“Miles to go before I sleep”

“We’re not moving to the countryside!”

After what I thought was a superb birthday in the Yorkshire Dales, Mummy firmly decided we’re staying in the city. 

She always had this romantic notion of living in the countryside, walking with us through the fields in her Barbour and wells, but when we  were “almost” lost on the Dales … well, she and Jacqui quickly realised they’re not cut out for it! LOL! (x 100)

May’s comment: Ok, Miss Darcy, smarty pants, may I tell my side of the story?

It wasn’t just another Miss Darcy’s adventures but also a Mummy ADVENTURE!!!

The Yorkshire Dales has long been on my To Do list – and Darcy’s birthday was a good excuse to make the trip.

On the first day, we gingerly made our way to the Aysgarth Falls but didn’t go very far when we turned back.  The path to the falls looked very muddy and I was a little concerned that Darcy might jump into the river and get washed away – and she didn’t have a GPS tracker on her – not yet!

So we made our way back and hey ho! There’s sign of some retail. Now that’s more like it, but alas they were closed.
IMG_3095The next day, as I promised Miss Darcy that she will run the Dales for her birthday, we “suited up” in  fuschsia Equafleeces for our two-hour walk – with lunch awaiting us at the bar in Wensleydale Heifer. “Follow the footpath” – we were told, as two Londoners set off into the Yorkshire Dales. Armed with typed-up detailed instructions and a very large map we set off with the dogs. Boy! Were they happy to run! It’s approximately a two-hour slow walk to West Witton where lunch awaited us, and a glass of champagne.

All was going well. The dogs ran and came back when called. The instructions made sense so far.  The river remained on the left of us. We passed through gates.  And then the footpath seem seed rather vague. We started to be unsure if there was a footpath at all. And the one missing clue was the word “copse” – never heard that word before so we had a clue we couldn’t figure out.

Just then Darcy saw a rabbit and gave chase. And George followed suit. The rabbit ran through the wire fence and Darcy ran right into it. Ouch! But George, that little monkey of a mutt decided to follow the rabbit and he too ran through the wire fence and down a very steep hillside. The switch had flipped and he was doing his “I’m doing my thing.”  Twenty minutes of hollering after him to which he paid no attention as he kept looking past the fence at the river beyond, my heart stopping every time I thought he might just go through that fence. But he didn’t – I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t like water or he was just being a cheeky monkey.

We had to go over to the next field before I found a way to climb down a steep hill to catch him! He wanted to be caught but he played his usual “catch me if you can” for a few minutes. Back on the leash and never to be let off again, we climbed up the hill. Darcy was shining brighter than ever as being best dog of the day!!!

A little frazzled, we walked on – and as we went further away from where we started, the stiles got higher and the gates narrower. IMG_3199Soon there was nothing in sight and then – no phone signal! We looked at the map on hand and it made no sense. Where were we going? The footpath – what footpath?!?!?! There were none in sight. And there were also worrying signs – IMG_3202With evidence to show for it.IMG_3203And strewn along the way were feathers and bones – signs of carnage everywhere – crikey!IMG_3220Keep to the footpaths, we remembered. But there were none!  What looked like trodden grass were sheep paths – that I had learnt from my previous wander on farms. They are NOT footpaths.  Do not be misled by sheep!

And not another two-legged creature anywhere – as far as the eye could see.IMG_3171IMG_3253I have to admit slight panic was starting to set in. When we got to the top of a mound we were relieved to get a phone signal. We didn’t know that by then we were close enough to some “civilisation.”  We called The Stow House and basically without spelling out the words, was saying “H-E-L-P!”

What I’ve learnt is that I know more about the countryside than my London friend, Jacqui when on the phone she told the person on the other end – “We’re by a stone wall.”  She hadn’t noticed that the whole of the Yorkshire countryside were lined with them! She had also thought a barn was a farmhouse! LOL!

Anyway, to cut a long story short and because we had been walking in the right direction, we finally spotted a structure in the distance that I determined looked like a farmhouse. So we made an executive decision to head that way but first we had to cross a stream! IMG_3229But the way of the house was not just a grassy walk – there were more stone walls – and the stiles were becoming more obscure – like the one we had to climb over – IMG_3308not to mention having to carry the dogs. IMG_3232We eventually stumbled onto the farm and heard the radio going. Yes! some form of human existence. It was just like the movies when the characters have walked in desolation till they stumbled upon a house.  At first they are relieved to find “shelter” but soon wonder about the people living in such a “desolate” place. We looked through the windows – it looked inhabited but not a soul in sight.  We banged on the door and shouted – “Hello! Anybody home?”

A head peeked out from the upstairs window – and reassured us we’re not the only ones who get lost. It happens often, we were told. Phew! Thank goodness the local folks were really helpful.

How do we get into town?  Which way do we go?

Just follow the road.

I looked hard.

Road? What road? And please don’t tell me it’s the footpath!

The road right there by the gate?

That’s not a road – it’s a dirt track! IMG_3249How far is it to West Witton? One mile and you can’t miss it. We’ve only been walking for three hours by then. So what is another mile? A LOT!!!! IMG_3251We were wondering if we should play damsels in distress and he could drive us to town – alas not. Helpful, but not that helpful!

We trudged on – and of course we missed the exit to the village and had to retrace our steps! We finally arrived in town but couldn’t remember if it was right or left to the Wensleydale Heifer, till Sarah from our hotel waved at us.  She rightly thought we deserved a glass of champagne – for our “adventure.”IMG_3265The champagne helped and put us in a happy mood again!

Will we go back again? Yes, definitely but maybe with someone who can read footpaths or have a driver.IMG_3269I did promise Darcy a long walk for her birthday and we clocked in 11.7km. A promise is a promise, Miss D.

So that was our “walk” in the Dales.

Aside from that, Jacqui said she usually likes to sleep with her window open but the waft of manure that came through the window was too “foreign.” LOL!

So I think small doses of the countryside is fabulous. It keeps the romance going. Living in the countryside on a daily basis, probably a bit of a stretch for us city girls.


  1. Jill Keiser

    Up to the appearance of the rabbit everything seemed wonderful. The rest of the day sounded pretty miserable– except for the champaign!

  2. Alison Mullett

    I’m sure Darcy & George loved it – but I’m much in the same mind as you. I’m a townie at heart. I enjoy being close to a city, but living in a rural setting. I get to enjoy the best of both.

  3. Liz

    I’m with you May, unless I’m within a kilometre of retail therapy I suffer from withdrawal!

  4. Rita and Gracie

    Oh May,I just read your adventure out to my husband he said “that’s really funny”but not in a patronising way. Your future is secure,your retirement sorted. I see a series of “adventure” books and a life time supply of goodies from Biscuiteer for your furbabies.LOl Thank you for a lovely start to the day.

  5. Neyra

    You have the best fun! What an adventure!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.