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Wings over the Dales

Friday, 20th June 2003, Cumbria and North Yorkshire

sketchbook'You must have dozens of sketches draw from cafés!' says the waitress, 'Do you draw everywhere you go?'

'Well I must have half a dozen sketches now just done from here - we always stop here on our way to the Lake District.'

There's a fly past as I'm sketching this view from the café at Country Harvest near Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales: a large military transport turns above the building and rumbles off low over the countryside.

Swallows fly just above ground level over the pasture.

As we continue on our journey, driving by the foot of Giggleswick Scar an enormous bird of prey appears above the roadside trees and circles over the road, not much higher than the treetops. As we drive beneath it we notice its white head - it's a bald eagle!

I should explain that we were driving past the Dales Falconry Centre at the time, but it was still a magical moment. Bald eagles are not, of course, native to Britain. It bears out the general rule. If you see an eagle you immediately know it's an eagle - this one was like a flying barn door - but if you see a buzzard you're more likely to think 'well, it could be an eagle, perhaps we're not close enough to see it properly'. next page

Richard Bell