Scargill House is the base for a Christian movement set in the spectacular landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. Here the international community, representing many Christian traditions is committed to a common rule of life and service. They provide a Christian holiday, conference and retreat centre, inviting Christians from all traditions ( and people who are not Christian) to come and spend time alongside our resident community. Their emphasis is on prayer and hospitality as well as refreshing and equipping churches and individuals. Some times there are quiet times, but they also have lots of laughter, fun, creativity and really good food.
I spent a few days there leading a group as we explored what the Bible says about creation care as well as going out and enjoying God's creation in that lovely part of Yorkshire
Tuesday. We discovered what the Bible says about " Why Care for Creation?" and then had a walk round the estate lead by Hugh Firman. We looked at how the management was changing in order to preserve some of the meadows and noticed field woodrush, blue moorgrass, water avens and bloody cranesbill. There are three levels on the estate and as we passed the "scar" that identifies the "gill" we saw a plant that puzzled us for a while. A referral to both "Stace" and "Rose" suggested it was Alpine pennycress.
Wednesday. we had an early start to take advantage of the fine morning. I filled the bird feeders which had attracted great spotted woodpeckers and nuthatches and then we set off round the estate. Willow warbler and song thrush were singing at the top of their voices and in competition we had chaffinches and at least one siskin. We walked carefully through the plantation and as we moved a fallen tree-guard a common shrew quickly ran for fresh cover. We advanced up the hill and heard a bird song we initially did not recognise. A scan of the treetops revealed it to be a common redstart. In the evening we did try to find out if there were any bats emerging. Wet conditions and low temperatures made it a fruitless wait, but there is always another time.
Thursday. We explored the various aspects of food; the cost in mileage, and how that affects our carbon footprint; how much is " synthetic" and produced to lowest cost rather that nutritious; then how we could grow our own. We the decide to look for those important workers without who we would not have any food - bugs. Examining different habitats, old branches, piles of leaves, and stone heaps, we discovered a variety of life. Millipedes, centipedes, woodlice, earthworms and a magnificent glow worm larva. We were fortunate to have a visit from Judith Allinson who does a lot of work for Christian Ecology Link. She was my tutor on two of the plant identification courses I attended at Malham Tarn FSC Centre. She pointed out two special things that were new to me. These were bird perch lichen and Craven Door Snail. The picture below is the Glow worm larva.
Meeting new friends and sharing in creation care made the week very worthwhile