Lady Anne’s Way (LAW) Part Two

Barden to Grassington
I parked just below Barden Tower for nothing at 10.00. Straight onto the Dales Way and along the bank of the Wharfe to Burnsall. As it was a lovely warm day with a little breeze but not horribly hot, there were lots of people out. Various groups of DoE Award chasers all very loaded up and some Ramblers groups. Every little place where people could get access to the river was occupied.

The Wharfe near Barden

At Burnsall there is a huge car park which when I got to it was fairly quiet, but it was clearly going to get busy, the ice cream van and the burger man all gearing up for mega sales. I left the Dales Way and took the other side of the river, climbing up and leaving most of the people behind, even bringing my legs out for their annual airing. This section was much nicer for that and as always I helped some DoE young people to find out where they were. After a while I reached Hebden, and then it was through that village and out towards Grassington. The route passed through where there had been a not very old hospital but which has been taken down and luxury homes are in its place. This bit was also quite pleasant and quiet and I stopped before dropping into Grassington for my lunch.

Grassy ass was a bit busy and not at all how I remembered it, it must be 20 years since I last went there and it was winter and dark then. I had decided not to wait for the bus as it would be 3 and a half hours of waiting so I headed back going all the way along the river. The section near Grassington was madly busy and didn’t really get quiet, Burnsall was even worse, full of young lads jumping off  a high ledge into the river. I didn’t stick around as didn’t want to have to do first aid on one of them. Children getting sunburnt. Endless dogs shaking the wet off. Occasional smell of cannabis. The car park was now a sort of mini Blackpool with loads of people in the river, barbeques….After Burnsall it quietened down although some people were in inflatable dingies which seemed fairly stupid, considering the number of rocks and the river being low. The last bit back was quite nice as hardly any people.

The Wharfe near Hebden
Hebden Suspension Bridge
Barden Tower from the river
Are these purple poppies?

At the car, I treated myself to an ice cream.
I just hope there are some really nice bits of Lady Anne’s Way as so far, it’s felt quite hard. Last week was too hot, this week was just too full of people. I think I hate people. Wish it had been a lovely quiet fell in the Lakes. It took me 3.5 hours to get to Grassington and 3 to get back. About 12 or 13 miles.


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Lady Anne’s Way (LAW) Part One

Skipton to Barden Tower

Not my most successful day. Started with the alarm not going off. I set off from Skipton after forking out £4.50 to park the car at 9.20. The first thing I came to was a woman and 2 lurchers, one of whom had just killed a rabbit, not a good start to the day. I followed the route crossing the bypass and the golf course and tried to imagine LA doing same and failed.
The route takes you round the backs of Embsay and Eastby but I just wanted to get away from settlements with their dog crap, litter, barking dogs and cars etc. The route is generally ok just a few bits out of date like disused rly which is in use by Embsay steam railway and the Mason’s Arms in Eastby which is not open all day and is sadly shut forever.
Skipton parish church, next to Skip Castle
It was very hot and humid. I got out of Eastby going along Bark Lane, passing over a stream with a duck and baby duck, so sweet. Then I had to cross a field. The occupants didn’t want me in there and came running towards me so I nipped back over the wall. I tried to find a quick way round the young frisky bullocks but in the end had to quit LAW and go up to the road, they kept watching me even though I was the other side of the wall from them. I had to climb over some walls and fences and it was quite steep, I saw some live rabbits quite close to. It was so hot I felt quite unwell and knew I would not make it to either Hebden or Grassington, I’d also developed sausage fingers, I think these are to do with heat and hydration. I was reminded of when I’d walked in Switzerland in terrible heat and had sausage fingers. I stopped for lunch just inside the National Park and put a plaster on my blister and watched the Embsay steam train chuffing along.
Embsay steam train
Lunch spot
I headed for Barden Tower picking up the route again. It felt much easier once the pressure was off although still very sweaty and sticky. I had a chat with a Ranger about bus times and he told me how even with access land rights the Duke of Devonshire who owns all Barden does not allow dogs and the Rangers have to enforce this on weekends when the Duke’s men are not at work. I stopped at the tower and had a drink (fizzy water with ice and lime for £1.90) outside at the Priest’s House which is posh resto and not the caffy where the book says you can get a Lady Anne Special, which sounds very fruity to me! I didn’t sit at the table with candles etc. Maybe I was a bit too dirty and sweaty anyway I had my drink but did not feel they wanted me to linger. I went to the loo, this involved getting the key, walking across the grassy expanse to a door in wall so everyone knew where you were going by now and then down some very wet and slippery steps into Lady Anne’s privvy which was v wet and damp. I walked around tower as that’s all you can do and then back up the horrible busy road to the bus stop getting yelled at on the way from a van. Then I sat sitting on my map at the bus stop with no seat for 50 minutes waiting for the bus at 3.05 which turned up at 3.12 so having made me anxious again.
Barden Tower
The ancient bus then went back up the hill in first gear and dumped me out in Skipton twenty minutes later.
I shoved my bag back in the car, took a photo of the castle, didn’t go in for £6.50 but went to M&S for some water. In the car, drank my old bottle of water which was hot and fizzy, hmm.
Skipton Castle – Henceforth
Then drove home. I listened to a Dick Kingsmith story on R4Extra called The Queen’s Nose where the moral of the story was “be careful what you wish for”. Yesterday I had made a joke with Chris about wishing it was hotter. I got my wish alright, the temp in the car was 28.5 degrees C.
I’ve decided this walk needs chunking up into smaller segments, I need to sort out my alarm clock and I am not good walking in the heat, especially when I’m pushing myself hard.


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.