Sunday, 11 March 2012

10th March 2012, A tour of the valley

After weather forecasts earlier in the week promised rain, rain and more rain a late change in conditions resulted in a revised forecast of fine weather and maybe some sunshine, great news for an outdoor enthusiast!

I was on my own today, a rucksack was prepared with all the essential stuff and a lift was offered...drop off and make my own way home, I had a route in mind that was a little longer than I normally do nowadays but gentle slopes are easy on the joints.

The walk began at Redcar Tarn on the hill between Steeton and Keighley, plenty of birds around and an easy stroll to loosen up.

This pair of tufted ducks, female and male respectively, were the selected photographs from here, now the walk begins in earnest and I head towards Steeton. The wind was pretty gusty up here, just short of 1000ft asl, and what I thought was a firmly wedged baseball cap became airborne...and landed in a field that seemed bereft of gates! A bit of wall climbing ensued but at least I retrieved my favourite cap!!

A mile or so of tarmac treading passed easily as the sun shone, a pied wagtail was singing merrily as it strutted on a walltop.

I was heading for Eastburn Crag and the wood beneath it, the views up Airedale were splendid from the top of the ridge, here the hills Sharphaw and Roughaw are beyond Farnhill Moor.

Experience has taught me not to get too frustrated if I don't get the photographs I want, as I descended through the woods a rich melody of song from robins, finches and tits resulted in no photographs but that didn't matter much...just a brilliant relaxing wander.

As I reached Eastburn village this dunnock was chirping a sweet song from its treetop perch.
Another stretch of tarmac bashing now as I needed to cross the river to head in my intended direction, sometimes while road walking I fill the time with a bit of lateral thinking...if I needed a table top this is the place to go, crafty eh:-))

A lengthy wait at Cross Hills while three trains rattled by delayed me a little but the sun shone brightly and here down in the valley the wind was not as bad. I took to the riverbank at Kildwick, a half mile stretch yielded little in the way of wildlife although a lovely grey wagtail flew past without suggesting it would land within a convenient distance. I cut up through some fields now to the Leeds Liverpool canal, I was getting hungry and it was time for a break. I found a lovely place to sit for a while, sunny and out of the wind and with the bonus of Canada geese and goosanders to photograph as I dined.

Time to resume the walk now and I headed towards Silsden, a short delay on the way as I met two good friends walking in the opposite direction and we chatted for a few minutes. Passing through my hometown I kept to the canal path, mid afternoon now and the lowering sun cast a beautiful light across the valley.

This elegant swan shows the effect of the light quite perfectly.
Spring is just around the corner now, one of the birds I normally associate with this time of the year is the curlew, now returning to the fields and moors after wintering by the coast. A haunting call and one I really love seeing and hearing.

How do swans get so big by eating so little?
Another sign of Spring around here, its lambing time and the delightful bleats and gambolling of the little animals cannot fail to raise a smile.

I was nearing Low Holden Farm now and this would be my turning point, another rest beckoned and more coffee was needed too! A resting female mallard and a noisy moorhen were near my chosen picnic spot.

Time to head homeward now and I wandered through some fields, slightly muddy after a wet winter but the paths are beginning to dry out and the walking was suitably easy as I was a bit weary!

A lovely mistle thrush settled in a nearby tree, the sun gleaming on its feathers.

I was meeting someone at 4.30pm and I was early, making my way to a favourite spot I decided to sit in the sun for a while...another great and somewhat unexpected day in the sun.

Here by Holden Beck and some disused lime kilns I finished the contents of my thermos flask and enjoyed my memories of a grand day.


  1. It looked as though your weather yesterday for your walk was similar to ours, a bit breezy in the open but lovely and sunny. it's a shame that all of the birds that you can hear don't "pose"for a photo, it wa sthe same for us. You did get some nice pictures though, a great one of the Curlew and the Mistle Thrush. A good day out Dave.

  2. A lovely walk with some really nice wildlife shots captured along the way Dave. I love the sound of Curlews, we rarely see them here. We are at home for a change :o) so I walked with Sherran & Bill yesterday, as she says we had similar weather to you which was much better than forecast.