My train ride up to Leeds, which is usually a 2-hour ride, was extended to 3, not including the 1.5 hour delayed start. When all was said and done, after 5 diversionary routes, I rolled into Leeds just before 6am, 5 hours after I left London, 7.5 hours after the trains typical scheduled arrival, and 13 hours after my planned arrival.
I dragged my bedraggled body through the Leeds train station just in time for the first train to leave for Ilkley. Getting in so late was not without a bright side. A train ride was quicker and much cheaper than a taxi, which was my initial plan. Astonishingly, the train left right on time and carried me efficiently and comfortably to my termination. I had to fish out my room key which was left by the hotel owner under a car and crawled into bed at 7am. Total trip time, door to door: 29.5 hours.
Ilkley is a beautiful market town. I was glad to see it at dawn. Peaceful and empty. After a few hours of sleep, I awoke to an Ilkley bustling with an endless stream of cars. I’ve already visited a couple pubs, a brewery, touch some Roman and Anglo-Saxon stone carvings, and had a nice relaxing smoke.
Even though the trip up here was excruciatingly long, I’m thankful for the decisions I made. While I reluctantly tossed some beer and whiskey to get through security at Phoenix (rather than wait in the static bag check line), I was very happy to get out of Heathrow with my bag in hand. I’m fairly certain that waiting for someone to track down my baggage at chaotic Heathrow would have extended hours, if not an entire night, to my trip. And had I waited to rebook a flight to Leeds, I don’t think they would have found an open seat on a flight before tomorrow.
I need to organize my gear for my 13 mile hike tomorrow and freshen up, then it’s back out to the high street for a few more pints and a modest meal. Cheers!