Tuesday, 26 October 2010

ABC Wednesday - Oxen Fell

Taking the road from the Lake District village of Coniston many cars pass this place as they travel to Ambleside. They may stop at the Yew Tree Tarn, admire the still water and see the trees and low fell around it and be unaware, as they drive on, what is just a short walk away up a farm track at High Oxen Fell, 
outstanding views of the Langdale Pikes and England's highest mountain, Scarfell in the distance. High Oxen Fell is a place of woods, dry stone walls
old stone barns
and farms like the 17th Century High Oxenfell Farm, once owned by Beatrix Potter
and left in her will, when she died in the winter of 1943, to the National Trust, along with another 14 farms and cottages plus 4000 acres to ensure the preservation of the landscape. Her friend Canon Rawnsley was one of the founders of the National Trust, set up to protect and preserve land and buildings of beauty or history. She was rather ambivalent about the people running the National Trust and said "There are I fear a number of foolish people in the National Trust. The difference between them is the Trust will continue".  She was of course right.
High Oxenfell Farm is on high fell but surrounded by the hills and like most fell farms today has diversified into other areas and here at the back on the right is the holiday cottage.  How wonderful to wake up in the morning to those views walk by quiet
babbling brooks, and they are babbling for all they are worth at the moment. We have had some torrential rain recently.  But the rough track
to the scattering of cottages and farms on Oxen Fell drains nicely no problem for this dog walker who had just turned from the sign post with child settled cosily in the backpack.

But enough of this gentle amble or perhaps  I could call it odyssey, for it is nearly Halloween and the track up to the farm is reputed to be haunted by the Oxen Fell-dobby (ghost).  The story goes that many years ago a farmers daughter Betty Briggs lived west of here at Tilberthwaite and went to a dance near Ambleside with her beau Jack Slipe. But at the dance Betty flirted with a handsome stranger and Jack found himself alone. Betty's new admirer walked her home but after leaving her door he was never seen again.  Did he meet with an unexpected accident.?  Jack Slipe began to act strangely and died, it is said. of remorse and guilt for his crime of passion.  And the sound of the desperate struggle is still heard along the lane......WOOOOhhh

Which is what I said to this rather laid back sheep on Oxen Fell, well actually more an of an uoo,
it had looked at me and then gone back to nibbling the grass, but at that sound looked up for its picture, although it looks more hopeful that I might have something to eat.  This is a Blackface sheep (I think, haven't run this identity past my farming friend) a sheep of the uplands, but Beatrix Potter was something of an expert in an other upland sheep, the local Herdwick, and won many prices for them.

ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z, now past the halfway mark of this round, more of the letter O here.


Sylvia K said...

What a fun, intriguing and interesting post for the O Day! I love the history and the background! And what a lovely place it is! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy the rest of your week!


Kay L. Davies said...

A fascinating story about Beatrix Potter and the area in which she lived. It certainly looks like beautiful country. And the sheep rewarded you with what I assume is a sheepish version of a smirk for your final photo.

Kay, Alberta

Luvvie said...

Absolutely stunning views....like a tapestry really - gorgeous stuff....thanks for posting this.

Tumblewords: said...

A wonderfully fascinating post and photos. Ms. Potter's work is exquisite and your photos are incredibly fine.

Anonymous said...

I love your pictures but I like the way you share the story with us more. I learn about Beatrix Potter now.

Hop from ABCW and follow you
Happy Wednesday

Roger Owen Green said...

very interesting history, and beautiful too
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Amy said...

You captured such beauty - loved seeing England's highest mountain, Scarfell, too! The ghost story was wonderfully told - thank you!

Dani said...

Oh oh awesome post. Great photos.

Misfit in Paradise said...

Wonderful photos and information. A very soothing post. Thank you for sharing.

Donna - ABC Wednesday

Paula Scott said...

Wow-an amazing post! Again, I had no idea of the land that Beatrix Potter loved so much. I can see how it is inspirational in so many ways. Thanks!!

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Beautiful scenery. Would love to amble in the Lake Country. Without getting wet, that is. Thanks for this inspirational post.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I enjoyed this very much! What bucolic surroundings and interesting tid-bits about Beatrix Potter.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful country and interesting narration about the place.

Inger-M said...

What a lovely post both in pictures and words about a countryside that you obviously care about. That first picture is stunning!