What a beAUTiFUL day it has been!
The sun shone (almost) from start to finish - isn't amazing how sunlight can lift the mood!
As soon as he opened his eyes this morning, Himself was ready for a walk up in the Dales so he chivvied Eldest and I with the tenacity of a terrier until we'd got ourselves ready, breakfast eaten, picnic packed and walking boots on.
(Youngest was staying at a friend's house so they could go and watch 'their' ice hockey team thrash the opponent team 10 : 3 - one happy teenager).
(But before I share our day with you - my laptop has given up or rather, the keyboard part of it has died so I am on Eldest's laptop so please excuse any deviation from my usual layout :) )
We arrived late morning in Littondale - an extremely beautifully wild and isolated valley. A bitterly cold wind cut right through us, however the pull of the sun covered hills was enough to get us off and out.
I only took the one photograph, the rest were taken by Eldest. He loves using my camera and seeing how cold the air was, it seemed a good excuse to keep my hands snug in my gloves and he takes some really good pictures.
The first photo of the Pixie cup lichen is mine, the rest of the pictures are his.
Along they way we met the softest noses and the hairiest faces around. A couple of Shetland ponies greeted us and graciously allowed me to tickle their whiskery chins.
The first half of our walk took us along the valley bottom alongside the river then, as we reached our furthest point we turned upwards onto the ridge. High up on the slope and before we reached the more exposed tops, we stopped and sheltered against a limestone outcrop. We managed to keep out of the sharpest of the breeze as we bathed in the early springlike sunshine - oh it was so delicious - we all felt so 'sun-starved'.
We could not stay too long though, despite the sun we soon chilled down and had to set off again to keep warm. We followed a grassy path alongside an old fence. Most of the posts had replacement ones alongside and the wire was rusty and red.
With the area being so remote and wild, farming is difficult so fences and walls are repaired only if vitally essential. Old gates with even older hinges and latches are commonplace.
I love the tactile nature of rusty metal worn smooth by the action of generations of farmer's hands as they have opened and closed latches, fasten gates, tightened hinges.
And the title of my post ? Valentine Dates? Well, we love above all other outings - our walks together. They seem to bind us closer and make us stronger. We sit in the lea of the wind and drink tea in silence, alone, together. We listen to the birds, the wind, the river, the rustle of the trees. We breathe in the air, smell the grass, feel the sun, the ground beneath our feet. It is a good time to talk, a good time to listen. We are one...
We also love eating dates, as seeing that today is Valentine's day, seeing we ate dates whilst out on the hills, seeing Himself thought of putting the two together and seeing Eldest suggested the perfect photo-opportunity - it seemed just right. 'Valentine Dates - a day full of so much xx