Thursday - a lovely sunny Autumn Day - perfect for a jaunt! We set off, two of us plus two dogs, Westwards through Wensleydale, alongside a benign River Ure. The previous week it had been badly in flood but now it gently rolled along - here and there a solitary heron fishing. We drove through fields of black and white cows - sometimes Jersey cows - Swaledale sheep - Jacob sheep - all grazing and enjoying the sunshine - and arrived in the little market town of Hawes.
We stopped here for an exhibition at The Dales Countryside Museum.
Some time ago somebody found a robin's nest in a besom and it sparked off an idea for inviting forty-five artists to interpret this as "NEST - A brush with the media"' Fantastic stuff - jewellery, poetry, ceramics, painting, collage, sculpture, wood engraving, etching - all local, professional artists - a marvellous, inspiring mix.
Totally inspired (and plenty to talk about) we carried on down what used to be the Richmond to Lancaster Turnpike Road through the fells. Up, up, up we went to the spine of The Pennines and then began the descent down the other side - a very exciting ride, rather like a switchback, passing a lovely Dales pony grazing in a field . At Cotter Force we stopped to walk the dogs.
This is a walk I always enjoy. To start with it is on the flat - not all that common round here - and there is a defined footpath - and best of all there is always the chance of seeing a grey wagtail, a dipper or a kingfisher. After a quarter of a mile the ground rises sharply and Cotter Force throws its full weight down into the beck.=, peaty, brown and roaring. There's a nice strategically placed bench for a rest before the return walk.
At The Moorcock pub we turned North up towards Kirby Stephen, driving along side the Carlisle to Settle Railway line through spectacular fells along Mallerstang Edge to Pendragon Castle - one of the homes of Lady Anne Clifford in earlier times.
Up on Mallerstang Common kestrels hovered, Swaledales grazed, lapwings flapped, trains rattled under us in a tunnel on the line, a sprightly breeze blew and the sun shone. What more could anyone ask? Just what we needed before our lunch at The Black Swan at Ravenstonedale.
We did the journey in reverse instead of going back another way - we just wanted to see what it looked like with Wild Boar Fell and The Mallerstang in front of us. It was even better.
Not for the first time we both said, "Aren't we lucky to live here!"