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Leyburn Weekend - December 2018

9 members arrived on Friday at Eastfield Lodge in Leyburn, a market town in North Yorkshire, for the weekend postponed due to heavy snow in March. As we had sole occupancy of the place, we were able to relax in the lounge with tea and freshly-prepared cake on arrival, and had a little kitchen area to store our own food and drink. We were joined at dinner by 2 other members, Nick and Aline, who were staying at another B&B in the town. After dinner, most of us enjoyed an amusing game of Playdough Pictionary provided by Chris B, followed by a lively game of Taboo provided by Jonathan.

On Saturday, after a night of howling wind, the ‘A’ party drove to Aysgarth Falls car park where we were joined by Hamida, who had driven up that morning. Led by Julian, we walked along the river Ure past Middle and Low Force, which were both very impressive after all the recent rain. After a break at Bolton Castle we went west into winds of up to 45mph, below Carperby Moor past some old lead workings by Ivy Scar, and on to Woodhall. We then went back along the river Ure past High Force to the cars and teashop, a total distance of 10.5 miles.

The ‘B’ party, led by Peter, did an 8 mile circular from the house, walking along the Leyburn Shawl on the north side of the Wensleydale valley to the village of Preston Under Scar, and then descended into the valley past Bolton Hall to the village of Wensley. After a stop for refreshments in the local pub they made their way across field paths back to Leyburn where Peter observed a rabbit caught on a twig with its back feet tied together in an old hay-net. Alison P managed to cut it free, luckily having some scissors with her.

In the evening all 12 of us ate locally at the Golden Lion, where there was a large party of Santas!

Sunday was a fine day, and fortunately the wind had dropped. The ‘A’ party drove to West Burton and, again led by Julian, walked to Aysgarth Church, which had an interesting WW1 display inside. We then walked along the south side of the river Ure, up to the remains of the Knights Templar chapel, then ascended Penhill, where we encountered some lovely little ponies. We then went along to Penhill Beacon, above Penhill Scar and back down past Morpeth Scar via the waterfall at West Burton and to the teashop, a total distance of 11 miles.

The ‘B’ party, led by Jonathan, did a 10.75 mile circular walk starting from the house and walking along the banks of the river Ure to Wensley. After a short coffee break the group split, with the majority ascending a small hill to reach Middleham Moor, which is used as a training course for racehorses, and walked for a few miles before descending into Middleham village, with its imposing castle and abundance of racing stables. They took lunch in Middleham market square, and had a quick look round the village church before heading towards the river to meet up with Peter, who had walked directly along the river. On their way, the group encountered a field of very boisterous heifers. In her second animal rescue of the weekend, Alison P stopped the ringleader from eating a big piece of a balloon as she pursued them down the field. The group eventually returned safely to the house.

In the evening, those of us staying for another night drove to nearby Wensley for a meal at the Three Horseshoes. It was interesting to have a lift in Peter’s 42 year old Triumph 2000! Back at Eastfield Lodge, we then decided to do a tour of all the bedrooms. Each was a different colour and had it’s own theme. Some were quite striking, but none more so than Peter’s which was bright red with a curtain to pull round the double bed, and 2 ceramic owls looking down from behind the headboard! I’m not quite sure how he managed to sleep! Afterwards those of us remaining relaxed in the lounge while Peter played us some Christmas carols by firelight on the piano. It was very peaceful and atmospheric.

After breakfast some members took a short walk around the town before leaving. It being a beautiful day, I did a 6 mile walk along a similar route to Saturday’s ‘B’ party walk, and then paid a visit to Jervaulx Abbey, just outside Leyburn.

Many thanks to Jonathan for organising a lovely weekend and leading the 'B' party on Sunday, Peter for leading the ‘B’ party on Saturday and for the musical entertainment, Julian for leading both ‘A’ walks and Chris B for the Playdough Pictionary.