Wharfedale and Cross Fell

Monday 12 September and we’ve suffered one of our windiest days ever, (tail end of some tropical hurricane I’m told), so I decided to take a short cut to the village bakery only to be peppered by conkers. While taking Doris for her evening stroll, I noticed the village green carpeted in green marbles, their mahogany contents trapped too early within.

I’m terrible when the tail end of summer quickly becomes autumn; I follow the same pattern each year trying to spend as much time outdoors before the short autumn becomes a long winter. Much of this summer has been lost to work of some kind. We’ve had more than our fair share of rain too with some muggy conditions. Yorkshire Kilnsey Show in the shadow of the dramatic Kilnsey Crag was almost a washout. This sketch shows visitors stampeding to their cars. One of the highlights however was our journey up through the beautiful and remote valley of Wharfedale. I’d forgotten how stunning this part of the world really is. We travelled up the dale passing through beautiful villages including Burnsall, The Strid and Bolten Abbey.

I’ve been promised a weekend of walking within the shoulders of this stunning dale.

Sunday we’re off up to Cross Fell (the highest point of the North Pennines 2,930 feet) for a high Pennine traverse, I believe the name Cross Fell comes from a time when a huge cross stood on the summit to scare away evil spirits. In fact in ancient times it was known as ‘Fiends Fell’ and said to be hangout of evil spirits. I might take a dram up their in my hipflask to keep the story alive. It’s a wild place prone to dense fog and fierce winds which are known locally as the Helm Wind. The Helm Wind is the only named wind in the British Isles and blows north easterly down the southwestern slope. Snow can remain in some of the gullies up until July with fresh snow falling as early as June. For now that particular walk is keeping an autumnal mood swing at bay.


14 Replies to “Wharfedale and Cross Fell”

  1. This sketch is brilliant. I can feel the urgency to get to the car! I’m real excited for your upcoming walk. You paint such an amazing word picture and I can nearly hear the howl of the wind. Wow, a wind with it’s own name… That’s crazy!

  2. It’s wonderful how well you can illustrate the happenings in your life – I like how you captured the the mood of the people in a hurry to get out of the rain. We’ve had more than our share of rain this spring and summer, too. Kind of wish we could have sent half of it to Texas, suffering its worst drought in history.

    “Helm” brings to mind steering a ship on the sea – it must be some wind! I hope you have a great time at Cross Fell.

    1. Thank you Barbara, always nice to read your comments. I have some friends in TX with a farm, ages since I’ve spoken with them- your post reminds me I need to catch up with folk. I walked under the ‘Helm’ on Sunday and it’s still as fierce as ever. So good to hear from you.

  3. Your posts about where you live and the places you visit are always so interesting, Keith.
    This drawing is so cool. You are very good with little people. I always include too much and lose the scene and the feel of what I have seen. The perspective is spot on!

    1. Thanks Leslie. It’s only by talking with people such as yourself that we find new direction. Posts which include images and narrative form other people’s homes always fascinate me too. Thank you as always for following my humble little blog.

  4. I love your talent for drawing and telling a great story behind it.
    The story is so interesting and has me in anticipation about the drawing or painting you may do on your “promised weekend walk within the shoulder of the area.” The drawing you did for this storm you got, (which I think may have been the tail end of Katia.) is right on. I can see the people rushing. Your drawing has movement to it.
    An excellent story and drawing, Keith!

    1. I’m still trying to catch up with my posts Debbie. I noticed the image of the roads on the island on your blog and it looks terrible. We take so much for granted in this country. Really pleased you enjoyed my little post as I try to catch up with some of your beautiful work.

  5. Hi. I like your sketch, full of movement and resignation. I also like the description of the Helm Wind. In Canada we have the Chinook out west (a very warm wind during winter), and the Wreck House Winds at Port aux Basques in Newfoundland. There may be others. I’ve driven across the Grand Lake Meadows here and smelled the earthy smell of marshland… it should have a name of its own. Thanks! Jane

  6. I think you’ve triggered a wave of nostalgia – I remember camping in Wharfdale when I was a student! Doesn’t sound like the weather’s changed – I think I must ‘ve got soft. But it is a really really beautiful area & you’re very good at putting across your feeling for it.

    1. Good to hear from you Sonya. It’s a beautiful dale and so close to us, I feel guilty that we don’t visit more often. I can’t remember much about being a student too much intoxication I guess. Thanks once again for visiting and taking the time and effort to leave a comment. It’s always appreciated. I’m off to visit your blog. I bet you still have sun?

  7. That last bit’s funny ( if you take a look at what I just posted!) However…. it’s also been interspersed with some very hot & sunny days as well the occasional “22°C & it’s midnight ” As for the intoxication – I think you’re not alone !

  8. Keith, I always enjoy your sketches of your home region. So different from where I live, they make me want to hop on a flight, don something tweed, grab a walking stick and go!

    I really would love to visit there North Pennines sometime.

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