For a bit of a change, we parked at Barden Bridge and walked the opposite way from normal along the Wharfe to the usual path up onto Barden Fell. Everyone enjoyed the steep climb up to the moor(!!),
and then we had fun playing on the rocks. Nimmy managed not to be blown away in the wind!
After some lunch, we headed south across the fell and along the edge of the valley where the Great Agill Beck flows. This is one of my favourite types of landscape - high, rocky paths through gorse and heather where there is only more fell out towards the horizon and the sky seems to dominate the view. Add to this a fern valley stretching below you and you can’t really beat it.
We ambled down the path, slowly losing altitude (and being grateful that we didn’t come up this way), until we reached a forest plantation – big cool, fir trees letting dappled light to the ground. It was wonderful to get out of the hot sun and cool down a bit. Ian said that it smelt of France, and it did smell quite wonderful - all warm and piney.
Then it was into the highlight of the walk – the Valley of Desolation. It was quite desolate. The path was over grown and step as we clung to the valley edge, gradually eeking our way down to the beck. The other side of the valley was stark and steep and could only sustain grass and a few precariously sliding trees. We stopped at the bottom for some tea and listened to the beck cavort over rocks and boulders.
Then came the easy part – over meadows (alongside what must have been a great waterfall could we have seen it) back down to the Wharfe. We followed the path a little to the south to cross at one of the Bolton Abbey maintained bridges and use their very fine loos. We were also compelled to buy ice cream – just to contribute to the local economy of course! The we wandered back along the Wharfe along the west bank, admiring all the trails and sculptures maintained by Bolton Abbey.
Nimmy, if you click on the image below, it will take you to the albumn containing some of the other photos which you can download if you fancy. They are prettiest to look at in the slideshow mode.....