Sunday 24th November 2019
A very murky day, but with no rain forecast we decided to head into the Dales to explore Kilnsey Moor, a large expanse of wild empty hills. We have walked many times from Conistone Bridge, but always up or down Wharfedale, this time we turned west, aiming for a distant track which can be seen disappearing over the moor. This is Mastiles Lane which eventually reaches Malham Tarn.
There are always horses around this area and some were being trained at Bow Bridge as we climbed steadily on the muddy track. Were we out of practice or was the pull up to the summit of Mastiles Lane really so hard? Anyway it was a relief to get there. The views were hidden in fuzzy grey, but Great Whernside could just be seen. At Mastiles Gate Malham Tarn is still a good 2 miles away, but we turned south instead to join the end of Malham Moor Lane, an obscure road with little traffic. After a mile on this road we turned north back onto a green track, this one especially pleasant as it was barely eroded, and then only by cow and horse hoofs rather than excessive human footfall.
This track provided a lovely return to the foot of Mastiles Lane and also saw a brief sunny phase. The low sun had wrestled its way through the dense murk and the nearby limestone landscape glowed in a pool of green, whilst beyond the greyness prevailed. The lack of wind made for a truly lovely few minutes as we eased through the moor, but the sun had gone by the time we rejoined our route of ascent for the last mile to Conistone Bridge.
Back to grey, but it's those unexpected moments of magic that always keep us coming back.