Looking across to the snow capped alpine mountains seen from the back seat of a motorcycle

Home Travel StoriesMucking Around In Muker

A Big Walk

Walk Date 21 April 2018

By Ren Withnell

Meh. Pffffft. After wresting with the pillow and new sleeping bag last night I have slept. Not the deep sleep I get at home but...but but but I was not frozen just not comfortable. Cool, almost chilled perhaps but if I'd had some thermals on I think I'd have been fine. I'm getting there. Just another few thousand pounds worth of kit I might get this camping sussed. Hmmmm.

I'm glad to hear some of the other campers, even the hardcore really experienced campers also said last night was a cold night. Maybe it's not just me?

Bright hazy sunshine illuminates the fields and campsite at Usha Gap
It's a chilly start but it looks like it's going to be a good day.

Sharon and I have a problem. Food - or a lack of therein. I'm usually fairly organised but not today. The local shop is (a) closed and (b) tiny so Sharon hops onto the back of my bike for the 7 mile ride into Hawes where we know there's a Spar shop. 

Sharon's had her own bike for over 4 years now but she still enjoys being pillion, she can relax and enjoy the views. I'm enjoying an enthusiastic ride over the wriggling undulating Cliff Gate Road when I notice Sharon is not her usual relaxed self. I feel her tense as we approach blind bends or sweeping curves.

I've experienced this before. Now she can ride a motorcycle she's developed her own riding style. She's reading the road and deciding she wouldn't be approaching at this speed or using this part of the road or brake at this point and so on. Before she could ride she didn't know any better, now she does know better and subconsciously her body is preparing to navigate each obstacle in her own style and not mine. 

Sharon sits on her bike in the countryside on a warm sunny day
With a few miles under her wheels she's found her own riding style now.

It's not a problem, in fact it's quite fascinating. As we park in Hawes she says "I will never ride that fast." I sense she'd like to but fears she's not skilled enough and doesn't think she ever will be. I couldn't care less. There are people way faster than I and people way slower than Sharon. Her riding is fine and I have no desire to go faster, I just like to have a little play once in a while.

With food for breakfast and for lunch (we already have tea) we return, this time at a gentler pace. When we return I explain to Sharon that the return trip was probably only 1 to 2 miles per hour slower around each bend. The effects of speed are "squared" so small differences in actual speed make a big difference to the sensations and physics. I wonder if there's an article in there?

Being hardcore badass wild adventure motorcycling types - we're off for a walk. Billy who loosely organised this weekend assures me it will be an short and mostly flat stroll up the valley and back, easy peasy. At 1100 our group of walkers set out in the sun although it's not too warm. Ideal walking weather I'd say.

Behind Muker we're into the valley, I believe this is the "Swaledale" valley. I love my motorcycling but walking really is the best way to actually see a place. The lambs bounce away as we approach, some of them are still wobbly on their feet. The riverbed is filled with rounded rocks and boulders. The water is crisp and cold. The bridges and stiles are narrow. 

A small river flows through boulders, rolling green hills and glorious blue skies at Swaledale
The Yorkshire Dales at their finest.

Sharon is crawling though a small hole in a drystone wall
Certain idiots prefer to crawl through walls don't they Sharon.

Flat? We're soon gaining altitude and the track is no longer smooth gravel so I need to watch my footing. We sit for a while near a waterfall, Sharon and some other muppets head right into it. Higher still we explore abandoned farm houses and play on the remnants of an old tractor. There are more steep paths going down between green hillsides, waterfalls and dry stone walls. 

A steep gravel path leads up the side of a gorgeous valley in The Dales
I'm curious how you define "mostly flat"

I'm ready for a break as we reach Keld. A tea room? Here we go, countryside, walkers, miles from anywhere and pretty little village all equate to big prices. Luckily Sharon and I have some water and triangle butties with us. There's too much blood in my tea stream though so I venture in. Surprisingly and thankfully the little tea room is most affordable! We grab a brew and a little cake to supplement our sandwiches.

A stone farmhouse, trees and sunshine in the village of Keld
Keld is lovely with acceptably priced tea for the weary walker.

I don't consider myself a "walker" - you know - out every weekend hiking up some mountainside, serious boots, rucksacks, maps. I do make a point of walking to the shops rather than taking the car. I'll think nothing of walking 2 maybe 3 miles if there's nothing on TV and I need to stretch my legs. I'm not unfit, but I'm not a serious walker.

Despite this I notice after sitting a while when I get up my right ankle is rather sore, it feels sprained but I can't recall twisting it excessively. Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe I am unfit. My maps app suggests we've another 3 or so miles to walk back and I am marginally concerned. Dammit. (Later my Dad suggests it could be my walking boots as I rarely wear them?)

Once back on the trail the pain eases. It comes and goes but never to the point I can't continue. By pure unplanned happenstance it seems I've walked and talked a while with everyone - hell I even talked to Sharon at one point. 

Several walkers make their way down a grassy path in the Dales
Proper walking this. Ooooh me ankle!

I manage to get back to Muker without requiring a stretcher. My feet are sore but then they're always sore when walking in warm weather. My ankle is OK, no worse no better. I'm definitely ready for a sit down and so is Sharon.  

Several members of our party are returning to the pub for their evening meal. It is tempting to join them but Sharon is poor and I am tight and we have pasta, tinned bacon(?) and a jar of sauce. Between us we rustle up a hearty and most welcome pasta dish which we devour in the porch of the tent. During this time we notice we're both slightly sunburned. We (and several other chunkies) are idiots but it could have been worse.

Rain is forecast this evening. It does come but only briefly and lightly. Much as we did last night we talk around the fire then sit in the common room. The conversation moves from motorcycles to jobs, from holidays to horrors. Every now and then the tone inevitably drops to some sordid double entendres and lewd laughter. 

The cloud cover means the temperatures are less severe than last night. I'll be interested to see how well I sleep. 

If you'd like to write up and share your motorcycling but not really motorcycling adventures then contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Inconvenience Is Better Than Disaster What should be a simple leisurely ride to The Yorkshire Dales is confused by unavoidable events. Don't worry though, Ren is going to have a good night's sleep. Maybe.
A Big Walk Motorcycle adventures don't *always* involve a motorcycle. This time the Chunkies are taking a walk through The Yorkshire Dales.
A Little Rain After another great weekend in Muker the rain has come but fear not, it's time for Sharon and Ren to head home.

Reader's Comments

the `Organiser` said :-
`loosely` organised the weekend !!! s`cuse me, it took me all of ten minutes to write and proof the spelling on the chunky tread page lol..As for a mainly `Flat` walk. I forgot to mention that it has a chance of some hills. Can`t remember saying that it would be a `short` walk, but it looks short and flat when your viewing the route on a map, sat at home. Think Ill organise an nice short walk around and up Snowdon next time. You coming ? lol...... :-)
26/4//2018 2:05:35 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Ah Billy :)

It was a lovely walk - the problem is I'm just not as fit as I hoped I would be.

Snowdon you say? Yeah I'll do that as long as I can go piggy back on you.
27/4//2018 7:51:46 AM UTC
Andy said :-
Don't think that Billy has quite worked out yet that maps are 2D but the land is 3D ??
8/5//2018 5:44:07 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh....yes of COURSE!!!
8/5//2018 6:28:22 PM UTC
Th'organiser said :-
Lol. I forgot life is in 3D ??. We shall order an 'Ass' for you next time ren..
9/5//2018 5:34:27 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Thank you Mr Organiser sir. I'd like a mighty fine Ass please.
9/5//2018 7:14:54 PM UTC

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