Then hop in the car and we'll be off through Swaledale on a lovely sunny Autumn afternoon, when the sky is deepest blue and pretty white clouds are floating about aimlessly. Once the farmer sets the car in motion he is not too keen to keep stopping for photography, so any photos we take will have to be taken through the windscreen I'm afraid.
We'll set off across Bellerby Moor - almost impossible to photograph without very expensive equipment as the view is huge. Alf Wight (the real James Herriot of "All Creatures Great and Small") thought this view was the best in the Dales. I've tried to give you a taster with my photograph from the road (it is army land and you cannot venture on to it without permission). Between the dying heather flowers (the brown in the foreground) and the village of Marske on the green hills in the middle ground lies the whole of the dale with the River Swale running through it. This is the grouse-shooting season, so that brown of the dying flowers is a perfect hiding place for the red grouse, which are a similar colour. We see one or two pecking along the road edge (once the shooting starts they quickly learn not to rise up from the ground) their plumage shining in the sunlight. Up here you feel on top of the world.
We drive through the little town of Reeth, so full of walkers' cars that it is impossible to take a photograph (shall return there one day in Winter so that you can see it). The first village we come to is Healaugh. These little villages were mostly built for the lead mining industry in the days when there was no motor traffic - hence the very narrow roads. The cottages are so very close together and there are now no garages, so that cars are left on the road - it is the eternal problem of The Dales.
Shortly after driving through the village the River Swale meanders along the side of the road. You can see it shining through the trees in the photograph. It is a benign river today but it can rise twenty feet in an hour in heavy rain and this section of the road floods easily and regularly.
We drive on through Low Row and into Gunnerside (named after a Viking chief), cross the Swale (see how low it is) and drive high up along the edge. Here the fields with their stone walls and stone barns are looking particularly green and fertile today in contrast to the blue sky.
At High Oxnop we turn off to go through one of the passes through the Pennines into Wensleydale. Let's stop the car, park it and get out for a walk - there is a sharpness in the air but the sun is still shining. Be careful where you tread, this is high marshy ground and the going is very wet and slippery. Wherever you look streams drain off the moor, carrying the water down to the valley floor and the river.
The Swaledale sheep are still out here on the tops. Soon they will be herded down into the valley to meet the Tup and then spend their winter on lower, more winter-friendly ground. Turn and look back at the view into the dale - it is so beautiful.
Fungi are shining wetly in the sunlight - tiny orange toadstools, bright orange fingers. By the side of the road as we drive on there is a sharp scar and a trail of scree down the hillside. We speculate on the stone. The Dales are famous for their limestone escarpments, but this stone looks too dark. Any geologists out there who would like to guess what the stone is?
We reach the top and suddenly there is Wensleydale stretched out in front of us - another wonderful panorama. We'll go there tomorrow. Be waiting on the side of the road for a lift!
Photographs - left to right on each line, from the bottom:
Bellerby Moor. Healaugh.
River Swale. Gunnerside.
Swale Bridge. Fields in the Dale.
Moorland stream. Swaledale sheep.
View down the Dale. Fungi fingers.