Living in Yorkshire we’re spoilt for choice with places to go for walks, and the ones around Bolton Abbey are among my favourite. We headed there this weekend with our lovely neighbours and some of their friends, a gang of six little ones between us ready to tackle the Pumpkin Trail by the river.
The sun was out and the autumn leaves looked fantastic in the sunshine. There’s nothing quite like getting up and out with the kids on a Sunday when the weather’s so crisp and clear, even though getting everyone ready and out for 10am calls for some slick getting ready tactics. The call of a pumpkin hunt was enough to get them going and we were glad we arrived early so we could fit in a quick coffee in the car park before we set off.
We’ve all recently got new wellies from Joules and were looking forward to trying them out, as part of their campaign to get families out on some welly-wearing country walks. My last pair of wellies were a bargain basement black pair from the supermarket, which have had lots of wear since I bought them about five years ago but they’ve never really been comfortable; you could feel every pebble and branch beneath your feet. Not so with these babies!
My new ones – the Matt Wellies in burgandy with a teal sole – feel bouncy under my feet, have a substantial sole to stop me slipping around and are tall enough to stop the mud splashing onto my jeans. I love the colour too, a nice rich red which won’t date as I’m guessing these wellies will last much longer than my love of a stronger print.
Sam and Flo were looking forward to getting their new boots on too, especially Florence who may only be three but already has a very defined sense of style! She picked out her wellies, in bright blue with a zebra print, and the all-important bright pink soles. Sam went for the navy blue Tiger print ones, and I love that they’re fun and boyish without being too babyish. He is seven but looks older, but I don’t want him getting into boring old plain black wellies before his time.
The Pumpkin Trail on the Duke of Devonshire’s estate near Skipton, North Yorkshire, is on the same route as the Easter Egg walk we did in March. It follows the River Wharfe through Strid Wood, and as you go you have to count the big glittery pumpkins hanging from the trees and open up mystery doors hidden along the way. Inside each door is a spooky clue for you to find and fill in on your trail sheet, leading you to solve the puzzle of what’s in the witches brew.
The kids loved running along the path and were so excited to open each door. I love seeing my two out in the open having fun, and it was really good to see them making friends with the children we were with. It’s lovely how kids just get together and get on with it isn’t it? They don’t have to look hard to have fun. They also really loved the snacks my friend Lydia had made for the trip too, some homemade sausage rolls made to look like mummies, with the pastry wrapped around in bandage-like strips. So cool and definitely good sustenance for the adventure, which probably took a good few hours to the end and back.
The adults were very pleased to see a coffee stop at the end of the trail route on the halfway mark, a fab converted VW camper with a real coffee machine on the back! It really was a beauty, but sadly my phone had stopped working by that point and I couldn’t grab a photo of it. I’d already had a camera disaster in the morning, when I got my DSLR out of the car ready to get some good photos of this beautiful place in such good light, only to realise my memory card was still stuck in my laptop at home. Aaaghhhh! I need to make sure I keep a spare in the car for moments like these, don’t I?
Anyway, I managed to take plenty of good shots on my iphone so all was not lost. At the camper van coffee bar, the kids had a celebratory halloween cupcake to mark two of their birthdays, and off we went on our way back to the start.
I think we will probably be back at Bolton Abbey at some point over half-term, as there is another, more challenging welly walk there with tunnels, slides, bridges and beams. We are so lucky to have this peaceful, gorgeous and open part of countryside right on our doorstep.
Joules have teamed up with National Trails to map out some of the best welly walks in the country. If you get out and about this week, you can upload a photo to their Facebook page, tagging it #wellywalks, and be in with a chance to win a £150 Joules voucher. What are you waiting for?
This post was written in collaboration with Joules.