A Bolton Abbey Walk

The Lakeland Lapland Festive Virtual Ultra continues. I have given up the idea of doing much running on this. I want to make a contribution every day if I can and my feet are struggling a little – and they struggle more when I run. I had my therapy session over at Bolton Abbey earlier today and I was very much looking forward to a walk afterwards. I had my heart set on doing a sort of figure of 8 loop from the abbey to the Cavendish Pavilion and then on to Barden Bridge and back. I was however a little worried about how my feet would hold up. Once I set off though I realised I’d be fine, they actually feel better when I am using them.

I walked slowly towards the stepping stones with the abbey in the background and crossed the bridge across the River Wharfe. There were a couple of people walking on the bottom path that forms the Welly Walk so I walked up the top path and didn’t see anyone else until I got the bridge at the Pavilion. It was nice just walking along lost in thought and enjoying the sunshine. I crossed the bridge and went to get a coffee and walked on towards the Strid sipping it. There were a few people about but not very many and wherever possible I took the route they weren’t. I caught up with some people just before the aqueduct and decide to just fall in at their pace and stay a few metres behind them. I stopped to watch a dipper for a minute or two and then carried on – the people in front went across the aqueduct and I had the path to Barden Bridge to myself again.

I briefly stopped on Barden Bridge, like I always do and took a picture before enjoying walking on spongy grass and saying hello to the sheep as I walked back towards the Pavilion. There were loads of little birds around and squirrels everywhere. The sun was actually quite warm and I stopped again to watch a pair of red kites overhead. as I headed back into the wood on the path there were a few people coming the other way which confused me a bit and initially I didn’t know why. After the 3rd or 4th person passed me I realised what was wrong – they were going the wrong way. The estate is operating a one way system to help with social distancing and for a second I panicked that I had got it wrong and it was me going the wrong way. I wasn’t. I don’t really mind but my brain somehow wasn’t prepared for meeting people coming the other way and I found it irritating because it meant I actually had to look where I was going more than I wanted to.

I got back to the bridge by the Pavilion and a walker asked about the length of the circular route or what I’d recommend. We had a little chat and together managed to persuade his little dog that the gaps in the wood on the bridge would not swallow him up alive or despatch him straight into the depths of the Wharfe. I took the opportunity for a toilet stop and then wandered across the long long car park alongside the river. I was getting a little tired now but the sun was still shining and I found myself smiling. As I went through the gate to the field I had to cross there’s a sign asking you to pick your own path so I did just that and turned left to stay right next to the river. I went down to a little pebble beach and then back up the steep hill to the road.

The final section took me into the Priory Church to light a couple of candles. I’m not religious. I don’t believe in God and even less in religion but I do very much believe in the power of silence, reflection and light and they can often be found in churches. Just as I lit the candles a lawnmower started up outside so the quiet didn’t quite work but it still felt nice to pause for a second and stand and just be. I walked through the cemetery and back up to the car park for a total of just over 12 kms.

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