Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

Day 31 – Friday, May 25th

The sheep speckled upper moorlands.

A good looking guy, a really cool fence and a beautiful view beyond.

Sheep Rustling!!!!

One of the many NARROW gates that we had to negotiate.

A view of the fields from one of the steep trails.

The good news for the day is that we didn’t use much petrol, which, by the way is 97p per litre. That translates to $7.37 per gallon!!!! The bad news is that we went on a 10 mile hike that you had to walk 1.2 miles on an approach to get to the start of the 10 miles, so that meant that we hiked around 12 or 13 miles today!!!

Julie (our host) gave us a newspaper article about a walk that goes around Penhill, through a couple of small villages and then back to West Close Farm (our B&B). We started out on a paved segment that was heading steadily upward, all the while wondering if we were going the right way. After about a mile, we realized that we had JUST reached the start of the walk, but were very relieved to finally know where we were. Our walk started at Penhill Farm which is a horse barn that keeps famous horses, including some that belong to the Royals.

As we walked along, we moved through several different environments, from river bottom, to classic Yorkshire Dales, and into the Moors. We saw sheep in every field, along with small groups of cattle. There were constant birds calling, with Pheasant and Partridge feeding in many of the paddocks. Rabbits were thick….some hillsides seeming alive with them.

Dry stoned walls laced the landscape, dividing the pastures and farms. These walls are made entirely of stones, with no mortar holding them in place. There is a layer of large stones at the base of the wall, with a layer of wide stones (called “thru stones) that go all the way thru the wall to give it stability. Then another layer of smaller stones is added, another layer of thin “thru stones” and the wall is topped with stones placed at a slant on the top. They are truly amazing to look at and to realize how old they are.

Ancient stone barns, some in ruins and some still in use, were scattered in many fields. It was fun seeing the sheep and cattle sheltering in front of them.

At one point we came across a group of sheep in one of the walled paths and they started walking in front of us as if we were herding them along. It was fun to see them all walking in a single file line, although we were concerned about the fact that we were herding them away from their paddock. We were eventually able to walk up beside them and they turned back again.

The weather was gorgeous, with a deep blue sky, interlaced with fluffy white clouds. We started off with lightweight jackets, but took them off almost immediately. At the tops of the moors, the wind was overpowering, but would drop in intensity as we headed lower down the slopes.

The foot path signs (labeled F.P.) were prolific, but it wasn’t always clear exactly where the paths were headed to or whether or not it was one that we wanted. We spent much of our time wondering whether we were going in the right direction, although the written instructions of the walk said that the path was “easily discernable”…..we grew to hate those words!!!! Fortunately, we met numerous extremely nice individuals who would point us in the right direction, however, we often went for several miles without seeing any one at all.

We dropped off of the moor (along a VERY steep section of the path) into the town of West Burton and stopped for lunch at the “Fox and Hounds”, a local pub. We both had toasted cheese & tomato sandwiches and then went next door to the shop and bought ice cream bars for dessert. We spent a few minutes sitting in the center of the village green and then started our walk again. We climbed again along a steep, rocky farm path and across “Thupton Gill”, an area filled with more pastures and heath. Heath is a cedar-looking plant that grows about 2 feet tall, with thin woody stems. It is apparently a good habitat for the Moor Grouse that the locals like to hunt.

After a LONG hiking segment, we walked back down in to the town of Carlton where the “Forrester’s Arms” is located. They were closed at the time, so we continued on down the road and back up another footpath onto Melmerby Moor. It was a wonderful sight to see the pavement road again and start our 1.2 mile trip back down to the B&B. We arrived at 5:30, making the entire trip about 7 hours. We chose NOT to walk to dinner, but instead drove back to the pub and had a wonderful haute cuisine meal (not exactly Pub Food!!!!).

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