The usual Sunday evening ironing session had to wait – it was too good to be indoors: clear blue skies, warm breeze and the Dales on my doorstep. There was plenty of time before the sun went down for one of my favourite drives and a stroll on the moors. Heading west to catch the best light I took the road to High Bentham, turning up towards Tatham Fells and stopping at the Great Stone of Fourstone. The Lake District fells and the Howgills weren’t clearly visible but the softening light on the four great peaks in this part of the Dales – Gargareth, Whernside, Ingleborough and Penyghent – set them off a treat. This minor road criss-crosses the Lancashire border and where it reaches the watershed is some of the most remote and uninhabited stretches of moorland in the Pennines. Here’s where the river Hodder begins its journey before joining the Ribble to head towards the west coast, and it’s where early road builders put their engineering skills to the test to find a route up this narrow, steep sided gorge. Soon the views open up again and Pendle Hill dominates the scene. Then it’s downhill into Slaidburn, that last outpost of the the West Riding where the old WR signpost looks like it has proudly been repainted. I made a short detour to Stocks Reservoir to see and listen to the various resident and visiting birds – the cormorants looked enormous, stretching and drying their wings like mini Angel of the Norths. The sun had just about gone by the time I got home – but the ironing hadn’t.
Photo shows the view of Ingleborough from Great Stone