The Big Stone

It was one of those beautiful autumnal afternoons without a cloud in the sky. After working all day, I just wanted to be out in it.

I grabbed The Dog as soon as I could, startling her from her slumber on the sofa and we just headed off in the late afternoon, following our noses. Ingleborough rose majestically from the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, it’s summit clear of cloud and profiled against a clear blue sky. We drove towards the edge of the Forest of Bowland, The Dog hanging her head out of the window, her ears flapping. We pulled up onto a lay-by on the moor, not far from from the Great Stone of Fourstones, a local landmark near the market town of Bentham. It’s known locally as the Big Stone and looks like it’s been dumped in the middle of the grassland, from a great height.

After a short stroll across the moorland, we reached its base. There are steps carved into the side so you can go up and stand on its top. It has the most amazing views and this afternoon, it was beyond gorgeous. Towards the west, the Lake District hills and fells looked a purple blue in the far distance. As I panned eastwards, the Yorkshire Dales gently rose with two of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire – Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent – hoving into view. With the late afternoon sun making long shadows, the landscape was of rolling green fields, woods, little villages and farms. I had a stunning 180 degree view and after our visit to the Big Stone, The Dog and I sat in the boot of the car and admired the view for many minutes.

I didn’t want to go home yet, so we decided to go on a drive and follow our noses to see what we came across. We headed towards the little hamlet of Lowgill, nestling in a valley, but got distracted by a side road. The sign said church and village school. The lane was single track with grass down the middle and I hoped not to meet a tractor or some other huge farm vehicle. We found the little church just as a sign declared the road “unsuitable for motor vehicles” and another declaring a 25% descent. I parked up and The Dog and I went through the double iron gates and through an avenue of trees to the main porch. It was here that I realised I had left my camera phone in the car! Grrr. The church was small and squat with a cockerel weather vane on its stumpy tower. It was a charming little building and evidently in use. The gravestones were marked with recent deaths in the graveyard and I was surprised by how many for such a little house of worship in such an isolated spot. I wandered past up to the old schoolhouse which seemed to be used as the village hall with chairs and tables, posters and notices on the noticeboards inside. Delightfully, it had two outside toilets thoughtfully marked “gentlemen” and “ladies”.

I meandered back to the car, the sun glinting through the beautiful browns, greens and yellows of early autumn. It is a stunning evening. We retraced our steps back to the main lane and followed the road to Wray, stopping every now and then to admire the long distance views and fantastic scenery.

We stopped at Wray in Lancashire where I know a little river walk. The Dog is not impressed by this itinerary. First a short walk to the Big Stone and back into the car. Another short walk through a graveyard and back to the car. Now a diversion to Lowgill and back (not even a sniff of a short walk here) and now she was getting impatient and starting to vocalise her disapproval by pathetic whimpering. She got really excited when I finally parked, and dashed off when I let her off lead. There’s only one destination in The Dog’s head – the river.

She’s looking very pleased with herself standing knee deep in the water, ears pricked. She was in heaven. We had a pleasant walk through the fields, with The Dog dashing ahead, running in and out of the water.

With our tummies starting to rumble for tea, we wandered back to the car and enjoyed a lovely drive back with beautiful colours, a cloudless blue sky, green hills, woods, long shadows and the peaks of Yorkshire as a stunning backdrop. Once home, I looked at my photos from my phone and cursed that they didn’t reflect the views I had seen with my own eyes. Photos never do, do they? They never do the scenery justice.

Never mind, there will always be plenty more days like this.

Author: apathtosomewhere

Come with me and my dog on my meanderings around northern England and further afield, encountering all walks of life and everything in between!

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