Yesterday morning we woke up to find a very, very cold frosty landscape but also the most beautiful golden sunshine and blue skies. It felt like such a treat after a good number of wet, grey skies of late, so I talked the rest of the family into wrapping up warm and venturing out for a walk.
I had desperately wanted to do this sort of a walk on New Year's Day, but the weather here on the first day of the year was truly awful. Never mind, we were only three days late, close enough to the New Year to still feel like a celebration of sorts.
The Attic is only a mile or two from the great Yorkshire Dales National Park, so when it comes to choosing destinations for a bit of light walking and scenery appreciation we are spoilt for choice. We have found much loved places that we return to time and again, and yesterday we went to an old favourite :: Bolton Abbey.
The Bolton Abbey estate is huuuuuge, with many options for parking and walking in different areas. Yesterday we chose a place we'd not been to for a while :: Buffers (or Puffers, as Little B so sweetly called it, awww). Buffers is located high up above the river on a weeny little back road, at a weeny little place called Storiths. It's pretty remote, but well worth a visit if you're in the area and in need of refreshment in a truly unique, rustic and quirky little cafe. The parking here is limited, so before we went off on our walk we popped into the cafe to get two take out coffees and let the lovely cafe owner know that we'd left the car but wouldn't be too long and would definitely be back for a sit down and something to eat and drink.
I think it must've been about 11 o'clock when we set off to walk. It was such a beautiful morning with delightfully long shadows and crisp wintry light....
....and it was blinkin' cold too as you can see, roughly -2°C. The footpath from Buffers to the river is downhill all the way so it doesn't take long.
Pretty soon the bridge came into sight and we had a fabulous view of the ruined Abbey....
....looking extremely picturesque I'd say.
On this side of the river there is a large river beach which makes a superb playground for Little People.
There is a mixture of sand and pebbles just like coastal beaches, and in Summer time this place is absolutely heaving with beaching families doing beachy things. Building sandcastles, digging, paddling, picnicking etc I'm sure you can picture the crowded scene. But in the midst of a freezing winter it was deserted and I couldn't have been happier.
Yesterday there was just the four of us as Little Man is away for a week on a school trip. Isn't it odd when one of the brood is missing? I found it odd without him. J is always immediately drawn to the water's edge like a big kid, he loves skimming stones and is very, very good at it too. The Little People are drawn to the water too, to paddle and throw stones and hang out with their Dad. Me - I'm a Treasure Hunter. I just cannot resist the lure of it and I'm drawn to the beach, eyes down, searching for pottery and glass and lovely smooth pebbles. Just like at the coast, we often find river washed treasure on these beaches, I can never quite believe it, but I always do come home with something special in my pocket.
It was wonderful being here in winter, I loved it so much!
I took a quick paddle myself, the sunlight was dancing and bouncing over the river bed and the water was remarkably clear here in the shallows.
Onwards I walked, lost in my own world as I slowly meandered along the length of the beach. I thought I might try and find a couple of really smooth round pebbles to try some painting (totally inspired by these beautiful ones, I love them so much).
Eyes down, picking up, looking, feeling, turning them over in my hand, discarding.
And then...........I spotted a piece of glass.
Stoop, pick up.............
...........oh my word, just look what I found!!!! I was absolutely ecstatic at this incredible find, it's an old glass bottle stop, washed smooth by a great many river years and delivered into my hands. I've no idea how old it is, but I'm not all that into history. All I know is that the colour of this treasure makes my heart sing, and that this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever found. Prize treasure indeed.
My family came to join me eventually and I showed them my find, oh they were suitably impressed! I felt on top of the world!!I really am easily pleased you know.
More and more people had suddenly arrived at the beach now that it was close to lunch time and it felt like the right time to leave.....
.....so we began our climb back up the steep hill, stopping every so often to look back and admire the view.
I loved how the muted colours of the wide frosty landscape made the colours and textures of un-frosted things look so vibrant.....
....just look at this moss, isn't that the greenest green?
I've not altered this photo in any way, it really was this vibrant in the light of the midday sun. I find the colours of nature so inspiring, endless combinations to be found right there in front of our noses.
Almost at the top of the hill now and we are all suddenly very ready for a sit down and a warm up.
Buffers (I keep wanting to say Puffers now though, thanks to Little B) is a very special little place unlike any where else I've ever been. It's family run, a working farm that has branched out into the diverse world of coffee shop / gift shop / model railway in one of the barns next to the cows. It is very rustic and down to earth. No fancy-shmancy frothy coffees here, but good old fashioned filter coffee and traditional home cooking.
It's sooooooo deliciously warm and cosy inside, the contrast between outside and inside was remarkable on this below-zero day. J and I had big mugs of milky coffee with hot buttered toasted teacakes, the Little People had milkshakes and flapjack. Then we had a quick nip upstairs to play with the trains before saying goodbye and promising to come back soon.
Puffers, I like you very much, yes, we'll see you again soon......
Edit to add :: Monday morning - just popped onto Pinterest and searched for "painted stones" - oh-my-wildly-beating-heart! I am SO going to give this hobby a go, it has given me tummy butterflies just thinking about it!!!