Parkrun is back in the comfort zone. I’ve been up and out there every Saturday in August. Running further feels much harder. The mid-October ten mile target may be deferred. I blame the summer sun. Other excuses are available.
Last week Mr A and I completed the three day walk along the stanza stones. It’s taken just a little over three years.
We’d planned to walk the 47 mile trail from Marsden to Ilkley in August 2019. Accommodation booked, backpacks at the ready, weather forecast bad, we decided not to commit to three wet days in the hills. We agreed, weather permitting, to do each day individually, using public transport at the start and finish.
Day 1, completed with the Rain Stone; the rest of that summer was a washout. We’d walk days 2 and 3 next year. Twenty-twenty foresight would’ve told us this was not a year for plans.
Day 2, completed in 2021. We arrived at Hebden Bridge to pick up where we left off two years earlier, walked to Bingley. We’d walk the final leg later the same week. An emergency call for childcare put the day on hold.
Day 3, August 2022, took us out along the canal from Bingley, passing the three and five rises of locks before heading across the moors to Ilkley.
On Ilkley Moor we met a solitary poet from Toulouse. Three years is nothing she said. She’d waited ten years to make her poetic pilgrimage. She warned us that the Beck Stone can be hard to find. She was right. The path is overgrown; there’s not much evidence of passers-by deviating from paddling beneath the bridge.
The Ilkley poets’ seat, offering a space for reflection of the landscape and perhaps to leave a poem, seemed sadly neglected, overgrown with nettles. Less than tempting for a short clad walker to linger.
We rushed on. We believed we had a bus to catch. The online timetable told us they’d been reduced to a 2 hourly service. We arrived at the bus station in good time to read the handwritten notice: X52 no longer runs from Ilkley, it starts and ends in Otley. We went in search of a train, back into Leeds and out again.