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Midge Walkers

Walk No. 70

Yarrow Valley Country Park

The invitation promised a walk of only 4.5 miles, no stiles and fundamentally flat on good pathways. I have since had the opportunity to research the dictionary definition of fundamental, which implies going to the root of the matter, an essential basis or foundation from which others are derived. Not being any the wiser I decided just to concentrate on placing on record the events of the latest tour undertaken by no less than 21 adults, 1 junior and 2 dogs.

We met in the car park of the Yarrow Valley Country Park Information Centre at 2p.m. The forecast was for a warm sunny afternoon and we set off skirting around a lake on which swans, ducks and a group of enthusiastic youths in canoes were actively engaged in paddling from side to side. At the opposite end of the lake we took a route skirting around a reed wet land nature reserve and wildlife sanctuary and followed the river course, arriving at Birkacre weir and fish ladder, which obviously enabled any determined fish access to the higher reaches of the river.

Following the tow path in more or less single file, we arrived at a point of decision with a fork in the path and having taken what appeared to be a logical route and our leader being at the back of the line (where every good general positions himself !!!), resulted ultimately in a detour, which likely would add to the 4.5 mile projection of our route.

Climbing from the river bank up a series of steps brought us to a gate and allowed us to emerge into open fields, and benefit from the bright sunshine where we continued on an upward slope and ultimately arrived at a style which routed us through a wooded area and back down to the banks of the river. A stone carving of a dog called Bevis who had been instrumental in saving the occupants of Duxbury Hall from a serious fire, sadly losing his life in the process, was found on route, as indeed were other wood carvings of a variety of woodland animals demonstrating the skills of an unnamed artist.

Cries for a coffee break resulted in us settling on the river bank adjacent to a foot bridge where we were told how many calories we had burned thus far and therefore what intake we were allowed. After a suitable period our leader could be heard rallying everyone for further exertions, which it must be said he seemed to experience some reluctance, albeit from members of his own family.

Pursuing the route along the riverside and through the trees, again passing a variety of carved items, once again brought us to a steep upward slope, and having attained what appeared to be a considerable height above sea level ultimately brought us to a well made path which took a downward route back towards our starting point. Just as we thought we were almost back a further detour added an extra aspect to our walk by taking a route which ultimately brought us to a superb play ground area which parents and children alike were obviously enjoying. The car park was just beyond.

The final verdict, another successful venture virtually on our doorstep, well researched and despite a few exaggerations of the understanding of the meaning of some fundamental words, without a doubt brought considerable enjoyment to all participants and we were assured had only extended the distance marginally and resulted in burning no less than 624 calories.         What an achievement!