Today being my birthday, a friend took me out for lunch. We chose to go down to Skipton which lies at the Southern end of Wharfedale, about an hour's drive from our house.
We set off on a cold, wintry day with sun and showers, two dogs languishing in the back of the fourtrack. Being in her fourtrack meant that we could go by the scenic route - over the tops of Coverdale and down the 1 in 4 gradient into the village of Kettlewell.
Up on the tops there was the first snow of winter. The sky was pale blue with puffy white clouds and the air was bitterly, damply cold. We kept getting out to take a photograph as the scenery was stunning. A herd of Highland cattle was grazing in the fields on the tops, their thick winter woolly coats seemed good protection as they didn't appear to be feeling the cold!
Down into Kettlewell, which lies at the foot of Little Whernside, over the River Wharfe, along through Threshfield, over the River Skirfare and on into Skipton.
It was only when we hit Skipton that we realised the lethal combination of Market Day and Half Term Holiday. It was heaving. There was nowhere to park. After a search we finally selected a side road, left the vehicle there and legged it into town.
Our first call was The Bargain Bookshop where it was "Buy one, get one Free!" - I bought a book and got a new Atlas for nothing (my old one was seriously out of date, particularly in The Balkans). Then it was on to a vegetarian restaurant for a super lunch. Then we set off back home, unable to cope with the crowds.
We called at Kilnsey Trout Farm for a mocha - you will see Kilnsey Crag in my photographs above - then back up the 1 in 4 and home again. Glenn thought she saw a short eared owl hunting in the valley at the road side - gliding along like a giant moth she said - but it was gone before we could really identify it.
A really lovely day - not least the journeys there and back. We both arrived home saying what we always say on these occasions - aren't we lucky to live in such glorious surroundings.