I HAD reason to go to Lancashire this week. The outward journey was pleasant enough - Hardraw, the Moorcock, Sedbergh and the M6. Sun shining. Tunes blaring. Lovely.

I came back through Ingleton. The sun was still shining until I got on to the tops when a mixture of dark clouds and fog blocked the sunlight. Incidentally fog is apparently just a type of cloud that touches the ground. For those of us occasionally accused of having our head in the white stuff this is quite comforting.

Anyway, it was very dark on the hills and then as I started to come past the Station Inn I saw a pale urine stain of a scar emerge through the gloom on the fell in front of me.

I thought "what on earth is that" then I remembered that it would be the road built for the loggers' lorries at Gearstones. I always get letters when I mention the subject. "We had no choice Joe" or "get your facts right Joe" so I'll move on. One job though park people. You had one job.

I fancy a tangent. Place names in the Dales are the best.

Foul Gutter. Pretty amusing. Cuddy Gill. Funny sounding. Battywife Beck. Superb. What on earth happened on that moor that prompted a stream to be called Battywife Beck? I fear it may have been something tragic.

"What happened to your insane wife Bob?" says one farmer,

"She downed up at that stream which doesn't yet have a name," replies his friend.

"Hmm, that's very sad Bob. Let's name that watercourse after your wife."

Back to the journey. It's dark and gloomy. Lots of trees have been felled in the Widdale area, meaning the place looks like a Tolkien scene. Who has killed all the Ents? We must march on Mordor immediately.

Surprisingly, the BT phone box is still standing. It was fire bombed ten years ago but it's still there. I wanted to stop to see if it was still working but I was worried about orcs.

Down the hill towards Hawes the sun reappeared through the clouds/fog and the Dales were bathed in amazing light - the kind that makes you wish you were an artist; a photographer, a poet, a painter - anyone with the talent to capture the natural beauty. I'm not and I'm sad about that.