On Sunday 8th June I awoke to a noisy dawn chorus at 5am. I noticed a huge bank of cloud to the south moving slowly north, the north itself was cloudless. To head north was a no-brainer, but a trip to the legendary Barbondale was a bit of a gamble. I had heard plenty about this place, but would it live up to expectations?
Just after the village of Barbon near Kirkby Lonsdale, I disturbed a Tawny Owl perched on a dry stone wall, a good omen I thought. From there I descended into paradise: a perfectly formed little valley, isolated and gorgeous. I parked the car just before a stone bridge and, as soon as I opened the door, the first sound I heard was that of a cuckoo. Moments later, the same bird shot right across the valley.