Gargrave 30-11-2016 – Leader Jean

Gargrave 30-11-2016 – Leader Jean

As 26 of us were about to set off from Gargrave today, on behalf of the group and new Chair Rosemary, I wished Jean well with her knee operation next week, and looked forward to seeing her back with us before too long.  Tearfully, Jean led us up to the canal bridge for the group picture, whence we briefly headed east along the canal before turning north across the fields through Gamsbers Wood to Eshton, viewing many fine properties en-route.  The weather was cool, but with more sun than forecast, hence David doing his Nelson imitation while looking for approaching vehicles.

As I have remarked before, this is an area of big skies and large landscapes, and today was no exception, with extensive 360º rolling views for most of the walk – the low sun adding an extra element.  With the recent cold weather, the underfoot conditions were good, even the cow pats being crusty!

Our break was taken near St Helen’s Well (did we mention it on the walk?), which is near a large house, Friars Head, which Derek told us something about.  The present house was built around 1590, and is supposedly the most prominent example of a late Tudor gentry house in the Dales.  We continued north along Winterburn Lane, before heading west across the fields to Calton, climbing over the tallest ladder stile I have ever seen – 6 steps up and down!  Lunch was taken on the bank of the River Aire at Airton, before carrying on very pleasantly and gently to Newfield Bridge, Bell Busk, and back to Gargrave.  The blue skies continued all the way, but these were eclipsed by a wonderful sunset at the end.

The only sour note in the day was a nasty fall for Roger from Middleton, going straight down onto his face on a wet and stony path towards the end of the walk.  He was ministered to by Dr David and Nurse Judy, and then soldiered on to the end of the walk.  We hope he will bear no lasting scars.

Most of the group went to Gisburn for refreshments, but we met some friends from Bury who had also just finished a walk in the area.  So our carload went to the Dalesman café in Gargrave, with a roaring log fire.  Thus ended a really lovely day, thanks to Jean.  Once again, good luck for a successful operation and a speedy return.

(Write up Arnold, pics Arnold, David & Basil.  Appended here are the route stats and profile.)

Slideshow below, but if you wish to see a static view of the pics all in one go, then click here.


  1. Graeme Adlum

    Arnold – David and Basil have clearly learnt from the master!!

    Thanks to Jean for a great walk. All the best for your op.

    Good to hear that Roger is ok. Hope this doesn’t deter you from walking with us.

  2. Roger Pegum

    I enjoyed the walk until my quick descent. Thanks to all who helped to clean me up. I made a brief visit to A&E and am fine.

  3. The start pic was Basil’s, and the lunch pic was David’s! I hereby resign as walk photographer!!

  4. The group could almost do a rainbow start pic….There are so many jacket colours! Love the lunch pic, Arnold. You clearly had a good vantage point.

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