Sgwarnog: In the Field

By sgwarnog


I took on a longer walk today, escaping the bounds of my parish to head onto the higher moors. I normally do this as a one-way walk over to Ilkley, varying the route to explore different bits of the moors and then returning on the train. I'm still avoiding public transport, so instead today did a long return loop.

It took me about an hour to get across Baildon Moor and the bordering pastures to Dick Hudson's, from where I climbed up onto Bingley Moor. I made a small detour to Eldwick Crag where I disturbed a Kestrel in the quarry, a Red Kite soared over and a juvenile Wheatear was quite confiding. Nearby was my first burnet moth of the year, a Narrow-bordered five-spot (extra). There was very little butterfly or moth activity but I will try to walk up again when the heather is fully out as that tends to attract them. A Green Tiger Beetle on the sandy path added some interest.

Entering Burley Moor I headed along the wall up to Ashlar Chair, which sits at the point where Burley, Bingley, Morton and Ilkley Moor, and their associated parish boundaries, meet. A family group of six Carrion Crow and a fine view across to Pendle Hill helped convey a sense of place for this reputed mystical spot.

Lunch and a sit down  on the Chair had been earned, during which another Red Kite circled overhead and the odd Wheatear and Meadow Pipit flitted about the walls and boulders.

Today's main image is also from that spot. The boulders makes it easy to see where the name of this patch of moor,  White Crag, comes, and they made an effective accompaniment for the fine cloudscape. It also shows the rather denuded vegetation that can be found on heavily grouse moors.

A few strides over to the eastern skyline opened up extensive views into North Yorkshire, including a very clear sight of the Kilburn white horse on Sutton Bank, and the white globes of Menwith Hill (extra), which seem to be spreading like a colony of fungi.

Up to this point I'd bumped into just a few runners and folk heading over to lunch at Dick Hudson's, but approaching the Twelve Apostles stone circle the crowds walking up from Ilkley became very apparent, so I didn't linger.

Turning for home I walked across to Horncliffe Well before descending down to the road. I met a Northern Spinach moth along the way (extra) and a sprinkling of Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Small White. A large flock of Lapwing performed acrobatics above the pastures near Weecher Reservoir. From there it was just a walk down Sconce lane and across the moor home.

I think eleven miles of moorland walking has earned my knee an evening in the company of some frozen peas.

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