The forecast was for 50/50 chance of rain, but dire for the next several days. Since achieving my non-stop days of walking target I have eased off and also been foiled by poor weather. I was now needing a walking fix. The gamble was on. I retrieved my Paramo jacket from hibernation.
I climbed up and over to Ghyll Farm. The farmer passed by sitting high in a monster tractor towing a monster muck-spreader and he gave me a friendly wave. Many fellow walkers abhor walking on tarmac but I have no objection if on quiet lanes, but so much the better if there is not too much of it and now I walked steeply downhill on an interesting narrow twisty lane, but for less then a half a kilometre. A footpath sign, to my surprise and pleasure, informed me that I was now in the Yorkshire Dales. Here I passed the strangely named Shack la Bank Farm where I photographed a quirky caravan like vehicle/holiday home fashioned in the shape of a latter day gipsy caravan but made ingeniously from green painted corrugated iron.
As I now sit writing up this post I was sufficiently interested by the farm name to do an Internet search and was rewarded with the discovery that this was the home of Alison O Neill The Shepherdess who I think has featured in the media for her fortitude in running this farm and exploiting wool from her sheep to make tweed clothing and the like - she has a fascinating website that is well worth a look and I give below a taster from her introduction:
"I live in the The Yorkshire Dales and run a small hill farm which overlooks the majestic Howgill Fells in historic Westmorland. I am blessed with a rare freedom, a life lived in nature amongst such natural beauty. I work quietly in the old way, woven to my landscape, betrothed to the life of a shepherdess. I don’t like sheep, I love them and I always have. I care for my flock and in turn they provide for me. I fashion their wool creating beautiful products, offering provenance and heritage as hallmarks for every item I produce. I enjoy sharing my world. I guide walks, hold talks about my life and welcome you to visit me here at the farm on the hill."
Halfway on the contouring high level path to Grassrigg farm a welcome lone bench provided the perfect stop for a munch and a drink with magnificent views across the Lune valley to the Howgills, the Barbon hills and further south Cragg Hill heading up another entrance to the Yorkshire Dales.
At Grassrigg I chatted with the farmer (at a distance) - he told me they had completed their sheep shearing and were now busy with farm maintenance. A steep little climb up an old medieval lane brought me back onto the extensive area of the Cannock-Chase-like scenery. A single deer shot off in front of me with his white rump bobbing up and own and covering the ground at an enviable and faultless speed. The circle was completed and the lone fisherman on the edge of Killington Lake I had seen at my start was long gone and my car stood alone in Kent Angling Club's car park. That was a splendid walk taking four and a half hours for four and a half miles, so really a stroll but the more enjoyable for that.
|"Are you looking at me?"|
|Off into my imagined Cannock Chase. I had to park half a kilomtere back down the road from this, my intended starting point.|
|Some kind of thistle I think|
|Looking back. You can just see a bit of the head of Killington Lake - click to enlarge|
|And looking ahead - pine forest on the left|
The open heahtland I lkened to Cannock
|The strange construction at Shack la Bank Farm|
|These colourful flowers were about tweny yards away and the next two photos were closer and then closer zooms|
|A slightly hazardous stream crossing|
|Grassgill Farm. My path went up the old medieval lane at the back of the farm|
|Another happy farmer's wife after he suggested them having a new bath so he could use the old one|
|Looking back down the old lane to Grassgill|
|Sorry - forgot to include this when I posted earlier today|