To the stars and back

Today the sun is shining despite assurances from the MET office that I should be under a roof or in a boat. There is pretty good visibility so I head off to Kettlewell a short drive from Grassington up Wharfedale for a walk that ought to involve some good views.

Kettlewell itself is a pretty village with an old stone bridge sitting alongside a ford, should you choose to get your feet wet. The walk I have chosen is dead simple involving hillside traversal of the eastern side of the valley to Starbotton and returning along the other western hillside. The climb north out of Kettlewell along a track provides good views back over the village and the valley to the south.

View back to Kettlewell
View back to Kettlewell

This is sheep country and a farmhand drives by on a Quad bike with a collie stood eagerly on the rear. You will have to imagine the amusing image as I didn’t fire off a photo in time (story of my life). Perhaps the heavy utilisation of this track explains the good shape it is kept in.

Stairway to Starbotton
Stairway to Starbotton

Many birds can be heard but for the most part they remain elusive to the eye, with a few notable exceptions.

Where eagles dare
Where eagles dare

As I descend into the even smaller village of Starbotton I’m already looking forward to lunch & a pint at the pub – but disaster – it is closed! In fact there is no sign of life here except the clack of croquet balls from an impressively flat cottage garden across the road. My bag contains a banana, two biscuits and a bottle of water – all liberated from my B&B. It’s a lunch of sorts. Back up the other side of the valley then without much delay.

This walk is no picnic
This walk is no picnic

A picturesque bridge over the river is popular with walkers and their smug looking packed lunches but I ignore them and march upwards along a pretty walled path.

More moss than stone
More moss than stone

It’s a slippery ascent on shiny damp rocks but the views at the top are well worth it.

One day all this will be mine, HA HA HA!!!
One day all this will be mine, HA HA HA!!!

I come across an old barn that looks disused.

Who lives here?
Who lives here?

In fact it’s not, despite the lack of tennants at this time. Livestock is kept in barns like this at certain times of year. The derelict barns tend to be a lot more run down.

Beastly lodgings
Beastly lodgings

The weather continues to be kind and there are some commanding views down the valley back to Kettlewell.

Kettlewell, or is it Kabul?
Kettlewell, or is it Kabul?

Sound carries well here and I can hear farm machinery on the other side of the valley. At one point a Hawk trainer jet screams down the valley slightly beneath my elevation. There’s a lot of that sort of thing going on in this area. Presumably Afghanistan and the Yorkshire Dales will be twinned within my lifetime. Apparently Wallace And Gromit are already household names there.

Worth the wait
Worth the wait

And before long I’m back. It has been an easy and pleasant walk. There’s only one way to reflect upon it – a sublime pint of Copper Dragon Black Gold at the Lister Arms. All’s well that ends well.