Saturday, 24 July 2010
Are you coming on a walk with us?
We have not had a walk lately on a Saturday have we? So put on your walking boots, get out your walking stick, pick up your camera and let's be off. If you want to bring your dog feel free - Tess always likes a bit of company.
I think we will cut across the fields and on to Mill Lane and into the village. The weather is warm and rather sultry and the lane is quite dry underfoot. But first we have to walk down to where the cows are making their way back to the milking parlour. The farmer leaves all the gates open and at around two o'clock they all begin to wander back. They're sensible girls and take very little notice of Tess and I as we weave our way through them. (The breed is Holstein).
We pass a little owl - a young one judging from the way it flutters into the hedge and has a job to find its footing. The little owl is diurnal and we have quite a lot of them about, but it is good to see a baby.
As we reach the beck Mrs Mallard with three rapidly growing babies paddles hurriedly by, intent on reaching the safety of the little bridge, where she can hide until we have gone away. Two of the babies are brown like her and one is almost all yellow with bits of brown here and there - but then there are a few white drakes about so maybe that accounts for it.
At this time of the year the beck is full of water crowfoot which looks very pretty but which, I am sure, impedes the progress of the duck family as they hurry away. The bright yellow mimulus grows in clumps along the waterside, as does the giant willow herb, so there is plenty of cover for the ducks.
In the hedgeback the thistles thrive (one year's seed equals seven year's weed!) ensuring a good crop of thistles again next year.
Here and there remnants of cranesbill remain although they are rapidly going to seed. In the hedgerow the hawthorn berries are beginning to turn red and the crab apples are bright and shiny.
We reach the lane and make our way along the beck side, a route which is at least a thousand years old and trodden by the Cistercian monks from nearby Jervaulx Abbey, who owned and farmed this land in the Middle Ages. I never walk it without thinking of its antiquity.
Dominic lives on the side of the beck and we call, but they are not at home. I leave a jar of freshly made raspberry jam on the doorstep and take a sneaky photograph of their garden, which is looking particularly nice today.
Walking the mile or so back home Tess and I are both a bit foot-weary, but we have enjoyed the walk - I do hope you have too. Now we are back home I shall put the kettle on - would you like to stay for a cup of tea? The farmer has just gone to pick the next lot of raspberries (we are inundated), so have a bowl of those with some of our local ice cream if you feel like it. See you again tomorrow.