Whenever possible I personally like to check out the walks which will appear in future editions of Dalesman – for anything too strenuous I usually get someone else to try it out. But I did manage the pull up Simon’s Seat in Wharfedale this week  in preparation for a walk which will appear in the May issue. This one doesn’t go the usual route up the Valley of Desolation but the shorter, steeper way from Howgill. By taking the camera and binoculars I have plenty of excuses to stop every five minutes and enjoy the changing scenery as the light flits across Lilliputian settlements below, while my heart, lungs and legs adjust to the shock of such tough activity.
The story goes that Simon was a shepherd who found a baby in a wicker basket by the huge stones at the top of the fell. It’s a romantic tale bolstered by this embellishment by writer Halliwell Sutcliffe…
Simon brought the baby down the hill and local shepherd families decided to rear the child between them – he was known as Simon Amang ’em. “The Amanghams,” says Sutcliffe, “a family scattered wide today, go to the books and the Heralds’ College for the meaning of their name. They should come instead to this rugged scarp of rock…”
Hmm, I wonder if this intoxicating walk had had an effect on Mr Sutcliffe?

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