While searching on the web for a “dog-friendly” pub or hotel in the Dales, I came across some trip advice from a national newspaper correspondent extolling the virtues of various locations.
There was little I disagreed with, but I was amused by commentators complaining the advice was too “north-centric.”
Well they would complain wouldn’t they? Our national media is so strongly south orientated, when storms batter the North they are rarely deemed news-worthy but when the reverse occurs it is a national tragedy. Let me be clear, I am completely sympathetic to those poor people struggling with flood waters down in Somerset. Part of their tragedy is even there they were not at the centre of things in the Home Counties, but when Hull got flooding problems some years ago no one cared.
For so many, there is little worthy of note north of Watford Gap, but despite the forgotten regions and the “grim up North” mentality I like it that way. The South-East is the economic power house of our national economy but Manchester is a fine city we should be proud of. But our northern landscape is the key component that makes me love living here.
In Burnley we are surrounded by the Lake District, the Dales, the Peak District and Snowdonia, with the more distant North York Moors still only two hours away. There are some wonderful areas of outstanding natural beauty, including Silverdale, the Forest of Bowland, and Pendle. I haven’t even mentioned Bronte country, Ribble Valley or the Eden Valley. We are spoilt for choice.
Last Thursday we headed north to take in the delights of Great Langdale. Only deciding at breakfast to grab our chance, we were soon parked at Dungeon Ghyll, striding down dale along mud-free tracks to enjoy the riverside walk down to Chapel Stile and Elterwater and back.
But then Sunday wasn’t bad either. Half-an-hour is all it takes to get to get to Tockholes to enjoy miles of generally good paths through wooded valleys that house a string of reservoirs. Sheltered from the extremes of wind it is excellent dog-walking country, with ample car parking and places to get a bite to eat.
Then Monday dawned and, despite talk of rain and storms, Wifey and I saw an opportunity to get out and about, this time heading east. Parking up at Pateley Bridge we walked up the steep hillsides to the quarry path to enjoy the views over the dale before descending the steep road into Wath, past the tiny Methodist Chapel, looping round to join the Nidderdale Way near Gouthwaite dam. Pretty soon we were off again up the opposite side of the dale before the sedate walk along the banks of the lively River Nidd, back into Pateley Bridge. Outstanding stuff. In a few days we had travelled north to the Lake District, west to the West Pennine Moors and east into the Dales to enjoy first rate walking in magnificent surroundings. We bumped into very few people and it didn’t rain once, unlike further south.
No wonder that travel writer was guilty of being north-centric. He had good reason, but I can’t help hoping sometimes that if we keep quiet, we might keep it just to ourselves.