Day 24 – Stone the Crows

Haworth to Skipton

I had just finished my pint at the Black Bull last night and was walking through Haworth, by the old church, when I saw the most amazing sight. Something I’ve never seen before. Hundreds, maybe thousands of crows swarmed across the sky, swooping low over the houses and making a weird screeching noise. They circled the church tower and then made a low fly past over the Black Bull and then over my guest house opposite. This display continued for ten minutes before they all settled back into the large oak trees by the graveyard. The locals seemed quite used to it but the noise and display was spectacular. Wouldn’t you have thought they’d have made something out of it?

It was a simply glorious morning and I felt on top of the country. Whatever the Pennine Way may offer as its highlights, there can be nothing better than walking on the moors. The heather is in flower, little birds suddenly fly out of its cover and there is a wild howling wind which was turned down to minimum to be atmospheric without chilling. I couldn’t believe the beauty of the place and sat down by an old shepherd’s hut to soak it up with my cup of coffee and KitKat. Stanbury Moor, Oakworth Moor, Keighley Moor, Emmott Moor, Hawshaw Moor, Glusburn Moor, Carleton Moor, Cononley Moor, Elslack Moor and Thornton Moor. I did them all today.

You can just imagine the Bronte sisters going out for a walk and then rushing home with ideas for the next chapter.

One of my favourite paintings is Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth and the moors made me think of it this morning. The landscape is different and similar at the same time. That’s because it’s about the landscape inside your mind and that determines what you see. There is a young lady lying on the grass looking into the distance at some buildings. And then you notice something strange… I think every American knows this picture but I don’t think it’s widely known outside America.

I met two walkers today. First was James (photo above) who has a week off work and is stomping Heathcliff style across the moors. Then Hugh, yet another John o’ Groats to Lands End camping young man. He is racing to catch up with Harriet so I didn’t delay him too long.

I arrived at the superb Hare & Hounds in Lothersdale at lunchtime and ordered the veggie burger with a pint. While I was inside enjoying lunch and the pub atmosphere, outside all the scenery people were hard at work preparing the stage for Act 2. I emerged into a different world. The rain was lashing down and all the beautiful colours had faded. Hopefully the sun will return but I have a great memory of seeing these moors at their best.

I slipped the gaiters on. The sheep didn’t care. They were sheltering under the trees. I walked the final 5Km to the little church of St Mary the Virgin in Thornton-in-Craven and just had time to inspect some Commonwealth war graves before the Contours taxi arrived to rush me into Skipton and my B&B

The normal way to cross a dry stone wall

No fancy signs up on the moors

I had such a happy morning on the moors

Just in case…

11 comments on “Day 24 – Stone the Crows

  1. I suppose you had to ‘borrow’ £5 from the rescue box to pay for the full price lager, now the Rishi subsidy has ended.

  2. a6bi2i

    I think they were starlings. It was a murmuration – common in autumn. Lovely photos. xx

    • You must be right, Mary. I asked some locals. One said they were ravens which I doubted. The owner of my guest house said crows. They were definitely birds. I wish I had taken a photo.

      • a6bi2i

        Apologies. I gather crows can also ‘murmurate’ (I don’t think that’s a verb), but not so frequently as starlings. How big were they?

      • I’m afraid we’ll not solve this one. They were quite big, the man said they were crows and I’ve written the headline so we’d better settle on crows. I’ll try to be more observant next time but I was overwhelmed

  3. I wish you had taken a picture too. I believe they could have been crows which are really loud when they get together. We have these inexplicable gatherings of crows in the hundreds in Florida that make a heck of a commotion but then just as mysteriously fly off. Did they remain roosted for the night in the cemetery?

    • Hi Rebecca, I wish I knew something about birds. I gather they stay the night near the cemetery because any late dog walkers will start the display all over again. Super impressive whatever they were.

  4. The moors look so beautiful. No wonder the Brontes were so inspired by the scenery and sounds. Amazing.

  5. Celia and David

    Understandably you missed your photo opportunity when you saw the gobsmacking bird display overhead. Sounds amazing. I understand that ravens are only found in the Tower of London. You have really captured the essence of the moors with your photos of the landscapes, sheep, stone walls and lovely traditional pubs. Well done Tim up north!

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