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Friday, September 7, 2012

Remembering Old Dreams Above Askrigg

The Road above Askrigg

We climbed a narrow, winding road, passing homes and holiday cottages, and then walked between numerous farms.  Rock walls separated fields for cows and sheep.  Occasionally, we moved aside to let a car pass, but mostly we had the road to ourselves.

"Wait, let me show you my best side."

Rarely did we glimpse a farmer.  The animals seemed content to watch over themselves.  The young cows were friendly and inquisitive.  The sheep ignored us, or scampered away as we approached.  We made ample use of the benches we found, watching the animals and the village of Askrigg below.  At times, I wondered if the locals might look askance at us, despite the messages of welcome and invitation carved into the wooden benches, or inscribed on a plaque.  Still, that didn’t stop us from using one particular bench set against the side of an outbuilding, at face level with young cows only a few feet away.

"Uh, I don't suppose you brought us any food?"

I wondered if James Herriot visited these farms.  As mentioned in “The Road to Kilburn,“ it’s hard to know how far he ranged.  Certainly he spent time located away from Thirsk, such as when he worked with Ewan Ross in Leyburn, or when he carried out tuberculin testing (such as on his honeymoon).  But it was impossible to gaze at these animals, and not feel affection for them. 

A big "Thank You" to everyone who helped provide all
those benches.  They gave us wondrous views. 

James Herriot may have intended to live in Glasgow and treat household pets, but on his trip down to Yorkshire, he fell in love with the landscape and these larger animals.  His stories cured us of the desire to someday own a farm.  Nevertheless, it was pleasant to remember what had awakened that dream in the first place.  

Dragon Dave

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