Leader : Ian Bagshaw. Distance : 6.5 miles.
Left click route and profile to enlarge
A Medieval walk from Fountains:
15 Club Members joined this walk which started at the Fountains Abbey West car park. The sharp ascent from the car park to the Abbey Wall is possibly the worst part of this delightful walk. To the left there is the south front of Fountains Hall built by Sir Stephen Proctor in 1611. Sir Stephen made his fortune by collecting fines. A little further on we saw the ruins of the magnificent Fountains Abbey which was the country’s richest Cistercian Monastery. Then the magnificent gardens of John Aislabe who had been Chancellor of the Exchequer but got caught up in the South Sea Bubble. (Some members may remember The Aislebie Walk led a couple of years ago and which went as far North as Masham ??)
It was really quite hot and the leader kept the pace in check so as to make walking comfortable. Elevenses were taken at a gatehouse to Studley Royal where we saw deer sheltering below trees. Onwards through shading woods until we reached Whitcliffe Lane. From here there was a bit of road walking, a bit of field walking and finally a bit of Bridle Way before arriving at our lunch stop which was Markenfield Hall.
The two Black Swans greeted us and we sat on the estate wall savouring the beautiful weather and our surroundings – 14th Cent. Fortified Manor House built for the Markenfield family. Only opens on Mondays so we had to make do with an outside visit.
Leaving Markenfield Hall we had to navigate a field full of cows, some of their off spring and a very contented Bull (Well he seemed contented but our leader gave him a wide berth). Onto Strait Lane which is an old carters track and just wonderful to be walking under cooling trees. Reaching its end we then crossed 3 fields before arriving at Morcar Grange.
It was decision time – the official route took us over a wide field and then a not so wide bog. On our recce this had been almost non negotiable. Our leader had worked out an alternative which involved some road walking and a visit to the Chapel on How Hill. It was hot and we were getting a little tired so Ian Robb volunteered to recce the original route. We were most grateful to him as he found that the farmer had cut a track through his corn field and careful negotiation allowed safe passage through the bog.
That was just about it – out onto Fountains Lane and we were soon back at Fountains Abbey car park (West).