Swaledale is probably the most grand, yet rugged of the Yorkshire Dales. I love the villages, particularly Muker and Keld. I spent almost a week there last Summer, just myself and my faithful dog. Swaledale is particularly well known for its hay meadows and long fields with beautiful stone barns. Like most of the Dales, you're rarely far from water. The weather is unpredictable even by North Yorkshire standards: racing clouds and furious bursts of driving rain are often followed by bright sunshine, which makes shadows of clouds racing across the moors.
Looking down towards Muker, Swaledale
To stand high up on the sweeping moors, the only sound the wind and a lonely curlew. Below, Shadows race across moors and long fields, as clouds tumble across vast skies. In the distance, nestled at the bottom of the dale, where a river wends its way, sits a village. Warm coloured stone, scattered chimney pots, a church and not much else. To walk around that church, to see the testimonies to the lives that made this place, their beliefs laid bare. Yet, for me, a better testament lies outside the stone walls of the church. To walk across the fields, along the ancient paths, through meadows, real meadows. The high running dry stones, silent and empty barns: a way of life so much richer than today's. I envy those people. The land has strong bones, like those who farmed it. They could face you in a meadow in spring, look you in the eye and say "I made this. Me and mine". This is no small achievement.
You can see more Muker and Swaledale images here: