Sunday, 23 August 2009

a Special Jaunt.





























This weekend being our Wedding Anniversary, we set off today on our special jolly jaunt - we go on the same trip every year - I know it is boring but we love the high country and it has become a tradition. The weather forecast for the North was abysmal but were we daunted? No we were not. Ten of the clock chimed and we were off - Tess in the back too.
Up over the moor and into Arkengarthdale - the first sign of really high ground. The weather was still fine, sheep were grazing the sides of the road, the heather was beginning to come out on the hills and the roads were fairly empty of traffic. What could be better.
We turned out of Arkengarthdale and climbed up towards Teesdale, already there was a sprinkling of rain on the windscreen. Here it is wild country, no houses just mile after mile of high moorland. Then suddenly there it is in front of us - Teesdale - no sun to brighten the picture but a vast expanse with the River Tees at its centre.
These high dales - each called after the River which carved its way through them - are spectacular at this time of year with great swathes of heather in bloom. Above Barnard Castle we enter into Raby Castle Estate country - these vast tracts of land are owned by Lord Barnard. All Raby Estate Farms are painted white, so that wherever you look there are white buildings showing up well against the hillsides.
Then climbing again, through Middleton-in-Teesdale with its busy main street and up on to the really high land climbing over into Weardale. This was, historically, lead-mining country and the names of the villages make depressing reading - Killhope, Crowhill, Nenthead, Ireshopeburn.
At Killhope one of the lead mines has been restored as a museum. By this time the rain is pouring down, but the farmer pulls into a layby, opens and window and takes a photograph for you. You will see it is very dark but perhaps if you bring it up full size on the screen you might see it in more detail. Those lead miners had a dreadfully hard life. Remember today it is almost midsummer - they worked in all weathers, in the bitter cold, the pouring rain, the snow - all for a pittance and with living conditions little short of squalor. Actually driving along the road through the lead mines on a day like today really brings it home to you what awful conditions they worked in.
At Ireshopeburn we called at "our" pub for Sunday lunch (along with about a hundred other people judging by the car park). We ordered and had a long wait but when it came we knew it had been worth the wait. Traditional food for this part of the world (we were surrounded by Durham dialect, very strange after our usual North Yorkshire) - Roast beef, horseradish sauce, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, new potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, cabbage, swede, cauliflower, peas and very tasty gravy. Of course the joint of beef they cook is an enormous rib of beef, so that the taste and the tenderness are wonderful. I did wish I had had a doggy bag for Tess as I found it impossible to eat all of mine!
Then it was off again, downhill now to Barnard Castle, along the main street, past the ancient Butter Croos in the photograph, back over the River Tees and finally into Richmond with its castle ruin. After a round trip of about one hundred miles we were back home, dying for a cup of tea. As usual we had had a lovely celebratory day out - and at home there had been no rain at all.
# Photos - from the top Lto R Crossing the River Tees, The Buttercross at Barnard Castle.
Killhope Lead Mine, A Raby Estate Farm, Heather on the moors, Teesdale opens up before us,
Arkengarthdale.

24 comments:

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Weaver: What a lovely way to celebrate. My husband and I, also love to follow our own sweet tradition - visiting places that hold special memories and are so familiar that we can concentrate on each other. Happy Anniversary.

Phoenix said...

Best wishes for your very happy anniversary.. Lovely that you had an enjoyable time.. at the end of the day thats what we want, don't we.. to be happy!
The pictures are glorious.

Kathleen said...

Happy Anniversary. What a lovely way to spend it together!

Eryl Shields said...

Happy anniversary to the pair of you.

I, too, love that area of the country. I'm just a bit far to make regular day trips so have yet to fully explore, but I will note down your route in the hope that one day I will find myself in that pub eating roast beef.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Another great day out,HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! And many more of them.I love theplacenames that you list on your travels with Arkengartdale perhaps being my favourite and I'm not a little grateful that I don't happen to live in a lace called Killhope!!!
I am jealous of your pub meal as it sounds delicious.

Jane Moxey said...

Happy Anniversary! The lunch at the pub sounds delicious and well worth the wait! Did you know that in the States swedes are called "Rutabagas?"

Hildred and Charles said...

Happy Anniversary to you and the Farmer, Weaver. A lovely way to spend a celebratory day, visiting places that have fond memories. And eating Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding!! Wait until I tell Charles...

Janice Thomson said...

What a delightful celebration to share with us. Congratulations.
Would LOVE to see all that heather in bloom...it takes forever to get a hedge of any size here...
Such beautiful country in those shots.

steven said...

happy anniversary weaver and if i lived in england the high moors would be on the list of places i'd love to go - but probably on my own as i'm not sure my wife would appreciate their isolated beauty. the pictures are gorgeous and so reminding of wonderful walks i took up in that region. look at those rowanberry trees!!! have a lovely evening in the dale. steven

Heather said...

Happy Anniversary to you both Weaver and thankyou for taking us on such a lovely journey. Even on a dull day the beauty of the dales is apparent. Glad your Sunday lunch was so good.

Titus said...

Happy Anniversary to you both, and thanks for taking us on the ride. May your trip continue for many, many years to come.
A bit jealous of your lunch though!

Pam said...

Happy Anniversary. Thanks so much for sharing this Weaver. Wish I was back there taking trips like that - could go a bit of that pub fare myself!! I love the isolated parts of England/Scotland/Wales.Your blog gives me itchy feet.What a lovely anniversary tradition you have!

Kim said...

What a wonderful escape your day was. Congratulations to you both on your anniversary Pat. Weren't those mining conditions terrible. Read a little about their lives, What hardship! We don't realise how lucky we are! Sounds a wonderful day, happy anniversary and thanks for sharing it with us!

Golden West said...

Wishing you many happy returns of the day!

Pondside said...

Happy Anniversary to you and your Farmer, Weaver. It sounds as though you have the art of celebrating perfected! The lunch sounds delicious - makes me wish I'd planned a roast for dinner tonight!

Leenie said...

I truly love the narration of your trip. Though we both speak English there are so many words and phrases that are slightly different-wind screen (wind shield) car park (parking lot)layby (turnout). Your photos of the countryside are spectacular. And it continues to amaze me how people spent their lives digging things from the earth under horrible conditions to put food on their table. Thanks and Happy Anniversary!

Arija said...

Congratulations on your anniversary!
So often the familiar can be much more satisfying than the stress of finding something new and untried for an occasion such as this.
I always carry a plastic bag in my purse to bring back a tid-bit for cat or dog at home. I hate wasting good food and leaving it on the plate.
Lovely blooming Heather for your special day.

Cloudia said...

what a magical part of the world!

Thank you-


aloha,

Comfort Spiral

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks everybody for the good wishes - you will see in my new photograph that I am raising my glass - here's to the next sixteen!

Poet in Residence said...

Congratulations Weaver. I'm hungry just reading about your mouthwatering meal.

n2theblue said...

happy anniversary! lovely photos~thanks for sharing your trip

BT said...

Happy Anniversary Weaver and the Farmer. I loved your trip and the photos. That lead mine looked grim. Of course in Derbyshire they mined for lead in the most appalling conditions. And they got lead poisoning too. That Sunday lunch sounded delicious, it made my mouth water thinking about it. Was your new photo taken on your anniversary then??

Lisa Sarsfield said...

Happy anniversary! I think its sweet that you have a tradition, wedding anniversary's are important milestones:)

Lovely hues on the land right now. Autumn is my favorite season!

Thankyou for your kind comment. I don't believe 'anyone' can draw but I do believe anyone can collage...give it a go you might suprise yourself!

Linda said...

Happy Anniversary to you and the Farmer. I hope you have many more anniversaries to share with us. It's great in England to come in from the rain to a cozy pub with flavourful comfort food. Then out again and back in for hot tea! Invigorating!
Your pictures are so pastoral and a world away from my busy city! Thank you for sharing this lovely day!