A glorious second week in May was marred somewhat with recurring bouts of sinusitis and an altercation with a neighbour, raising my anxiety and stress levels. Following an exhausting Saturday afternoon hacking shrubs and clearing up outside, we were determined to have some R&R on Sunday. I suggested a short walk as I was still not strong enough to go far. We walked to the very end of the street, noting lots of hedgerow flowers, then round and down to the buttress.
At the bottom, we took Hangingroyd Lane to climb the steps opposite the little park and along Unity Street into Nutclough.
The stream was very low, with additional crossing points to the islands. I was able to get much closer to the small waterfall than usual and marvelled at how much difference a short dry spell could make.
We spent a considerable time surrounded by the beautiful colours. Trees displayed an array of greens; bluebells topped walls and ridges; smatterings of yellow punctuated the palette.
The water was so blue and the reflections of trees so still that it looked like the sky. The area became busy we families as we relaxed on the bench.
We escaped up to the top path and walked along to the stone bridge, where we debated which route to take. We opted for the second path on the left, up towards the meadows.
A dinky craggy path led between small trees and bushes which I deduced had been planted since we last came this way. At the top, two guys with dogs sat next to a steep stone stile.
On crossing, one of the dogs started following and pestering us. We started up the grass path bisecting the flower meadow, resplendent with dandelions as a precursor to summertime blooms. Put off by wandering cows, we backed down and searched for another route avoiding the canines but failed. Clambering back over the stile, being pestered again, we started to follow the line of the wall. It became very tussocky and the darn dog followed us! Defeated, we made our way back to the proper path. I picked up the pace as we descended. Phil called me to wait for him (makes a change).
I hadn’t realised, but I must have taken a right-hand fork somewhere and emerged at the bottom of the cobbled lane leading up to Hurst Road. We jumped down a bit of a drop where there might have been steps once. A smaller, unexplored path opposite looked enticing and we decided to be adventurous and follow it, only to soon emerge onto the original top path! Phil thought it was hilarious.
We headed towards the main entrance when I suggested that as it was a day for exploring new paths, we should try the small flight of stone steps leading further up. We found ourselves in a small wooded area, carpeted with bluebells and garlic flowers.
Continuing up to a gate, a passive/aggressive notice on the other side declared it part of a private garden – it’s aright for some! We emerged onto a long driveway, curving round yet more bluebell woods. At the bottom, the stone gatepost displayed the name ‘Arnsbrae’. How many times had we passed that without noticing it? We walked down Keighley Road and into town.
In search of a refreshing pop, the cafes in the square were packed and the nearby shop shut. We found spaces at Rendezvous on Bridge Gate. Phil secured an outside table while I went in for drinks. Then he decided he was hungry. We were given both daytime and evening menus. I settled on a wrap when we were informed that the daytime menu had just become unavailable. We shared a hot meze off the evening menu – very tasty albeit rather more food than we had intended.
Exactly a year on, I could not resist the allure of Nutclough in May. There is something almost magical about the place, with bluebells on top of the wall seemingly clinging to a cliff, the almost- surreal greenery and vibrant reflections in the water. Copper butterflies flitted among the flowers while ladybirds grazed on bramble leaves.
Yet more new steppingstones had been installed onto the island and a new stream had appeared, leading from the diminutive waterfalls. We settled on the sunken bench for refreshments when a family headed our way. As they had a dog, I thought better of exposing our sausages rolls (albeit veggie ones!) Instead, we walked towards the weir and up the ‘Crow steps’ into the treetops.
My bad ankle gave me severe grief on the climb coupled with pain in my opposite leg but I soldiered on. Reaching the row of houses at the top, we tried to find a different route back down to the clough and ended up in a posh garden. A woman on the other side of a gate called to us, saying we could go through. As we did so, she asked: “how are you?” I didn’t recognise her but later realised she was a former neighbour). She was looking for a cat which I spotted a bit further down. She thanked us and we walked alongside the white house, down to the stone bridge, always littered with beech leaves. We crossed to head up the track to Hirst Road. I remembered the first path up to Fearney Field being unpleasant, and continued to the next one, across the stile.
Having been spooked last year by cows, Phil went ahead to check the coast was clear. Only a docile rabbit grazed. We sat on the wall and took our time enjoying our snacks in the warm sunshine. Aeroplanes headed straight up in a blue sky, looking as if they were heading for the half moon. Returning via Joan Wood, my Achilles heel pain flared up again on the brief but tricky descent. Back in town, the place heaved making us disinclined to linger.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtivlkNDXZiRdvlHh4cg; https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti6h30Ta4d5lGdTcZVg