The river is a constant presence, curling beside me . . . on my left on the way out, and on my right on my way home.
It is born high up in the black peat bogs of the moor, beyond the farms called Owlers, and it tumbles down the clough through Close Gate and the old packhorse stone bridge, known locally as Easter Gate, after an old woman named Esther, who collected a toll there, and known to the map as Close Gate Bridge.
I am planning an expedition to the bridge this spring, if my legs can manage it. If I do it, be assured the adventure will be chronicled in this blog!
The river enters the flat land of the upper valley at Hey Green, and it is here that we walk every day. I use the verb “walk”, of course, in an extremely loose sense. Ruby walks, and I drive on my magic scooter, that is really designed for the floor of a supermarket.
Here, the river, still young and bubbly, opens out a little, and takes its time to meander or flood, as the mood takes it.
Here, the river’s moods vary wildly, for we are still, after all, in the hills.
For example, yesterday it was cheerful. It was a gurgling blue thread, banked in brown shadow, kinking and wandering down to the lake. Today, in high wind and a white sky, it is a ribbon of ruffled mercury.
Most of the winter, it has been morose and flooded, black in the alder carr, and glinting silver far off.
This morning was one of those times when I pull the peak of my hat down against the wind and Ruby trots beside me with a wild look in her eyes.
It is good to be so close to the weather and the moods of the river, even though, on the wind, from across miles of moor, I can hear the traffic.