A Bleak Walk is Just Perfect

I love bleak.  Typically rolling English countryside is lovely. And you can’t beat a verdant Daleside vista, criss-crossed with dry stone walls dividing its pastureland, its river along the valley floor edged with trees.  But here in Yorkshire, every now and then, I have to have my fix of bleak.

And one way to do this is to go over to Angram and Scar House reservoirs, both constructed in Nidderdale during the inter-war years last century, to provide water for the citizens of Bradford. Here are slopes, sculpted by long-gone streams and the often savage weather. These hillsides are covered in thin, tussocky grass – and not much else. Few trees.  Few buildings – the odd hunting lodge or barn.  But there are sheep, and birdlife too.  One of our memories of walking here was once seeing a small meadow pipit struggling to feed ‘her’ baby, a cuckoo fledgling three times her size.

My friend Sandra and I went there this week.  The day was perfect.  Not too hot and not too cold.  Briskly breezy.  And as we arrived , the reservoir was as blue as we’ve ever seen it, almost cobalt in its intensity.  We planned to walk our way round both reservoirs.

Scar House Reservoir

Which way though?  Clockwise?  Anti-clockwise? Sandra counselled clockwise, and Sandra won.  That way, we’d get a slightly boring bit of track over and done with.  We’d get the wind-in-our-faces over and done with.  And most importantly, we’d get the squishier, less managed paths of Angram Reservoir over and done with.

It’s rained a lot lately, so walking round Angram involves some wet pathways.  Not muddy, just paddleable.  Juncus grass lining the route offered the odd springboard to drier grassy ground.  But with water to right of us, bald barren hillside to left of us , the route is easy to see.  And each reservoir terminates in a stout dam, each worthy of  walk in its own right, and in Angram’s case, with water tumbling to its sister reservoir below.

Finally we left our wet pathways behind, and joined the springier drier turf pathways of Scar House Reservoir where sheep kept us company.

But even though we knew from the car park that we weren’t alone, we felt that this particular expanse of hillside, sky and water was ours and only ours for the six and a half mile walk in the middle of nowhere.

Scar House Reservoir

 

Jo’s Monday Walk

Six Word Saturday

61 thoughts on “A Bleak Walk is Just Perfect”

  1. One of my favourite walks.
    And somewhere we’ve gone a few times over the year during a heatwave – you can always guarantee it will be a few degrees cooler out there!

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  2. Fabulous! I don’t know this part at all but it looks like a perfect day. 🙂 🙂 I like your use of circles too. I forget they exist but they sometimes work well. Thanks, darlin! Probably chat later?

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  3. I don’t do bleak…. but from the many Yorkshire (all of them) series on YT ‘Escape to the Country) I can very easily see the beauty of all those English landscapes and -scenes – and I love all of them. What I like best however and always will, is the SEA – and you haven’t got that. Devon was the love of my ‘landscape’ life. Soft undulating, rolling hills, speckled with sheep, lots of wind-bent trees, canopees of them throwing shade on the winding tiny roads, and the clear, clean air of the seaside….. a never forgotten dream. But you’re a very good tourist promoter for your own country!

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    1. I love the sea too and would dearly love to be nearer. But Yorkshire has miles of coastline, and we were there, at Staithes, only the other week. It’s mighty bracing, but I like that.

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  4. Oh, fab! Scar House, is, indeed BLEAK! Thanks for my Virtual walk. I used to love North Wales for ver.y bleak bleakness, around Blaenau with the remnants of the slate mines….Fay Godwin introduced me to those landscapes in The Drovers Roads of Wales

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    1. Oh, I’m a North Wales fan too, apart from the weather, which can be dire. Yep, this ought to be Fay Godwin country: though I don’t think she came here. West Yorkshire, Howarth and so on was more her patch.

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  5. Well that was a lovely walk Margaret, six and a half miles is pretty impressive though it looks fairly flat? I loved it when we visited the Lakes a few years back and could walk around some of the meres there. Lovely scenery and no hills to climb! We were going to have a couple of weeks in Yorkshire this summer, that didn’t work out so well, maybe next!

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    1. Well, Sandra doesn’t really reckon six and a half miles is worth getting out of bed for , and I’m happier with eight or so really. It’s not as flat as it looks and there were a couple of scrambles, but on balance, pretty easy. Yes, do plan a Yorkshire trip when you can!

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      1. Eight miles seems a long distance to me! I could walk to Hayle and back, except I won’t as the road has no pavements and it is very dodgy walking along the verge. Already this week several walkers (tourists I suspect) have endangered their lives doing that.

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  6. Go and get your eyes tested! LOL. There is nothing bleak about those scenes…just beautiful open spaces, skies that stretch out before you and of course on this visit lovely weather. I used to live on the Prairie in Northern Canada…now THAT is bleak, but I just loved it and didn’t see the treeless open space as anything but beautiful.

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  7. Margaret, glad to see you are out walking and moving. I am headed back to the Arboretum to do the same once I click ‘POST COMMENT.’

    I loved your sentence – These hillsides are covered in thin, tussocky grass – and not much else. I had never seen the word tussocky, so I looked it up. It lingered in my head while I read your post and examined the photographs. Walking is good – it clears the mind and heightens the senses. Stay well. Peace.

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  8. Amazing to have such an immense place mostly to yourselves – apart from the sheep. I was interested to see such treeless expanses – testimony to the usually harsh conditions. You were lucky to hit the sweet spot weather wise, though with enough of a breeze to blow away any cobwebs.

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    1. To a large extent you’re right. Trees have been re-established in some of the more sheltered bits. But they do have a hard time higher up and lean horribly, buffeted by the weather. I think they were probably happier being cut up for housing and heating! Good point though.

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