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The Dales Country is often swathed in mist and rain is falling, but when the sun shines it is spectacular. I recall watching mother and son tending sheep near the skyline, at an elevation of 1,000 ft above sea level, where I felt I could see for ever. The vegetation had the orangy hue of mid-winter. The two human figures went through a thousand-year-old routine of tending to sheep and did not seem to feel the cold which empurpled my hands.

In contrast is the remembrance of meeting a farmer who, by himself (since the death of his wife many years before) had run a hill farm and kept to the old way of life, to the extent of not putting artificial fertilisers on the meadows, which (at the time of my visit) were not just grass but a herby mix, yellowed by buttercups. His natural sense of hospitality led him to offer me a cup of tea. It turned out to be a substantial meal, with apologies that "there's nowt warm".

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