Up Country Part Two - Appleby-in-Westmoreland

Part One - Scenic Drive, Old Favourites, New Places

We're off and away further up country to the Yorkshire Dales, Cumbria and the Lake District.

Tracy and I couldn't wait to share our viaduct adventurer status with Sandra so to get in the mood it was necessary to make our first stop Settle, our base from two years ago. There was slight hiccup as we headed across the Dales where a road closure meant a round-a-bout diversion. This gave us more time to build our excitement (as if that was necessary) for our return to Ribblehead. Finally, finally, there it was as we rounded a bend, crossed a hill (or whatever it was) the mighty viaduct spread majestically across Blea Moor! It was windy, misty, drizzly but perfect!

Ford Anglias - relatively unknown to us but some sort of memory is triggered by the name. With only a postcode and some basic instructions to guide we attempted to find our home for the next week. One wrong turn necessitated asking a local for help. I showed him a photo from the website and told him we were looking for Rundales Cottage. He asked for the surname. I told him, Knight." After a little think he replied, "The bloke with the Anglias? Are you here for the Anglias?" Our vacant looks told him we weren't here for the Anglias, but he did tell where the property was just around a corner or two. Upon arrival we were greeted by a very friendly and helpful owner, Chantal. Yes, there were Anglias, multiple Anglias, both in the driveway and in the garage. She apologetically explained that they were hosting an enthusiasts weekend for the "Ford Anglia 105E Owners' Club". Click here to find out all the details. There was so much car loving going down! It was a case of, "Can you please move your Anglia so that my mate can move his Anglia and these two Anglias can get around that Anglia and drive down t'pub!" All very entertaining.

To the dales, to the dales, to the dales we go on a very bright and very sunny day. The RSPB viewing point is set up and ready to go at Malham Cove, a majestic ice-age limestone formation that once had a mighty cataract flowing over the top. These days it's a popular spot for climbers, picnickers and bird spotters alike! A pair of peregrines have returned to the cliffs to nest for many, many years. The three chicks in this year's brood have recently fledged and can be seen perching, along with their parents. We could see one adult and two of the chick through our binoculars as well as through the powerful telescopes set up by the RSPB volunteers. I even managed a photo through the telescope. While walking through London we saw some young girls using a new (to us) photographic technique. It probably has a name but we call it the twirl technique. The subject stands back to camera while the photographer frames the shot and calls, "Go!" at which point the subject twirls to face the camera and art is made. We decided to give this a go at Malham Cove. The results speak for themselves!

Just up from Ribblehead Viaduct, and let me say there is nothing wrong with driving past Ribblehead Viaduct again, there is a little insignificant sign that points to a Public Footpath. So insignificant in fact that we couldn't remember exactly which one it was (Tracy and I followed this path two years ago). Our round-a-bout walk took us eventually, after climbing over a rock wall to save walking all the way back up the hill again, to the 17th Century packsaddle bridge that crosses Thorn's Gill. It's simply a magical little spot that gave me the opportunity to work on my twirl technique.

Again just a little further up the road is Dent Head Viaduct. One of my personal favourite viaducts. Actually all of the viaducts on the Settle to Carlisle line are one of my personal favourites. A slight diversion on this surprisingly late afternoon / evening and there it is tucked away in its little wooded dale (valley). I took plenty of photos of Dent Head two years ago so in quest of some new angles I climbed the fence and walked below the towering arches to the other side. Whilst there I even managed to educate a pommy or two on a few viaduct factoids.

Part Two - The Waters and the Fels

The spectacular warm weather, with pommies fading left and right with sunstroke from 25°C temperatures, continues. First, Acorn Bank, a National Trust property, is very close so some bird spotting in the gardens seemed appropriate. A pleasant stroll through the ordered and wild gardens led us to old watermill with lots of Barn Swallows nesting inside. A gentle and easy morning.

The city of Penrith (pronunciation: emphasis on the second syllable, rhymes with "with"), aka, the Heart of Cumbria was a brief port of call for some shopping en route to Haweswater, one of the waterways of the Lake District - none of them are called "Lake", go figure. Haweswater is a reservoir, the only built lake (don't call it Lake). Haweswater is recommended by the RSPB as a bird watching site. On the map it appeared to be a short distance around the point to a bird hide. I've learnt that whatever is pitched as a short walk isn't! On a promo video I watched last night some nit called twenty miles a short walk!! We conked out for a rest after marching up the fel (Cumbrian for bloody big hill) for ages on a point called The Rigg. The view was great but the bird hide was down the other side of the hill. That only means one thing, we would have to climb back up so we unanimously decided to abandon the expedition. Some local ramblers appeared in the distance and when they came near I asked about the hide. They told me it was no longer there as Eddie the Eagle had shuffled off his mortal coil after his third wife. He advised me against taking a third wife. Our decision was vindicated.

Remember the Ford Anglias? There are two halves of two separate cars in the yard behind our cottage. The back of one has been turned into a small shed and the other into a not so comfy seat. Definitely a photo opportunity. So to Tuesday's activities. A while back I came across James Rebanks, a Cumbrian shepherd (we'd probably call him a sheep grazier but it's a whole lot more than that here). He was being interviewed as a guest of the Sydney Writers' Festival in 2016. I liked what he had to say and found a copy of his book, "The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District". Everything here seems to have multiple names. We thought we were staying in Appleby in Westmoreland, a town in Cumbria. In fact we are staying at Croft Ends. I thought James Rebanks' farm was in the Lake District, Cumbria. It is in Matterdale, in the Lake District. I wanted to drive through and have a brief glimpse of the place he writes about so lovingly. There is a public footpath somewhere near to his property where he raises Herdwick sheep, an old tough breed suited to the harsh country and weather of the area. It was fun to stand looking up the fels and appreciate his passion for what he does. We didn't bump into James.

On another three-activity day we drove on to Aira Force, not part of the R.A.F., but a waterfall that continues on to Ullswater (another not Lake) only a few miles from Matterdale. (I have to say miles here, they don't understand kilometres.) Force is secret code, or Norse, or Cumbrian, or Yorkish (Is that even a thing?) for waterfall. We were looking for birds and red squirrels but mostly we found a lot of people. It is a National Trust site and this lot love a waterfall. Despite the crowds it's a very pleasant site and we enjoyed the walk. We did spot a Grey Wagtail and Robin catching insects.

Whilst in the northern end of the Lake District it would have been remise of us to miss Darley Town, a.k.a. Caldbeck. It's a small and most glooooooorious village where our bestie English friends, Darley, Lucie and Zoë spent a large chunk of their lives. We had a very pleasant lunch at the cafe where Lucie once worked, wandered St Kentigern's Church (a.k.a. St Mungo) - turns out he's a bit of a worry, and purchased a ball of Herdwick wool for a project when we get home!

Across Some Viaducts and a Moot Hall

Appleby in Westmoreland is one of the stops along the Settle to Carlisle Railway line. Having given some loving to the viaducts along the line it was time to take a ride across the top of ten of them. No steam train running today, just the regular Carlisle to Leeds service. We decided Horton in Ribblesdale needed further inspection so that's where we alighted for an explore. It's very popular for the UK's enthusiastic ramblers to take on The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Horton in Ribblesdale is the starting point for one of these peaks, Pen-y-ghent. Our efforts peaked at gazing in that direction.

Upon our return trip on the train we spent some time wandering through the town of Appleby in Westmoreland. We learnt lots. Having had a good chat with the two ladies on duty in the information centre I dropped back in to ask about the building that housed the centre. A gentleman, Stan, was now there as well. As it happens Stan is a former mayor of the town so my question was referred on to him. A former Londoner, Stan is now a long term resident and is very passionate about his adopted town. The building is called the Moot Hall and has been the site of the town council meetings for many, many hundreds of years. He took us upstairs to show us through the chamber which has lots of fascinating images and artefacts dating back over all those years. The town was originally just called Appleby but when Westmoreland as a county was absorbed in to the newly created county of Cumbria in 1974 the old county name was added to the town's name so that it wasn't lost.

That's all from Cumbria - a great week in a beautiful location. Next stop over the border into Scotland for four days.

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