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When you really want to see Yorkshire’s dales in all their magnificence, to feel their power and understand their moods, then head out on days like last Sunday. Forget those blue-sky, fluffy-cloud days. To witness the Dales known by generations of Dalesfolk you need quick-changing skies which light up the hills and darken the valleys; wind sweeping the harsh moors and distant short, sharp rain colouring the scene. So it was as I headed up England’s highest surfaced road between Hawes and Kettlewell. Leaving Wensleydale behind the mass of Dodd Fell loomed up ahead. At the road’s highest point near Fleet Moss the walls, bent and punished by years of high winds, reflected man’s inability to control the elements. At a height of 580m here, the views are amazing especially in this changing light. Distant Penyghent looks atmospheric with a cloud cap and undulating wild moor between, all shades of browns and greys. Ashley Jackson would have had been in raptures over these moody moors and skies. I’d just been down to Semerwater where the weather had also painted a much different scene from the last time I visited the area. Choppy waters in sombre surroundings, water lapping onto the road meant no picknicking tourists, no giddy dogs pointlessly retrieving sticks from the lake – just a busy farmer oblivious to the conditions, content with his lot.

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