Hawkshead Blog Posts/ Walking Routes

Two Friends, 80 Miles (give or take) A Blog of the Dales Way by Lisa Greggo – Day 2

Day 2: Barden Bridge to Grassington (Part 3/9)

Total Miles Planned:  7.0
Actual Miles Walked:  7.9 (includes a mile’s worth of shopping in Grassington Village because one is never too tired to shop)
Weather:  A gift! 15°C (60°F) sunny warmth and striking blue skies
Pints of beer consumed at the end of the day:  1 ½ for Lisa; Michelle moved to G&T’s.

Day Two of our walk was a complete joy.  Surprisingly, we each woke to minimal aches and pains (or at least that’s what we told one another…). The weather was glorious–warm and sunny, which was a gift.  We started the walk with our jackets on, but soon took them off and put them in our rucksacks, where we had also stowed our waterproof trousers, just in case.  We had planned a short day today, just seven miles (to which we felt smugly confident, given that we walked twice that yesterday). The trail today was mostly riverside, through vast sheep pastures with hills and dales as far as the eye could see.  And the hills were the most vivid green, a color which I cannot adequately describe with words.  Truly a landscape I will never tire of.

Four miles into the walk, we came upon the little village of Burnsall, where a small outdoor festival was being set up.  The pub was grilling out of doors, and people were laying out picnics on the green.  Many of the 17th Century York stone buildings were adorned with Union Jack buntings and Yorkshire rose flags.  It was very festive and gave us the feeling that we had been transported back through time.

We continued our way and crossed the wobbly Hebden Swing Bridge

Before we knew it, we newly seasoned walkers/athletes were in the home stretch.  The last mile began with a mostly uphill climb along a single-track farm path between two Yorkshire dry stone walls, with Michelle asking aloud to no one in particular ‘Why is the end of every walk uphill?’  As I felt it was a rhetorical question, I didn’t respond.

But then, the track opened up to a panoramic view of a large green sheep pasture, with the Village of Grassington in the distance.  And what a lovely village it is!  We stopped for lunch at a cozy tea room and ate outside on the patio.  Afterward, we added another mile to our boots by going in and out of the little shops.

Our hotel is located right in the village and since we had pre-arranged to have our luggage transported by a local travel company, it was already waiting for us in our room.  I have to say, this hotel is pretty swanky, with two floors of living space and a large, soaking tub, which was a most welcome surprise.  It wasn’t long before each of us took a turn soaking our weary feet and tired muscles.

Tonight, as we strolled to the village pub, a large group of young men were stood outside of it, cheering on their friend who was running up the village lane completely naked.  Not a stitch of clothing was on that young man’s body! His friends simultaneously held up their iPhones and buckled over laughing.  I am afraid I have no photographic evidence of this event, but I assure you, it happened.  And I dare say we cannot un-see it.

Inside the safety of the pub, we enjoyed a delicious meal and a crisp, refreshing pint (or two?), along with some Yorkshire hospitality by the members of the Eskdale Cricket Club, who immediately became our Facebook friends (you can find them on FB as the Eskdale Crisket Club.  Yes, it IS spelled wrong on Facebook).  We wished them luck at their match the next day, though we suspected it would be rained out.  Indeed, we joined the locals at the pub in that great British tradition of talk of the weather.  We couldn’t help but notice that small talk today in the village shops and restaurants was about the weather, too, specifically how glorious it was today and about how it will all be “going pear-shaped” tomorrow (for our American friends, that means “going south” or “taking a turn for the worst”), as it is forecasted to pour rain.  But we walkers are not deterred. Memories of this gift of a day will keep up buoyed for whatever tomorrow brings.

~Lisa Griggo and Michelle Mullan

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