Jo’s Monday walk : Cow and Calf, Ilkley

One thing I was desperate to do in England this summer- aside from hugging people – was to feast my eyes on heather in full bloom. For me there is no more glorious sight than rolling moorland, crowned in shades of lilac and pink. I didn’t really mind where I found this phenomenon, but when my son suggested that he fancied a look around Ilkley I knew at once that we’d be able to climb the Cow and Calf. I had only ever seen it at a distance so this was tremendous excitement for me.

Our starting point was the car park at Darwin Gardens and Millennium Green, south of this small, pretty town.

Towering over us, the boulders that form the Cow and Calf brace themselves against the skyline, as well they might. Over millenia the millstone grit of which they are formed has been eroded, leaving chunks of rock scattered down the hillside. There’s always a colourful legend to explain nature, and it’s said that the Calf was split from the Cow when the giant Rombald was fleeing an enemy and stamped on the rock as he leaped across the valley.

On Ilkley Moor baht tat, without a hat, could be a bleak place to be, but I was enjoying a rare moment in this wild and beautiful place in the company of my son, and my smile was wide.

A fine moist drizzle was sweeping towards us and the moors are no place to be when the weather sets in. Reluctantly I turned away, but a cheery welcome in the hotel of the same name put a sparkle back in my eyes. Truth be told, it could have bounced with hailstones and I would have been happy that day. An exhilarating landscape with my son by my side was more than enough for me.

The rain did not persist and we had sufficient time for a look around the town. Enough to convince me that I’d come back. There are a number of trails around the Cow and Calf and ancient sites to be inspected. It’s become a favourite place for James too- a great day out with a picnic after a clamber to the very top.

Who’d be a sheep? Baa-aa! Still collecting walks if you’ve time for a stroll?

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Another vibrant and beautiful city seen through the eyes of Teresa :

Bordeaux

Sarah is obviously smitten with Paris, and it’s very easy to see why :

A sunny Sunday walk in Belleville

Water, water everywhere could well be the title of I.J.’s offering :

Rite/rite of Passage

Denzil takes a lot of trouble to put his posts together. This one is beautiful :

Leuven Street Art Walk

I’ve shared Lynn’s posts before. This is another lovely one :

Further Afield: Into the Mountains

Hard to resist a beautifully photographed garden walk :

Walk around in Strasbourg: Botanical Garden

While Terri welcomes Autumn with a flurry of activity :

Sunday Stiils: Sports and Hobbies

This will probably be my last English episode for a while. Time to return to real life here in the Algarve, though my daughter will be joining me next week, so not quite real life. Have a great week and I’ll catch up with you soon.

Jo’s Monday walk : Valley Gardens to Harlow Carr

Most of my time in England was spent in the city of Leeds, but I did manage a few side trips to see friends. Harrogate was an easy 45 minute bus ride away, and the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr an old favourite, so when my lovely friend Ann suggested that we could walk there from the town centre I was delighted. She and husband Bill drove down from the north east. First stop, coffee and a catch up, and a cheese scone for me. I had always been curious about the Royal Baths in Harrogate, and this proved the perfect opportunity to visit the Royal Pump Room Museum, while the very British weather made up its mind.

Situated on the corner of Valley Gardens, the museum offers an insight into local life in Victorian times, if you were of a certain social standing. The agenda included ‘afternoon tea in the gardens, listening to the band’. Our weather was as good as it was going to get, so it was time to stride out into Valley Gardens, where the RHS show used to be held. It became too popular for this lovely place, and expanded to a less charismatic showground elsewhere.

The flowerbeds were a blaze of carefully tended glory, coleus and begonia vying for attention. Dahlias and chrysanths, pom-poms and spikes, a swathe of colour so breathtaking that I no longer noticed the drab skies. These Grade II listed gardens were originally a footpath beside a stream, from the Royal Pump Room to Bogs Field with its 36 different mineral wells. The gardens were opened in 1887 and the Magnesia Well Pump Room served mineral water from the adjacent well. Passing the Cherub Fountain we continued through Pinewoods, along the footpath to Harlow Carr.

First, to the Alpine House and a little warmth, we then set to, following our noses and the paths at will. No better way to explore a garden. When we lived in the north east my husband was a member of the RHS and we were semi-regular visitors to Harlow Carr. The Spring Show was a highlight of the year but for us the Summer Show became too big, selling lots of things we neither wanted nor could afford. But the flowers were always stunning. A wander in these gardens in Autumn could satisfy all the senses.

There was a four seasons theme running through the garden, with cleverly constructed characters representing each of the seasons. Probably best not to meet them on a dark night.

By this stage of things the legs were tiring and there was still the walk back to the town centre. Being advised that there was an hour’s wait for Betty’s restaurant, the only sit down option in the gardens, we decided to leave. A good choice because we found a beautiful country house, The Pinemarten, just round the corner. If you look closely you’ll find me in the mirror behind Ann’s lovely smile.

Details for Harlow Carr, including a virtual tour, can be found on the website.

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First to link up with me, Sarah indulges a love of Paris in a favourite area of mine :

Gallery: a walk around Montmartre

Kelly caught my eye with this interesting walk :

Tablelands- a walk on the earth’s mantle

Rosemay and I go back a long way, and it’s always a pleasure to share :

Mokare Heritage Trail Denmark

Mel loves to intrepidly go where many of us can’t :

Be careful how you say it… Walking to Shot Hole Canyon in Cape Range National Park, Western Australia

And, just this morning, Aggie sent me this very moving piece. Thanks, hon!

All the beds I have slept in

Many thanks to all of you. I’m not sure if I’m reaching everybody I want to, or if this is the best way to do it. Life accelerates here in the Algarve and I have visitors coming. Already I have things happening here that I want to write about and still a pocketful of UK memories. But the evenings grow shorter and I’ll try to keep up. Take good care of yourselves meanwhile.