Day One: Arncliffe
Day Two: Littondale
Across the fields/through Scoska Wood/stepping stones across the Skirfare. The river low, stony bed and pale creamy mud. Coffee in the Queens Head then over the footbridge and a steady pull up a disappearing track before back via East Garth & fields to Arncliffe. A few small lambs.
Day Three: Simon's Seat
Via Grassington to Skyreholme/challenging scramble up to Simon’s Seat and back down the long rocky track and by the river to Appletreewick: pretty name/pretty village/disappointing pub. Skyreholme Mill Cottages have enchanting gardens stepped down to the river.
Day Four: Towards Pen-y-Ghent
From Halton Gill up the fell road towards Blishmire Close and Pen-y-Ghent, parking at its foot (is it male, female or ‘it’? We can't agree.) Lapwings, sheep. 3 miles along the fellside (Dawson Close) passing Giants Grave, a limestone scar/pavement according to Robin later, 3 miles, level walking at first then dropping down to New Bridge, before back again via East Garth to Arncliffe, 6 miles all told. Lambing officially starts today – lots more new lambs now.
Day Five: Settle
Heading north along the Ribble/Dales High Way to Stackhouse, across the footbridge and alongside then under the railway, across fields and dropping down into Langcliffe before a steep pull up a fieldside and along the Pennine Bridleway back into Settle. Half an hour in the Museum (first day of opening for the season) then a nod at the railway station before tea and a hot cross bun in Ye Olde Naked Man. A grey wagtail wags his yellow backside on the bench outside.
Day Six: West Burton Valley Walk
Driving through Hubberholme to Hawes for cheese then back via West Burton for a walk along the road beside Walden Beck, almost to the end of the valley then back along the other side: 7.5 miles. The first primroses. Mist/drizzle clearing. Curlew country; lapwing & oyster catcher sharing.
Day Seven: Arncliffe/Grassington
Day Eight: Nidderdale
Middlesmoor Valley Walk: a long goodbye to Arncliffe then a walk from Middlesmoor across fields down to the river and back along the other side. A series of 40 or 50 moles in various stages of decay hang on a barbed wire fence; the newest have miniature pink hands. Larch buds like raspberries. The first day of warm sun. Space. Sky.