When I was growing up each person in the extended family was described by, and clearly labelled with, their relationship to each other - your grannie, his auntie, my husband’s nephew and even the dreaded second cousin twice removed. Most of it went over my head but those strange descriptions came back to me this week when I went walking with a new friend. He’s the son of my mother’s cousin and although we’ve no recollection of each other as children we’ve met recently when he’s been staying in the Dales.
This week he helped me test walk a possible route for a future book. We headed out of Settle on a clear path towards Stainforth, quickly leaving the riverside and heading for Stackhouse. Behind the hamlet we turned sharp left up a couple of fields, quickly gaining height until we reached the top of a limestone outcrop with fine views across towards Pen-y-ghent.
|Pen-y-ghent in the distance|
There wasn’t a soul about and although we hadn’t climbed far at all we felt on top of the world. The walking was easy, the weather was fine and ahead we could see Ingleborough and the outline of the Eastern Lakeland Fells.
As the path dropped towards Feizor we took a detour up the hill to Dead Man’s Cave and on to the strange structure known as the Celtic Wall.
|Don't know who died here|
The Celtic Wall stands alone in the middle of the moor, a short length of wall made of massive stones. There’s been speculation about its age and purpose but no-one seems quite sure what it was all about although the current thinking seems to be that it’s medieval.
|The Celtic Wall|
A short but precipitous path took us down towards Smearset Scar
and an easy walk into Feizor and Elaine’s Tearoom. I remember this popular cafe a few years ago when it was just a collection of plastic tables outside the farmhouse where walkers and cyclists could get a very welcome cup of tea. Not any more. Now you can get anything from an ice lolly to a full blown Sunday dinner and it’s regularly heaving. I was glad to see my old favourite – the mug of milky coffee – was still on the menu and we enjoyed a short break in the sunshine.
Our return route took us out of the hamlet and up to Buck Haw Brow where we followed Giggleswick Scar back towards Settle. Again we had fine views, this time across the Forest of Bowland to the south west and all too soon we were back at the start.
Altogether a very enjoyable afternoon so J – I’m not quite sure what sort of second or third or removed cousin you are but you’re a fine walking companion and that’s all that matters to me.