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Ilkley Weekend - March 2019

In March we returned for a weekend at the Craiglands Hotel in Ilkley, last visited by the group in November 2015.

Whilst a couple of the furthest flung members took advantage of the opportunity to arrive on the Thursday night, the official weekend commenced with a 5-mile walk led by Peter on the Friday afternoon. In the inclement weather, Peter was joined by two hard core walkers. The walk from the hotel went up by Ilkley Tarn, down to the town centre, along the river to Ben Rhydding, then climbing back again to the Cow and Calf Rocks before finally descending back to the hotel.

Given the weather some members chose instead to go into Ilkley in the afternoon with several taking advantage of the delights of Betty’s tearoom.

After an enjoyable evening meal in the hotel the after-dinner entertainment involved a highly informative Scottish quiz from Peter which featured some questions on the country along with pictures of various famous Scottish people to recognise ranging from Robbie Burns to Alan Hansen.

Saturday morning also dawned wet and windy with various weather sites showing contradictory forecasts for the day. Happily, the weather improved substantially from mid-morning. 8 of us (including Hamida who had joined us for the day) headed off on the ‘A’ walk led by William up via the Cow and Calf on to Ilkley Moor (with or without hats!) and then across the moor to the South where a quiet lunch spot was found out of the wind. After a welcome post lunch pub stop at Dick Hudsons, we returned across the moor with the sun shining in the Western sky via The Twelve Apostles, White Wells and Ilkley Tarn, a total distance of approximately 12 miles.

The ‘B’ walk led by Peter, who was also celebrating his birthday on the day, took the bus to Pool Bank and the group then walked through the woods and across moorland to the top of Otley Chevin where there were wonderful views over Wharfedale. They then descended by roads and field paths to Menston Village where lunch was followed by a drink in the pub. The walk continued along tracks and field paths to Burley Woodhead and then ascended to the edge of Ilkley Moor and the Cow and Calf Rocks before descending to the hotel. The route measured exactly 10 miles on Shona’s satellite system.

After dinner, Colin hosted the traditional Pictionary in his usual expert fashion. This turned out to be something of a South versus North contest and much fun was had by all.

On Sunday the groups headed off together in the bus up Wharfedale. As we got further into the hills, the rain turned to snow. The ‘B’ Party, led by Colin, got off the bus at Barden Bridge and did an 11 mile walk back along the River Wharfe to Ilkley. The ‘A’ Party, led by Sonia, left the bus at Burnsall and did an approximately 14 mile walk back along the river through Bolton Abbey to Ilkley. Both walks included Strid Wood, Bolton Bridge and Addingham. A small sub group did an A- walk, in order to catch trains home or pursue other alternative activities in the afternoon (reading, tea shop visiting, sewing etc.), returning directly from Bolton Abbey.

The after-dinner entertainment on Sunday featured two further enjoyable and entertaining quizzes, one on walking and one on music, prepared by Alison. The music quiz had a specific feature on hills and mountains and featured such diverse talents as Marilyn Monroe, Faith Hill and John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High.

A big thank you to Peter, William, Sonia and Colin for leading the walks, Peter, Colin and Alison for the evening entertainment and Peter again for organising another most enjoyable weekend.

In addition, thank you to Claire, Hilary, Judith, Shona, Chris B, Chris R and our day walker Hamida for their contributions to the fun and merriment of the holiday.