A Home in the Dales

We spent last weekend with friends in Yorkshire and a very fine time was had. They have a very relaxing and inviting home with a garden (garden in the English sense) in the backyard. This overlooks the town of Ilkley and the moors rising above across a beautiful valley. Not only this, but there was a friendly feline named Roger in residence and wild pheasants in the backyard! I had never seen a pheasant except in traditional paintings in the states. I tend to almost think of them as fictional characters! These would strut about the yard pecking at this and that then retire to their perch on the stone wall between the yard and the pastureland.

Hunting pheasants in the garden

Hunting pheasants in the garden

But probably the highlight of the weekend was the walk we did from the little hamlet of Arncliff to the even smaller hamlet of Litton. We followed a narrow road along the floor of the glacial and graceful valley. There were stone walls everywhere- probably hundreds of years old- some even on top of the ridges and following old farming plots long since obsolete. Sheep were plentiful and varied though I am not versed in the various breeds yet to name them.


Arncliff – with the river Skirfare

Our walk’s quest was the Queen’s Arms pub (and BnB) in Litton, where we would take a rest and have a pint. What I did not expect was the very attentive free range poultry holding vigil at the outdoor seating area!

Chicken on hand to keep patrons under control

Chicken on hand to keep patrons from misbehaving

One in particular stood ready to provide vegetarian menu suggestions.

How about a salad for the entree?

Salad for your entree sir?

But we had a delightful meal inside, near a warm fire–sans chicken. The walk back to Arncliff was brisk and beautiful as the sun cast shadows and bicyclists wizzed past. The Tour de France was in the UK this year and in this part of Yorkshire in particular so the sport has taken off in popularity around here.

We finished our Ilkley visit with hearty Scottish English breakfast prepared by our hosts and then off to a delightful coffee at a historic and well-heeled tea room called Betty’s . Then on the way our of town we had to stop at the town landmarks: the Cow and Calf- 2 massive boulders sitting atop the moor overlooking Ilkley.

There’s so much more to see in West Yorkshire that I’m sure we’ll be back…

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