Pod was set to go but we had half day at work to get through before we could set off for our November visit to Bolton Abbey. The weather was atrocious too, rain, wind, then more rain but we were prepared for anything, least we thought so.Once back home we had a quick lunch and soon after Pod was hitched to the back of the car and we were off, still raining, not too heavy , just enough to cause problems on the roads.
We took our time but the rain was incessant and we had no choice but to slow down due to the large puddles, especially on the A56 Skipton Road. Here we came to a standstill because the road was flooded some 20m in front of us with water moving from the burst river bank on our left to the right side of the road. Nature will have its way and there was no stopping it on this occasion.
Other road users weren’t for making it easy either, the traffic coming towards us wasn’t moving particularly slow and was causing waves to come rippling in our direction, but with careful slow driving we made it through and Pod remained rooted to the road and didn’t waver once from behind us.
We passed through the formidable arch with room to spare and within minutes we were in sight of Bolton Abbey Caravan Park, we were very happy to see the green and white board heralding our arrival.
Pod was absolutely filthy but we soon had it set up, awning included and we settled in for the evening.
Woke to a dry morning so breakfast was eaten, packed lunches made up and we set off with map in hand. We planned to head in the direction of Barden Fell and find Simon’s Seat.
Our walk began by entering Strid Wood and walked towards the River Wharfe.
Walking along the riverside other wild life was also making an appearance, we had been joined by a friendly robin and also saw pheasant, a heron on the opposite river bank and grouse, the later only being identified due to a well known advert..
We passed through a local farm and couldn’t help be drawn to an old tractor, reminded one of us greatly of BRUM, those of a certain age will remember the program. Made one of us want to whisk him away and restore him to his youthful productive state.
Crossing the road we took the footpath directly in front of us and it brought us to the entrance to Barden Moor. The sign had some interesting reading and we were grateful not to have a dog with us as they aren’t allowed in specific areas.
The day so far remained dry and the walk took us along a winding tree lined path. We passed a strange structure in the middle of no where, it was apparently a house which had won an award for best design in 2010, only thing being it looked like no one had ever lived in it, shame really, fantastic views.
As we reached Simons Seat it took us a while to find a suitable path up the boulders, MrB has longer legs so he was up there in no time, LB had to be hauled up by the scruff of her neck from the odd rock or two. Gave us the chance to see Lord’s Seat in the distance.
One at the top it was breathtaking, in more than one way. Even with the low cloud the view was incredible and we had to grip onto the summit to keep our balance, the wind literally took your breath away.
Once the obligatory selfie had been taken we clambered down and found a spot slightly sheltered from the wind and began to tuck into our packed lunch. Whilst munching away on our butties we looked up to see a bright yellow figure running in our direction, it appeared to be a fell runner and as he passed us this was confirmed as we greeted him with admiration he deserved.
Sandwiches and all our lunchtime goodies eaten we decided on our route across the moor in the direction of the Valley of Desolation, what ever that may be.The wind was still howling as we crossed the moor and we slowly began to wind our way down the valley, as we walked we kept seeing shallow black trays with what appeared to contain grit, we had a feeling it was to do with the grouse but weren’t 100% convinced so it was googled on the spot to find it was indeed for the grouse, it’s eaten and used in its gizzard to grind the heather which is the birds food.
We eventually reached a wooded area and crossed a very small wooden bridge to enter the Valley of Desolation which on our arrival one of two notices informed us it was so named after a great storm in 1826 after which nearly 8000 trees were planted in an attempt to repair the damage. It’s a very peaceful place and the colours couldn’t be done justice by the camera.
The walk brought us out on the banks of the river Wharfe, it raced by us at some speed as we crossed the bridge to the Cavendish Pavillion where we took a break to check our location and plan our route back to Pod as it was nearing 4pm and starting to get dark.
We followed the wide gravelled path in the hope of finding the money tree, we kept our eyes peeled, at the point of thinking we’d passed it we saw it to our right on the banks of the river. It had been turned into a bench and was rammed full of coins which gave the seat a beautiful colour and a texture you couldn’t help running your fingers over.
Dusk was settling in as Pod came into view, we de-kitted and headed for those hot showers before settling in for the evening with a nice beer and game of scrabble, we are improving at this.. slowly, but improving.
Next day arrived sooner than we liked, it had rained during the night but when we woke it had stopped and allowed us to pack the awning away dry, this is a small blessing but a gratefully received one.
We said our goodbyes to Bolton Abbey, vowing to return and began our drive home which was uneventful, once home Pod was caked in everything possible, she looked like she had been up a mountain so she had a well deserved wash.