A couple of weeks ago I posted a description of a walk I had done on Ilkley Moor; a week ago, I talked about cycling on Le Tour de France route; this week it’s a little of both.
On Wednesday I cycled just over 30 miles, virtually all of it on the route cyclists will take on Stage One of the Tour de France, when it starts in Yorkshire in July. As with the whole of the route for Stages One and Two, the athletes will pass through some beautiful countryside – although I doubt they will take the time to stop and gaze at it, as I did. With this trip and my two previous cycling days out, I believe that I have covered over fifty miles of the tour route and provide a picture of my bike and Tour poster as “proof”! Okay, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
On Saturday, I chose to walk rather than cycle and once again headed to Ilkley Moor. I climbed slowly to the northern edge of the Moor with some beautiful views (on a not so beautiful day) over Wharfedale
and also saw what is believed to be a Bronze Age carving of a Swastika Stone. (The Swastika has only taken on an evil connotation in the past 80 years).
My path crossed some beautiful open moorland and a stretch of rhododendron trees with glorious colors and I was all set to accomplish a long-standing goal of walking from Ilkley to Skipton – a cross-country distance of twelve miles.
Then the weather intervened! I wouldn’t want the reader to think that a drop of rain would deter me from my goal, but this heavy downpour combined with a cool breeze caused me to look at alternatives.
After four miles, rather than continuing towards Skipton, I turned on an alternative route towards home – one that followed a bus route so I could quit whenever I needed to. However, a combination of missed buses, misreading timetables (who would have expected that from a former bus conductor?) and reaching a point where I was so wet that I felt it unsociable to take public transport, contributed to walking the entire way home. I covered 10 1/2 miles, so would have virtually made my original goal had I just kept going!
The two days of Tour and Moor were captured on my final stretch where the Tour will pass twice, once on each of the first two days. Here the local community have really got into the spirit and have lined part of the route with bicycles mounted on the stone walls. Bikes obviously define Le Tour and stone walls are quintessential Yorkshire Dales; a perfect amalgamation.