Turn Right At Liverpool And Keep Walking- Day 85 – Knottingley To Selby – 1 March 2019

Back to walking after the sporadic winter forays, it is a cold damp morning when I set out, but this has at least put out the wildfires over Saddleworth Moor, which now just deliver a low cloud of smoke as I cross the Pennines. Arriving in Knottingley it is however sunny, and I pack my thick coat into my rucksack, leaving my camera on the seat, which necessitates a run back to the train when I realise I’ve left it there.

Fortunately the train hasn’t left and I am reunited with my camera. The walk goes along the main street, retracing my steps to the canal and then a short hop on the Aire and Calder Navigation, passing a pretty memorial garden on towpath


Freda’s garden is named in honour of a local resident who tended a garden on the towpath, and is now maintained by a friends group. It made a nice change to walk alongside it.

After the towpath it was a left turn to the Aire proper, which wound ahead  into the distance, by now the sun was out and it was positively warm for 1st March,  almost like a early summer day.


This stretch lasted about two miles, and was a lovely contrast after the urban sprawl of the past few walks across Leeds. The countryside is now fen flat and I passed several dykes and irrigation channels across the walk. I have often wondered what it would be like to walk fenland, infact after Knottingley, which lies at a comparatively Andean oxygen starved height of 260 feet above sea level , the rest of the walk was relatively level, only varying by 40 feet over 13 miles.


Eventually I left the Aire as it meandered towards the Ouse


After the river was the village of Birkin. The Church dates to 1149 and it played a part in the abolition of slavery as three of the rectors were active abolitionists. The church itself looked lovely in the early March sunshine


The landscape after this became featureless and flat, I walked about two miles across a series of fields and through Gateforth Forest, which grows timber to supply the nearby power stations (there were three I could see along the route. The route itself meant I hardly saw any people or cars which made another nice change to previous days.


After that the route took me to the Selby canal. It was more populated by canal fishermen than boats, but as the former don’t really provide interesting subjects lets have a few of the latter


It was now getting busy and I once more heard the rumble of traffic, but that was still in the distance. There were also a few people walking the canal, which broke the solitude. The final clincher that I was back into human territory was the sweet smell of cannabis that wafted over Selby as I entered it. It seems to be everywhere these days. Perhaps the air is cleaner, or probably people smoke more openly these days and it clings to their clothing.

Selby itself looked a pretty town


I felt good after the thirteen miles covered, and feel great to have escaped the urban sprawl of West Yorkshire.


Copyright Allan Russell 2019


Author: allanprussell

Big houses in the Heatons and others that take my interest.

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