It had been an awakening from the sleep of winter, the day that we decided to walk the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail. The sun had pierced the January gloom and the sky was brilliant blue, the perfect Sunday for a Valentine’s walk.
I had bought ugly walking shoes for this purpose and even posted a photo of them online calling them ‘my new bedroom shoes’. They weren’t, they were and still are, sure-fire man repellers. What was I doing sporting such a shoe on a Valentine’s date? Still they were sturdy, stout and looked like they could see me up and over a few hills. Despite the sunshine it was chilly, fingertip and toe freezingly cold, so we togged up in large, downy coats and headed out.
The four and a half mile trail starts and finishes in the sleepy village of Ingleton, North Yorkshire. Despite it clocking in at less than five miles it actually feels more like ten due to the path’s undulations and climbs. As you would expect from a waterfalls trail there are a large number of rocky steps, some quite precarious when wet, so it’s a strenuous walk which is unsuitable for high heels, wheelchairs or buggies. We did spot one brave couple with two pre-school aged children who had miraculously managed to get half way round the course without a pram. However the children did seem quite tired, the sun was going down and the wind was picking up… the beginnings of a survival thriller are right there aren’t they? Oh crikey. I digress…
The highlight of my day should have been the many stunning waterfalls that we passed, each more beautiful than the last. In fact they just became bigger, more splashy and dramatic the further you head up the trail. But no, the highlight of my day was seeing a chap in thin soled office shoes completing the trail. Twice he walked past us and both times I marvelled at the unsuitability of his footwear. Maybe there wasn’t just him taking in the splendour of the North Yorkshire countryside in non-grip shoes, perhaps there was an army of men in slip-ons sliding along the craggy steps? Only I didn’t see them as I was fixed on watching my feet in case my ugly shoes missed a step and I tumbled to my death in a spectacular fashion down a jagged ravine.
Another high point was seeing a lonely ice-cream van parked along a hillside just half way up the trail. Like a frozen oasis the companionless vendor served Mr Whippy to the weak and hungry. Our fingers already felt like ice pops so we didn’t stop. A short stroll later and I spotted a ram watching us intently from a hill top. I imagine he thought we were daft as brushes stomping through the countryside on such an achingly cold afternoon. Either that or he too was gazing in wonder at the man in unpractical footwear.
What goes up must come down and down we went, along a precarious path snaking past gushing waterfalls and tired resting walkers. We marched on past and along the footpath and eventually out into the village, without a single blister adorning our feet. I was astonished; there was no rubbing or swelling. That is the power of unattractive footwear, wonder how Mr Smart Loafer fared?
Tel: 01524 241 930
- Family (2 adults & 3 Children) £15.00
- Adult (16+) £6.00
- Child (under 16) £3.00
- Price includes parking