Monday, 17 October 2011

Shagpile sheep and Brambling.

Today I had planned to proudly announce my new form of internet communication having been inspired by the wise words of a professional writer.  I'd asked for some feedback on this blog and was told that blogs are more punchy and I needed to get to my point a little more quickly.  She was absolutely right, problem is I'm a bit of a rambler in every sense of the word (hence the name), plus I've never been one to conform or do as I'm told.  I considered the conundrum during our hike yesterday and decided that rather than tweak my writing style to suit what's expected of a blogger I'd invent a whole new writing genre just for me. What I came up with was the Bramble.  If a "blog" is a "web log" then a "Bramble" is a "web ramble".  I was feeling most proud of myself and envisaged my name being spelled out in lights as the inventor of a new and wonderful contribution to the online world.  Problem is, when I came home and checked, I found that a journo at the Telegraph had the exact same idea a few weeks ago.  Curses!  Great minds and all that.  Still I bet they weren't inspired by such amazing scenery when they had their flash of inspiration. (And I'm sticking with Bramble by the way.)

On Saturday we'd been off apple pressing at Staveley and nipped up Reston Scar to see what we could see.  Turns out we could see Kentmere Pike and that seemed as good a place as any for a Sunday hike.  The apple pressing went well too and apple juice is making a refreshing change from apple jam, apple chutney, apple pie, apple jelly and apple sauce.  As least you can mix the juice with vodka for a little variety.

Shagpile Sheep (or Swardales)
Anyway, back to the hike.  We set off from Sadgill and made our way along Gatesgarth Pass up towards Adam Seat.  Along the way we were overtaken by 8 other people, not that we were going all that slowly, rather they were cheating and using Land Rovers.  I don't know quite where the sense of achievement comes from driving up a fell, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Having learned that fell tops and lunch breaks are rarely a comfortable combo, we paused for lunch at Wrengill Quarry and spotted some sheep which were far more furry than woolly.  Steve instantly named them Shagpile Sheep and even though someone has very kindly informed they are in fact Swaledales (or Swardles), I think I might stick with Shagpile Sheep as it describes them so perfectly.

Longsleddale Valley
When we reached the top of Harter Fell we were afforded wonderful views down over Haweswater and an almost birds eye view of the route we should have followed last weekend, before it all went a bit pear shaped.  It seems so obvious in broad, mist free, daylight, but it's so easy to go wrong when it's misty and your stupid enough not to look at your compass.  No mistakes this week however and our route along the top of Kentmere Pike and down over Shipman Knotts passed without incident.

The route we took skirts around Longsleddale valley which is a picturesque and peaceful place (when the Land Rovers aren't around) and has provided inspiration to both Wainwright and John Cunliffe, writer of the Postman Pat cartoons.  Who knows, maybe that red Land Rover that came past was Pat himself out on his rounds...

I had been thinking that this week's hike was a bit of a let down after last week's adventures but, on reflection, we've named a new variety of sheep, solved the mystery of last week's wrong turn and invented a whole new genre of online writing (even if the Telegraph did technically beat us to it by a week or so).  Not bad for a sunny afternoon in Longsleddale valley, clearly an inspirational place.

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