Sting in the Tail

Rebecca, our guest leader had had a sleepless night worrying about todays walk. Would there be any speed merchants or dawdlers who could potentially disrupt the planned pace? Ten people arrived from various parts of the country and I suspect many locals and our own group members were put off by a dreadful weather forecast.

One or two had difficulty finding the start at Surprise View and some may still be searching for it.

Off we went at a cracking pace as Rebecca was full of nervous energy. Fortunately we were all able to keep up and as some poor weather was expected in late morning we kept going for 2.5 hours before taking a break on Rombalds Moor. Nearly 9 miles completed and no complaints. We sat for 10 minutes and watched as the rain come up the valley, past Ilkley and everyone dived into their packs to retrieve waterproofs.

On we went for another hour or two in driving rain and we dropped down to Bolton Abbey for a lunch break. Half (Hazel, Julie, Virginia, John & Brian) dropped into the tearooms for a hot coffee (wimps) whilst the hardy types (Rebecca, Chris, Tom, Alf & Gerry) sat under a tree in the rain dining alfresco.

Suitably fortified we resumed our walk at a slightly slower pace and the rain was starting to ease, though not enough to remove waterproofs. Humidity was high so we were melting somewhat. Cavendish pavilion was not taken advantage of.

Eventually we find ourselves doing the Blubberhouses 25 route in reverse and we passed Rocking Hall before meeting the series of reservoirs in the Washburn valley. Weather by now had improved significantly and good views were in abundance. A surprise bonus as a car had been left at Swinsty Reservoir car park containing plenty of fluids and some eats. Once Tom pronounced himself 'stuffed' we resumed our journey. Now less than 10 miles left.

A couple of stops so running repairs could be made to Hazels feet and then the descent into Otley. Only the climb up the Chevin left - the Sting in the Tail. Tom and Brian had already done this climb before the start of the walk but they didnt wimp out - up they went again. Almost a refusal at the final fence from Gerry but his southern spirit carried him through.

Back in 12.5 hours with the route measuring around 36.5 miles - a very good pace over the distance and the group well controlled by Rebecca. No one dashed off. I think her whip played a part.


Alfresco Lunch Barden Moor Otley in View Our leader ponders Refreshment Stop Walking into Otley