narrowboats

Jo’s Monday walk : Canalside in Skipton

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What drew me to Skipton, in the Yorkshire Dales, for our wedding anniversary?  Heaven knows, I’m no cricket fan (sorry, Freddie!)   Why boats, of course!  This little market town is at the heart of a network of canals where I could walk the towpaths to infinity. (well, Liverpool is 99 miles away- that’s infinity to my husband’s way of thinking, but then he’s a cricket lover)

Skipton sits on the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool canal.  Perfect for walking.  York is a mere 38 miles away.  Is that too ambitious?  It was only an overnight stay, so boundaries would definitely have to be set.

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In any case, the canal basin seemed like a good place to start.  I had an ancient town guide to hand and one of its recommends was a walk along Springs Canal.  This takes you around the back of Skipton Castle and promises fine views.  Unfortunately it was dull, verging on damp, at the time so my photos are much less splendid than I would have liked.

Continuing past an old sawmill, the walk weaves through Skipton Woods, a leafy stroll, and a favoured promenade since Victorian times.  It’s an atmospheric place, yet busy with dog walkers.  A circuit takes you past the Round Dam and parallel to the Long Dam, before climbing steps to follow the top edge of the wood, back into town via The Bailey.

At this point you might want to visit Skipton Castle.  Dating back to 1090, it is a wonderfully preserved Medieval castle, with an early Tudor courtyard.  I’ve visited the castle before, but not the neighbouring 14th century Holy Trinity Church.

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Emerging onto the High Street, I found the market in full swing.  I hadn’t come to shop, but there was ample opportunity and I enjoyed the lively atmosphere.  More to my taste, the ‘ginnels’ and narrow alleyways linking many of the side streets.  I couldn’t resist a few brollies for Meg, but then it was time to eat.  And just to prove that I don’t only eat cake…

A saunter down delightfully cobbled Sheep Street offers plenty of choices.  The Three Sheep Tea Rooms has remarkably fine cake, and I can vouch for the pear and apple chutney.  Even though I managed to squidge some down my white trousers!  Time to get back to the canals.

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The day was brightening beautifully, and I crossed over Belmont Bridge to join the towpath of the Leeds-Liverpool canal.  Few things delight my heart more than a narrowboat.  Wreathed in smiles I set off, reveling in such beautiful surroundings.

There are all manner of diversions along the way.  Curious wildlife inspect the prowess of the boat crews.  “Hold steady while I take this selfie!”  “Watch out for those cows!”  Just when all is going smoothly, lock gates present a challenge.

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So much to love!  Smiling faces on board, and on the towpath.  Boat names.  Pretty gardens to admire.  A slow, peaceful way of life.

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All too soon I have to return to the canal basin, for one last linger.  Watching the canal boats depart for their half hour trips, I strike up a conversation with a couple, over a drink outside The Boat House.  They used to own a barge in Belgium, and are as enamoured with the narrowboats as I am. It obviously suited Freddie Trueman too.  He made his home in The Dales and the dynamic statue by Graham Ibbetson is a fine tribute.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my anniversary walk with me.  It’s been a pleasure to take you along.  Time now for my second cup of coffee!

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Many thanks to you all again for sharing and caring this week.  The weather’s been great and I’ve barely been indoors.  Got to make the most, don’t you?  I have some wonderful walks to share.  If you’d like to join in any time, it’s pretty easy.  Just click on the logo or take a look at my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’ll be very welcome.

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Who knew a walk round a pumping station could be so interesting?  Thanks a lot, Violet Sky!

High Level

Take a ride through some lovely countryside with Lady Lee?

Thekkady Jeep Safari

My good friend Leya is joining us with some real enchantment this week.  Please pay her a visit :

The Enchanted Monastery

In case you were in any doubt, Debbie shows us just how beautiful is Corsica :

Stroll around Ile Lavezzi

No place like Glasgow!  Just ask Anabel.  She knows!

Glasgow’s Clyde

Got to love Jackie’s energy!  Toronto is another good-looking city :

Summer in the City

Liesbet knows I love waterfalls.  They always make a walk worthwhile :

Hiking to Tannery Falls

You could say Drake is a black pearl.  What do you think?

A pearl without a hard shell

Laia reflects on life in beautiful Switzerland.  Wish I was there!

A walk along the Lake Leman

Please welcome Hanna to my walks.  She’ll show you a little of life in wonderful Copenhagen :

An Entertaining Stroll in The Citadel

I didn’t have Elaine down as a wicked temptress, did you?  But just look at the evidence!

A blustery afternoon in Largs

You couldn’t find a greater contrast than our Becky, in the Algarve.  Blue skies and beautiful wildflowers :

A stroll down memory lane, also known as PR5

Lovely Gilly has found  a calm and peaceful place this week.  Come with us and enjoy!

Buckfast Abbey

That’s it for another week.  It’s a Bank Holiday next Monday and I don’t hold out much hope for the weather.  I’ll still be here though. And smiling! Take care till then.