I was supposed to be standing somewhere near here the week before Christmas, celebrating my birthday with real ale, wintry dale walks and this being Wensleydale, a plate of local cheeses. But instead I decided not to brave the icy roads and frozen days on the hill – last year we went to Malham where the roads were covered with sheet ice and my packed lunch froze in my backpack before I had a chance to eat it.
I’ve often wondered how a midsummer birthday would compare to a midwinter one. And now I know.
What I can tell you is that even in midsummer you can’t control the weather – our morning hike was punctuated by brisk showers that danced across the hillside, catching us out more than once, but mainly we watched in awe as clouds of rain engulfed the dales opposite and disappeared like puffs of mist.
That midsummer birthday lunch is served with a wooden spoon and a pint of golden ale which tastes delicious when washed down with a dose of sunshine from a nearby window.
That the afternoons are longer but that means you linger on the hillside, get home late and before you know it you’re tucked up inside a four poster bed while the birds are serenading you to sleep.
I could also tell you about the unexpected extra present, but we’ll save that for next time. Instead I’ll leave you with this thought: Though my packed lunch didn’t freeze in the balmy Sunday weather, the Wensleydale cheese left in the boot of the car while we tackled one last summit on our way home was a little the worse for wear.