March 21st – Rillesden to Skipton

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Wednesday’s walk started with a coach pick up from our hotel in Shipley. We were dropped at Booth’s Swing Bridge No.195 near Rillesden after a hairy drive down a narrow road/track. I hadn’t known, when I arranged it, that it was barely wide enough for the coach. Fortunately there was room at the end for our driver, Daniel, to turn his coach or he’d have faced a long and extremely scary reverse! We set off westwards in sunshine and a stiff breeze and made good progress towards Silsden (once we’d negotiated a very muddy stretch of towpath) where a number of old mill buildings now house modern industrial units. After a drinks stop we came to Kildwick – all Yorkshire stone and steep streets spilling down to the canal, with one of them running under it! We then passed through Farnhill Woods where we chatted to two canoeists who were paddling from Liverpool to the North Sea via the canal and the Aire and Calder Navigation. We donated to their cause – KIDS – a disabled childrens charity. Next we arrived at Hamblethorpe Swing Bridge. Here we saw a memorial to seven Polish RAF Airmen who died when a training flight crashed here in September, 1943. They had escaped from Poland in 1939 when the Germans invaded and enlisted in the RAF. The canal then meandered near Bradley and we soon reached Snaygill’s Boatyard and our destination for the day, the Bay Horse Inn, near Skipton. After reviving ourselves with drinks, we were collected by Daniel, and driven back to our hotel in Shipley. A quick freshen up and we convened in the Noble Comb pub for our evening meal and drinks. (Apparently a Noble Comb is a machine for preparing fibres for spinning. Staff at the pub didn’t know.) It was nice not to have to drive home after the walk, especially as we had to do it again the next day.

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