I can’t believe that it is almost the end of April. I am sheltering behind a dry stone wall on Barden Moor trying to keep myself and my sandwiches dry while I eat my lunch. It is only a fine drizzle, the type that wets you through but it is coming at us horizontally. I am out with my local rambling club, Crosby CHA and I am doing the B walk. Our leader is Ken Morley, doing a good job of his first lead. Pity he could not organise the weather.
We crossed the moor and could see Simons Seat in the distance. This was the destination of the ‘A ‘party but soon it had disappeared into the gloom. We followed a permissive path round Lower Barden Reservoir and there were some frogs near by the sluice gates. I tried to get a photograph but they were camera shy.
A short section of road walking led us to Barden Tower. It was originally built as a hunting lodge in the 12th Century. When the land was inherited by Henry, Lord Clifford in the 15th century he rebuilt and extended it, using it as one of his main residences, preferring it to the castle at Skipton.
From the tower we descended to the River Wharfe which we crossed via Barden Bridge.
We followed the riverside path first across meadows and then through woodland to arrive at the Strid. Here the broad River Wharfe is suddenly confined to a rocky gorge that at its narrowest is only 2 metres wide, this causes the waters to foam and rush trough the constriction. The Strid was formed by the wearing away of softer rock by the circular motion of small stones in hollows, forming a series of potholes which in time linked together to form a deep water filled chasm. Legend has it that the Boy of Egremont, son of Alice de Romilly of Skipton Castle met his death here in the 12th century when he tried to leap the chasm whilst chasing deer. Over the years many people have been killed trying to attempt this jump and care has to be taken on the slippery rocks.
For me the next mile was fantastic. Alongside the path the ground was covered in wild flowers. There were lots of Wood Anemone, Anemone nemorosa.
I also saw some Butterbur, Petasites hybridus and Lesser Celandine, Rannunculus Ficarta
Although not good for general photography the conditions were perfect for taking close ups of flowers. Beautiful soft, diffuse lighting. It was perfect provided you did not mind crawling around on the damp earth. My friends thought I was mad.
The final section was along the riverbank to the bridge which we crossed to take us back to the Priory.
Bolton Priory was founded in 1154 by Augustinian canons. It became a wealthy establishment but was still not fully completed by the time of its dissolution in 1539. The nave of the church is now the parish church of the village of Bolton Abbey.
We were back at the coach with plenty of time to spare so we strolled down to the Devonshire Arms Hotel for a well earned pint.