The River at the Bottom of the Garden, at the Centre of our Lives

The river which moseys along and chatters beyond the back garden is our frequent companion. Whether we’re walking locally, out and about in Ripon, or having a morning in Masham further north, it’ll be keeping us company.

The River Ure is not a mighty river, wide as the sea, becoming ever slower and more stately as it forges its way to the coast. It’s not a super-highway for commercial barges, carrying manufacturing products to and from industrial heartlands. It’s not even a tourist destination, filled with pleasure craft and kayaks. Not far from us, it turns itself into the River Ouse, and even that doesn’t get to the sea, but instead flows into the River Trent, and then the Humber Estuary. So it has no delusions of grandeur.

But it’s our River Ure, home to water birds, otters, herons. We watch it through the seasons, as it surges to dangerously high levels in winter, then diminishes to an idle trickle in summer, exposing boulders and polished stones as venues for family picnics.

I’ve walked different stretches of it this week. Even under lock-down we’re encouraged to take exercise – alone – within reach of home. Put your (virtual) boots on and (virtually) come with me to visit those parts easily reached on foot within an hour or two. We shan’t meet a soul apart from the odd dog-walker, and we’ll shuffle away from each other, afraid these days to get too close.

Our river has refreshed, invigorated and calmed me. It’s been a real friend this week.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #89: A River Runs Through It.

63 thoughts on “The River at the Bottom of the Garden, at the Centre of our Lives”

  1. We’ve been doing much the same walks too – half wondered if we’d spot you! Hope you are both ok. The countryside looks gorgeous but we’ve noticed the beautiful birdsong too. x

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    1. Perhaps we can swap notes? My favourites so far are the North Stainley-Mickley, WT – NS round, and the NS, WT, Tanfield Lodge allez-retour. Yes, the birdsong is fantastic. The lapwings at the fishing lake near Tanfield Lodge were spectacular. I haven’t forgotten about your book …

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  2. Margaret, this is SO beautiful. Water is always BEST, be it a lake, river or even a pond. Then there are the lucky few with the sea at hand…. The thing we missed most, living in France, was the lack of nearby water. We had two tiny lakes and a tiny river, but not close by. Now we are 20′ on foot from a lovely little lake (it takes 1.5-2h to walk around it) and I can’t wait to do that. Thank you very much for sharing your outing and for those pretty, calming photos. Stay safe and well.

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  3. I don’t know those particular spots, but I’ve come close, Margaret. A lyrical post šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ The River Swale is a favourite of mine. Too late to share now. Have a good, if solitary, weekend!

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    1. Ah, the weather’s turned cold, so I’m largely inside with ‘im Indoors. And there was that Virtual Coffee Morning. Nobody seemed to appreciate the cake. Maybe it was a bit much watching us stuffing our faces. Good old River Swale. I like that one too. And the Cover, and the Wharfe, and … and …

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  4. I feel the river is your friend, Margaret – and happy that you share these beautiful photos and feelings! Stay well, stay outdoors as much as allowed. Enjoy spring!

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  5. Margaret, thank you for the virtual walk along the river. I am certain that it was calming. There is one thing that has been a positive in the past few weeks is that I am out walking and moving purposefully. I currently have a streak of seven days. I am hoping and planning to continue the streak. Despite all of our worry, nature moves on. The seasons changes, the water drains from high to low, and the river eats away at the land. We can take a lesson from nature and allow time to work in our favor. I hope your family is safe and well. Mine is. Peace.

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    1. Good. So far, we too are all fine. I too have been having a decent walk every day. It’s been brilliant as much for my mind as my body. It seems we both have the same idea.

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  6. Thank you, Margaret for the enjoyable walk of the River Ure, love the blue sky. The river flow, reflections, and home to water birds are all captured beautifully.

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    1. How wonderful to talk to you again Kerry! You’ve so often been in my thoughts. Are things going alright? Apart from the fact that they’re not, for any of us. I’ll bet you’re staying Socially Isolated. Good luck!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your walk with us! This really soothed me and it was delightful to see some places I love. We are sitting out this “lockdown” in a townhouse in the D.C. area. We have neighborhood parks to walk, but nothing like the beauty of a stroll along the rivers near Ripon. Thank you for taking me walking with you– it was a treat, even if it was virtual! Take care, and stay safe.

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  8. That’s a lovely river to walk alongside. I used to walk along the river Teme when I lived in Ludlow, not a long walk but a nice one to do every day for some exercise and always something to see. Your photo of the church reminded me of that walk. Now of course I have the sea close by, but no river as such, the Heyl is very small, though the estuary is not!

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  9. What a beautiful and dynamic presence the river must be. I love the perspective on the village and the river in your photo taken from the bridge. What a comforting landscape to walk in and thank you so much for sharing. May you enjoy many such sparkling days this spring.

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    1. It is – a very gentle and pastoral landscape just here, and the view from West Tanfield bridge could grave any chocolate box. I’ll continue to profit from it while I can – thank you. I hope your curfew won’t be too long lasting, Carol.

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      1. Yes it is a gentle landscape and the view is indeed suitable to grace a chocolate box. I hope that the foolish behavior of some does not mean that walks etc might be curtailed. Here they never took that chance in the first place, though it is extremely difficult for people in cramped conditions and extremely poor circumstances to be subjected to being confined at home. However, there are not too many options available when trying to slowdown the infection rate. We shall see what happens once the first 21 days of this lockdown have elapsed.

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    1. So sorry, must be the drugs causing brain freeze. I thought the Ure was the only river in Wensleydale, obviously been away too long and July’s trip with the chums has been cancelled

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      1. Not at all. You are partly right in that bits of the Ure are in Wensleydale. But poor old us – we’re not in a named dale at all! Yes, sadly we all have cancelled trips under our belts – in Malcolm’ case, his 80th birthday jolly.

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  10. Thanks for taking me along on your walk along the river, Margaret. Some of the photos look not too dissimilar to a Danish ƅ but a little wider! I liked this, “So it has no delusions of grandeur,” gave me a chuckle.

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      1. Oh, AGES ago, when my now 42 year old son was 5. At Legoland, he and his sister sent each other messages via that state-of-the-art technology, the fax machine!

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      2. Hehe! What lovely memories, Margaret. I was at Legoland DK, in 2004, the first time I was in Denmark and I think the fax machine was redundant then, as I didn’t see it. I did however, see the boats sailing around the miniature lego village. I think they are there permanently. Kids today don’t seem to be into lego products, do they? Technological devices ruined that.

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      3. My four year old grandson loves Lego and with help makes amazing structures. His dad (the former fax user) sent a picture of a space rocket yesterday. So there’s hope …

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  11. Gorgeous collection of photographs. We were lucky with the weather last week weren’t we? The still lowish sun on the water is making for some evocative shots. My favourite here is ‘Walking away from Tanfield’ although I am always a sucker for a ‘heron’ pic.

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