Friday, 19 November 2010

Masham, Yorkshire - (1) The walk

Masham is a historic market town which lies in the lower parts of Wensleydale in North Yorkshire.

This is a story about a walk leader, a path that wasn't at times and my hungry stomach that was !!!

Following the Grassington walk ( 30th August post), I decided that it would be a good idea to join the Yorkshire walking group for a slightly nearer location. My friend who organised the Richmond day out and was team manager for the sandcastle competition in Scarborough suggested that we travel from Newcastle in one car. He managed to fill two cars to travel south for the walk .... what a great organiser.
The first thing that struck me about Masham was the benevolent good will gesture from the local council... is this too good to be true....

Once we had agreed on a car parking price .... after the shared petrol money was agreed, we headed for the meeting point in the market square. There were quite a few of us to "control" and I was suitably told told off by the walk leader as he thought I was wandering off to take photographs which included part of the walk, Now I know that I have you all on my side as you want to see a few photos of the town but as a teaser for a part two of Masham and payback time for the walk leader, I now present you with the next photo.....

The walk leader decided to stand on the steps of the market cross and proceed to gain our attention and restrain us from talking to people we hadn't seen for a few months. I wasn't sure if it was an entertainment act that involved singing, dancing or just selling something... hope it was nothing red !! As he had researched the walk previously, it was worrying to see him in this attire as the word MUD came into my head.

We set off across fields on our 9.5 mile  (15 km ) walk following a river for most of the first half.

Hackfall wood was bought by John Aislabie in 1731 for the price of £906. He had made a name for himself by landscaping an estate and creating brick follies at the nearby Fountains Abbey now owned by the National Trust. This was another opportunity for him to do something similar that got a mention in a travel guide written by William Wordsworth of all people. As the centuries passed, Hackfall became a little overgrown with some footpaths falling into disrepair by the 20th century and it was only during the 1980's that two preservation societies saved the area from obscurity.

The entrance to the wood seemed as if we were stepping back into Albion or Hobbit country from Lord of the Rings as we waited our fate following the pleasant apologetic sign but no less worrying one. We had walked quite a way by this point and were allowed a short break here but not enough for lunch.

I had enough time to photograph a sample of Hobbit country before we set off on one of the muddiest forest paths I have seen in a long time. We went deeper into the forest.....

Possibly.....The hunger was starting to set in badly and anything that I saw seemed appealing !!....

Eventually we were treated to ... not food, but a view of the river with Masham church in the distance

At long last we arrived at the designated lunch stop. This was designed and constructed by William Aislabie who was the son of John around 1767 and was intended as a banqueting hall. The building called the ruin at Mowbray point has a classic front with Gothic windows whereas on the other side, a ruined arch is the main feature overlooking a ravine where ....we enjoyed lunch.

The building is owned and maintained by an interesting building preservation society called The Landmark Trust who rent the building out as a holiday home. As it was a self catering facility, there was a time restriction where we could only walk in the garden between 11am and 3pm.  I wasn't allowed outside the garden gate so I have to rely for the first time on another source to demonstrate the full picture.....

After lunch, we left the wood and the path developed into a lane if that's what you would like to call it...

.... and about an hour, our thoughts turned to afternoon tea as we passed Swinton Park Hotel, but as we had been experiencing some soft, brown, wet countryside underfoot, I thought that we might not be welcome......

Lastly, as we thought more about the food that we were going to have in Masham that evening, an animal of some unusual description decided that it was going to get there before us.......


  1. The sheep/cow hybrid leaves me a bit speechless. However, I think the mushroom snack looks lovely. What an adventure in the mud! Wishing I could have been there!

  2. The Yew tree is, if that is what it is, fantastic.

  3. Very nice pictures from a nice tour, J_on_tour! I like also the fashion there! Market towns are very nice places, indeed. I spent one month in Durham some years ago (working in a project)but I never got bored.

  4. Beautiful pictures! I remember that mud from my walk in the Cotswolds -- and gazing wistfully at places that looked too nice for us and our muddy boots.

  5. I'm very much in favor of Walking.
    Great pictures! I particularly liked the "warning" tree and the lunch stop photos.

  6. Love those photos. Remind me to never go on a walk with your cranky and overbearing leader. What? you can't eat when you want to? Can't photograph when you want to? What's with this guy?? We've driven through Masham (which I had managed to pronounce incorrectly for quite a long time)but it's another place I'd like to spend more time - and eat at the brewery. The problem with the Yorkshire Dales is that there's just so much to see and do. I need a few months at least!

    When I go on a walk, I don't want to have to slog through mud or muddy forests. That definitely wouldn't be my idea of a good time.

    Loved your photos and captions. :-)

  7. Beautiful pictures, and it looks like a lovely walk:)
    Wishing you a nice weekend:)
    Greetings from Berit.

  8. i dream of walking at the country side and seeing your pics makes me feel like i went thru one. the black and white pics is awesome. perhaps if i visit UK, i should go see places you've blogged. when is the best time?

  9. A fun post and some nice pictures that prove you can take decent photos in the damp and gloom of an English autumn. But the 'route march' element is what puts me off walking in groups.

  10. I think that last one is a pig in sheep's clothing. I really liked that twisted tree.

  11. What a beautiful walk! I love the picture of the mushroom.
    Have a great weekend!

  12. Beautiful shots and wonderful story. The walk leader sounds and looks like a real joy.

    Darryl and Ruth : )

  13. Well, I think that - when you take the photos -you already have the story (for us) in your mind!
    The images are very good, each!
    I wish you a great weekend!
    Did you dream in colors, too? Beacuse I did! ha ha

  14. Thank you so much for visiting my Old Forest blog and leaving a comment as it lead me here to your blog.
    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading of your walk, your photos are wonderful. I like the river scene and your flying sheep the best.

  15. Farmchick... Thanks, it was an unusual walk. We spotted the strange animal at some distance, I was fortunate enough to get a shot of it as it ran past.

    Adrian... Thanks, I didn't expect the walk to be so long in the wood.

    Travelling Hawk... Thanks, I couldn't believe the colour of his fashion either. Durham, that's near me, I was there recently... photos coming soon !!

    Vicki Lane... Thanks, I've only been a car tourist in the Cotswolds but I can understand what you mean about the muddy boots in certain .... better than your average pub or restaurant.

    DUTA... Thanks, You never know what you are going to get out of one of these walks, it could be the scenery or the whole inter active experience!

    Cranberry Morning... Thanks, As a walker, it was a bad sign to see the dress code before the researched walk. I once did a walk with him 8 years ago over Roseberry Topping and Easby Moor so I should have known what I was letting myself in for.

    Berit... Thanks, It was a varied walk with plenty of things to keep my interest.

    Lily Riani... Thanks, the time of year depends on what you want to do. Walkers will usually recommend the month of May as the driest extending into early June, while you take a risk with the amount of people and rain in July and August. September is mixed. I am sure if you want to visit the UK, you'll have a hit list of places first before some of these posts. Most people visiting this part of the world would want to visit York ( a place I am more familiar with. I have a trip booked on the train just before Christmas)

    Jenny Freckles... Thanks, I was quite pleased with the pictures I got today as I am not usually a fan of walking through woods and prefer the mountains. Similarly I am generally unfamiliar with walking groups and get occasional invites to attend as more of a social thing first and walking thing second.

    JoLynne Lyon... Thanks, I didn't think that people would believe the picture of the twisted tree but it was taken at the correct angle. Unusual animal I agree.

    Debbie Smith... Thanks, Three of us spent a long time trying to photograph this mushroom without getting the knees of our jeans wet. I took four before the walk leader tried to get us to move on as there would be others..... wrong, it was the only one I saw.

    Living in Williamsburg Virginia... Thanks, I was going to leave the picture of the walk leader out for reasons I mentioned in previous posts, but the story would be nothing without it.

    Wind... Thanks, Some photos have to be taken as I know that they are a defining part of the day, others are inspired captions later. There seems to be quite a bit of the colour red on the walk and in Masham.... no, I am not going to buy into the "fashion" !!

    Marilyn... Thanks, Thanks for your return visit and I am pleased you had a good time here.

  16. Honesty box is a good idea. :) Thanks for sharing your stories and these photos.

  17. Great walk, and funny reportage, thanks.
    (the cow/sheep was is incredible)

  18. Rizalenio... Thanks, I could not believe the honesty boxes. Normally in the UK all the officials in the towns want to charge the customer and the tourist for parking the car. This idea is most unusual and I have not seen before, hence the photograph and it seems to give the idea that it is a friendly town.

    Felisa... Thanks for you comment. I noticed this animal near the end of the walk in a field, I thought it looked a bit unusual. I had no idea that I was going to photograph it until we got close. I was watching it like a hawk until we got close, how lucky was I !!


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