Sunday, May 29, 2011

My heart belongs in...

Yorkshire! I know I need to do a more detailed post about our fabulous UK trip that we took a couple of weeks ago, but with 494 photos to sift through, I haven't had the blogging stamina.

But I will say the absolute best part of our trip was hiking the moors in West Yorkshire, near the Brontes' home village of Haworth. Even JB says it was his favorite part of the trip.

Probably because it looked like this:

And as we walked our conversations sounded like this:
Me: This is so awesome!
JB: I know!
Me: It's so desolate!
JB: Yeah!
Me: But beautiful!
JB: Yeah!
Me: This is so awesome!
JB: Babe, if you keep stopping to take photos, we'll never get there.

And there, specifically, was the ruin of a stone farmhouse called Top Withens, sitting all by itself on the side of a hill. Local lore says its location was the inspiration for the house of Wuthering Heights, in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

The roof has caved in, grass grows in the rooms, and the earth has built up over time so that there are some windows that are just a few inches off the ground. It's lonely and atmospheric up there - just perfect. How could it not be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights?

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The moors are in fact beautiful and desolate, with grasses of every shade - dark red, black, bright green, gold. The weather the day we were there was chilly, overcast and windy. I couldn't have ordered a more Bronte-ish day.

The hike was supposed to be about a mile to the house. We were in completely inappropriate clothing (I was in a thin trench, scarf, jeans and Chuck Taylors; JB was in jeans and a ski jacket). I think we thought - a mile? Psh. No problem. We saw the abandoned house long before we realized that was where we were headed - it was a steep, windy climb up to Top Withens. Definitely more than a mile.

The tree in the far distance in this next pic, next to what looks like a square rock outcropping, is where Top Withens is. This pic was taken after we walked about a mile or so; the ruin looks deceptively near but the trail winds down the hill (you can't tell in this pic) and back up. For forever.

Along the way I even talked JB into taking a few pics of me...

There were a few other hikers once we got there (appropriately dressed in anoraks and boots) as well as a scruffy gray-black dog that looked exactly like Pilot would look - and I know I'm mixing Bronte novels but that's OK.

It was sprinkling a little, but stopped after a while. We spent about 20 minutes exploring...

(the only part with a roof overhead - it was way darker in there than this picture looks)

 (the inside of the house, which you really can't access unless you crawl in through this former window; see the top of the doorway ahead?)

...and then - full of adventurous spirit, decided to consult the sign...

...and go to the Bronte Falls. So we headed down the hill in a different direction than the way we'd come...

See that stand of trees in the very far distance? That was still approximately 1/2 mile from our car. So anyway, after walking a while, it started raining. Which was OK until it...didn't stop. JB's ski jacket was water proof, but my trench coat was "water resistant" (thanks, Target) so I got damp and the back of my legs were soon soaked. Being the gallant guy he is, JB offered me his coat but I didn't want him wet, too.

On the moors there's nowhere to take cover, so we just had to keep trudging along. I pulled my scarf over my head like a Russian peasant. It helped, surprisingly well.

We used stepping-stones to get across a tiny creek, and climbed a few wooden ladders to get over fences.

At one point near the end, the trail completely ended at a sheep pasture. We climbed another ladder and just set out across the pasture (stepping carefully) and nodding politely at the sheep, who stared at us and skittered away if we got too close. JB told me later that he'd been a little concerned about being charged by a ram or something, but we never saw a ram - just lots of mommy and baby sheep!

I don't have many pictures from this part of the journey because we were wet and cold and tired by that point. We even skirted past the falls to get to the car sooner.

When we finally got in sight of the car, we celebrated wearily...

...and when we reached the car and made sure no one was looking, we changed clothes! And made our merry way toward the Lake District.

More pics later, I promise.


Cerrissa said...

Love it!!!!!!!!!!!

J said...

I'm SO jealous! It looks like a perfect day out on the moors, weather and all. The Bronte sisters would be proud :) I wish I'd had Kate leave me an itinerary; I keep wondering where they are and what they're doing! Eat your Wheaties, friend, because I want to see more pictures :)


PS--The Russian peasant look works for you. Possible bad hair day option, maybe??