It’s funny how a place can feel like home even when you’ve never lived there. For me that place is Frostrow Fell in northern England. My parents live there and their home is situated where the arable land gives way to the rough moorland of the open common. People have lived in the footprint of the house for at least one thousand years — likely since the time when the Vikings came. They weren’t all marauders who dragged their ill-gotten gains back across the sea– some stayed and settled and made a new life. Some of them chose this place. And I can see why.
It’s aptly named Frostrow –there are a few weeks each year in the depths of winter when the sun barely crests the hills behind leaving a deep frost pocket behind. But on a sunny day — winter or summer — there is no place like it. The view across the valley to the Howgill Fells is mesmerizing. I like to imagine that it really hasn’t changed much in generations. Although the landscape has been deeply shaped by people for thousands of years it feels natural. It shows me that with care we can live with the landscape. The people who have made their home here for generations are as much a part of the landscape as the trees and rivers and moorland. Their careful husbandry of the land maintains its natural beauty — now recognized as part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
It’s a place that feels open and free. I see that now in the way my children react when they visit their grandparents. They exchange sidewalks for wide open spaces, parks for fields where they play “wild football.”, the water tray for becks they wade and splash in, and the local “little farm” for a landscape dotted with sheep. It’s a place I love.