On Saturday, a Festival Bowland event rambled over from Abbeystead to Tarnbrook to admire and account for the beautiful SSSI hay meadows there. On the way we met a man from Manchester who said that he just liked to escape from the city when the weather was fine and Bowland was a favourite destination.
The words of Ewan MacColl's Manchester Rambler (albeit written about Kinder Scout, Derbyshire) came to mind
So I'll walk where I will over mountain and hill And I'll lie where the bracken is deep I belong to the mountains, the clear running fountains Where the grey rocks lie ragged and steep I've seen the white hare in the gullys And the curlew fly high overhead And sooner than part from the mountains I think I would rather be dead.
Ch: I'm a rambler, I'm a rambler from Manchester way I get all me pleasure the hard moorland way I may be a wageslave on Monday But I am a free man on Sunday
Well, we got to talking and exchanging stories and he tagged along with the rest of us for the next 2 hours as Geoff Morries (local historian and ecologist) and Jon Hickling (ecologist working for Natural England) waxed lyrical about wildflowers and lamented the changes in farming and community that have turned Tarnbrook from a village of 20 families with a pub and a shop to a sparsely populated hamlet. We met a farmer who had lived there all his life, running newly sheared tups down the deserted, cobbled main street. We talked about the weather and prospects for haymaking as the sun burned down. Insects buzzed and clicked in the hay meadows and we arrived back at the magnificent Over Wyresdale parish hall woefully later than planned. I apologised at the outset of the walk for the absence of Julia Bradbury; explaining that we would have to make do with Jon and Geoff's 100 plus years of practical knowledge and experience of wildlife and ecology. In summary then, we got the first hand knowledge and experience but not the immaculate timekeeping and tight trousers. The feedback from the event will tell us whether this was an acceptable trade-off.
At the end of the walk we ate curd tart, orange syrup cake and slices of macaroon cake - all thanks to the 37th edition of 'Home Recipes with Be-Ro Flour' washed down with Twining's tea. Opinions differed as to whether this was 'Yorkshire curd tart' of Betty's quality but it disappeared without a trace. Next Saturday there is the last 'wildflower walk' this year at St Jame's Stocks in Bowland. Will you join us for tea, cake and conversation with wildflower backdrop? Call 01200 448000