/ Scotland2017

Mr Dale's Diary

We had to move on from the pub, so the van is in 'traveling' mode, the weather is nice, so why not travel?

We only got as far as a mile down the road before our first stop, Eggleston Hall Gardens. A nice little garden to walk around but a far more impressive plant nursery. Lots on sale, particularly lots of differing tree species and all looking very healthy. If we lived near or were going directly home I could see us spending quite some time and money.

On now, up the Teesdale valley to Brough. Absolutely stunning moorland panoramas with views for miles. Already magnificent it will be beautiful when the heather is out. And red grouse. The odd one and then a family, male complete with splendid red 'eyebrow', female and chicks. Not a rarity up here perhaps but a nice spot for us.

Brough is disappointing. The castle is visible from a long distance out of town but actually not obvious to get to. I think access is via a farm. So, sadly, no photo opportunity.

The sensible thing now is down into Swaledale but we press onward to Appleby-in-Westmoreland, famed for its horse-fair and Romany gathering. It's a county town, nice enough but very little there. I mull this over with Liz, saying that I thought it odd that larger towns like Appleby or even Allendale have almost no shops and no chains apart from perhaps a small Boots. Liz's most-likely theory is that consumerism doesn't affect country folk the way it does us city dwellers. Appleby might not have M&S or Next but it does have 2 butchers, 2 baker's and a greengrocers as well as a country/builders store and a hardware store. So the day to day and even week to week needs are met in town and when clothes or similar really are a necessity then a trip to Penrith is called for. I suspect the average Appleby dweller has a wardrobe of clothes that get worn more than once and a house free from shabby-chic tatware.

One nice touch. It was school lunchtime and a lot of kids in the town, many of them wearing a sweatshirt with football style name and number on the back. It advertised the wearer's name, the word "Leaver" and in large numerals "17" but printed in small font inside the 1 and 7 were a list of names. Obviously this year's leaving class with a lovely memento of their friends. A nice idea!

Two more dales, Birk Dale with its long gear-wrenching climbs and views forever and Swale Dale where the road winds tortuously alongside the river itself. Two totally contasting dales, one after another on the same road. Like red grouse, dippers aren't uncommon but still it was nice to catch a glimpse of one standing proud atop a rock in the fast flow of the Swale.

No pictures today. It was pretty much an all day driving day to take in all of this scenery. I did try to capture Barnard Castle by night, along with its reflection, but a phone just doesn't work on night settings.