Thursday, 16 April 2015

Yorkshire Places :: Part 2

Hello Lovelies,
my previous post was quiet straightforward to write, lots of facts and links. But, for me, no real emotional attachment.
How different this post feels....I hardly know where to start.....it's going to be a long one.

This is the landscape of my childhood. It's not the first time I've brought you lovelies here. After a twenty year gap I first returned for a special day trip HERE. And since then I've been back a couple more times with mum.

It's always nice to be back though. We parked the car just outside Haworth, at Penistone Hill country park. A place I associate with riding my horse as a child, and later, with my ever patient Dad, teaching me the basics of car driving on the rough stone tracks


It's a high place above my childhood home, with great views, and on Saturday it was the starting point for my walk


As children, my brother and I often walked about on the moors. We would amuse ourselves with some made up game or another , and on a nice day we might wander as far as this track......



It was always slow progress as we never set out to go for a walk....just to play.

On Saturday, as I walked that same path, I heard the high pitched baa of a small lamb and  peered over the stone wall into the field...........


Such a happy sight..............


I passed this beautiful stone farmhouse.........



And more cute lambs.....


Then further along, this ruin. As children we often used to turn back at this point. I can't remember this place ever being inhabited , but it did have a roof and I can recall my brother and I sneaking inside one time....imagining finding interesting things....but being disappointed it was just being used as an animal shelter...........

Now it's obviously in a dangerous state and the doors have been blocked up. 

Saturday was a windy day and here the path begins to feel more exposed. I pass some walkers travelling in the opposite direction, but can only smile a greeting...the wind snatching the sound of my voice as soon as I try to speak...........


The sheep need to be hardy souls.........



and  Herdwick


The bright sunlight is hurting me eyes here, but look at the view....I want it to be burnt into my memory for a long time. It makes me so happy............


Time for a rare selfie, I hate my picture taking these days, but I also want to capture this moment in time so much....to look back and say this was me, in my late forties, spending a special few hours walking in the landscape of my youth.........


I think the photo gives you an impression of how windy and exposed this place is too. I certainly was glad I had a headband in my rucksack, and regretted not having any gloves.

Here the path begins to descend, but still visible on the horizon is my destination.........


Let me zoom in on that square stone building next to the lone tree, high upon the moor.........



But I'm not there yet. Right now I'm enjoying the different walking experience , bouncing on peaty earth, and hopping from stone to stone........



I know what's around the corner, a lovely sheltered valley.....somewhere we walked to when the weather was hot...........

There's a stream running off the moor and a stone bridge to cross it ...The Bronte Bridge.

But just before you get there , off to the left is a smaller stream, tumbling over rocks. It's hardly a waterfall , more of a cascade , but it's called the Bronte waterfall 


And I must say I thought it looked very attractive on Saturday...........


I enjoyed climbing up the path here, balancing on rocks trying to get the perfect shot.........


 and gazing back down into the valley below...........


Back down at the main stream I took more photos of the bridge..........



It's not the same bridge that was here when I was a child....but it's pretty similar..........


I'm sure the water must be icy.... only a dog would be brave enough the dip their toes in April.........


But it's so pretty to look at.............


Soon it was time to climb up the other side of the valley. It's a steep path and quickly the bridge looked tiny..........


Here the path forks.....you can turn right and head over the hill to the village of Stanbury.....or you can turn left and head up towards Top Withins ( or Withens)


It's a well marked and well walked path, but even though this is a nice weekend day in April, the path was very quiet. I was alone as I walked up this steep track................


And squeezed through the gap in the dry stone walls.........


Here I passed an old stone gatepost..........


Then doubled back to attempt an arty shot, using it's square hole to frame the view.......


As I crossed the last of the grass and passed the last of the sheep my thoughts turned more inward. The landscape and the feeling of isolation was dragging up memories I had all but forgotten ......


About here I was overcome by a mixture of emotions. Gratitude for the life I have today was mixed with sadness for times long since past.
I've never actually walked all the way to Top Withins before. In my youth I wasn't a keen walker, and this place just felt empty and featureless.

Stood here I suddenly recalled walking on this moor as a 23 year old. It was just a few short months after my beloved Dad had passed away.

My best friend suggested a long walk. I can't recall exactly how far we walked, but I feel like we were here. I probably made us turn back at this point. No doubt I had blisters from unsuitable foot wear!


I was filled with emotions that took me completely by surprise. Sadness for the loss of loved ones and special friends I've lost touch with.  Happiness that I am here, and able to finally, really appreciate my links to  this special landscape.

I only passed one person in the long empty walk towards the Withins....O.K. it's not that long, but with the head wind, the remoteness and the climb it feels long.

  At least the wind made it look like my tears were caused be the elements............


I thought I was almost there as I crossed this stream........



But no, there was another steep climb to tackle.........


The light changed all the time and at one point the only patch of blue ahead of me was directly above Top Withins..........


I was trying to march up the hill, eager to get to my destination but I had to stop and catch my breath. As I gazed backwards at the path I had just walked I did feel a bit unwell.
 All my Midlands walking does not compare with this.........

I needed to slow down, count steps, pace myself.


I climbed slowly and felt elated when I reached the actual Pennine Way path here.

The signs are in Japanese and English as this place attracts a lot of Japanese visitors. I understand the Bronte Novels are part of the school curriculum there.

The sign said it was 200 meters to Top Withins, but it was still a steep climb........


I paused again, respecting the hill now, surveying the landscape and loving the far reaching views.............


And then I was there, it's not a stunning building. Just an abandoned farm which, because of the Bronte connection , has become a magnet for so many...........


Even though the link is tenuous.........


But it's setting is so dramatic, you could easily see an author being inspired by it. Even on a sunny spring day it's wild and slightly foreboding......


There are none of the signs of spring which fill the valleys, no flowers, butterflies or bees. The only birdsong I hear is the strange, duck like, call of the Red Grouse.
But it's still a bleakly beautiful spot...........


The sun came out and I was so happy that nobody else was around. I could have done a little dance as I walked a short way along the stone footpath.......and may have twirled about a bit :0)



 Then I grabbed the guide book out of my rucksack for a fun..."Look I'm Here!" photo.......


You can walk into the Roofless ruin .........


And there's some information on this place's past.........


The actual facts , rather than literary fantasy. It must have been a  hard life.........



I loved the thick stone walls..........


And the glimpse of sunlit moorland through the small windows..........


It was lovely to sit a while on this wooden bench, my back against the stones...........


Surveying the amazing view.........

The light changed all the time and the colours were amazing.

As I sat quietly my thoughts turned to home.......I couldn't resist getting out my mobile and calling the family. Eldest answered, "I'm at Top Withins!" I exclaimed excitedly..."oh?".
"Google It" I said, spelling it out. " Can you see it?"
"Yes"  came the flat reply. "There's nothing there."

Ha! I had to smile....that's exactly what I thought as a child :0)

Soon it was time to start my descent, along the path towards Stanbury. I was glad the wind was behind me now............


As I walked along the path here a Red Grouse popped out of the Heather. It stumbled along the path, dragging a wing, giving a good impression of being injured......but that's just a clever ploy to lure any potential threat away from it's nest............


As soon as I was far enough away from it's nest it stopped the act.....and I just managed to take this shot before it took to the air...........


I loved the view down onto Ponden Reservoir.........


And a little further along the track I was looking down on My Reservoir ........


This is the same view from the bottom of the hill, where Mum was waiting for me in the car...........


And this is what she had been doing while I was stomping about, taking so many photos........

Perfect.

Well done if you managed to stick with this super long post. It's taken me a few days to write it, but I'm glad I recorded this moment in time.

The next instalment will be shorter....promise :0)
Jacquie x

34 comments:

  1. What a lovely post! This has also brought back a lot of memories for me too, as we lived in very wet Lancashire and used to 'escape' for days across in drier Yorkshire. Like you, as a child I never made it to Top Withens, and having not read any of the Bronte books at that point it didn't mean very much. Unfortunately we moved down to Hampshire when I was 10 and I have never been back, but looking at the photos and reading your words has really made me want to take a trip.....

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  2. It's only as we become more aware of ourselves and the people we love getting older that places and events take on more significance; when we're young we think we're immortal and you'll have had little use for beautiful scenery when you were coping with your Dad's passing so I'm glad you were able to take the walk again. I didn't know that Red Grouse feigned injury like that, and I really enjoyed reading about the history of Top Withins xx

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  3. Absolutely breathtaking, and how lovely that you have all those childhood memories of it as well, no wonder you found it moving. It must have been quite a flash flood to destroy that pretty little stone bridge, good that it's been so beautifully restored though. I was intrigued by the Japanese signs, nice to think of people coming from so far away to enjoy our beautiful countryside. Glad you had such a lovely walk. Your mum's picture is amazing, she's such a talented artist. CJ xx

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  4. Lovely photos Jacquie. Just my sort of terrain too as my heart is in the wilder places. Loved the photo of the grouse as I haven't seen one for many years. Susie x

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  5. Wow, this is definitely one of the best posts I've read on here. I cannot thank you enough for taking us along: I've never visited your country and the Yorkshire moors, but I think they offer such an amazing landscape... and the wind, the heather, the sheep, the stones... in your pictures there's all I immediately think about when my mind visits such places. Plus, I've always loved "Wuthering Heights", and I can see where some descriptions come from... so, once more, thanks for sharing all of this with us! And btw, your mom's talent is amazing! xx

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  6. It looks like my kind of place! I've never walked those particular moors, but they're on my list! I can't understand the idea that there is nothing there (even in children)! To me there is everything there! I've always felt like that about moorland though, perhaps because I grew up with it and always loved it as a child! Your mum's painting is beautiful!

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  7. A very personal post - thanks for sharing. It looks a wonderful walk to have made. I'd have loved the silence - but not sure I could have made the walk! x

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  8. Such a lovely post to a beautiful place. Memories are so often bittersweet. I am still only a few months from losing my Dad and I am certainly finding how unexpectedly something can set you off, while the rest of the time it doesn't seem real! Thank you for sharing such a special and personal walk, I always love to come along and imagine the sun and wind on my face as I puff and pant my way up the hill!!! Sharon x

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  9. Utterly, utterly beautiful landscape; one of my favourite places in England !

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  10. What wonderful photos of a beautiful place full of precious memories. Thank you for sharing
    Jackie x

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  11. absolutely breathtaking!!!!

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  12. Oh it's wonderful Jacquie! Thanks for sharing such special memories, I thoroughly enjoyed it, even through the watery eyes. So different from here, so open and far reaching views, too many trees here for such views unless your on top of the mountains. I will definitely show the girl for the Bronte connection, and I love your Mum's art work. BTW the lambs reminded me of a story on the news lately, ewe births 8 lambs!!
    http://www.midwestproducer.com/news/livestock/ewe-gives-birth-to-eight-lambs-in-minnesota/image_c3670292-e3a3-11e4-9579-8f82f1872308.html

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  13. It looks beautiful. I know those days, I've been out on my bike today and it's really blustery here by the sea, but sunny. I was glad of my gloves and scarf!

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  14. I was particularly drawn to the clouds in each picture. It certainly changes over the hours. Lovely post jaqui. I miss the heavy walking Andy and I did before we had children. Great selfie too - did I spot a bit of pink lippy!! Jo x

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  15. Jacquie, what a special and emotional walk for you to undertake. The scenery is stunningly beautiful and so unique to that part of Yorkshire, you must have felt that you we're on top of the world. No doubt walking at home will seem easy compared to those steep climbs. xx

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  16. Now we know where you got your artistic talent.... What a lovely painting by your mum!

    As you described the weather and the scenery, I kept thinking "just the kind of day Cathy Linton would have loved". I can see how people might link that high cottage with the Earnshaws' home.

    Thank you for taking us with you on this walk, and for sharing the adorable lambs, those wide skies with the clouds streaming away to the horizon, the stone walls climbing over the hills, and the austere yet vivid beauty of the high moors.

    P.S. I take selfies for the same reason as you ... not because I look good in them (usually I look dreadful) but as a way to mark a time and place in my life. :)

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  17. Beautiful--the walk, the views, the memories, and the experience.

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  18. What a beautiful walk - so glad you did it and shared it with us.

    All the best Jan

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  19. I too enjoyed your posts about your latest walk: the Bronte connection, lambs, your narrative, and your mum's painting, oh and your selfie, too, Jacquie :) Thanks for sharing! xx

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  20. Thank you for taking us along with you on your journey, it looks like a beautiful walk.x

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  21. Emily bronte... I've read the book years ago. it made a big impression! It's great to see the pictures of this place. I was wondering why the signs were in Chinese (Japanese haha), but know I now. Thank you for sharing all those wonderful pictures!

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  22. Thank you for sharing these AMAZING photos!! I loved your descriptions and history. Would you ever sell copies of some of these photos? They make me want to be there. I can't imagine the climb, Your mothers watercolor is wonderful and I can see she is very talented!!

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  23. a wonderful walk Jacquie I enjoyed that! beautiful scenery. Perhaps I should make the long journey home again. X

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  24. Thank you so much for your lovely photos and writings, really thrilling to see the walk in the moors and your lovely reflections on it. I have reached an age where I would be the one sitting in the car, so how wonderful to be taken along with you!

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  25. OOh thank you for sharing. I remember playing in that stream as a child. We were by Bronte Bridge and as my Grandma said "time to go". I fell in. It's a law that you stay dry until time to go!!!! I was horrified that my Grandma then walked down the path wafting my knickers in the air to dry them - I think I must have been 8!!!!!

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  26. This post made me think of my favorite old TV series "All Creatures . . . ." I cannot tell you how many times I have watched it - such a beautiful section of England. Thank you.

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  27. loving your photos, Jacquie.
    My forebears were from just up the road from Top Withens - the village of Castley. It was the family name of one branch of my tree. :)

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  28. Preciosas fotos!!! que bonito recuerdo...... y seguro que pasaste una infancia muy feliz...un beso.

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  29. Top Withins has personal associations for me too: I passed this way 30 years ago, also in April, when my Dad and I walked the Pennine Way together. In fact I can date it even more accurately then that, it may have been March, we were at Haworth YHA on the night of 31st March 1985, I remember that the next morning somebody had turned the many posters adorning the walls upside down as an April Fool.

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  30. Loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!! Photo's and text. You make beautiful photo's. We always love to go to GB for holidays. Hope to visit here once. Your Mum made a lovely painting. And yes I don't think I ever read such a long post;)
    Groetjes
    Annemieke

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  31. Excellent post. I've been there :o)

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  32. I have never been to England but it would be my dream to do so. You have no idea how fortunate you are. You live in a beautiful country! Thank you so much for sharing all your exploits with those of us who follow you. I really want you to know how much I appreciate it my armchair traveling with you. Please don't ever think your post are long, if anything they are too short as you have so much to say with your beautiful, beautiful pictures! Every single picture you take is utterly amazing. Not one that's dull! I don't know how you do it! I have sat saying "look at this one" and "you must look at this one" to all my family members. If I could move right now, I would be in England. How lovely it all is you lucky girl...

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  33. Oh, yes! And your mother's watercolor...magnificent. You are the apple fallen from the tree I see...

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