by Jonquil Lewis
Eight club members met in the car park at Clapham, North Yorkshire, with the promise of a beautiful day in store. Off we went with the intrepid Dave Taylor leading his merry band.
After a mile of gentle climbing Joy (Baxter) ducked behind a large rock and stripped off-only swapping trousers for shorts- we were hot already. A short but steepish climb saw us reach the famous Norder Boulders, which were, as promised, magnificent examples of glacial erratics, and consist of huge Silurian gritstone boulders deposited by retreating ice upon the younger carboniferous limestone rock. Since the ending of the Ice Age , the hard , durable gritstone has withstood serious erosion whilst the rain soluble limestone beneath has been eaten away leaving many oddly shaped pedestals to support the dark, precariously balanced boulders.
This proved a delightful spot to have a swig of coffee, or whatever, whilst admiring the gorgeous views over the Dales. A few short miles further on we found ourselves at Austwick Beck- a picture postcard of a tumbling stream by a ford. A lovely spot for our lunch stop. Within 2 minutes of our arrival a group of some 20 people plus dogs arrived (Ramblers?), but we had the right bank and the better views. They had to make do with the left bank and views of us -they didn't stay long.
After more paths and byways, with wild flowers and gentle views, the party arrived at the picturesque village of Austwick. The Gamecock and cider beckoned. I have never seen such magnificent hanging baskets (begonia rex). There were several free range hens at the pub, circling us hopefully and pecking at crisp crumbs on the ground. But for one of their number this wasn't enough. She jumped onto the table and stole chips and half a battered fish from our neighbours- rather alarming for those concerned- she must be the original Gamecock's descendant. We continued along the well marked route enjoying splendid long range views of Tatham Fells and the Forest of Bowland to return to the car park in time to bask in the still hot sunshine and for some of us to relax whilst waiting for the bikers to return.
This walk was the one that had to be cancelled last year because of the foot and mouth trouble but it was well worth the wait. It was about 7 miles, through wonderful, varied scenery, not too strenuous and in good company with my companions. Thank you, Dave, for organising us.
Let's see more of you members next time.