Dales lessons, daft days, worlds apart

Dales austwick1I was lucky to have attended a school where outdoor activities were considered important. Many of us took part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme and learned about being prepared for venturing in to the Dales and on to the fells. Unfortunately, most education authorities won’t/can’t pay for such valuable lessons any more. Last week the Cave Rescue Organisation, based in Clapham, had to search for two men aged 19 and 25 who were attempting the Three Peaks challenge. They had set off on the 24-mile trek up three of Yorkshire’s highest mountains without adequate waterproofs, food, drink or map and compass and had got lost. What amazes me is the fact they were part of a fundraising event. I’m not one of the nanny-state brigade, but surely the organisers should have shown some responsibility and told any inexperienced, inadequately-equipped people that they couldn’t take part? The CRO took around two-and-a-half-hours to track them down. Both suffered nothing more than tiredness and sunburn but it could have been far worse, and we should be thankful the CRO volunteers didn’t miss out on attending a more serious accident elsewhere.

Dales FollyThe Folly in Settle, which as mentioned in previous blogs is a favourite building of mine, comes under the spotlight tomorrow night (Monday 20th June). There are big plans for the town’s only Grade 1 listed building, and a drop-in session is being organised (3pm-8pm) so that local people can see what’s planned and also have their own ideas heard. http://www.ncbpt.org.uk/folly/

Dales train2

I’ve been busy this week with some freelance work so haven’t been able to get out in the Dales as much as I would have liked. At this time last year I could find an excuse to unshackle myself from the computer by popping out to photograph one of the regular steam trains which pass nearby. Work on repairing the landslip on the Settle-Carlisle line near Appleby means the specials are not running this summer (note – the passenger service is still running between Leeds and Carlisle – see http://www.settle-carlisle.co.uk/).

Dales fellsman0615

An ancient Dales world

After heavy rain in the Dales I’ll often pop over to Scaleber Force, above Settle, to witness what dramatic influence the downpour has had on the waterfalls. This week I thought I’d visit during a dry spell and was surprised at the difference in atmosphere. The busy, noisy chaos of a flooded dell changed to an eerie, dank, primeval scene. For once I could hear birds in the dense greenery; a gentle ‘plop’ of water in a dark corner echoed across stone platforms normally hidden from view by raging water. Instead of staring at foaming white I gazed around lush and verdant vegetation, broken branches and uprooted tree trunks, and peered into dark recesses which I’d not spotted before. A new world to me, but as old as time.

Dales scaleber

Dales scaleber2

When you’re incapable of yomping over great hills and in need of short, flatish strolls, then the paths and tracks around Austwick and its beck are an ideal place to wander. The bare limestone escarpment of Moughton (top pic in blog) and the intriguing gritstone-erratics scattered across the moor above the village provide fine backdrops. The views from the Feizor road to Settle were good that day, too … Smearsett Scar and Ingleborough both looking stunning.

Dales smearsett

Dales feizor

As I’ve slowed down in life I’ve become more aware of benches. I never realised how useful they were… for resting, contemplating, watching life go by, taking stock and admiring the Dales scenery from. They’re also fine foregrounds or features for photos. Besides the one near Austwick above, these two caught my eye on a local stroll around Langcliffe this week.

Dales bench1

Dales bench2

A twisted world

My childhood home was in murdered MP Jo Cox’s Batley & Spen constituency where my parents lived all their lives. My early years in that multi-cultural society, where thousands of immigrant families headed to work in the mills (and were paid a pittance by the millowners), laid the foundation for me to respect other cultures and beliefs. Other people with a closed mind, and those with more hatred in their souls, were not so tolerant and some became xenophobes and racists. Unfortunately, intolerance seems to be dominating today’s human world. More caring, thoughtful MPs like Jo Cox – people who fight against social injustice and greed – are rapidly needed, and self-centred, short-sighted bigots need to shake their heads and realise that their ways cannot exist in a civilised society.

My brief outings up and down Ribblesdale this week have been worthwhile – here’s a selection of scenes I’ve captured…

Dales limelane
Track near Langcliffe, Ribblesdale
Dales footpyg
Forget France – Horton-in-Ribblesdale is the place for footie
Dales flowers
Floral display, Langcliffe
Dales meadow
Dales meadow near Settle
Dales straight
Not many straight lines in the Dales – between Langcliffe and Stainforth
Dales cotton
No wonder our ancestors believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden – I think it’s bog cotton
Dales pond1
Two reflective scenes on the local pond

greenery

Old world values

Were she still alive my mum would have been 100 yesterday. I often wonder what she’d have thought of today’s world. I know she would have been bemused at seeing folk walking down the street grasping a plastic cup of coffee in one hand and holding a phone to an ear with the other hand. In her day she would have called to friends across the street inviting them to pop round for a cuppa and a chinwag – much more friendly and intimate.

I was going to end with a referendum rant, but like the politicians I’ve called a halt to campaigning. Instead here’s a beautiful Dales scene to lighten your week…

pygselside

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