19 June 2013

A question for us all

A few days ago I went for an afternoon walk around Grassington. I climbed up over the moor above Yarnbury before dropping down to the pretty little village of Hebden and returning along the riverbank. Perfect.

Hebden by Frank Gordon from Lady Anne's Way by Sheila Gordon

I reached Hebden just as a large group of walkers arrived in the village. They'd clearly had a long day and straggled a bit as they headed towards the line of cars parked by the stream. I watched as they shrugged off their rucksacks, changed their boots and squeezed the last drops from their flasks. Then they all climbed into their cars and with a cheery "See you next week" they drove away.

And it got me thinking.

Hebden Post Office cum village shop
Hebden's a small place with just 133 houses. There's a pub, a tearoom, a village hall and a Post Office cum village shop. Not one of the walkers called in at the shop before they went home. No-one had a cuppa or a scone at the tearoom although two of the women popped in and asked to use the loo. Nobody had a pint in the pub. This big group of people drove into Wharfedale with their packed lunches and their flasks of tea. They took advantage of free roadside parking clogging the village street with their Discoveries and Zafiras, they enjoyed their day in the countryside then they went home again.

What should they have done? Do we as walkers have a responsiblity to put something back? To try to use the facilities in the Dales villages we so admire and by doing so support local people in keeping their pub open or their bus running. Or is it ok to be completely self contained like the party I saw?

What do you think?

9 June 2013

My pal Jess

It's 2 years since I first wrote this and 9 since we went to the RSPCA and came away with a little scruff-ball we called Jess. She wasn’t our first choice. Oh no, we’d got our eyes firmly set on another – a sweet little puppy with take-me-home eyes – but when I knelt down to say hello, Jess jumped onto my knee and she’s never got off.

Jess 10 weeks old
She was the oddest looking pup – huge head, short legs, bent nose and when she walks her back legs wander along a good six inches to the right of her front ones. She looks like a bendy bus or Slinky from Toy Story. She’s also the happiest little dog I’ve ever known. Every day’s an adventure, everybody she meets is her friend. She's walked all of A Dales High Way, the Dales Way, the Cleveland Way and many many more. She's shared tents, slept in the van, kipped under the bed when B&B's would let her and in sheds when they wouldn't - in short she's been everywhere that we have. Until this week.

This week, for the first time, I went walking and left her at home. It was a very sunny day, we were going high onto the fells with no access to water, she's getting on a bit now and she's a hairy dog who hates the heat - need I go on?

I know it was the right decision but boy did it hurt.