Eleven months after my walk through the Cotswolds, I eased into a pleasant and familiar reminiscence of my English walkabout. Such episodes have become a regular occurrence during the past year. When it’s quiet and I’m alone, I slip back into a lantern-lit village or replay the scene of a doe and fawn bounding through a remote wheat field amidst a downpour. Generally, these episodes resolve into a feeling of contented satisfaction that can only come from accomplishing a long-held goal. This episode, however, was punctuated by an intense longing to go back; a nagging mental and emotional itch. The fantasy was immediately checked by its impracticality. The itch persisted.
In an attempt to quell this impulse, I peeked at the airfare rates to the UK. To my astonishment, I found a remarkably cheap ticket (the price as already nearly tripled). Then, after the realization that the pound is at historic lows and a conversation with a giving and supportive spouse (albeit understandably jealous), a trip didn’t seem so absurd. A few days later, after a slew of emails and early morning international phone calls, I had everything in place. Time to scratch an itch.
An early September walking tour alone through the North of England. The trail is called the Dales Way. The Dales Way is an 84-mile footpath that passes through two National Parks: the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District National Park. The first half of the walk follows the River Wharfe upstream to the main watershed of northern England. The second half follows several river valleys to descend to the lake town of Bowness-On-Windermere. Of course, charming little villages, complete with charming little pubs, dot the path.
So far, planning is a pure joy. The pubs along the route look promising.
The trail is not quite as difficult as the hilly Cotswolds. There are fewer villages along the path and the villages are smaller than those on the Cotswolds Way. My shortest and longest stretch will be 9 miles and 20 miles, respectively, with most around 15 miles
I’ll be updating this blog daily during my walk – and hopefully, during future walks (annually if I can manage). I’ve also written a few real ale and walking tour informational posts that I will publish here periodically. I will try to periscope or use facebook live posts from a pub or three if I can find a reliable wifi signal. Follow me on twitter and periscope @bucolicaholic for periscope notifications.
If your September is slow, walk along with me through the riverlands. I’ll be on the lookout for Lady Stoneheart.