It’s been quite cold and wet recently. Dog walks lose their appeal when it’s lashing down.
So The Dog was due a decent walk.
So we headed to Clapham again. There’s a lovely organic shop, called Growing With Grace, just off the A65, where I like to shop. It’s small, sells only seasonal fruit and veg, but has a good stock of other organic foodstuffs. There’s also a quirky little cafe where you sit in one of the huge greenhouses. It’s really sweet. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone and do a shop and another dog walk out of Clapham.
The day had started off pretty bright, but as I got ready to leave, it was clouding up. We arrived in Clapham and I had a quick look at the Vintage Shop there. Of course it’s closed on Tuesday (never time it right) but she had left lots of crockery outside of her shop. I toyed with getting a couple of items and posting the money through the letterbox, but decided against it. I wanted to look inside too.
So I got The Dog sorted and we waddled up the road towards the Ingleborough Cave entrance.
On previous visits, we have walked through the estate paying our £1 entrance fee, but The Dog has to be on her lead. It’s a pleasant stroll through woods on a purpose built path and it takes you up to the cave and Gaping Gill and Trollers Gill beyond, but I wanted to circumvent it today. So we ignored the entrance, continuing around on the road until we came to a footpath sign on the right, pointing to Ingleborough Cave.
It was a tarmacked track with walls either side so I unleashed The Dog. It was a steady pull up. It was here that it started to rain. Yesterday on our walk, I had waterproof coat and trousers, gloves, hat, scarf on – I looked like a Michelin Man – as it had been raining pretty hard all day and then, after all that wrapping up, it hardly rained on the walk. Today I had rejected the trousers, hat, scarf and gloves and was starting to regret that decision. Could be a big mistake.
We followed the lane up. The cloud was low and there was no real views. We went past fields and a pretty wood, it’s floor covered with brown beech leaves. It just looked very inviting, but a stern notice informed us it was private and to keep out. We were overtaken by a farmer on a quad bike, his collie dog balancing on the back. Then the lane forked – the left hand side to a gate with private on it and the right, our path, now stony and gravelly. The Dog went back on the lead and we went through the gate.
We plodded along, the rain gently splattering on the hood of my coat, as a farm hoved into view. We had to go through the farmyard and the farmer was there, sorting out logs. He grabbed his collie dog. I held our hound close too, but neither dog reacted. We reached another gate and as I was closing it, I realised that the farmer had released his dog and it was hurtling towards me. It leapt up, really excited to meet me. It was so friendly and so I made a real fuss of him. Usually collie farm dogs look like they want to rip you to shreds or at least give you a good nip on the ankles but this one was lovely, bouncing around excitedly. He was also very wet and muddy.
We branched right here, down a steep hill on wet shiny limestone steps. I took it carefully. It was steadily raining. We followed the path until it dropped down to the Ingleborough Cave path. The cave was a few hundred yards further up. I’ve walked past it before so had no urge to check it out again – it has an entrance charge too, so I would only admire the front of it anyway. We turned left. The Dog was excited as there was the river, but it was high and flowing fast.
We walked a few more yards to a gate, so we could drop down to a little wooden bridge across the river. The Dog paddled here. It’s far too cold for a swim for her. The ground veered sharply up, and I carefully made my way up by the side of the wall. The Dog made a half hearted attempt to round up the sheep, but she was on lead and thwarted. The sheep still ran so she got some satisfaction out of it. We came up to a stone wall, with a stile built into it. The Dog ignored my request to wait and bounded over, still attached. Lucky she was on her extendable and made it to the other side without being garrotted or yanking me over with her. She leapt over nimbly despite her advancing years and watched me lumber over without an inch of elegance.
I took The Dog off lead here as it was another walled lane and we headed back down to Clapham. The rain had kind of stopped, but it was still damp and wet. We followed the path back where it joined the path we had walked on our last trip. We turned right and strolled down, under the two tunnels and burped back into the village. It was a typical November day – dank and miserable. We had a quick wander round. The little waterfall next to the Ingleborough Cave entrance was in full spate, water gushing down in a torrent.
Feeling chilled and discovering my shoe had developed a leak and I now had a soggy sock, we headed to the organic shop for provisions before heading home for lunch. And typical, as we drove home, the sun poked its head out through a gap in the dark brooding clouds and lit up the surrounding countryside in the most gorgeous autumnal colours. The gloominess has lifted, so you could see for miles – the sharp definition of the Lake District and The Howgills, in the distance, bathed in a beautiful deep purple hue. The contrasting colours and the angry sky was stunning. I soon forgot that I got wet – this view made me feel so much better . This is why I love Britain – it changes so quickly and can be so dramatic. I was very happy with life.