Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Gargrave (no cruising but we’re living the dream)

One thing I forgot to mention about our weekend was that we saw some lovely butterflies whilst camping at Malham.  No pictures I’m afraid, but outside our tent we saw several dark green fritillaries, small heaths and large skippers – all firsts for the year.  Not forgetting that we also saw common blues, small, large and green veined whites, small tortoiseshells, peacocks, ringlets and meadow browns.  Not bad for a dry gorge in the Yorkshire Dales 😊

Monday was spent mainly in hospital with my mum and then updating Dad with Mum’s progress. Because of this, we didn’t venture to Ilkley for our weekly bridge afternoon but there’ll be plenty of other opportunities.

Before seeing Mum on Tuesday, we took in a good circular moorland walk starting at Kildwick, a village near the hospital.

The bottom of a cascade of poppies commemorating the centenary of the end of WWI on the church at Kildwick
The poppies were knitted, crocheted or stitched from recycled material by the local community craft group.  The group come from the two villages of Kildwick and Farnhill and cleverly call themselves Knitwick and Yarnhill.  Some boaters may remember that they knitted a ‘canal’ to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Leeds & Liverpool canal that runs through the villages.

We were impressed with the vivid colours

A closer view of some of the poppies
The remains of the village stocks are hidden in undergrowth outside the church and the lower cross member was still in place, so Buddy and I tried them out:


The canal running through Kildwick
In the picture above, a post box can be seen on the wall of the house adjoining the canal.  Unfortunately, it was of King George V vintage and not one of the Victorian boxes we collect.  If it had have been then it would have been our first seen from a canal πŸ˜‰

The canal runs on an aqueduct across the main street
We set off up to Farnhill moor above Kildwick passing a rather quaint style of kissing gate.

Of course, we kept the family kissing gate kissing custom alive!  When Karen was on a run on Monday she had been pleased to see a couple of old dears adopting the custom at a kissing gate in Gargrave 😊

On the way up, we passed Kildwick Hall which was the setting for the 1967 television series of Wuthering Heights starring Ian McShane as Heathcliff; it was this series that first brought him to fame, although he is probably best known as Lovejoy.


In 1967 Kildwick Hall was a hotel but is now a private residence again

Looking down on the village of Cononley on our way up
Near the top of the moor is a monument built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee.  The cross at the top is inscribed with VR 1887.  Slabs of millstone grit around the base explain its history and the restoration works carried out over the years.

The jubilee monument 
There was a cairn at the top, but it didn’t quite feel like the summit to us.

The summit?
Our obligatory summit selfie
A stone wall runs across the moor near the summit and over the other side we saw Black Hill cairn which is a Bronze Age funeral cairn and is 3-4,000 years old.

Black Hill funeral cairn
To see the cairn, you have to look over the dry-stone wall.  Years ago, larger cross stones were inserted into the lower parts of the wall to enable you to stand on them to get a better view.  Sadly, as is too often seen these days, people climb dry stone walls dislodging the stones on the way.

Sad state of the top of the wall where thoughtless people have climbed over it
A little further over is a Neolithic long barrow (about 5,000 years old) but we couldn’t quite see it.

We walked back down the other side of the hill and joined the Leeds & Liverpool canal at swing bridge 184.  This was the crash site of a Wellington bomber out on a training session in 1943 when all seven of the Polish crew were killed.  It’s amazing to read that they were nearly all in their early twenties, the oldest being only 31.  Talking to my Mum and other elderly people in the hospital later we realised that it had been a momentous occasion as several people recounted stories of their memories of it to us.

Memorial by the bridge

A second memorial on the towpath side with seven stones on the cross’s cross member
It was another two miles along the towpath back to the start, nearly all in welcome shade.

Having had a picnic on the tops we spent the afternoon with Mum and Dad.  Mum is still not able to leave hospital as her fluctuating blood pressure is likely to lead to another fall.  Hopefully, the adjustments the doctors are making to her drugs, will soon stabilise her and we can get her into the care home with our dad.  It only hit us this week that they have been married nearly 65 years!

After all’s said and done, we have a wonderful life – there’s nothing quite like coming home, sitting on the towpath, having a few drinks and watching the wildlife (and farm life) into the evening 😊

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