Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sometimes I Am Not Melancholic....

Great Whernside forming the skyline behind Kettlewell. (Photographer not credited on website.)




Grit boulders on the summit of Great Whernside. Image from
Mountains, Snow and Rock


I have been very gently scolded by anticant - in the comments box of my previous post - for allowing my melancholic nature to obscure the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. He is absolutely right. I should spend more time in the hills, where the wind will surely blow the cobwebs away. I used to walk regularly in the fells. Sitting alone at the top of a hill is a wonderful way to feel your spirits soar. These days we are more likely to explore the countryside on our bikes: the children much prefer cycling to walking as speeding down a hill affords a frisson of excitement that is hard to capture on foot. But this weekend we are child-free, and we opted for a more sanguine climb up Great Whernside. I love to climb the fells. The gentle, rhythmic plodding of one foot after another becomes hypnotic after a while. It is more Pooh than Tigger, and I can be gently seduced into the here-and-now by the rhythm of my body. As we climbed high above Hag Dyke a great wind took up and pushed us up the final ascent. The view was breathtaking, with the mass of Buckden Pike and the Three Peaks dominating the skyline. Even Sharp Haw was clear, 15 miles in the distance. Melancholy can be a sweet feeling, when one is sitting on the top of the world pondering on the human frailties that settle in the valley bottom.

Our descent was helped by the great bear of a wind blowing up from the valley, supporting my weight as I pushed my way back down the fell. We had a pint of hand pulled bitter in Kettlewell and I slept all the way home.

Roasted vegetables and garlic with halloumi for supper, and a log fire to settle us into the evening. Life is sweet.

(And tomorrow, Guitar Hero….)

43 comments:

brumcunian said...

I witnessed 'Hag Dyke' for myself tonight but then that's what happens when you go drinking in the gay village on a bank holiday!

Ms Melancholy said...

Boom Boom! *drum roll, cymbal crash*

Thanks Brum - I expected it eventually, but first comment? Gimme a break!

trousers said...

Sounds lovely. I do enjoy both cycling and walking up in the Yorkshire Dales, presumably not too far from your neck of the woods. I was staying up at the hostel in Malham a couple of weeks ago. How nice it is to get out of the city, back to the countryside (I'm from Derbyshire originally).
Your point resonates about feeling the rhythm of your body; also I find the challenges posed by a long walk or cycling help me to feel that I can overcome many of my daily life concerns.

And of course, then there's the breathtaking views, the silence.....

brumcunian said...

I find it oddly reassuring that after commenting on your blog a few times I have become predictable.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey trousers, I love it up at Malham. It is a walk that the kids will do, because they like climbing on the limestone pavement. I agree that the challenge of the present occupies our awareness and other thoughts can be temporarily suspended. I do strive for this 'present focus' in my day to day life, but I admit I find it hard. Too much to think about....

Sorry Brum, but it was either you or Stray, and she's away so that just leaves you. But yes, good that you have settled so quickly!

Liz said...

Oh that looks absolutely lovely. With scenery like that, no wonder all those tourists are coming to poke and prod around. They probably don't have views like that back home.

Ms Melancholy said...

Yes Liz, it is very beautiful, and I should count my blessings not moan about people wanting to visit! Remarkably few visitors bother to walk in the fells, where there is plenty of room for all of us. They seem to prefer the narrow village streets, for some reason. Good to see you again x

That's so pants said...

Maybe it's just me but I like you when you're being curmudgeonly. You do it with such panache.

Aaron said...

I was seconded a few years ago to Hebden Bridge to a small site we had purchased (and soon closed) to handle admin integration. I was there for a couple of weeks before it was decided that the site was a lost cause.

I spent most of my time sat in country pubs drinking ale and doing pub quizzes. And at the weekends, rather than go home, I would hit the hills and dales.

And yes, I know all about Hebden Bridges more interesting cultural highlights.

Great little independent cinema too.

Ms Melancholy said...

Aw, thanks Pants! I am well practised.

Caroline said...

You are a free spirit sweetie.
Your words combine with such energy and rhythm.
x

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey aaron, you snuck in there! Hebden Bridge is beautiful isn't it? And a great cultural centre, too.

Thankyou lovely Caroline, I will take the compliment from a woman who knows her stuff x

Ms Melancholy said...

Tygs! I didn't notice it was you! You are confusing me with your multiple names.

Jude said...

I am soooo jealous of you and Caroline spending the weekend enjoying fresh air and beautiful places.

Ms Melancholy said...

Aw, poor Jude, have you been unpacking? It's right up there in the top 5 stressful life events, moving house. Hope you managing to have some fun, too x

Aaron said...

Yes, am tyger,

Has to change name to protect the innocent.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey tygs, you've not been recruited by MI5 have you? You are all a bit cloak and dagger these days. Congrats on the baby tyger news, by the way. Very happy for you x

Jude said...

I do try to make some time for fun, Ms M.

Maybe too much time....

x

Ms Melancholy said...

Yes Jude, I take back all my sympathy....just been reading about your hangover at Caroline's! You are one brave woman - moving house with a hangover. Sounds like a nightmare to me!

Jude said...

Is good. Makes for an interesting life. Which is better than blowing dust off several hundred accumulated books anyday.

I don't deserve sympathy for the hangover/mother/moving combo.

But the anxiety is real.

Ms Melancholy said...

It is most unsettling, Jude, having one's possessions strewn across different houses. It is a little like being fracture in yourself. No wonder you feel a bit anxious. Lots of love. New house, exciting too!

Badger said...

Walking is good. The countryside is very good. I have not done the Yorkshire Moors, but I have done Exmoor and a little of Glen Coe and just this weekend a jolly big hill called Skiddaw in the Lakes. Yes, walking makes me feel happy and 'away from it all'. Stray and I now have a tent so there will be plenty more walking to come.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hi Badger, walking is good for the soul, I think (let's neatly sidestep the discussion about whether or not we have a soul...) I like Skiddaw, though not to be tackled under cloud, if I remember rightly? Hope you had a good trip x

Atyllah said...

Mmmm, lovely, you are indeed fortunate - not only to live in such a beautiful place but to be able to enjoy it in safety. In the last month we've had over 30 attacks on people walking through our beautiful places - mountain and beaches and greenbelts.

PurpleSparkleBright said...

WOw lovely pics! And I like the food description afterwards too. Yum. I am now hungry and I want roasted garlic on toast...!

Aaron said...

Ha! MsM

Just very busy and I have a few projects that I can't discuss yet, for reasons of a commercial nature, not, you'll be disappointed to hear, of any significance to our national security.

Thanks for the heads up on the baby.

Clare said...

OK then, I tell you what: How about you and me do the pub thing some day and combine it with a walk across the fells? I love the Yorkshire Dales (and am hoping I've got it right and that is indeed where you are) and don't revisit often enough.And funnily enough, I'm meeting another fellow blogger tomorrow to do exactly that, except this time in the Peak District.

I have another couple of weeks off work, so could actually do this quite soon if you're up for it, although I'm guessing you'll be working?

Hey Aaron, I just set my latest book in Hebden Bridge, so am particularly fond of it at the mo!

We've been doing a lot of country stuff of late, wot with being up Snowdon last week, and on Sunday we walked up to (and up inside) Peel Tower, above Ramsbottom (or "Sheep's Bum," as my four-year-old delighted in calling it).

Ms Melancholy said...

Hi Atyllah, gosh that sounds a bit full on. Where do you live? Thank goodness the dales is a bit more sleepy than that.

Hi Purple, I made a meringue too yesterday! I thought of you...

Mmmm Aaron, still doesn't quite explain why you have to change your name, though???

Hi Clare, that sounds fab. Will email you.....

Ms Melancholy said...

PS Clare, I like the sound of your son - Sheep's Bum is a fab name!

Aaron said...

Name change for a meta-blog - we agreed to post using first names.

x

Ms Melancholy said...

Ah, 'meta blog' has such a nice ring to it. Is this stage 1 of your plan to take over the world? Let us know where we can find it, and I promise to stop calling you tygs in return.

Aaron said...

Maybe I like being called tygs...

Ms Melancholy said...

Ok tygs, shan't stop then. But please stop rubbing yourself over at Caroline's. I am coming over all strange x

Aaron said...

The rubbing is over. I'm rather sore now. My vision is slightly blurred too.

anticant said...

So pleased I sparked off those superb pics and this lovely thread. You bring back memories of happy holidays spent at Barbon, and driving over the Coal Road past Dent Station - the highest in England - to Sedbergh and Settle....So much better than trailing round the Lakes in caravan queues!

anticant said...

Have a peep into anticant's burrow, Ms M and all.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey ant, thanks for the poke! Will get you some more piccies soon.

xxx

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