A small group of friends from Probus, some of us who have continued walking a deux during CP (Covid Pandemic), have now emerged, blinking, into the semi – light as restrictions have been relaxed a bit. In the last couple of weeks the new (up to six) sized groups have restarted our dining-related walks in the lovely countryside around Harrogate.
We started with a fairly relaxing ramble a few weeks ago from Ripley to Hampsthwaite and back, in fine weather but with no possibility of pub lunch afterwards, as we ‘jumped the gun’ before outdoor eating was possible. We did however see the daffodils in Ripley Castle grounds, and enjoyed the unusual experience of meeting, with Bill, his own dog, Abbie, coming the other way – being walked by his daughters!
Our next weekly walk featured North Rigton, a lovely walk with gorgeous views of the Wharfe Valley as well as glimpses of half-remembered stretches of countryside that I’m sure I’ve seen before, but can’t quite remember where! The Piece of Resistance, as the Franglais might say, was a real pub meal, outside in the sun (but with a touch of cool breeze) – our first such meal for a lo-ong while.
The most recent walk was yesterday, starting from central Darley (if Darley can be said to have a centre), proceeding up the southern side of the valley (and then down again), crossing the river Nidd (twice) and a lovely flattish stretch of flood plain back to the cars.
This was a heavily pre recce’d walk, so what could go wrong?
In the recce’s Bill and I failed to notice this rather prominent signpost that told us exactly where we should walk (but we didn’t notice it!). Hence another (incomplete) recce.
The power of the group while doing the real walk became evident.
Steve proved adept at spotting virtually invisible stiles hidden in stone walls from some distance away, while David P as usual was able to nudge us gently back onto the right course when we erred (ever so slightly…) – providing (excellent) advice but not taking the ultimate responsibility for the choice of route.
Bill’s normally reliable sighting of yellow direction arrows was not at its impeccable best, but we made it round the six mile course in approximately twice the time foreseen by the OS map (but perfectly timed for a splendid lunch at The Station Hotel, Birstwith).
With the inclusion of Bob at the lunch table we had a glimpse of the past social gatherings BC (before Covid) – superb food, very pleasant surroundings and fabulous company.
Things are really getting back to ‘Normal’ ? Even the weather!
Next week David G is leading a walk in the Dacre Banks area. Yippee!
And another pub meal! Double yippee!