After a 3 and a half hour drive I made it up to Yorkshire to spend a long weekend with the Northern part of my lovely family! Greeted by the grey overcast drizzle infested day I had expected I zipped up my rain coat and got set for a long damp weekend mostly spent sheltering from the weather.Woken on Saturday morning by the most glorious pale blue sky, the only clouds a fine sprinkling of Sirrus way up in the stratosphere.
As the sun warmed the air my old man and I donned our walking boots and set out into the Pennines for a short(ish) walk. Making our way along quiet muddy lanes down into the Valley beneath Outlane and Stainland, kicking through the orange leaves of the autumnal forests we began a hilly loop around some of the loveliest countryside. Scattered around the hills and dales are clusters of cottages, the Millstone grit blackened by generations of coal smoke. The odd farmhouse crouched at the crest of exposed hills, small windows allowing just enough light in as the bulk of the walls shrug off the wind and rain. As we trudged along the rocky farm tracks the imagination was the only thing creating such a harsh environment as the November sun was surprisingly strong. Heading out onto the open moorland above the Colne Valley, overlooking Golcar and Marsden down in the bottom of the valley. Passing numerous battered old farms, every scrap of land around which are home to bits of scrap metal, old washing machine parts, piles of fence posts and all manner of other stuff that ‘might come in.’ Never let it be said that a Yorkshireman isn’t resourceful, frugal at least!
After some lunch, a pint of local brew and some time admiring the moorland around the high up Nont Sarah pub, we descended the steep slippery hillside to walk between the Deanhead and Scammonden reservoirs. As the sun was setting a beautiful calm fell over the valley. Scaling back up the valley side to reach a lookout for a glorious view of Pole Moor as the sky turned from blue through pastel yellow into a warming orange, we got back in the dark to a hot cup of tea. Probably the perfect ending to a walk on the hills.
I managed, in between catching up with some good friends and family to get over to the Yorkshire Sculpture park. Probably one of my favourite places in the world, a beautifully considered building, some of the most incredible Henry Moore sculptures and a guarantee that the gallery will be host to an incredible thought provoking artist. Not disappointed with Jaume Plensa’s exhibition, huge illuminated figures that explore the complexities of the human condition, two enormous mesh heads who become part of the landscape around them due to the nature of the material while a room of elongated heads made from alabaster fill the space with such an ethereal atmosphere I had to sit down to fully contemplate it’s beauty.
Back in the open flatlands of Norfolk I took the opportunity of another stunning day to get a few miles on the country roads between the local villages. A great loop filtering between woodland, churches and open fields although I’m not sure taking a fixed wheel lo-pro around the muddy lanes was such a great idea! Lot of fun though, plus now I get to spend longer cleaning the bike, an activity that I enjoy a little too much!