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Image: Michael de Greasley See also: Dave Shaw and David King's blog: Dayton or Bust!
Three Saltaire Historians and a long walk home to Saltaire from New Lanark...

19 June 2011 | 20 - 21 June | 22 June | 23 June | Phase 2: 17 & 19 July | 20 July |
21 July | 22 - 23 July | 24 - 25 July | 26 July

On the banks of the River Aire… and thoughts of Salt’s 1849 Factory Outing for His Workers
Dated 24 July 2011

We’re sitting overlooking the waters of the River Aire in Gargrave.  The river has been the life blood of this valley for 10,000 years or more, - and we’re mindful that without it there would be no Saltaire.

The Infant River Aire near Hanlith

There hasn’t been much rainfall in recent days and the river level is low. We reckon that the water is flowing at about 5 mph – which suggests that the water we’re looking at will reach the mill weir in Saltaire in about five hours – a couple of days quicker than we humans.

Our day started brilliantly. The Craven Heiffer at Stainforth is a really good pub – their meals are great, the service is good and their beds are comfy! Better still, David joined us for our walk out of Stainforth up to Victoria Cave on Attermire Scar – a wonderful limescape enjoyed in glorious sunshine.

David at the entrance to Victoria Cave

David then returned to the car in Stainforth & spent a few hours in Skipton. We pressed on along Stockdale Lane where Dave was spiritually uplifted by our first sight of Malhamdale – source of the River Aire. Roger recharged his batteries by running down Pikedoor Hill – his favourite spot in the Yorkshire Dales.

Roger taking it all in

Dave & David enjoy the scenery at Attermire Scar

The Trio at Jubilee Cave

On 18 August 1849, Titus Salt took his 2,000 Bradford workers on a day trip out into the Yorkshire Dales. This was in the days before he had started to build Saltaire, and the cholera outbreak in Bradford – where Salt had five factories – was killing 100s of people. The Midland Railway Company had opened its line up into the Dales, and Salt hit on an idea that was to become a regular feature for his work force – a day trip out. He arranged for them to be transported to Bell Busk railway station, from where many of them set out on foot for Gordale Scar. Their exact route is not known for sure, but the most direct route north would have been along the bridleway that is featured in our photograph.

Tomorrow – from the Aire to the Wharfe, at first via canal-side walking and then over the hills to Addingham and Ilkley.

The Bridlepath north out of Bell Busk

Silent monitor score for the day – the weather, the scenery, David’s presence along the way all conspired to make it a perfect white!

Silent monitor

From  Aire to Wharfe - Gargrave to Ilkley - with a surprise meeting!
Dated 25 July 2011

It’s Monday, and the day has gone well. Our overnight stay at the River Cottage B&B was exceptionally comfortable – thanks to the wonderful hospitality of proprietors Keith & Kath!

Contact details for River Cottage in Gargrave

The Splendid River Cottage B&B in Gargrave

Also staying at the B&B were Nigel & Jill Jones, who had set out from Leeds to walk all the way to … Iona! They’re going to use the Dales High Way Route to Appleby, and then continue north, picking up the same leg of the Southern Upland Way between Beattock & Wanlockhead that we had travelled over in the early days of our journey through Scotland. We mentioned to Nigel & Jill that we had set off from New Lanark…

Nigel and Jill Jones in Gargrave
Nigel & Jill Jones in Gargrave, walking to...Iona! (see blog!)

Nigel remarked “I’ve been to New Lanark; I once walked the Highland High Way, and a chap gave me a lift back to Leeds from Fort William on condition that we stopped at New Lanark”. This was said at 8.30 in the morning, when my brain works only slowly. We all wished each other luck, and set off in our different directions – Roger & I along the canal-side to Skipton. After 30 minutes walking, the penny dropped…

Nigel: did the chap who picked you up near Fort William do so in the Summer of 2000? Was your son walking with you? Was the car you were travelling in a white Passat that overheated briefly, requiring a stop at a cottage to borrow some water? Did the driver drop you off in north Leeds, in the Roundhay Park area?? If so then the driver was….me! Small world! Sorry we didn’t recognise each other in Gargrave! We’ll think of you & Jill between now and early September as your journey progresses. What a great achievement if you make it to Iona.

Our 15 mile walk from Gargrave to Ilkley was uneventful, but it was good to be doing it in fine weather. A quick walk into Skipton along the canal towpath, then up onto the Roman Road to Addingham. Fine views over first the Aire, and then the Wharfe, valleys.
Roger & I arrived at the B&B in Ilkley at exactly the same time as did David, who had driven back to Bradford during the day to sort out his washing/ post/ tomatoes etc etc!

West Yorkshire Firemen practicing rescue procedures on the River Wharfe

Beautiful Canalside Gardens between Gargrave & Skipton

The three of us are settled in the comfortable Archway Cottage B&B, shortly to spend our last evening in the well-known Ilkley watering hole, the Baht’ At.

Tomorrow – Saltaire!!

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