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South Pennine Walks

The Cow & Calf

Date: 26th Dec 2013
Distance: 2.0 miles
Ascent: 350 feet
Time: 1 hour 30 mins
With: Lisa and Rhiannon
Start Grid Ref: SD924255

Walk Summary:
A short Boxing Day family walk from the popular Cow and Calf Rocks above Ilkley.

Route Summary: A simple route from the Cow and Calf rocks to the Pancake Stone and then back again on a lower path.

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Rhiannon heading for the Cow and Calf rocks
The Cow and Calf
The Cow
Looking back at the Cow and Calf
Ilkley Moor
Successful first use of the Thermos flask
On the Pancake Stone
Another shot of the Pancake Stone
Looking east towards Otley Chevin
Looking towards Ilkley Crags

Walk Detail: I don't normally need an excuse to go out for a walk. However, I do sometimes need a bit of help in convincing my daughter that she would like to go on one. The fact that I'd just been given a family-sized Thermos flask for Christmas gave me the excuse I needed to take the family out for a short walk on Boxing Day.

There are such a wealth of features to be found on Ilkley Moor and it's near neighbours that there are a number that I've not yet visited. The original route I planned was about three and a half miles long and included, in addition to the Cow and Calf rocks, the Twelve Apostles stone circle, the two boundary stones known as the 'Lanshaw Lad' and the 'Lanshaw Lass' and finally the outcrop known as the 'Pancake Stone'.

However, after a hard frost during the night, some of the paths were quite slippery which slowed us down a bit. In addition Rhiannon also wanted to try and break the ice on each frozen puddle we came across. When she also started to complain about her legs feeling tired and wanting her lunch I came to the conclusion that her enjoyment of the walk was more important than hurrying her up just so that I could visit a couple of boundary stones.

Having revised the route I got to make use of the Thermos Flask to serve tomato soup for three on a gritstone boulder fifty metres of so west of the Pancake Stone. After we'd refuelled Rhiannon with soup and homemade 'Rocky Road' we continued on to the Pancake Stone, where we posed for a few pictures, before continuing along the modest edge before descending to join the route of the Dales Way which we followed back to the Cow and Calf.

Despite cutting the route short I still really enjoyed this. We had some nice patches of sunshine on the moor which was quite lucky as the valley a bit further west was still wreathed in fog. I also got to take a closer look at the impressive Cow and Calf rocks than I had on my previous visit when Rhiannon was just over a year old and I was carrying her in a backpack. As for the Twelve Apostles and the two boundary stones I've now got them earmarked for a visit one evening in the late spring / early summer 2014.

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