Our tame part time hiker, BOB ADAMS, has been on his travels again. This time to complete the second leg of his Ure Walk, from Boroughbridge to Ripon.

Pictures by Bob Adams.

IT wasn't until early July that I was finally able to complete day two of my walk along the length of the River Ure. Barbara and I decided the best idea would be to leave our car in Boroughbridge and catch the bus back in the afternoon.

So with boots on, we headed out along Valuation Lane, past the now closed John Boddy's timber yard.

Druids Meadow, offered a clue to our first landmark and there, next to a cornfield, we had our first view of the little known Devil's Arrows.

York Press:

Bob Adams by one of the Devil's Arrows.

the The name comes from a legend which says Old Nick aimed the stones at Aldborough, shouting ‘Borobrigg keep out o' way, for Aldborough town I will ding down.’ It was a poor aim, though. They all fell short.

There are three monoliths, originally five, all made of millstone grit and probably transported to this site from Plumpton Rocks, nine miles away. That was 2700 years ago and apparently it would have taken a team of 200 men more than six months.

The largest of the monoliths, also called menhirs, at over 22 feet, is the second tallest in the UK. Don't say you never learn anything from reading my articles.

We then walked along a quiet dusty road under a busy noisy road – the A1M, passing an industrial estate on the way to arrive at the attractive village of Roecliffe. The church, St. Marys, is just as pretty and the only one in the country with an entirely vaulted roof.

Sadly we weren't able to see it as the door was firmly locked.

After missing the footpath, which I got the blame for, we descended fields full of sheep to the banks of the Ure.

York Press:

Cherry Island Wood.

The first part of the river trail was easy enough, along delightful fields, this time bristling with poppies and corn. Then we entered Cherry Island Wood and things became a bit more challenging. For starters we were both wearing shorts, not ideal when navigating past stinging nettles.

Then there was the other snag.

In hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have told Barbara that the giant hogweed stem is poisonous.

I got the blame again.

Luckily, and to my redemption, someone had already been round with another poison; weed killer, which had zapped most of them.

Thankfully things improved as we approached Newby Hall.

York Press:

The Ure at Roecliffe.

At this stage I should point out that there is an excellent series of leaflets and notice boards produced by Yore Vision called Ure Walks Through Time. Their route along this part of the river is called the Roecliffe Ramble. To my mind, traversing the wood was more like an obstacle course.

Newby Hall was originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren and remodelled by Robert Adam (no relation). Celia Fiennes visited the house in 1697 and recorded in her diary; 'This was the finest house I saw in Yorkshire'.

We too have fond memories of visiting, years ago with our son when we sailed on the boating lake and went riding on the miniature train.

Not this time, though. The gardens were on the other side of the river, so we continued onwards, past an old army camp, and its Nissen huts, to the start of the Ripon Canal.

York Press:

Ripon Canal Basin

This waterway is part of the Ure Navigation which, it turns out, I have been following from day one. Completed in 1773 it enabled craft to get from Ripon to York and beyond.

Leaving the Ure at Westwick Lock we followed the canal towpath and stopped to eat our sandwiches while sitting on Renton's Bridge; a rather handsome red brick structure over the canal. Then onwards, past the wetland area and the racecourse.

York Press:

Westwick Lock

I didn't know it encircles a small lake. This is all part of a nature conservation area supporting many species of nesting wildfowl and waders, according to two helpful notice boards that we spotted. As we approached Ripon the canal passed through an industrial area lined with warehouses and factories. It wasn't long before we caught our first glimpse of the cathedral's squat towers and arrived at the canal basin.

York Press:

Ripon Cathedral.

I was curious to learn how the canal receives its water supply – apparently from the Rivers Skell and Laver – but couldn't find any evidence. The River Skell also feeds the water gardens of the Fountains Abbey Estate and I wondered where it came from before that.

One for another year, maybe?

It wasn't far to walk up the hill to the picturesque market place, stopping off on the way to admire the cathedral. Did you know Ripon is the oldest city in England and the fourth smallest? Its cathedral was founded in the sixth century by St. Wilfrid and used to have spires on all the towers.

Journey over, we found a pleasant café for tea and settled down to wait for the ten past four bus. Except we had misread the timetable. Turns out it only operates during school holidays.

We had just missed one, fifteen minutes earlier, and the next wasn't due for three hours. So there was only one thing for it. Get a taxi back to Boroughbridge.

And guess who got the blame for that.

Watch this space for day three, Ripon to Masham.