Stages 10 and 11: Chapel Haddlesey to Boothferry
Chapel Haddelsey to Snaith
Bob: The forecast was showers and sunny intervals, but we got continuous rain, a delayed train, and a missed bus which gave us time for a full English breakfast at the Bus Station in Selby. There is always a silver lining!
When we finally got to Chapel Haddlesey, a very discouraging sign on our very first footpath said 'Keep out. Private, No entry'. Down came the rain. So we set off on a diversion from the river that would last 2 hours. On a lonely stretch of the A19 we found a discarded handbag, still with house keys, a baby's dummy, make-up and some items that looked a bit like toothpicks but also a bit like electronic hardware. No cash. No ID. So far so grim. We dedicate today’s walk to the unknown handbag snatcher, with a hope for redemption and restitution.
Annie consulting the map to estimate the distance as the crow flies!
Then the sun came out. We got good directions from a guy in Hensall, so we were motivated enough to climb over a rail track security fence with a 'Danger of Death' sign on it, and we crossed over two railway lines in order to access a public footpath on the other side. Feeling good that we hadn't died yet we found a spring in our step, then turned round to watch a 5 carriage express whizz through where we had just stood two minutes before. Don't do this at home folks!
We safely crossed another railway line a few miles later using the proper subway, the only subway in Yorkshire with no graffiti because there are no houses for miles and miles. We watched the Drax train trundle along towards the power station, clearly visible a mile away. The same train passes our house every day in
Mytholmroyd all those walked miles upstream.
We had seen other walkers in the far distance and a cyclist on the opposite river bank who gave us a thumbs up as we waved, but now we encountered our first face to face passers-by, chatty in the warm sunshine. It was a sign we were getting close to Snaith.
Annie: Today we walked between two bridges, the only crossing points on this stretch of the river. Unlike the Calder, communities here are not nestled on both sides of the river even at the bridges. They are definitely either one side or the other. That means the settlements we see on the other side have no relationship with the settlements on our side. It makes me feel as if everything is separate and that the river does not have a human connection with the land it travels through. For the first time, it seems to act as a barrier between people. We walked on a raised flood defence bank with the river to our left today and fields on our right. The river was often out of sight behind tall scrub. I felt quite distant from it, rather disinclined to watch it, rather unmoved by it. I wonder if this feeling will increase as the river gets bigger.
Snaith to Boothferry Bridge
Annie: We knew that the weather forecast was not great again, so decided to set off early and try to do as much of the walk as we could before the heavy rain started. We set off at 8 but within 10 mins of leaving the pub where we stayed overnight the rain had soaked through my waterproofs and I was starting to get wet knees and neck. By the time we got to Rawcliffe at 9.30 I was wet through to the skin. Google told us there was a café open and we were hoping to shelter there and warm up, but the sign on the door said 'Closed Sundays'.
I spotted a woman going into the minimarket next door with a shirt emblazoned with the name of the rather posh-looking small hotel we had just passed. 'Are you open for non residents?' I asked. She took pity on us and let us drip on her carpet and nurse a couple of teas and bacon sandwiches until lunch started at 12. Once people started to arrive, we decided it was really time to make a move and get out of their way. Miraculously, at the same moment the rain stopped and a watery sun began to shine. Within half an hour we were warm and dry. We dedicate today's walk to the lovely owner of the 'Green Inn, Rawcliffe' who took in these waifs and strays.
Very appropriate wallpaper at the Green Inn meant we could show the staff where we had come from.
The main casualty of the rain was my phone. It got very wet and stopped working and I lost all my photos from the last two days which is why these posts look a bit dull. Thanks to Bob for the few we have.
Bob: We forgot to put the clocks forward, some went forward automatically and some didn’t. We think we set off at 8 am from our B&B, but it could have been 7 or 9 in old money. It was quite dark.
In Rawcliffe we found lots of Halloween art in front gardens. The Matt Hancock one was the best.
In the afternoon sun we noticed that the River Aire was now tidal, with a margin of mud between foliage and water level. We hacked through a hundred meters of undergrowth to get to the confluence of the Aire and the Ouse, which looked more like a lake than a river. Good bye Aire : hello Ouse.
This announced the start of Act Three of this story, we have gone from uplands to the lowlands, and now the river is beginning to feel estuarial. Just another mile on we finished at the Boothferry Swing Bridge near Goole, with Beverley Minster standing on the horizon 21 miles away.
Straight away we started to plan the third act, tracing the route to Hull on our map, amazed at how much wider the river will grow when we meet with the Trent, next time. Can’t wait.