I didn't manage to get a blog in last week what with one thing and another so this was my walk I should have posted then.
As some of you already know, my DH is an upholsterer and part of the job entails visiting clients in their own homes so sometimes he takes on a job which is a bit farther away than the radius he usually works in.
If it's a long way off we usually combine it with a walk in the area and that's what happened last week.
A lady who had used DH's services before moved away from the area and has recommended him to a new friend she's made in the area she's moved to so we set off to visit her in a beautiful part of North Yorkshire we hadn't been to for quite some time.
We weren't disappointed!
The day dawned beautifully sunny, bright blue skies and a gentle breeze.
The night before had been rain, lots of rain, and we were thinking maybe it would be very wet so it was a pleasant surprise to draw back the curtains to see the sun streaming in through the window.
After a sustaining breakfast of porridge with sweet black cherries I made a couple of flasks up, coffee for DH and plain old hot water for me...I never drink tea or coffee unlike the average quintessential English person...I added a couple of apples and a handful of almonds to my bag and we were set.
We intended to find a nice little pub for lunch.
The drive down was lovely, it was so nice to see the sun and feel the breeze through the open window.
Spring has sprung very well in some places and not so good in others.
Most of the trees are still devoid of any green growth but the hedges are beginning to colour up quite nicely and here and there the blackthorn is in flower. Their creamy white flowers cover the bare stems before any leaves emerge making them easy to distinguish from the hawthorns which open their leaves before flowering and are only now coming into tiny leaves or buds making the hedges take on an ethereal greenish glow.
Delicate primroses, sulphur yellow celandines and sweet white violets studded the hedgerow bottoms and pretty dancing daffodils were making their appearance felt.
Small finches flittered through the trees, their undulating way of flying making them easy to spot whilst cock pheasants resplendent in their breeding plumage strutted around their territories like alert soldiers keeping out the enemy! We even spotted a couple of boxing hares but they're notorious for disappearing at the first sight of anyone so no picture this time.
We stopped in our usual spot in Fairydale to watch a buzzard being harried by two crows, he'd strayed too near to their untidy, twiggy nests in the rookery high in the beech trees, they eventually got him to leave the area as they never gave him any peace, constantly flying at him, even brave enough to be tweaking his tail and generally making a nuisance of themselves.
It's so much fun to watch, they're like little dare devil pilots zooming about on a mission!
New spring lambs gambolled in the green fields, their woolly little skins always seem too big for them, they sag and crinkle as if they could do with a good iron. They were energetically playing 'I'm the king of the castle' on the little muck heaps provided by the farmers but never straying far from their dams. Their little haunting, wavering voices carried on the breeze as the dams answered in lower tones and their docked little bobbing tails fair shivered and shook as the enjoyed the game.
We drove over the high tops of the wolds stopping at the summit before dropping down into the Vale of Pickering where the vista was spread before us like a patchwork quilt, it shimmered in the heat haze making the far distance seem a smoky blue.
We sat, relaxed and happy, as we drank in the beauty.
A field of early oilseed rape was already in flower, the beautiful yellow field reached out before us like a cloth of gold...thankfully the horrible smell which goes with the beauty wasn't yet in evidence.
Motoring on we eventually arrived in the beautiful little village of Settrington-with-Scagglethorpe
. It's a gorgeous little place which a lot of people just drive past, catching a glimpse of the beck as they cross the bridge, as the main road runs right past it but not through it.
They don't know what a delight they're missing!
First things first, we had to find the client's house.
The village is made up of two street which run parallel to each other with the beck meandering through the middle of them, there is a single track lane, two bridges and two fords and little ginnels which link the streets.
We needed to be at the far side of the beck but the fords were still too high to cross due to the recent flooding so DH had to take a circuitous route round the backs of the houses so we could cross the water.
The beck is a tributary of the River Derwent and has been very high these past few weeks, it has lowered considerably but even the locals weren't using it yet. Some of the banks were still boggy and wet around the bridges too.
Well, we eventually got to the right house and...no one was in!!
Her friend, DH's other client, came across from her house to tell us they'd been unexpectedly invited out for Sunday lunch and would be back later so we decided to walk around the village whilst we waited.
We parked the car up in the new clients driveway and set off along the banks of the beck. The breeze was ruffling the long green fronds of the weeping willows and a magnificent cockerel was leading his harem along the hedge and drystone wall bottoms foraging for titbits. He gave one almighty crow when I ventured too near and en-masse, they legged it disappearing into a farm gateway never to be seen again!
We crossed the beck by the little wooden bridge, the water was quite deep and running strongly, looking down the length of the beck from the centre of the railings. It sparkled in the sunlight. Fronds of water weed and grass drifted in the current giving it a green glow.
Following the narrow path around the beck edges, we threaded our way beneath the overhanging willow fronds which dappled the sunlight over the path as the sun shone through the gently wafting arc of greenery.
The cottages on the opposite banks shone mellowly in the sunlight as the fine sandstone soaked up the sunshine.
The little patches to the front of them were filled with daffodils, violets and the now dying green foliage of the earlier snowdrops.
We could hear the hum of a lawn mower, somebody obviously thought the grass needed a haircut though it's very early to start in on that particular activity, and a young couple were busy planting their seed potatoes. This is early too as the old tradition states you always plant them on Easter Monday whatever the date as it's a moveable feast, they seemed to be getting in early!
A little robin serenaded us from the bare branches of an old gnarled apple tree before dropping down onto the path before us and poking about in the hedge bottom. It's bright red breast sparkled in the sunlight but the bird was too quick for me and my photo came out blurred! I've called the bird it as it's impossible to tell male from female as their colours are exactly the same.
The lovely old parish church of All Saints stands atop a steep incline commanding a magnificent view over the village. The churchyard was awash with bright yellow daffodils all fluttering and dancing in the breeze as per Wordsworth. There was a beautiful cerulean blue sky overhead and it looked so peaceful, standing there having rebutted the ravages of time, a sentinel to the thirteenth century craftsmen who built it.
Adjascent is Settrington House, a magnificent fifteenth century country house built for Lord Sykes, the owner of Sledmere Hall. It was used only at week-ends to entertain shooting parties but is now lived in permanently and is a private dwelling.
The lodge gates looked beautiful, all gold and black wrought iron marred only by their surroundings which boasted several large signs stating the land was private property and trespassers would be prosecuted...naturally we didn't venture through!
Sauntering back down the hill we rested awhile on a comfy wooden bench by the side of the little brick bridge, the sun was warm on our backs and it would have been so easy to doze off but a car arrived, edging it's way along the lane before disappearing into the driveway of a cottage, the cottage we'd parked up in, DH's client had arrived home so we followed along, climbing the hill to the house to meet her.
The view from her garden was wonderful, looking down on the beck and paths and up to the properties on the other bank.
She very kindly said I could look around while her and DH did business but I sat on an old moss covered stone step and gazed out across the valley.
The weeping willows swayed their green fronds and the little beck burbled past the quaint stone cottages and I fancifully wished i lived there...not much chance of that...lol...house prices are astronomical for quaint country cottages and besides most of them have been in family ownership for generations so they don't come up for sale very often.
I did eventually stroll along the paths between the flower beds, spring flowers were sparse except for daffodils as it seems more of a minimalist garden than the country one I'd have chosen but it was still beautiful in it's own way.
An old gnarled apple tree was hung with necklaces of stones, each with a hole through and strung on wire. It did look effective!
Little steps bathed in sunlight headed up to an area behind the house where two ponies grazed contentedly and old chimney pots had been planted up with flowers to make an interesting feature in a bare corner.
A Chinese style archway led you through rosemary hedges, already in flower I couldn't resist squeezing them to get the heady scent.
I sat on the bench at the top of the garden and relaxed, watching an old beech tree in the churchyard which the crows had chosen as their rookery. They were busy bringing twigs to titivate their old nests and cawing raucously to each other as the colony began to establish their nest heirarchy for the breeding season. I like to watch them but I don't think I'd like to live near them, I bet they wake you up at the crack of sparrow!
We found a nice little pub in Scagglethorpe, The Ham & Cheese, which was doing Sunday lunches and very nice it was too.
All in all a good day out.
The ford across the beck
Sunlight dapples the path
The noisy rookery
A beautiful weeping willow
The seat by the beck
Mellow sandstone cottages
All Saints Church
Settrington Houses's magnificent gates
Chimney pot planters
Anyone got an iron?
Pretty white violets
Creamy blackthorn flowers
A host of golden daffodils
Early oilseed rape...looks beautiful...smells yuck!
The chickens legged it when I got too near!
Pretty cottages across the beck