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urg day out

A trip to Parcevall Hall, April 7th, 2002

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As with all the best URG days out, this one started in the Tea Room. From the far-flung corners of the Northern Urgle-lands, the valiant few did gather, and wait, and drink tea, and wait, and eat cake and wait, and then, about an hour later, those who live only 20 minutes away came ambling along.
Jane, who has previous experience of the gardens, was our guide and she led us off on a clockwise route, which involved a steep, 1 in 2 climb up through Cuthbert's Wood and the Daffodil Bank. Thankfully, a Graham-shaped chauffeur was available for the infirm, and we eventually congregated in the upper car park, at the entrance to what is known as "Colin's Garden", which was totally dominated by a huge Magnolia; not a big Magnolia, not even a large Magnolia, but a bloody huge, stonking Magnolia that demands ones attention. magnolia
magnolia
Magnolia - Photo by Jill Bell
After recovering from the visual compulsion of the Magnolia, we wandered on through the Garden of Colin (whoever he may be), sauntered amongst the daffodils and Guinea Fowl of the Orchard and edged our way towards the next phase of ascent, the precipitous Cliff Walk (maybe everything's named after men, I mused).
cliff walk If one describes the trackway from the Tea Rooms to the Upper Car park as steep, then this sheep trail that is euphemistically labelled "Cliff Walk" is near-vertical. It follows the sort of trajectory more normally associated with the Space Shuttle. It's a dangerously narrow trail of flattened grass and trampled earth that clings to the edge of a hill as though its life depends upon it; and it probably does. Even the fitter members of our brave band found this climb to be a bit of a challenge, as it skirted its way towards heaven, zig-zagging through daffodils that defy gravity and resist the urge to plunge headlong into the beck below.
Eventually, just as you think your lungs are going to burst and altitude sickness becomes a frightening reality, a bench hoves into view. Never has a bench been such a welcome sight, and the final 25 metres of climb are undertaken with renewed vigour.

The exhusted party collapses onto the rabbit-cropped turf and revels in the glorious views. There's nowhere as scenically-refreshing as the Dales on a bright spring day, under a cerulean sky with a warm breath of wind against your ear. A 5 minute break becomes 10 minutes, and 10 minutes becomes 20, and then you realise your bium's damp and you;ve been sat there, just soaking up the view and feeling glad to be alive, for the best part of an hour!

cliff view
View from The BlessÚd Bench
group
L to R: Mrs Taz-Michael-Graham-Jane-Edward
The Blessed Bench
Mary (back to us) - Her Malcolm (hiding) - Kay
Onwards and, thankfully, not upwards. The rest of the round tour is decidedly downhill and starts with a leisurely meander down through the Silver Wood, a Broad-leaved woodland that still lacked its canopy this early in the year, but was smothered with even more daffodils.
Daffodil Woodland kay and mary
Above: Kay, Mary and Malcolm
descend to the Rock Garden

Opposite: The Silver Wood

The path through the Silver Wood winds its way down to a little lake, nestled into amongst the limestone at the foot of the hill. Jane tells us it is fed from a single stream and is her perfect place, the spot where, in the far distant future, she wants her ashes to be scattered.

A set of stepping stones leads over the overflow stream at the southern end and affords a better view of the Rock Garden

The lake
group by lake At this time of year, the lake was teeming with all sorts of nascent life. Tadpoles, sticklebacks,, insects, and a host of other Nasticreechas.

L to R:
Graham, Michael, Malcolm, Mary,
Kay, Edward, Jane, David Bell,
Pester Girl(Roisin) and Mrs Taz

The back of the lake is bounded by an exposed limestone rock with naturalistic planting dotted throughout.

Sparse alpine planting has been used on the right-hand side of the rockery, adjacent to the path, and this is supplemented with a few dense conifers over to the left. This early in the spring, the main flowers were the drumstick primulas, although there were lots of other plants and flowers just beginning to show.

primulas
rockery conifers rockery

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