Spring Walking

We live splendidly close to the Yorkshire Dales but as yet we aren’t familiar enough with said Dales to simply drive into them, park, walk, not get lost, find car, come home. This is one reason why Bolton Abbey is so wonderful, and so perfect, especially if you have family visiting who desire to see a little of the Dales. On the Friday afternoon at lunchtime, I didn’t need to persuade anybody very hard to come out here. I’m so glad we did. I just HAD to show my mum and Rachel Bolton Abbey, just had to.

It was late in the day and the carpark man knocked £2 off our parking fee as we only had a couple of hours before the carpark closed. Lovely. We had a restaurant table booked for 7:30 so this was longer than a flying visit but certainly not a day out. Late in the day meant that we had glorious golden light all over again.

I’m happy to say that they were suitably wowed, as I knew they would be. How can you not be wowed by such a beautiful place? We chose to cross via the footbridge rather than the stepping stones, beautiful though they are I didn’t fancy slipping and having a swim!

I led the way up the step path rather than the path that follows the river as I desperately wanted us to see the Money Trees. Oh I was so looking forward to them!

Yes yes yes! oh LOOK we aren’t too late for the bluebells! Fantastic! yay for bluebells!

I took photos of all the bluebells I saw and as we got deeper into the woods there were just more and more, it was wonderful. Bluebells contributed greatly to the 909 photos in April ;-)

Everything around is is so green, so fresh, so new. I’m a little overcome by how spring-y it all is, it’s so lovely to be out in the countryside with trees and flowers. Our town is not very urban, in fact it is very rural and does have a lot of trees, but oh yes, I’d forgotten how good it feels to be really outside. Albeit following a path, you know what I mean.

We’re quite high up now and I keep turning back to take photos of the Abbey, and How High Up we are. See the drop?

Everyone is ahead of me. Rachel loves to take photos too and she’s stopping to snap things that she sees: a tree with roots exposed propped up on a pile of stones. Wood anemones. Bluebells. Green leaves. Her shoes. Even she is ahead of me though. I try to catch up but am stopped in my tracks by a Rowan tree.

Hi Rowan tree! You have frothy white blossoms now my friend but soon you will have proud red shiny berries!

One of my all time favourite childhood books is called The Sheep and The Rowan Tree. Remind me to show you sometime, it’s packed in a box here somewhere.

Can you see how high we are? That’s the river snaking through the fields far below.

Before long, we reach the first Money Tree. Gasp! Wow! Really? How do the coins get there? Seriously? No way! Yes! Let’s make a wish, all of us! ok! Quick, everyone, hold out your hands I want to take a photo! Hurry up! Does wishing with a 5p get you more wish-magic than a penny?

We push the coins as deep-as-we-can into the soft bark of the tree and wish hard, hoping that nobody will steal our shiny five pence pieces from the tree.

We continue onwards, the path twisting round corners and through drystone walls, each corner turn yielding bluebells more thickly growing than before. I do so love the bluebells. While we are walking my mum is pointing things out and naming the plants, the trees, the calls of birds. I feel sad that it’s been so long since we’ve been out like this, and so happy and grateful that we’re doing so now, and in a place where I live. I feel proud to live in such a beautiful place and just so happy inside that they’ve come to visit us and we’ve brought them here. I can’t stop smiling.

We’re under a canopy of brand new leaves. The Beech leaves are so new they are almost yellow and don’t look quite real with their peachy fuzz trim.

As the path takes a sharp turn to the right to avoid a ravine we stop and the four of us cram onto a bench that sits precariously on the edge of a sheer drop. We marvel at the distant hills and watch the wind blow ripples along the river. I hold Andy’s hand and snuggle close, feeling so happy to be there. It’s not far to the big Money Tree now though, so we leave our perch and continue on.

While trying to find the oldest coin I lose my footing and slip underneath the tree and almost down the whole steep slope. Winded, but fortunately ok! A bit scary though. The oldest coin I can find is 1978. I always think that the Money Trees look like armoured dinosaurs, perhaps an Ankylosaurus.

Rachel wishes again, for extra luck (20p this time), and I am struck by how alike our fingernails are. I know we’re sisters, but still! Identical finger-nail twins.

We turn and begin to retrace our footsteps. The sun is low in the sky and casting a magical light over the world, gently illuminating the bluebells.

We follow the path back down, through the trees, past the drystone wall, lower and lower until we’re again level with the river.

The silhouette of the Abbey behind the rippling water is breathtaking. We step aside to let a runner pass and smile as he chooses not the bridge but the stepping stones – one two three four, step, run, jump, leap. He’s not afraid to slip and swim.

Back in the carpark just before we leave we pause and take a photo together to remind us of our wonderful day, our time together, and to remember that despite living in Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Hampshire we can come together and pick up where we left off, we still enjoy our company (so much more than when me and Rachel were children!) and I feel blessed to have such a lovely family. I miss my brother, Patch, and my sister, Alice, dreadfully and wish that they were with us too. We begin to make plans for them to visit in the summer. I baulk at the idea of four people sleeping on two and a half airbeds in my spare room and suggest camping. Rachel says that she’ll camp, as long as it means camping in my spare room. I relent. Four people on two and a half airbeds? Fine, as long as it’s them and not me!

We drive home the scenic route, through Threshfield and Cracoe, pointing out cairns and high places that we’d love to climb in the future. All in good time. All in good time, and hopefully with Alice and Patch as well. I love my family.

22 thoughts on “Spring Walking

  1. Rachel says:

    Lucky I had 5 shiny 5ps! I have a couple of lovely pictures of you and Andy, I’ll have to send them to you :) x x

  2. Siobhan says:

    Beautifully written Heather. I really enjoyed that! What a lovely place and some gorgeous pictures to show us. I too really love anywhere lush and green, it’s fantastic to see after the winter isn’t it? The blue bells are so pretty. The Abbey looks a wonderful place to visit, such beautiful surroundings. I’ve never heard of a wishing tree before – where you push coins into it. Loved the picture of all the coins.

  3. Sarah says:

    Bolton abbey what a wonderful place! Will have to visit it. Photos and chat about them well put together. Have a great weekend.xx

  4. It is a stunning place. I went a few years ago – as well as a few weeks ago (but we didn’t go round it this year) but I don’t remember the money trees. Another trip is in the pipeline. x

  5. Melinda Jackson says:

    How lovely to see the English bluebells in woodland. We’re beginning to hear about the Spanish variety spreading out into wild places from gardens, but I think there’s nothing so distinctive as the gentle nodding heads of our bluebells.

  6. I LOVE Bolton Abbey. We always go when we visit Mr T’s family in Yorshire. We take my niece and nephew fishing with nets there. It also always makes me laugh how you always see children half way through the stepping stones, suddenly completely petrified and refusing to go further. You then observe a traffic jam on the stepping stones until the ashamed parents end up having to cross half of the stream with a kid on their shoulder. The light on some of your photos is stunning!

  7. Noooooo!!!!! It’s bad enough being taunted on Lucy’s blog but now you have started as well. You might remember we made a trip to Bolton Abbey after seeing all Lucy’s photos and we had a wonderful day. I didn’t know there were two money trees – we only saw the big one. Love the bluebells – how gorgeous. So many beautiful photos – thanks for sharing.

  8. Noooooo!!!!! It\’s bad enough being taunted on Lucy\’s blog but now you have started as well. You might remember we made a trip to Bolton Abbey after seeing all Lucy\’s photos and we had a wonderful day. I didn\’t know there were two money trees – we only saw the big one. Love the bluebells – how gorgeous. So many beautiful photos – thanks for sharing.

  9. Hi Heather your pictures are stunning…the light is perfect.
    I also love the pictures of your hands …Oh how I wish my hands looked like that !!
    Thanks for taking us on such a special walk :0)
    Jacquie x

  10. Brenda says:

    Thankyou so much for sharing your day out, the photos are just stunning and I must say I am more than a little bit jealous – in a nice way of course- that there is something so stunning so close to you. xx

  11. Not sure how I missed this post, gorgeous, gorgeous countryside, your family are lovely and your mum looks so young!!!. What a lovely happy time you have spent with them.
    x Sandi

  12. Alice says:

    I wish I had been there too! I was left at home with two BOYS!! When I got to the photo of Rachel’s hands, I thought they were mine for a second, so I guess we all have very similar hands :) xx P.s, I am so up for coming over in the Summer, camping, airbeds, whatever! xx

  13. MelanieMelanie says:

    It was such a lovely visit. I keep thinking about it and am loooking forward to the next one – with Alice, Patch and Rachel I hope!I’m sure we can all squeeze up on your spare room floor. The pictures have come out beautifully too.

  14. Joanna says:

    What a lovely day out you had. Will definitely have to visit Bolton Abbey next time we are down in Yorkshire. Beautiful photos. Joanna xx

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this place….Lucy has us enthralled with it and you have just cemeted the wish to go there and do these walks too….hopefully we can get ‘our’ Connie van out and sail Larne – Stranraer and thence down to this wonderful place.

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