Yorkshire – Leaving the Dales
The weather is miserable. The sky drips. We’re breakfasted and packed and paid up—and it’s over. I do love the Yorkshire Dales and I don’t want it to be over. I want to explore every tiny road that I see on Google maps. I want to take walks and see it in the sun in seventy-degree weather. I want. I want I want.
Michael asks me which way I want to go home. I pick a town in the southeast corner of the Dales—that will give me a few more hours. Michael asks Jeeves to take us there on the shortest route. “That may be a mistake,” he says. “It normally means the slowest route.” That is a good thing.
We begin in drizzling rain, taking Bellow Hill out of Stonehouse’s drive toward Harddraw and the A684. We begin with white stripes down both sides and through the middle of the road. And then we turn. Bless Jeeves heart. He could be taking us down the A roads—there is one all the way into Barbon, but instead he tells us to take a left in between Garsdale Head and Clough, leading us down a road that has no name. And for me it gets better. For Michael not so much. “I hope we don’t meet another car on this road—there is no place to go.”
My camera clicks and clicks and clicks. I just want to remember. I love it. I love it. I love it.
There is an occasional pull out to let another car pass, but for long stretches there is nothing but soft grass with inches and inches of soft mud underneath. I try to ignore deep tire tracks on the sides of the road where it looks like disaster struck. I try not to think about the worst-case scenario.
The no name road changes to Coal Road and then to Lea Yeat Brow, which is a town, at least Lea Yeat is, and then we reach the church in Cowgil. We parallel the River Dee heading toward Dent. Outside Dent we cross the river and run into civilization and traffic in the village center. Three cars meet at a curve in the road. We travel west. The two other vehicles are going east; one of them, a very large truck.
Michael does some maneuvering allowing the first car to squeak by. The truck is too big. There is no squeaking room at all. The driver of the truck backs up and backs up and backs up. It is our turn to inch forward, squeaking by, working our way toward Gawthorpe where we meet another truck. Smaller this time.
We follow Stone Rigg Outrake to Barbondale Road all the way into Barbon, and too soon for me–not for Michael—we are on an A Road going home. I want to go back. Our trip through the Dales took a bare hour-and-a-half. We have traveled less than twenty-five miles.
Speeding down the A65 road toward York there is tiny road after tiny road leading back into the Dales. I want so badly to take one of those tiny roads. I yearn to take one of those tiny roads. I don’t say a thing. I think Michael has probably had enough stress for one day.
We arrive home in the rain. We park in the rain. We walk down Bishop Hill Senior to St. Martin’s Lane to Micklegate in the rain. At home I unpack. Collapsing on the couch for a nap, we slurp hot tomato soup, chomping on tuna sandwiches with chips and white wine for dinner. We spend the evening watching Foyle’s War. I’m growing rather attached to British TV’s reruns.