Apedale, Wensleydale – Swaledale

Tuesday pm: There’s a most attractive “Apedale” along the road from Much Wenlock to Church Stretton (are Shropshire’s dales England’s southernmost?), and another Apedale in Staffordshire, home of a splendid 2′ gauge railway. This one’s a very minor, little-known dale in Yorkshire, and the coincidence is just that – quite accidental. The rough track we’re walking would take us over to Swaledale: we’ll stop at the watershed, admire the views, and turn back (walked far enough for one day). We had thought of making a circular route, following the ridge (a flat peaty moor) back round, but there was no path and the going looked hard on deep tussocky grass.

Yorkshire’s Apedale was most enjoyable, and retracing our steps was no hardship. It’s not the most spectacular part of the dales, but it’s very quiet – the only sounds are those of the birds (there are hundreds of rabbits, but they’re silent, and the sheep aren’t saying much). And what birds! A cuckoo, several lapwings, and more curlews than I’ve seen and heard for many years. Their rising, bubbling cry screams “lonely places”, sending a real shiver down the spine (try it: listen to the recordings on the links below). Sadly, they don’t like having their picture taken.

British Birdsongs: Curlew
RSPB: Curlew

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=402010&Y=494612&A=Y&Z=120

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