Friends who were on holiday near Penrith drove over to see me for lunch a few months ago. They live in a Shropshire town and were rather horrified (I felt) by the remoteness of where I lived here in Wensleydale; by the winding roads too narrow to get up any speed of forty mph at the most; by the narrowness in places and the lack of passing places - that kind of thing. I have just been discussing with BB (Codlins and Cream) on our blogs about the remoteness of the Swaledale farm on the new series of 'Our Yorkshire Farm' which began again last evening. It is indeed quite a remote farm but maybe not quite as remote as it appears in the programme - maybe nearest neighbour a mile away - and that is nothing up here - take the Tan Hill Inn - the highest pub in England I believe - you drive a long way past a house to reach that. People seem to think nothing of remoteness up here.
Many of our children travel into Leyburn by bus from outlying areas when it gets to Comprehensive Education and even Primary Schools are getting fewer or are amalgamating with the next school along the Dale. And as for medical treatment - our nearest hospital is about twenty five miles away - or for more serious hospital treatment a good forty miles away. But of course to offset against this are the benefits of living in such a beautiful part of the country. I wouldn't swap that for the world.
The beauty of our Autumn is a good example of this. This year has been a good one for Autumn colour - some years are better than others. Not far from where I live - maybe a mile - there is a row of Horse Chestnut trees and they have been splendid. Then it was the Silver Birches and Hazels, now it is the Maples. The Hazels in particular have this year been laden with hazelnuts - and hundreds fell on to the grass on our estate. When we lived on the farm (only three fields away from where I live now) we had plenty of hazel trees in our hedgerows but we never saw a hazelnut. We saw plenty of grey squirrels and they always got there first. I have never seen a grey squirrel since I moved here and the other day when I was walking with Tess I met a chap with a bag full of hazelnuts gathered as he walked round with his dog. Wish I had thought of that!
I walked right round the top of the estate with Tess earlier this morning and it was warm and really pleasant but now, looking out of the window as I write this, the rain is falling again and the sky is grey. One thing you can be sure of up here in the hills is that you certainly get all kinds of weather - often all on the same day.