Tag Archives: Burnsall

A Walk From Burnsall To Grassington

On June 29th I had my long term illness review (or LTC as it’s called now – Long Term Care) which I’m supposed to have annually, if not more frequently.

The fact that it’s not always annually is down to me as I tend to ignore the appointment letters as over the years I’ve found it’s a bit of a waste of time. When it started I was seen by a doctor but as the years have passed, it’s been “downgraded” to a nurse and this time I was seen by a young healthcare assistant.

Next time I fully expect to be seen by one of the receptionists.

These days, during the review, I’m asked questions from a checklist and the healthcare assistant was straight in with “do you ever find yourself sad or depressed ?”

You mean apart from right now“, I felt like replying.

So she took my bp, weighed me and took my height……all things I could do myself at home. Then she took my blood which, fair enough, I’m not great at doing myself at home unless I’m running with scissors, which I try to avoid.

Looking at the results online a few days later (I’m jumping a bit ahead here so will get back on track asap), I could see all my answers to the questions. So I was a bit surprised to see “Does not complain of erectile dysfunction” !!

I was surprised because I was never asked about it and I assumed this was due to the healthcare assistant being a young girl who was too embarrassed to ask. Maybe next time she’ll have had more experience and be ready with the tape measure.

Right, back on track.

I won’t go into the other disturbing aspects of the review and go straight to the results. I was never told them. I went online a few days later and found them on my medical records and was horrified to see my Haemoglobin A1c level had gone from 47 mmol/mol to 69 mmol/mol.

As a level of 48 and over is classed as being type 2 diabetic rather than the borderline diabetic I was before, I was naturally concerned to say the least.

So I made an appointment to see the specialist nurse to discuss these results and also complain about not being told about them (to be fair that had NEVER happened before) and what a wonderful 65 minute session I had. I told her I’d been walking 3-7 miles a day since seeing the results and eating a bit healthier (come on……I’m only human) and after some discussion, she recommended I go onto Metformin to help with reducing the 69 score way back below 48 as quickly as possible considering my heart disease history.

The meds were delivered today and I took the first one after breakfast.

I really hope I can discontinue taking them and I’m encouraged by a snapshot reading taken last Friday with my friend’s blood glucose meter which showed a level of 6.1mmol/L which equates to 36mmol/mol.

Much better than 69 so I seem to be on the right path.

Anyway all this medical stuff is to explain why, yesterday, I took myself off to Burnsall for my favourite walk along the banks of the River Wharfe. I planned on a gentle walk to Grassington and back which I reckoned could end up being 6-7 miles on yet another lovely summer’s day.

It’s a stunning 1 hr drive from my house to Burnsall and I got there at 11:30. My first port of call was to the village cafe for some fuel for my walk and so at 12:11, after putting on my bluetooth headphones and lining up some tunes and starting the MapMyWalk app, I was off.

I’d parked on the road by the bridge and this was the view back to the cafe which you can see between the 2 biggest trees and behind that blue car. A delightful location and a highly recommended cafe which is under new ownership.

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I only had my phone with me as I’ve taken many photos of the walk already and didn’t want to bring my heavy main Lumix bridge camera.

And yes, don’t let the name fool you….it doesn’t only take photos of bridges !

It was soon obvious that the continuing heatwave we’re experiencing in the UK had given the landscape a huge contrast between public grass which only gets watered by nature and grass in private hands, so to speak.

This was a typical view looking back the way I’d come……..

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….compared to a view across the river to a house with a well watered garden.

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After a couple of miles I was delighted to come upon Linton Falls from a different direction than on previous walks as I’d really only ever seen the turbine building and the weir that still powers it.

I’d never seen the falls themselves and actually thought the weir WAS the falls by another name !

Despite not quite being on a par with Angel, Victoria or Niagara Falls, Linton Falls is still a pretty location despite the low water levels as a result of the aforementioned heatwave.

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Then it was on to Grassington which was as busy a Dales town as you can get. To add insult to injury, the last 1/4 mile to the town involves a very steep road to climb followed by an even steeper main street once you’ve got there.

Right at the top is a quirky shop called Ashton House selling hand carved furniture and all things crafty. I needed a rest after the climbs so spent some time exploring the shop and admiring the many items on display outside.

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The shops and houses in Grassington are very pleasing to the eye and obviously play their part in making the town a very popular stopping point for Dales walkers, cyclists and general looky lookers like me.

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My less than speedy walking and the numerous stops to enjoy the views and take the occasional photo meant that despite completing almost 4 miles, I’d taken nearly 2.5hrs to do it.  It was time to return to Burnsall.

Having already seen the falls, I approached Linton the way I always did before and that meant going through the graveyard of St. Michael & All Angels parish church.

Now if, after death, you’re going to be buried, and I’m not, it would be hard to find a prettier location for your earthly remains. I did come across a stunning one in Ireland when on my Wild Atlantic Way road trip a few years ago as it bordered a lake which helps any graveyard, but this one near Linton was still a nice place to rest your weary bones.

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And speaking of weary bones, as I was, my living bones were starting to realise I’d walked 5 miles already with the prospect of another 3 to go to get back to the car !

Ay caramba !!

It had been a bit overcast to this point but suddenly the skies brightened and the sun broke through, making me even more sweaty.

The up side was that with partly blue skies, the scenery went up a few notches and I took a lot more piccies on the return trip.

Here are a few……..

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I particularly like the last two as one shows how the path is so close to the river edge and the other one is just a nice composition, if I do say so myself.

Still on the path and approaching the road bridge at Burnsall, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of it from a location that has become a favourite of mine over the years. The colours change with the time of year but the view itself is timeless.

It was my final photo of the day.

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As I approached the end of the path by the bridge, I took my phone out of my pocket to check how far I had walked and how close I was to 8 miles and it showed 7.88 miles. Looking up along the bridge I could see the top of my car and though that if I wanted to be a saddo and walk exactly 8 miles, I might have to walk past the car and come back to it.

At the start of the bridge it was 7.92 miles and I couldn’t believe it when it ticked over to 8 miles as I got to the car boot. Walking around the front to get out of the way of passing cars registered another 0.1 miles before I stopped it recording and saved the route and stats for my records.

 

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So it had been another great, if leisurely, walk along the River Wharfe in the glorious Yorkshire Dales and best of all, it should help towards lowering my blood/glucose level so that I can come off these damn Metformin pills asap.

And then when I have my next review, the receptionist won’t have to ask me about any  erectile dysfunction issues !

Win/win.

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Droning On…And On…And On.

Well, I learned a lot today on my trip into the Yorkshire Dales to properly try out the drone and my ability to fly it like a pro.

First up, I learned I’m a LONG way from being a pro; actually I’m a long way from being a decent amateur !  But I made a start and I returned home WITH the drone so that in itself was a good start – because at one point I lost it.

It was such a lovely morning, yes I did say morning, that I decided to stop by the side of the road at the Stump Cross Caverns on my way to Burnsall as the Dales were looking wonderful in the bright winter sunshine.  I had the drone all ready on the passenger seat so with my phone plugged into the remote control, I was soon ready for take off.

With the beginner setting unchecked, the drone was soon high enough that I could barely see it yet the views I was getting from it on the phone suggested it really wasn’t that high. For some reason the stats weren’t appearing on the display so I’ve no idea just how high it was. Anyway, it was time to move along a bit so I used the right joystick to get it going.  (The left joystick controls up, down, spin left, spin right)

Looking at the display on the phone (giving the view from the drone’s camera), it seemed to be moving very slowly despite the fact I had the joystick pushed forward as far as it would go. I decided to flick the switch on the remote to put it into “sport” mode.

Big mistake. BIG.

The drone shot off at 30mph and out of visual range in seconds. You see, at my novice level, I spend as much time looking up at the drone as I do looking down at the phone display and so I never even knew in which direction it went. That’s when I realised that pretty as the Dales can be, the terrain looks very samey from the air !

After a while trying to get it back from wherever it was (probably Lancashire !), I started to get “low battery” warnings from the phone apps’ audio feed. Yikes. Already ?!

I used the remote’s tiny thumb wheel to point the camera straight down and saw the road. Hurrah. The trouble was I couldn’t tell which way to go along the road to get it back to me and then thankfully the problem was taken out of my hands by the onboard software which had calculated “distance to return” v “remaining battery power” and told me it was gonna put the drone into “return to home” mode for me in 10 seconds.

I let it.

A few seconds later I heard the beautiful sound of the drone’s propellers and there it was coming back at me at 30mph before hovering above me at 150ft as that was the height I’d preset for such an eventuality – in order to miss any trees or other obstructions. It landed automatically at my feet like a SpaceX booster stage and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Then something very odd happened. After the drone had landed, I noticed the phone screen was frozen. I pressed every button on it multiple times but it was totally frozen. I decided to pack up and drive on to Burnsall and hope that it somehow unfroze itself once it got warmed up. I also put my spare battery onto the drone and tried to get a bit of power into the first one via the car’s USB port but as it was only a 15 minute drive, it wasn’t worth it.

For once I managed to park right by the wonderful little cafe there (up for sale if anyone is interested) and went in to have a bacon sandwich and a pot of tea, Yorkshire of course. My plan worked as once the phone had warmed up, I heard it beep in my jacket pocket, followed by other notification noises including one indicating an SMS message. I checked the phone and it was my friend Daphne asking what was meant by the SMS messages she’d just received from me ?!!

I checked the log and found……..

 

OMG.

My theory is that all that button pushing I did while the screen was frozen had triggered the anti theft app ( or maybe there is a panic mode built into the phone ) as it is supposed to take a snap photo and send it to an appointed friend (Daphne) and also notify her of the phone’s last known location.  So despite the frozen screen, it took an unflattering photo of me driving to Burnsall as the phone was in its dashboard cradle.

So after putting Daphne’s mind at rest with a message back to her,  I finished my lunch and went back out to do a short uneventful flight showing the main bridge there over the River Wharfe.

Well when I say uneventful, that’s not quite true. I kept my fingers away from that “sport” switch and also kept the drone in sight. The problem this time was that due to the cold, the phone was acting up and losing the signal. This meant the display kept switching from showing a drone view and so for a long time, it was hovering near the bridge while I tried to get the view back again. I’ve edited all of that non movement out  of the video you’ll see below. That’s why it only lasts just over 10 minutes.

Then I walked along the riverbank towards the other bridge a mile away and took a drone video part way and also at the bridge. Again the cold was a factor, mostly for the phone again. Despite being plugged into a power pack, it was holding at 19% so I put it inside my layers of clothing to keep it as warm as possible and it crawled up to 26% – thankfully enough for the 2 drone flights.

It was just after 1pm and yet the sun had already dropped below the surrounding hills.

Before anyone picks up on the time of those SMS messages above (14:25), those were screen prints and that was the time THEY were taken. 

So things learned from today :

Do not use the “sport” setting until better at flying the drone and using the controls.

Again until better at using the controls and the phone screen monitor, keep the drone in view if possible.

Be prepared to have battery issues (phone and drone) on very cold days. Today it was -3c at Burnsall.

Before editing the footage, I got 27 mins air time using my 2 batteries. Planning what to video pre takeoff is vital as there is little time to think about that once the drone is airborne. The instructions say 12-15 mins per battery so I did pretty well.

Right, that’s enough waffle for today and here is the edited video.  I’ve uploaded it to Vimeo as that product, unlike YouTube,  doesn’t seem to bother with copyrighted music.

I can only upload 500mbs a week to Vimeo so this version isn’t full HD as that’s 1.8gb. Once started, use the little “nut” icon to set the quality to 1080p and then click on the icon next to that to make it full screen. Hope you all can access it without issues.

Let me know in the comments if you can’t and feel free to critique !   I’m not sure if pressing the “heart” works but again, feel free to try !

Wednesday February 3rd, 2016

Well those little men in their white coats and fancy instruments actually got the forecast right and today was beautiful, weather wise.  Perfect for a ROAD TRIP.

Just as well because I spent some time last night working out a route that would take me through some of the most picturesque villages in North Yorkshire. It would be an 111 mile almost circular drive from my home in Leeds via Appletreewick, Burnsall, Grassington, Starbotton and West Burton before heading back down the A1 and home again.

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So despite going to bed at 2am and reading for a while, I set my alarm for 9am with a plan to leave the house by 10am.  I’m glad I did because I needed it to wake me up and still half asleep, I showered, had my porridge, grabbed a bottle of pop from the fridge and was off by 10:05am.

Not bad.

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By the way, the start and end points on that map are close to where I live, but not exactly. Gotta have my privacy y’know !

All went well for the first 10 mins or so. I drove up the A61 towards Harrogate and then branched off to go to the little commuter village of North Rigton. This is my favourite way to get up into the Yorkshire Dales as it’s quick and scenic from the get go.

But at the mini roundabout in the village where I’d take the 2nd exit to go up High Moor Road, there was a police presence blocking the exit so I’d no choice but to take the 1st exit……and head off into the unknown.

Now this was fine by me in so far as I was in no hurry and always fancy new routes……but the problem was my phone GPS app, Waze, kept wanting to take me back to that mini roundabout no matter which turn I took to get it to bypass the village.

In the end it did recalculate and I continued north and picked up my original route. By now I was really in the Dales and I got the first inkling that I was going to have a fab day as the light was amazing.  You know that lovely light you see just before a storm…..when the sky is black but there is enough sunlight to hit the surrounding area with a beautiful yellow-like glow that makes everything unreal and magical ?

Oh, so it’s only me then !

I donno if it was because I had my sunglasses on the whole time but that’s the light I saw all day.  But looking at the photos now, I can see the light I’m talking about and despite only using the phone’s camera today, that wonderful light is obvious.  I don’t remember seeing it last a whole day before but it made both the driving and the walking an absolutely awesome (sorry UK readers) experience.

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The great thing about driving in the Dales at this time of year is the lack of tourist traffic.  Yes there were loads of cyclists and walkers today but they add to the scenery whereas thousands of cars can make driving a misery. As you can see from all the photos today, I pretty much had the Dales to myself, car wise !

It took me a while to get to Appletreewick as I kept stopping to get out and take photos. In this country you need to enjoy the good weather when it arrives and I couldn’t be sure it would last all day.  Sad but true.

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With all the rain we’ve had since Christmas, there was a lot of standing water around but when taken over by wildlife, these pools could be enchanting.

I hadn’t actually climbed very high at this point but there was a dusting of snow in some places.  This only added to the views before me.

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Then I arrived at Appletreewick. It didn’t take long to explore as with most of these little Dales villages, they don’t amount to much as far as buildings go.  They’re just super scenic, given their location but after half an hour or less and ignoring the pub at the village exit, I was back on the road.

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It was lunchtime of course but I’d already made up my mind to eat at Burnsall as, when checking online last night, I noticed it had both a pub and a tea room !

And it was only 2 miles away.

I was heading there when I came to a steep hill with a scenic view in front of me. Being a narrow road, I couldn’t risk stopping and getting out to take a photo so I just stopped and took a quick snap from inside the car. Two cyclists were struggling up the hill and they added something to the photo – it’s just a shame that parts of the car’s dash can be seen reflected at the bottom. Despite the strong shadows cast by the farm buildings on the left, I’m glad I took the shot.

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I approached Burnsall on the B6160 by going over a lovely stone bridge. There had been some cars parked up along the side of the road before the bridge so I turned around, drove back over the bridge and parked up at the head of the line.

Then I walked back to the village, taking photos of the River Wharfe, with the whole area bathed in the fantastic light I’d been experiencing all morning.

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On the other side I came to the pub/hotel but I carried on taking photos….just in case.

I went down to the village green to have a look at the tea room before making a decision where to have lunch. It certainly looked inviting and was very popular with the walking and cycling communities. I popped in and once my glasses had demisted, I saw all the tables were taken so I went back out to explore a bit more and let the crowds die down.

The views looking back to the bridge were enhanced by a little group of ducks that waddled over to me in the hope that I’d feed them.  Sorry ducks.  I needed feeding myself !

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Then it was back to the tea room and once again my glasses misted up.  Once I could see, I saw all the tables were still taken but a couple who had had their meal and were just talking, saw me and got up and left me their table !  Hurrah.

I loved everything on the menu and had the usual internal struggle between a heavy or light meal.  I decided I’d need plenty of energy for the walk ahead so I took the middle ground and ordered the locally sourced sausages, free range egg and homemade chips.

And to wash it all down ? Why a pot of Yorkshire tea of course.

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I wasn’t expecting 3 sausages but apart from a few chips, I scoffed the lot and the whole meal was delicious. The pot of tea (with the added pot of hot water) gave me 4 cuppas so was fantastic value for money.

I was well impressed and could see why the place was so popular.

Once outside again I took a couple of photos…..one of the tea room and one looking away from the bridge, into the sun, but it came out ok.

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Passing down the side of the pub, which lay just before the bridge, I went down to the river’s edge and picked up the path which ran alongside it.

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I could see it was going to be a lovely walk but I’d no idea I’d actually joined a part of the 84 mile Dales Way, a long distance path that runs from Ilkley to Bowness-On-Windermere in the Lake District. 

Who knew ?!

Not knowing this, I was expecting the excellent path to run out at any moment but it went on and on and apart from some places where it became more like what you’d expect from a riverside path, it was a well maintained concrete walk all the way to a curious bridge over the river which was my turning point.

There were great views all along the walk…….

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After about half a mile the calm river suddenly woke up a bit and became a mini torrent. It coincided with a bend in the landscape with low cliffs replacing the green hills.

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And then, as the countryside flattened out again, it became a sedate river once more.

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I suddenly came upon one of nature’s little oddities.  A tree that didn’t want to get its branches wet !  It was growing out from the bank and over the river when it took a dramatic turn towards the heavens.

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It tickled my sense of the absurd.  I loved it.

Then a bit further along, I came to the bridge I’d been told about by one of the few people I’d met on the path. They’d told me it swayed a lot but they never told me it was so narrow that there was barely room for one person to cross over.

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Once across the bridge I saw a sign that was my first clue that the path I was on was not just some short riverside walkway but part of a much larger…..ummm…..walk.

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I took photos from both sides and even a video crossing the bridge but sadly WordPress doesn’t seem to like mp4 format videos.  It was probably two big for a blog anyway.

So here are the two photos.

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On the return walk, the sun was rapidly going down below the hills to my right and so I was in the shade. This contrasted with the bright sunshine still on the far bank but I was glad I’d taken all the photos on my outward walk.

Once the sun left my side, I became aware of how cold it really was and I returned to the car as fast as possible and left Burnsall.

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It was a lovely 13 mile drive up to Starbotton taking me past Kilnsey Crag and the overly touristy Kettlewell.  I only stopped to take one photo……Kilnsey Crag.

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As the light wasn’t good by this time, I took it in black & white.

The drive along the B6160 was really amazing. It must be one of the most scenic drives in the country and despite the fading winter light, it was still spectacular.  Narrow in the extreme in places with sharp bends worthy of a Top Gear episode.  Then it would open out into a classic Dales climb up to the snow line with small waterfalls in full flow after all the winter rain we’ve had.

I looked across to my right and spotted a small waterfall feeding a stream and just had to stop. I jumped a gate and started walking across the boggy ground and quickly realised that the approach to the waterfall was cut off by a fence I’d not seen from the road.  Given the limitations of the phone camera, I have no decent shot of the waterfall and even the stream didn’t “come out” too well…and I even got my shadow in it !  Pah.

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Back up on the road I took a last photo of the day as there was some snow on the grass verge. Again, due to the low light, it’s not very good but it’s still a memory which, after all, is why I take so many photos.

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It was another 12 miles along the B6160 to my final village, West Burton.

This was a more substantial village but I had to walk around it in the semi darkness as it was after 5pm by now.  It has a lovely and substantial village green and I sat on one of the many benches for a while to take it all in.

Then I got too cold and needed the warmth of the car and so I set off again on the 60 mile drive home, via the A684 and the A1, joining commuters who I’m pretty sure hadn’t enjoyed as good a day as I had.

God’s Own County indeed.

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I was still fairly full from my lunch in Burnsall so had a light supper.  After watching Barcelona put 7 past Valencia and then a few recorded shows, I went to bed at 1am as I was worn out.  Let’s face it, this old body does NOT do 9am rises followed by LOTS of fresh air.

It was a day to remember and thanks to the photos and this diary post, I hope to do so in the years to come.