Gargrave 14-03-2018 Leader Tom

Gargrave 14-03-2018  Leader Tom

On a fine, spring morning, 27 of us met at the car park in Gargrave and after a quick start picture reminiscent of those of school days, we set off up Mark House Lane on the Pennine Way to Airton.

The way was muddy – very slippy underfoot, and with the difficulties of negotiating stiles, gates and fields generally, we got quite strung out.  Never mind! After passing the last vestiges of snow, we regrouped for the banana break, with many smiling faces feeling that the worst was over.

The flood plains of the Aire had other ideas, and around Newfield Laithe the negotiation turned from mud to mud and water.  Barry briefly considered returning to the car, but bravely continued – presumably thinking it really couldn’t get worse. Gentleman Roger ensured that Joan was safe, with no repetition of her excitement of the previous week.

The flip flop is a reminder that the conditions in this area can be very different – although still not suitable footwear for one of our walks, ever!

At Airton, we struck off up Kiln Hill to the hamlet of Calton, and then we crossed the fields to Farlands Laithe where we had lunch in a little welcome sunshine. A shame that the tiny cafe wasn’t open – it would have done a roaring trade.

From there, we traversed yet more fields and mud to Winterburn, where Roger spotted a Victorian post box, before trudging up Hills Lane to follow the bridle path, past the Giants Graves, to Friars Head.

The manor of Winterburn was gifted to Furness Abbey during the 12th century. Nearby Winterburn Grange was the abbey’s administrative centre for the surrounding estates and Friar’s Head was supposedly a hunting lodge for the Abbots of Furness. The present building has a much later date however. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries a long dispute arose over Friar’s Head between its tenants under the Abbey, the Proctor family, and the Earl of Cumberland who tried to put his own tenants in. The three-storey house now at Friar’s Head was eventually built by Stephen Proctor around 1590. It is the most prominent example of a late Tudor gentry house in the Dales.*

We headed past Brockabank, to the Playaway Centre at Eshton Grange, then through Gamsbers Wood to Eshton Road. A breakaway group walked down the this road to the cars, and the rest followed the leader down Ray Bridge Lane, washing boots in the stream which runs alongside. They then walked a few hundred yards along the canal to the cars.

We had a very pleasant cuppa and cakes in The Dalesman Cafe.

Had Arnold been present, I’m sure he would have had a celebratory pie – it being Pi Day.

Write up Gill, pics Gill and Roger



If you wish to see a static view of the pics all in one go, then click here.

There is a link to the slideshow here.  You will need to click within the black page that opens up to see the show – but at least it is full screen!


  1. Arnold Sampson

    PS Gill is correct – I would definitely have had a pie!

  2. Arnold Sampson

    Nice pics and write up, Gill. You had better weather yesterday afternoon than we did – it was battering down here.

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