© Ilkley Tennis Club
soon as we get to the River Wharfe in the park at Ilkley
we see our first dipper (below right),
flying upstream, low over the water. We see a pair of them further
on, one of them wading waist-deep into the whisky-coloured waters
of the Wharfe and picking off aquatic insects from the pebbles.
They bob a few times as they stand, as if mimicking the rippling
of the water, but not bobbing and flitting about as much as a wagtail
leave the bend in the river, go through a kissing gate and, by the
time we've walked a few hundred yards across those green meadows
behind Ilkley Tennis Club (left: for a
larger version of the aerial view see the ILT&SC
website), we have two curlews calling, one
of them making a broad circle around us.
Saxifrage (left) , which at first sight you might think
is some kind of liverwort, grows on the banks of streams.
Wood anemone (right) is in fresh flower on
woodland slopes. There are a few small violets in flower
on a trackside at the entrance to a riverside meadow.
single female goosander (left) swims downstream
below the pebbly shoal where the dippers are bobbing about. Barbara
spots a kingfisher, which darts upstream before I see it.
lapwing climbs and dives, calling in crazy alarm,
as it defends its territory above a pasture where two of the lambs
are bouncing along, stiff-legged, in mock charges at each other.
hear a woodpecker (great spotted I presume) drumming
on a couple of occasions as we're walking by the woods on the valley sides.
As we get to the old stocks at Nesfield a heron
at my diary page First Chiff-Chaff in the 'this day in 2002'
link below reminds me that we heard our first chiff-chaff
today, on a scrubby woodland slope near Nesfield. Later we saw one, not
singing (so it might have been a willow warbler) at Owler Wood,
Soup and New Watercolours
'What was your favourite part of the day?' asks Barbara.
Hmm. Tricky one:
'The parsnip soup at the Good Food Café in Addingham; that was
the perfect lunch for a day's walking . . . and trying my new watercolours
for the first time. That came I close second.' (I drew one of the chimneys
of The Swan as we sat in the café at lunchtime).
Trees from the Train
I also drew the trees of Airedale and Wharfedale on the journey
to and from Ilkley.
We were travelling with Roger and Sue, our friends from Wrenthorpe,
so we all met up at Outwood station, near Wakefield, and, changing
in Leeds, we soon got to Ilkley. It's the best way to get there
- avoids all the tedium of motorways and ring roads - but, as I've
said before, I wish they'd reopen the station just 5 minutes walk
from us at Horbury Bridge, so we didn't need to drive 5 miles to
our nearest station.
you'd like to try this walk, it's the first of my Village Walks in
West Yorkshire (there are another 19 in the book), available from
Countryside Books (see link below).
Richard Bell, email@example.com