A much nicer day, I set out on another training walk for the Oxfam Trailtrekker along the Leeds Country Way - a far nicer day this time though. I went for it in my new Merrell Moab mid boots to try break them in but more about that later. Again the same start as the norm and set off through a particularly busy Temple Newsam Park, as it would be on what was the first weekend of pretty spectacular weather, and dare I say it the last for a while. I plodded through the wood in an attempt to shirk the crowds who normally walk up and down the Avenue in Temple Newsam.
The bridleway then skirts Bullerthorpe Lane and emerges not far from Thorpe Park. Rejoining the Leeds Country Way by the M1 I followed the same route through the farm and along the way to Scholes, this part of the route I had already done and was the more pleasant part of the route previously walked. Leaving Scholes via a hiking trail adjacent to the vegetable plots the route heads towards Barwick in Elmet. From here it improved vastly with a more countryside feel.
The route takes you through and alongside various fields which were still dotted with snow - even though it was over a week since we last saw it snow. Not long later the Leeds Country Way arrives in Barwick in Elmet which again is pleasant enough but I'd far rather be walking out of civilisation. I suppose there are plenty of country pubs to benefit from though which is always a plus, more so if you're walking for about 6 or 7 miles, more of a hindrance when you're hoping to walk 20. But Barwick in Elmet is quite nice. You follow the road passed the church on the left with the pub on your right. A left turn leads you out of the village. There's a public footpath which you may be mistaken in taking but by heading down the hill another footpath which is the Leeds Country Way presents itself.
You head out of the village here and over a stream which seemed like a perfect spot for a bit to eat and to micropore the blisters on my feet, blisters are the only bad thing about walking. This leg takes you along the side of a field and leads you over a track where trespassing is prohibited, bit confusing. Skirting a tree line beyond which there was a field of lambs this was one of the nicer stretches of the day, until I came across the A64. This is a treacherous road to cross not only due to the speed of the cars but also as one direction is a complete blind spot. Through Kiddal Wood and you're on the hiking trail to Thorner. Hugging the southern-most edge of the village, by road, then footpath, then road again until it bends to the right you head through the centre of the village. You pass the Mexborough Arms as you cross the crossroads and head out of the village. Through gates and up the hill you arrive in a small hamlet where Oaklands Manor is. On into the hamlet and you can see the yellow marked post which signs the Leeds Country Way. It's only a small hop down the field and you're back onto a road and walking a short hop down to Moat Hall which is the next right hand turn.
At the next opportunity I headed over a style and followed a footpath which turned into a complete bog. Navigable only by crossing make-shift bridges made out of logs. This path emerges into a field and you soon find yourself in Bardsey. Here I consulted the walkmeter and found I was suddenly 12 miles in and I now had to get home. I looked at the map for the most direct route and beautifully discovered that I could maybe shave off a mile or so by just heading in a straighter line then the straight line I'd taken to get here.
I basically backtracked to Thorner along the roads and cut off right before the Leeds Country Way. Walking through Thorner a path headed right before I hit the Leeds Country Way which I took thinking it would reduce the mileage. Which no doubt it did. The path took me into Saw Wood which is attached to Kiddall Wood which I walked through earlier. The path went to oblivion and just seemed to disappear so I just trudged through the woodland until I was close to the A66 then headed east looking for a marked footpath which I duly found.
I then crossed the road and walked down the hill, increasingly concerned at the lack of footpath, I wasn't wrong though as it was once again marked at the bottom of the hill. The hiking trail from here was well marked back to Scholes whereby I followed the standard route back to Temple Newsam park and home. According to the trusty walkmeter on the iphone I'd covered around 23.25 miles which was more than I'd set out for and was pretty pleased with the effort. Hot bath and a homebrew necessary. This was a far nicer stretch of the Leeds Country Way, looking forward to the next leg.