Along the Pennine Way we shelter from the wind in a grassy hollow below a limekiln where we celebrate Jill’s birthday, for each of us a rich chocolate cake. Above us, moorland of shake hole and swallow hole- a limestone landscape.
An eruption of caterpillars all along the grassy track, moorland of grass and sedge. Who knows what they might be? And badger setts where the creatures have excavated mounds of limestone fragments.
We stop at Appleby, one of Lady Anne Clifford's castles and part of her restoration programme when she came north at the conclusion of the Civil War in the 1650s. Almshouses- of red sandstone, for poor widows, and a lovely chapel. Lady Anne who fought so long to secure her Clifford inheritance: castles at Appleby, Brough, Brougham, Pendragon and Skipton- all urgently in need of restoration by the time she had ownership and funds to finance her building programme. She restored churches too: St Lawrence and St Michael at Appleby and St Mary in Mallerstang. Impossible to imagine her life here, after her time at Wilton House as Countess of Pembroke. But then Wilton after the Civil War was not the seat of high-culture it had been when Mary Sidney was Countess of Pembroke and wrote 'Arcadia.'
Thanks to Jill for sharing her memorable birthday celebration with friends.