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Bridleway approaching Bolton Abbey
Bridleway approaching Bolton Abbey

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Route No 131 - Saturday 12 March 2005
Draughton, The Strid, Bolton Abbey circuit - 21km
Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales

Map: OS Explorer OL2 The Yorkshire Dales Southern and Western areas at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' map base from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth

Draughton village
Draughton village
This weekend we had a break in an old farm house in Draughton near Skipton with my wife's sisters and their husbands. On Saturday the sisters went shopping/sightseeing and had a good walk with my brothers-in-law. It was a perfect day for walking with clear skies and a sharp early morning frost. Our farm house was at the top of the village with a great view across the valley. We set off down the village street, across the Embsay tourist steam railway to the A59 at map ref. SE 043532. We crossed the main road and took the footpath oposite up the hill to the village of Halton East. We continued beyond the village up the hillside on a wide green track to map ref. SE 037555 on a minor road overlooking Lower Barden Reservoir. From there we took the bridleway over Middle Hare Head. Close to the top was a ewe that had just lambed. She was licking the two tiny lambs that had not yet stood for the first time.
Even though the sun was bright there was a cold wind at this height. She seemed to be the first ewe in the flock to give birth as there were no other lambs to be seen. As we continued we could see a sheep dog trial in progress below us near the B6160 and we watched a fresh group of sheep being released into the trial field ready for the next contestant. We continued down through the wood to the road at map ref. SE 072542 near Bolton Abbey. A short version of this route would take the Dales Way from Bolton Abbey to Bolton Bridgeand return to Draughton on the bridleway across the hillside (this route is about 16km). We decided to head up to the Cavendish Pavillion cafe where we used one of the picnic tables by the river Wharfe to have our lunch before calling at the cafe for a cup of tea.
Sheepdog trial near Bolton Abbey
Sheepdog trial near Bolton Abbey

The Strid on the River Wharfe
The Strid on the River Wharfe

From here we could have crossed the river by the bridge and headed downstream to join the Dales Way at Bolton Abbey (this route is about 18km), but my brothers-in-law were keen to see the Strid. So we set again upstream for about 2km to the Strid. The river was quite full with the last of the melting snow from the dales and so the Strid was a boiling mass of foaming brown water. It's about 10m deep according to the information board. We retraced our steps to the cafe and crossed the bridge to follow the path on the oposite bank down to Bolton Abbey. The stepping stones by the abbey were submerged confirming that the river was running quite high. We along the Dales Way route towards Bolton Bridge and were very pleased to spot a pair of goosanders on the river (they are fish eating ducks).
There was a dipper on a rock in the rapids and we watched it for a few moments as it disappeared under the water to hunt for things to eat amongst the stones on the river bed. We turned off the Dales Way to follow a well walked (but unoffical) path to the road at map ref. SE 070531. From here we took a bridleway to the A59 at map ref. SE 067531 and crossed the main road to follow the bridleway for about 3.5km back to Draughton. The whole route had been about 21km - quite a bit more than I'm used to walking these days and it had taken us almost 7 hours including our lunch stop. .
The Strid on the River Wharfe
The Strid on the River Wharfe
Haw Park (quarry)  from Halton East
Haw Park (quarry) from Halton East
Eastby Crag & Halton Height from Halton East
Eastby Crag & Halton Height from Halton East
The Embsay steam railway track
The Embsay steam railway track at Draughton
Looking back to Draughton from Halton East
Looking back to Draughton from Halton East
Barden Tower from Middle Hare Head
Barden Tower from Middle Hare Head
Simon's Seat from Middle Hare Head
Simon's Seat from Middle Hare Head
West Bank Wood above Bolton Abbey
West Bank Wood above Bolton Abbey
Memorial seat in West Bank Wood
Memorial seat in West Bank Wood
Ponds at Bolton Hall
Ponds at Bolton Hall
Bridleway approaching Bolton Abbey
Bridleway approaching Bolton Abbey
Cavendish memorial near Bolton Abbey
Cavendish memorial near Bolton Abbey

Goosanders at Bolton Abbey
Goosanders at Bolton Abbey

Goosanders at Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey with the line of submerged stepping stones
Bolton Abbey with line of submerged stepping stones
The Wharfe below Bolton Abbey
The Wharfe below Bolton Abbey
A Texel Tupp
A Texel Tupp
Bolton Abbey station on the Embsay steam railway
Bolton Abbey station on the Embsay steam railway

Halton Height to Embsay Crag in the evening sunshine
Halton Height to Embsay Crag in the evening sunshine