At the weekend I was in the Lake District with my local rambling club. I had done the reccee for the walk but today we were dropped off the coach a couple of miles outside Bowness which reduced the distance to a more manageable 10.8 miles.
The first half of the walk was undulating with a mixture of field paths, country lanes and some open ground. The stretch alongside the River Gilpin was very pleasant and the sun actually came out.
At Bulman Strands we changed direction to head for the tower of St Catherine’s Church which we could see on the horizon.
The tower which was built in 1620 is all that remains of the old church that served the Parish from 1516 to 1887, when because of structural defects the main body of the church had to be demolished.
Joining a minor road we linked up with the Dales Way.
The Dales Way is a long distance footpath running 81 miles from Ilkley to Bowness on Windermere. Today we were going to do just the last few miles although I have done most of it over the years.
Thinking of Ilkley brought the old Yorkshire folk song to mind.
On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at. Or in standard English – On Ilkley Moor without a hat.
I mentioned it and started to hum the tune. Sonia, who was not familiar with the song said “Sing it to me”. I replied “ What, with my voice. No way”
Mike joined in and sang the first couple of verses.
Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee?
On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at.
Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee.
On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
Tha’s been a cooartin Mary Jane. etc..
The song tells of a lover courting the object of his affections, Mary Jane, on Ilkley Moor without a hat. The singer scolds the lover for his lack of head ware because with the cold winds on Ilkley Moor this will mean his death from exposure.
This will result in his burial, the eating of his corpse by worms, the eating of the worms by ducks and finally the eating of the ducks by the singers.
The song must of course be sung in a broad Yorkshire accent.
Between us we could remember most of the verses and walked on singing happily. It’s a good job no one was walking towards us. They would have thought we were totally mad.
For those of you, that aren’t familiar with the song. here are the other verses.
Tha’s bahn’ to catch thy deeath o’ cowd.
Then us’ll have to bury thee
Then t’worms’ll come an’ eyt thee oop.
Then t’ducks’ come an’ eyt up t’worms.
Then us’ll go an eyt up t’ducks.
Then us’ll all ha’ eaten thee.
That’s wheear we get us ooan back.
Remember to sing it in the Yorkshire dialect.
Back with the walk,we continued along the path. At a farm we had a close encounter with a young bullock who was blocking the path. Davis soon saw it off.
A young couple were coming the other way. Gordon said “It’s OK, we managed to move the bull” The look on the girls face was priceless.
We met more animals but these were friendly alpacas.
The light was beginning to fade but it threw the lake district fells into sharp silhouette. We could then play our favourite game of –name that mountain.
We were back in Bowness with plenty of time for refreshments. We went to the Hole in the Wall, the oldest pub in Bowness, built in 1612. Originally called ‘The New Hall”, it soon became known as “The Hole in the wall” thanks to a gap in the brickwork through which the blacksmith could be served a pint whilst still at work.
Little seems to have changed in the past four centuries. OK, the Blacksmith has gone but the oak beams and gleaming woodwork remain. With no TV and no music it is a fantastic traditional pub. A place to enjoy good company and conversation.
Later on the journey down the motorway I wanted to doze. But I could not settle. I had an ear-worm. The song was going round in my head.
On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at.