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Yorkshire is a county of contrasts – and so too was my week. Thursday saw me at Pontefract Castle looking across at the nearby power station coolers and smelling the sweet delights of the Haribo factory. Saturday I was high in the Dales, up above Keld in the barren surroundings of Birkdale, taking in the fresh air and wondering how on earth anyone could make a living in such a bleak landscape. Both visits were enjoyable for different reasons – ‘Pomfret’ for its fascinating history and Birkdale for its scenery and solitude. Birkdale Beck falls rapidly as it flows down to help create the River Swale and the falls in this dale are a joy to see and hear. As you reach the summit of the road through Birkdale the Riding up to Mickle Fell and Teesdale opens up before you – or at least it should… but unfortunately for me that clingy grey mist was hanging around.

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Also at the road’s summit is an old stone post carved with the words ‘Hamlet of Birkdale County of York’. Next to it is a tatty, rusting graffiti-strewn territorial claim erected by Cumbria Council. You should never trust neighbours to take care of your possessions.

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