It’s another soggy Sunday in Ribblesdale. On this day last week I was heading out up the dale in sunshine under a bright blue sky. Viewed from the western flanks, the pastures in the valley bottom looked almost summery. My stroll took me through Little Stainforth – or Knight Stainforth (I’m never sure which title the locals prefer) – where the white-painted old hall always catches my eye. Approached via the minor road from Giggleswick, the building looks impressive lit up by the winter sun.
I often blog about the old barns, churches and farmhouses here in Ribblesdale but there are also many fine larger buildings belonging to ancient families and landowners. In his epic series of books, The Buildings of England, Nikolaus Pevsner picks out my favourite Settle building, The Folly. He describes it in his rather pompous manner as being ‘a large, remarkably ambitious town-house … its details are in many ways capricious and wilful’. Of Langcliffe Hall he states, ‘The outer surround no doubt by the same workmen as the Folly. Very curious, somewhat viscous forms’.
He’s quite rude and dismissive of Stainforth Hall which he says is ‘A somewhat bleak, three-storeyed house of the late c17’. If he’d bothered to investigate a little further he would have found lots more interesting facts which extend the building’s history way back to Norman times. If you want a proper description of the place log in to www.knightstainforth.co.uk (and also visit the splendid new eating place opposite the hall – www.theknightstable.co.uk).
Another favourite old building of mine lies further up the dale above Selside – Lodge Hall, or Ingman’s Lodge, a large farmhouse dated 1687. Unfortunately, this grand old structure is deteriorating, and it is on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ list. As you drive up and down the dale you can see many other beautiful roadside buildings, typical of the Yorkshire dales. But when you step out on foot along the old packhorse tracks even more gems can be seen. I hope to feature further fine Ribblesdale buildings when/if the weather improves.
High value in Ribblesdale
Nowadays I’m not very good with heights. I’m ok on the tops of Yorkshire’s hills, but ask me to go up a long ladder or a swaying tower and I’d soon feel the old legs all-a-wobble. I probably couldn’t skip across Striding Edge like I did in my twenties, that’s for sure. These thoughts came to me this week as I read of the new tower being built in Brighton – well, it’s not fair that southerners have to sully themselves by having to head north to Blackpool is it? The new i360 structure will take people up 450ft for a view along the south coast. It is predicted that ‘passengers’ will pay around £15 a ride and the cost of the construction is already topping £46m. I’ll stick to the local views, thanks. Castleberg Rock in Settle stands around 700ft above sea level, its construction cost nowt and it is free to use – and the panoramas are better than those around Brighton… in my humble opinion, of course.
I tried but failed to grab a twilight picture of a track near Langcliffe this week. I didn’t get the foreground lighting right but it might appeal to some.
No problem with the lighting on my little jaunt over Buttertubs on Monday, but by-hecky-thump it wasn’t half cold. I posted the normal view looking up Swaledale on t’interweb during the week, so here’s one looking t’other way.
Peaks & Scones
This week I received a polite reminder that my subscription to the Friends of the Three Peaks is due. Run in association with the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Friends project undertakes a lot of work in and around Ribblesdale. Three Peaks Ranger, Josh Hull, tells of work carried out over the last few months: ‘This year on the Three Peaks at lot has been done. In major projects we have laid 100m of flags on Whernside, 160m on Ingleborough and re-laid another 250m of sinking flags on Whernside (which have been in for around 20 years!). In other general work, 3 wooden ladder stiles have been replaced with stone steps stiles, installed approximately 15 new cross drains, 100m of subsoiling on Whernside summit and over 1.5km of ditching.’ More details here
I had some good sightings of two of the peaks on Thursday when I followed the Pennine Bridleway from Helwith Bridge to Feizor. A lovely walk in sunshine with great views all round – including Ribblesdale to Penyghent, and over Wharfe village to Norber and Ingleborough. From the brow were far-reaching views over Feizor, Wenningdale and beyond.
Tea & scone at Elaine’s Tearooms was, as always, gorgeous. Call me old fashioned if you must, but how refreshing it is to see smiling, cheerful, helpful staff like those at Elaine’s. Maybe it’s born or bred into country folk to be welcoming. Not long ago I ordered my tea and scone in a well-known outlet on the outskirts of Manchester. I tried to connect with the person serving me but she was obviously carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and couldn’t be bothered with me, the customer paying her wage (and the scone was stale as well).
Setting the tone
Are you are scone as in tone, or a scone as in long, person? The ‘tone’ version was always considered posh where I grew up but then I am a pleb and my working-class background often surfaces. This little ditty was part of my upbringing and you’ll probably only understand it if you had a similar childhood:
We’re down in t’ coyle ‘oyle
Weer t’ muck slarts on t’ winders
We’ve used all us coyle up
And we’re rait down t’ cinders,
But if bum bailiff comes
Ee’ll nivver findus
Cos we’ll be in t’ coyle ‘oyle
Weer t’ muck slarts on t’ winders.