The ‘gate dance’

The ‘gate dance’ is one of the rituals of life in this valley

It’s a delight this morning to serve this lovely observation by neighbour George Welton:

“It was fortunate that my dear neighbour drove up behind me just as I opened the gate at the bottom of the half-mile track up to our fellside home.  The gates are kept closed this time of the year to ensure that expecting ewes stay safely within sight.  Although Spring was making a valiant effort to stave off the bitter winds,  my fingers smarted at the icy chill of the gate fastening, even as my grateful voice was lost in a sudden gust.  His unexpected appearance gave me joy as the chore of the ritual ‘gate dance’ would now be shared. 

The ‘gate dance’ consists of opening the bottom gate, driving through, parking and getting back out to close it.  This needs to be done both top and bottom of the track when either leaving or entering the homestead. An onerous task for one,  but when shared,  the dance almost becomes a pleasure.

Like two artists gliding through a well-choreographed and rehearsed dance with effortless muscle memory and skill,  the performance is executed with a flourish to the rapturous applause of – well no-one really. However, I know that variations of this dance are carried out the length and breadth of this beautiful valley, on farms, smallholdings and homes that populate the high fells of the North Pennines. 

As I sit, coffee in hand, having completed the ‘gate dance,’ which to be honest is one of the few drawbacks of living in such a stunning area, I am rewarded with a front row seat to the daily spectacular performance of another dance: ‘the dance of nature.’  For this display, there’s no costly expensive entrance fee, except for the effort to get to the venue.” 

Thanks Georgie!

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