had a more than friendly welcome. The en-suite rooms were small but immaculate.  The Voujon Indian restaurant is integral with the hotel. Our evening meal was excellent for the food and the lively atmosphere and service more reminiscent of the buzz in Italian restaurants - all this was quite a find at very reasonable prices.


Skipton station, and below...

...BC waits

Part of Salts Mill and the Leeds Liverpool canal, and below...

Trying to do a three-point-turn. We reckoned three into one doesn't go and they were aground anyway - happy days.


The gate to nowhere

Thackley Cricket Club where Father was second team captain before WW2

My old primary school at Thackley Corner, Bradford. I left in 1947

Entrance to the school - security fencing and coded security lock. I don't think Miss Spencer and Mrs. Hudson will still be there since 1947

Approaching Apperley Bridge on the Leeds Liverpool canal

I Googled this lady but only found scant references  If you want to know more about Clout archery Google. It is something to do with firing upwards so arrows land on a target recumbent on the ground, but it's a bit more complicated than that. This was on the Woodhouse Grove School sports fields near Apperley Bridge alongside the River Aire.

River Aire, and below

Railway crossing the river

We had no intention of doing that!

Our last sighting of the Aire as we veered off into suburbia

Supermarkets have brought a new meaning to the word wonky, I wonder if this chimney qualifies?

The excellent Ascot Grange Hotel and Voujon restaurant
The house marker is Thackley Primary School



  1. A walk through my past as well as yours. And you have also provided me with a useful reference point in time. I note you left Thackley PS (for Thornhill, the BGS satellite) in 1947 and you appear certain about this. This must mean I left Thackley during the war, possibly in 1943, a date I've never been able to pin down in my own mind. Down the side of Thornhill was a steepish hill with a flag-stoned pavement. One wintry morning frost had covered the flagstones and I used my newly acquired (actually second-hand) all-leather satchel as a sledge. For some reason it has always seemed incongruous that I did this during the war. Did I not fear being bombed?

    I can't be sure from your map whether you joined the Aire before or after another significant (memorable, perhaps) location in my youth. Probably after. The Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool canal are "highly adjacent" for a while close to where the railway line enters the tunnel. The canal has a swing-bridge which I and other youths used to open so that we could use the bridge as a diving board into the canal. More daring youths used to climb on to the much higher railway bridge and jump into the canal from there.

    Swimming in the canal came to an abrupt halt when its filthiness became associated with the transmission of polio (then called infantile paralysis). Since the idea of being confined to an iron lung was one of the many scenarios that terrified my youth I didn't resist this parental sanction.

  2. RR - The only possible location that fits with coincidence of canal, tunnel and railway is near Bottom Farm, north-west of Apperley Bridge. I have emailed you a map and also a photograph of BC walking over the swing bridge which was on our route.

    Our BGS prep. school was Thornville not Thornhill (the steep hill: Cunliffe road, I think.) I too had a satchel when I went there. It was cheap and made of what I think was called Rexine, so along with many other burdens to bear I was outclassed by boys with rich parents. The satchel always smelled of the unvarying cheese and beetroot sandwiches Father made for me.

    I too had nightmares about iron-lungs.

    I still have the 1954 BGS School List and now see that I entered in March 1948, so that must have been the year I left Thackley P.S., not 1947 - happy days?