Yorkshire Dales V – The Fox and Hounds

 

This was our local for a week. Great pub.

The Fox and Hounds

The Landlord: long grey beard

and long grey hair

pumps the pints with practiced arm

eyes the beer with expert eye

The Landlady: his portly wife

efficient and firm

serves the meals, no flourish or fuss

fit for purpose, built to last

The daughter: stood in doorway

puffs a fag

off to London (or Leeds at least)

only home for weddings and funerals

The drinkers: some are local

some are not

Yorkshire bitter, Australian lager

home grown or foreign import

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

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Yorkshire Dales IV – Burning the Bartle

The village of West Witton has an annual tradition. We stayed in a cottage in Grassgill, where the ‘ceremony’ concludes:

Burning the Bartle

Clouds drift behind Penhill, behind the stone beacon which once burned a warning of the Spanish Armada, behind the squat stone barn, behind the walking path which traverses the hill. Below, the villagers carry a huge straw man with mask face, bulging eyes and raggy clothes, down the main street – a guy, an effigy of Bartle the sheep stealer, Bartle the pig thief, Bartle the giant. They stop at each pub, drink beer, chant “Have you seen the Bartle?”, pass a hat around. They carry him up Penhill Crags, his torn rags fluttering; past Hunters Thorn, blowing their horns. Some kneel before the Bartle at Capplebank Stee. They roll on to Grassgill Beck, where they twist his head, breaking his straw neck; onto Wadhams End and to Grassgill End where a pyre is ready to receive the Bartle. Saint Bartholomew’s church bell rings.

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/england/north-yorkshire/festivals/august/burning-of-the-bartle-west-witton.html

 

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

Yorkshire Dales II – Hills

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Some of the hills on the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway are extremely challenging. The worst so far was a long, long, climb out of Grinton, with a cold headwind and very bleak scenery. Sometimes, all you can do is to put your head down and keep pedalling.

Hills

Grinding into a biting gale

chain straining up

a vicious gradient

my rain stung face facing down

to black bitumen, sheep dung

and picked over carcass


Drowned in wind

lung gasp and pulse pound

a car buffets past

veers me vergeward



I am on the verge

but grind on and up

on and up

against the grade

rumbling over cattle grids

reaching false top

after false top

and more and more

bleak moorland

until


lessening and levelling

and dropping to

stone patterned dale

and squat barns

flocked fields and

flat capped villages

stone crossed greens

square towered churches

and bitter beer.


Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

Yorkshire Dales 1 – From Wensleydale

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I’m cycling in the Yorkshire Dales and trying to write a poem a day for a week. Internet access is patchy, so they may get posted sporadically. And formatting is not so easy on a tablet

Here’s number one. I love the place names around Wensleydale.

From Wensleydale

(after  Jen Hadfield)

I will take you by Wanlass

I will take you by West Wood

I will take you by Haremire and Tullis Cote

I will take you through Preston Scar to Old Flue


I will bring you down Long Scar

I will lead you up Broomber Rigg


I will show you Loft Skew

I will show you Bellerby Moor


I will lead you down Black Beck

We will run in Spring Gill over Walburn Moor


We will cross over Cross Gill Top

We will fall into Whit Fell and Peat Fell


We will beat through East End Vein

We will beat through Old Stork Vein


We will rest in Hags Gill

We will wash in the icy Swale


We will sleep in Nun Cote Nook.

—–

copyright Mike Hopkins 2015