We set off after lunch, having both done some work before leaving, and had a smooth and uneventful drive up to Lancashire. On a good day the motorway route is efficient, albeit rather boring.
After just over three hours in the car we were in need of some fresh air and exercise, so stopped at Birk Bank, on the edge of the Forest of Bowland. We've visited here twice before, but still managed to find an new route which took us up through narrow heathery paths to the top of the hill, where we had wonderful views of the low sun over theshallow hills decending into the Lune valley, and some rather smart penumbral rays over Morecombe Bay (see extras). The only downside was getting very wet legs as it had clearly rained quite heavily not that long before we arrived.
On our way down off the moor we passed through this oak wood, full of gnarled trees, dwarfed by the poor soils and extreme climate. Tolkein based his description of Middle Earth on the landscape of the Forest of Bowland, and on this stretch of the walk it was quite possible to believe that there might be elves lurking among the trees.
We arrived at the Fenwick just after six and found it surprisingly busy - there was a gathering of young farmers (very noisy and a bit obnoxious) as well as quite a few folk enjoying a Sunday roast. When we went down to dinner the head waiter remembered us from last year, and we had an impeccable meal with very attentive service. Just what we needed before a hard day's work tomorrow.