Stage 1: Saltaire to Skipton – hiking a Dales High Way
Alex Langfield planned a hike.
October 22, 2020
This stage is characterised by the ancient mystique of Rombalds Moor and the many vestiges of the Neolithic era you’ll discover along the atmospheric trails. The Twelve Apostles stone circle is the most famous of these, found on rugged Ilkley Moor, the most well-trodden part of Rombalds. The moor is the subject of Yorkshire’s unofficial anthem, On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at, which translates to ‘on Ilkley Moor without a hat’ and gives you an idea of the windswept nature of this high ground.
Your journey begins from the inauspicious setting of the Victoria Road car park in Saltaire, but soon you’ll be leaving such urban environs behind, as you make your way north along Shipley Glen. You’ll skirt Baildon Moor, pass by Weecher Reservoir, cross the Otley Road and then, before you know it, you’ll be striding out onto the vast expanse of Ilkley Moor.
The first major remnant of the Neolithic era you’ll come across is the Twelve Apostles, a stone circle occupying one of the moor’s higher points. In fact, Rombalds Moor is home to the highest concentration of ancient carved stones in Europe. As you ramble parallel to the picturesque spa town of Ilkley, keep an eye out for the Swastika Stone, perhaps the most well-known of all the examples of ancient artwork found here.
Lovely views of Ilkley and wider Wharfedale are ever present as you continue west across the moorland, alongside rocky outcrops. At the distinctive Millstone Lumps, the path veers to the north and descends Addingham Moorside before joining the road to the village of Addingham. B&Bs can be found here if you’re splitting the stage in two, whilst refreshment can be found in the pubs found along Main Street.
The final leg crosses Droughton Moor and Skipton Moor on its way into Skipton, the self-styled ‘gateway to the Dales’. A plethora of cafés, pubs and restaurants can be found in this historic town, whilst a vibrant market occupies the main street on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. At almost 1,000 years old, the marvellous Skipton Castle is well worth exploring, as is the small woodland behind its fortifications. If your journey is ending here for now, you can hop on the train from the station and be back in Saltaire after just 25 minutes.
October 30, 2020