Saturday, 5 January 2019

Reaching a Milestone

I've never understood why so many people like travelling  by car. You need to pay so much attention to the road ahead that you miss anything of interest along the way. Even if you do see something interesting, by the time you've found somewhere to stop safely you are so far away that you can't be bothered to get out ad walk back to have a closer look.

You see so much more from the bus, but even if you can get off nearby you're then faced with a potentially long wait for the next bus to come along and rescue you after your curiosity has been satisfied. Cycling is the way to do it and over the years I've noticed and been able to investigate so many things on the roadside that I could never have done travelling any other way.

Take milestones. The need for them largely disappeared with the coming of motorised transport and few, if any, new ones have been erected since. Distances have even disappeared from signposts now that its no longer necessary for travellers to calculate whether they have the time - or the energy - to reach their destinations safely.

But many of the old milestones are still there and over the years I've taken a fair few photos of them. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and with varying degrees of information for the traveller. Take the two I found on a bike ride during a few days away in the West Riding of Yorkshire near Sedbergh over New Year.

Quite a lot of information on this. It identifies the road (Sedbergh & Kirkby Stephen) as well as the location (Cautley) plus, of course, the distances to (and from) each end of the road. Unusually, the lettering is picked out in red rather than black, although whether this is original or a modern incarnation I don't know.

The other, which I found on the road from Sedbergh to Dent is minimalist in the extreme and one of a series that stretch at least as far as Dent. The "1" obviously means "one mile" whereas "S" must stand for "Sedbergh"  Unlike the first example no distance to the other end of the road is shown. Perhaps the village of Dent - about 7 miles further on - wasn't considered significant enough to warrant people being told how far away it was.  Yorkshiremen are notorious for not wanting to incur unnescessary expenditure but whoever made these surely couldn't have pared costs any further!

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