Maybe it was a result of Saturday's day of drizzly rain, but yesterday morning J and I both agreed that we should make the most of a dry day and go out for a short walk somewhere. We are exceptionally lucky to live on the very edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, so it's only a short car journey to get us out of town and Up Hill to one of our favourite fresh-air-and-views place.
This was an especially lovely little afternoon walk as we had all three Little People with us, and miraculously there was a distinct lack of moaning. We had announced our intentions over lunch (when Little Man had only just crawled out of bed, and the other two were still in pyjamas), and by 2pm we had everyone showered, dressed and ready to jaunt. I was impressed by the lack of resistance actually - that seems to be the best I can hope for these days, gone are the times when a simple walk was met with squeals of excitement. But I'm OK with that, I understand that things change and I am trying my hardest to adapt and not expect too much.
The air was surprisingly still up on the tops yesterday, it's usually a place of gusting winds and it's unusual to be able to stand still and tune in to the sounds of the birds without the wind howling in your ears. I noticed that the heather is only just starting to flower and the fells were still very brown looking, so it'll be a few more weeks before the landscape will wear it's purple coat. We must remember to go back for that.
We weren't Up Hill for very long, it's the place we go to when a very short, breezy walk is required. So instead of heading back home, we drove on over the fell and Down Dale to the riverside on the edge of the Bolton Abbey estate. It was a warm and humid afternoon and by the time we arrived at the river there was a light shower of summer rain falling, but not enough to worry about. We ambled along the footpath, it was so lush and summery and the tall grasses were absolutely full of wild flowers.
I used to retain a fair bit of knowledge about wild flowers from my childhood years spent walking about in the Dorset countryside. My Mum taught me a lot of the common wild flowers and yesterday I did manage to drag a few long forgotten names from my memory banks. I recognised Meadowsweet and Yarrow and Cranesbill, but had no idea what this cute little tufty purple one was. I've just looked it up (gosh you've gotta love Google for this sort of thing) and have discovered it's Knapweed. I have added the name to my wild flower data bank and hope that it stays there.
We also spotted these beauties - the Common Spotted Orchid no less (Google, you are marvellous). I love to have this sort of knowledge tucked away in my head, it makes me want to go right back there and identify every single little flower I can find.
We ducked off the footpath to go down to one of our favourite river beaches....
....to treasure hunt and find the best flat stones for skimming. J tried to teach Little B to skim, but he got soooo frustrated when he couldn't do it and ended up just lobbing stones into the water in a fizz of quiet personal fury. Bless.
Summer by the river is a true delight and I've grown to love our regular walks along this quiet stretch of the River Wharfe. It was lush and peaceful and green, a different kind of feeling to being by the sea but equally good for the soul.
At some point during our walk along the river back towards the car, tummies starting rumbling and we took a spontaneous family decision to head to the pub for dinner - pub grub and no cooking for me, oh yeah, bring it on!
It's a short drive to the delightful village of Appletreewick....
....where there are views in abundance....
....and one of our favourite pubs with a lovely little beer garden tucked away to the side. We sat out here for a while with drinks, encouraging Little B to burn off some energy (we set him a series of "challenges" which mainly involved him running around the garden counting things) before heading inside the cosy old pub to settle down for our dinner. It was such a lovely, unexpected treat, a family Sunday to be remembered and treasured.
ps I just bobbed into the Attic archives to try and find the last time we came to this pub (the time when Little B had the pink plasticine under his hat) - it was the first Sunday in August last year. The repetitive rhythm of my life truly amazes me!