Of course I ended up with Barney after they had both flown the nest, and my wife had succumbed to Motor Nerone. But Barney was a great comfort and a good friend.
We walked or ran round Arnside Knott and its multitudinous variation of footpaths most days and I became familiar with every tree root on every path, and later when I had re-met Pete after more than thirty years we often walked there together. Most of the area is in the “custody” of the National Trust. They have persistently chopped down trees, including Yew trees hundreds of years old, supposedly trying to create a habitat for some rare butterfly which likely wont succeed, whilst habitats for hundreds of other species are destroyed, and we retain fewer trees to help the fight against global warming.
At the foot of the steep limestone scree on the south-east slopes there is a spring. It is only feeble, but water seeps out into a shallow bowl of limestone about two feet in diameter, and worn satisfyingly smooth by aeons of water flow, and it is always twinkling, even in high summer. This feature of nature has always given me a disproportionately uplifting feeling that is difficult to explain; it is one of my little secret pleasures. After the first visit with Barney he never forgot and always stopped for a drink. Later, after Barney had gone I ended up with Jill’s Springer, Jake, and he did the same.
I have not walked round there so often recently, and it must be a few months ago when I last visited. Yesterday I trudged round again soaking up some nostalgia as well as the rain. In mild and pleasant anticipation I was looking forward to saying hello again to my little spring. When I arrived I was gutted. The interfering National Trust have elected to splotch in place a jarring, so obviously man-made, out of place cement wall round the perimeter to act as a mini dam and increase the size of the puddle, the bottom of which is now a jumble of stones instead of the seductive smoothed limestone dish, and this for no reason I can think of. What is it with these people?
|The spring in context today|
|As it was.The arrow shows the steep slope behind levelling out onto the water.|
It was low, and maybe a year ago when I took this photo
|The mini dam.|
The concrete/cement is not so obvious in the photo but seen in situ is is like squeaky chalk on a blackboard, and no sign of the original smooth limestone bed