A Walk on Barden Fell








The first thing you notice when you step out of the car at Barden Fell is the view. You can see so FAR. We stand with our hands shielding our eyes from the sun and point out landmarks to each other, getting our bearings and deciding what’s the furthest point we can see today.

The second thing you notice is the quiet. No town noises, no electronics, no people. Just us, as far as we can see. We hear a car approach, pass us, and the sound wanes as it travels down the hill and out of our earshot. Just us, and a little voice saying brightly “Think it’s a contrail!” as he points to an aeroplane’s trail in the sky. Blissful quiet: the sound of Meadow Pipits and nothing much else.

We eat our bakery-bought lunch in the car, don hats, and put the baby into the wrap, trying to get her already too small hat to stay on her head. Across the road, over-cautiously and emphasising “stop, look and listen”, and then up, over the ridge to the breathtaking view beyond.

There is a faint lingering scent of the burnt heather, and the bristly black spikes cover most of the moorland. The grass smells divine, hot and drying from the harsh sunshine. It reminds me of my childhood and walking on Beachy Head and the South Downs.

Tiny Tin Bird is tired but is enjoying being out, he stumbles and trips once and requests his daddy to “rescue you” (his pronouns need work but we know what he means) and notes our laughter – he likes to make us laugh and the rest of our walk is punctuated by requests to rescue him: “oh no! I fallen over! Daddy rescue you!”. We know this walk won’t stretch our legs very far, but the view, the air, the blue sky and the sensation of being so high outweigh any distance that we might walk. I muse over how last time we walked up here I was dreaming of carrying my baby girl up here in the moby wrap, and now I am. I hug her close and kiss her hatted head and feel full of love and gratitude. I reach down and rescue the boy from the ground again and sit down, pulling him on to my lap for a hug for all three of us. He wriggles free and follows after his daddy again.

This seems to be the time for bumble bees and several large and fluffy ones lazily buzz around, prompting conversations about how you can’t hold bees because they don’t like it, and you’ll get stung. A Red Admiral butterfly is also declared a non holdable being.

A bird calls out – a curlew! Flying overhead. I hold down the shutter and take a few photos in quick succession. At home I am delighted with the unexpected result. The heather gives way to a grouse, suddenly bursting out and flapping wildly, luring something away from it’s nest.

Walking back again, squinting into the sun, little legs become tired and strong arms scoop him up for a carry. Back at the car, baby needs a feed and then we head off along the road again, choosing to continue in the same direction rather than retrace our journey. A crossroads: left or right? We go right, the shorter route, governed by the sleeping and non sleeping occupants in the back of the car. The fields are full of lambs and the hills are postcard picture perfect. One field is home to an enormous tree, so big that it’s split at the bottom and formed a tunnel big enough for the sheep to pass through.

Then, home. Home to cups of tea and household jobs and to smile at each other, pleased that we’ve made the most of a sunny day.


One thing you should probably know about me is that I take a lot of photos. A LOT of photos. All day. Snap snap snap. The majority are taken with my phone – I finally got an iphone in January and I’m glad I did as it gives me many more opportunities to take photos. I have been making more of an effort to use my dSLR as well, so that I don’t forget how to, and I’ve taken some photos that I’m really pleased with. It takes better quality photos than my iphone camera, but it’s cumbersome and not practical for every moment.

I like to take photos of everything and I find it really satisfying to look back through them and see what we’ve been doing. Things move so quickly at the moment and it’s nice to have a photo diary of things. I’ve been using the Project Life app to make a collage at the end of each day, then I upload it straight to Photobox so I don’t lose it. I’d like to make a photobook at the end of the year. I did Project Life last year using the albums, page protectors and printed photos: it’s amazing to look through but it was costly and time consuming. I’d spend ages trying to get the photos sorted to fit well into the page protectors and then by the time you’ve battled with how slow the Photobox website is, waited for the prints to arrive and then found time to actually get them in the album … well it’s a lot of work. The app is quicker though!

Maybe you think I’m crackers for taking so many photos, and I’m ok with you thinking that. I’m not going to stop though! The photo above is when we’d just registered the birth of Tiny Tin Girl – cutting it quite close to the six week deadline because we kept forgetting. Oops, poor second child.

The weather’s been good enough for drying washing outside but … we seem to be lacking in pegs. Can’t think why …

Oh YES that’s RIGHT, I used them all to make yarn pegs.

I was trying to make a colour combination, just for the sake of feeling vaguely crafty, and TTB came in and took over. That boy.

So instead of going “WAAAH leave my pegs alone you pesky boy!” we made it into a colour matching game.

He lost interest after that and I was able to put them away, I’m sure if I’d gone WAAAAH he would have been interested for a lot longer!

Ah here are some photos from my dSLR. I’m always proud when I get ones that have worked. These are from one of our walks in the woods.

And look! I was really pleased with this photo. You can tell from the tautness of the reins how much he wants to go into the water. Not going to happen!

I like to photograph little things as well, like buying new chalks for the yard. I went for giant chalks this year in the hope that he wouldn’t snap them. Well he can’t snap them but they do break if you drop them on the floor, but never mind. They’re fun and have been well used already.

And you might think, who takes photos of their shoes?! I was given these for Christmas in 2013 by my Grandma, but as my existing pair were still in good working order I kept these in the box. And now, I feel all fancy for having new shoes! I love the colour of them.


Another moment captured: making pizza dough for our evening meal. (Do you call it tea or dinner? I always used to call it tea but seem to have switched to calling it dinner since meeting Andy. And everyone up here in North Yorkshire seems to call it tea!)

Here’s TTB doing a spot of washing up. I wish they did toddler sized rubber gloves! I had to give him just warm rather than hot water and so had to re-wash most of the things anyway but he played in the sink for nearly an hour. What a great activity. It’ll be good when the weather is warmer and he can do water play in the yard again.


Later the same day: waiting at the station to meet Auntie Rachie (that’s my sister Rachel of course.) Dinosaur in hand. “Can you say ‘diplodocus’?” “Diplocus!”

Auntie Rachie is a brilliant auntie, and very good at blowing bubbles as well.

We went for a walk each evening, this one was beautiful. Have I told you how much I love trees?

Rachel wore TTG in the moby wrap one evening.

On Thursday we went to Leeds. Something you should know about TTB is that he loves cars. Thinks that they’re wonderful and can tell you the make of every car we see. We walk along and he’s going “It’s a Ford! That’s a Citroen! There’s a Peugeot! It’s a Nissan! It’s a Fiat! Think it’s a Land Rover! It’s a Hyundai driving along the road! It’s an Audi, got rings on the front!” and he often asks if he can touch them, but you can’t really go about touching other people’s cars. When he saw the food vans at Trinity Kitchen in Leeds, he was so excited. He asked several times throughout his meal whether he could go and see them again and when we did, he asked if he could touch it. If you want to, I told him. He was so happy! And rather awed by being able to touch the van. What a lovely boy.

He was a bit overwhelmed by the size of Leeds and how busy it was. I felt a bit bad for him really, he’s used to our small town and not that amount of people. He did enjoy being right at the top of the Trinity Centre and looking down over the rest of it. It made a good photo to play with the Rhonna Farrer app, too.

There. Lots of photos. It makes me happy. So happy.














Spring this year has been rather on the chilly side, but here and there we’ve had just a handful of days of warm, beautiful weather. Weather that’s made me panic about finding sunhats and suncream and worry about having no summer clothes that fit post baby, but that has been gorgeous and perfect for taking photos and going for walks. Tiny Tin Bird has been requesting an adventure, so last week we got out of the house and did just that.

We walked through town and bought pasties for lunch and then headed off up the hill behind the church. We climbed all the way to the top and then stopped to eat our lunch, and admire the views. You can see so far! Then we climbed over the wall and headed onwards, feeling as though we were escaping the town and were free, free, free. How satisfying it was to let TTB roam on his own without the need to hold is hand or his reins.

Over the next stile, say hello to the lambs and then into the woods. No not that way, let’s go on a bit further. Through the trees, down the slope to the water. Along the water’s edge and over the bridge, stopping to listen to the way it rushes over the rocks. Cajole TTB to walk a bit more, offer bribes of ice cream. Continue walking. Delight in seeing hidden things … a mallard duck making herself a nest on the rocky river edge, completely covered in leaves and only her head and beak visible, the way the clear water trickles down from a muddy bank, making the mud wash away, seeing the gravity defying trees growing over the path, and the crystal clear reflections in the now quiet water.

Onwards: pausing to sit on the tree trunk benches. Encourage TTB to keep walking (as you both know you can’t carry him home), visit the big waterfall and feel awed by the power. Over the bridge, stomping in the mud. See tiny fish fry in the still water beyond the bridge and allow TTB to paddle and wash his muddy boots. See the wild garlic leaves carpeting the banks of the wood in lush green and smell the first whiffs of their garlicky scent, looking forward to their flowers. Down the slope, over the little bridge and through the gate. Ah! Tiny Tin Girl is awake and attempting to climb out of the moby wrap. She’s hungry and angry. No other choice: sit and feed her on the steps of the holiday cottage. Then catch up with Andy and TTB.

We make it as far as the pigs and chickens … look! Chicks! Remind TTB once more of the promised ice cream and he consents to walk further. Back down the hill and into the town, rammed full of bustling people. Battle through the crowds and find an ice cream van. Mmmmmm. Then, finally, home. Three and a half hours of walking, about 4.5km. TTB walked the whole way, what a good boy. He was so tired afterwards! Long baths for Tiny Tin Children and cups of tea for me and Andy.

A wonderful day, an adventure for all of us. Taking the time to see the world through TTB’s eyes and indulge him in the things he wants to stop and do. Just perfect: I will treasure this day and my photos from it.