Something old, something new – The hidden gems of Skipton

A couple of weeks ago on a scorchingly hot summer day, I took a journey down memory lane as I returned to Embsay Station and Steam Railway.  When I was little my Grandad used to take my brother and I there at weekends. We would admire the steam trains, take a journey to Holywell Holt and call in to the platform cafe for refreshments too.

I was joining St Georges Church Walking Group from Leeds on an 11 mile walk from Embsay to Skipton and Draughton.  Being on ‘home turf’ I expected to recognise much of the route.  But for me it was a balance of the old and the new.  A reminder of how walking is a brilliant way to discover an area and to see more along the way.

We set off, following Brackenley Lane out of Embsay before picking up a footpath on the left, crossing fields, passing Skipton Golf Club and eventually reaching the main road. After crossing the road we walked through Skipton Woods, which provided some welcome shade from the heat of the day. Through the woods we soon picked up the canal towpath and it was wonderful to see the delight and amazement on people’s faces as they looked up to Skipton Castle, high above them. What a wonderful way to discover the hidden gem of Skipton – the wonderfully preserved medieval castle, Skipton Woods and the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Skipton Castle

The town was busy, bustling and full of life.  We enjoyed looking over the canal bridge to see that Clogfest was in full swing – one of the main summer events taking place in the canal basin, the stage was adorned with clog dancers.

Skipton Canal Basin

We left the town via the canal and climbed up to Rombalds Moor for wonderful views over Skipton. Familiar sights from an unfamiliar perspective. There we found some shade for our picnic lunch, and enjoyed chatting together.

The path continued across the tops and eventually we turned left and headed down the moor to cross the main road to reach pretty Draughton with its Yorkshire stone properties and charm. Through fields and farmland we walked back in to Embsay village, passing the cricket pitch along the way. What an attractive sight to see village cricket on a beautiful summer’s day. It had been a lovely, sociable walk and a joy to see sights old and new.

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