Thursday 23 July 2015

Taking a turn

Pete Seeger (from Ecclesiastes): To everything there is a season – Turn! Turn! Turn! Today was the season for turning, and returning to Skipton after our brief sojourn in Gargrave. These two ladies were for turning, and turn they did.

Wind-lasses they were – windlasses in hand, paddles up and paddles down, but only the three Gargrave locks to do.

In the third we joined a hiring family having a great few days. When asked, Junior said he liked the driving best of all the boating bits, and duly piloted his boat out of the lock once we'd dropped.

Moored up in Skipton again, we went for an afternoon stroll. If you walk up the Springs branch of the canal you can climb up to a walkway behind the castle that overlooks this dead-end.

It leads past a 14th century corn mill complete with rotting water-wheel, now housing a number of shops, and up to an 18th century sawmill, now converted into residence and holiday cottages.

The old mill races are not easy to trace, though you occasionally find water cascading down a cliff from what is presumably a leak in one.

This all leads on to some woodland walks.

There are some steep ups and downs, including some impressive gorges which must have played a defensive role for the castle in the past. There are views out across the Yorkshire landscape.

And there are some views of Eller Beck, which always look best in the sunshine.

We actually walked this route in reverse order. We'd gone up to Skipton tourist information centre as it was about to close, and decided to walk up the road alongside the castle. Finding ourselves in the car-park at the top we debated whether to walk back down or see if there was a way from there to the paths at the back. So we asked Jo, the car-park attendant, who was having a very sleepy late afternoon. He was good fun to chat with, gave us a map and showed us how to access the woods from that end. Serendipity!

So in the end we had a great walk, taking a turn around these wood, as an alternative to falling asleep in our chairs after yesterday's exertions. Margaret from Edinburgh and myself are hoping we can stay awake long enough to enjoy the sweet and sour turkey meatballs that my best beloved is preparing.


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