How many times do you unwind with a walk immersed in nature? We are blessed on this small island with many natural features. There is nothing like a bracing walk along clifftops or immersed in the greenery of woodland.
Yesterday I ventured on a coach trip to Ilkley and Skipton. The sole purpose of the day trip for many was to go to Skipton market. My sole purple was to visit Ilkley Moor and to go to Skipton woods. Skipton is known as the gateway to the Dales and the area is Wharfedale with stunning green Yorkshire countryside.
The first stop in Ilkley almost totally confounded my objective as we had just under one and a half hours. The cow and calf rocks loom above Ilkley. At first I thought it would be too far, but I set off, the rocks seeming ever distant. Just as I thought I could get a photo, a few paces on the rocks tantalisingly disappeared from view. No time to wander on the moor today. In the end, I got close, but the steep climb was not being friendly and I snapped a couple of shots and returned downhill to the town. The distant views of the moors are stunning, even on this almost sunless May morning.
I grabbed a coffee at Avanti and a slice of their fabulous coffee cake. The cafe was busy and very hot. On the far side of the coach car park is a fabulous clothes shop, but you do need a large bank account, I wish. I could quite easily have disposed of 1,000 gbp on a couple of outfits. Next door is an equally stunning home accessories shop. Ilkley, with its Victorian buildings and independent stores, is a beauty set amongst its green landscape.
On arrival in Skipton I headed to my favourite store, to find it had changed hands. It had been a sort of charity shop with a difference having old crochet and linen, the odd dress, cheap threads and more. Many things that could be re-used in crafts, a real magpie's haven, but sadly gone.
I entered the church, it is the first time I have done so in many visits to Skipton. The stained glass is amazing in this church with medieval origins. I lit a candle for someone dear to me that I lost a week ago and for my mother, gentle soul that she was. Outside I wandered out of the church grounds with their pretty flowers and a fabulous specimen Acer, past the castle (I have entered three times before, it is well worth a visit), and round to the back in search of the entrance to the woods off the main road.
This green canopy was so soothing, so natural and beautiful. Deep in the woods you can hear nothing but birdsong, on the edges you can hear road noise. There are seats dotted around. A stream runs through the ravine and the hillsides are cloaked in Allium. There is even an outdoor 'classroom'. The area is managed by the Woodlands Trust. It gave rise to another idea for a book, that I might just pursue. For now I must finish my new purple flower book, launching this month.
Back in Skipton, with over an hour to kill, but very weary feet, I wondered whether to get a sandwich in M&S, or to go to my usual haunt, which used to be called Wild Oats but has changed its name. I was not sure if it had changed owner and the food too. I decided on M&S, but there was a chilly wind and I thought it too cold to sit and eat a sandwich in the plummeting temperatures. Then my eye was caught by the Three Sheep Cafe and I enjoyed their quiche very much. The cakes looked delicious but I had eaten cake for elevenses, so resisted, (halo still in place!). Without my glasses, I wondered why someone had put a tissue in my teapot. Lifting the lid, I saw this was an 'extended' teabag. The teashop owner had seen the idea in Madeira.
A very enjoyable day in touch with nature. As we headed home, I took a pic from the moving coach of the view.
Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2016