18 new Dales photos. There are many reasons why I love the Yorkshire Dales – not just the scenery or way of life, or the architecture of the landscape, its people or history. Nature, too … the Dales weather, the animals, flora and fauna. It’s too easy to rush through life with just a passing acknowledgment to what’s around us. Since retiring I’ve seen the world through fresh eyes, slowing down to a gentler pace so I can properly cherish what Nature has to offer. Early one morning this week I set off in bright sunshine for a walk up to Wharfe and Oxenber Woods, above Austwick. I set off from the Helwith Bridge side so I could capture Penyghent and Ingleborough, Moughton Scar and Norber’s boulder fields. I’d envisaged a glorious carpet of bluebells in the woods but they could only be found in small patches. Instead, I was greeted by primroses, cowslips, early purple orchids and a host of other pretty wild flowers whose names I can never remember. How I wish I had a macro lens to capture their delicate detail. Caught up in the beauty at my feet and birdsong from the trees and bushes, I hadn’t realised the Dales sky had turned from blue to very grey and I had to beat a hasty retreat.
All hail the Dales
I avoided rain that day, unlike during a visit earlier in the week to see the limestone pavement and ancient settlements beneath Ingleborough in Chapel-le-Dale. After taking some shots of the pavement, Ribblehead viaduct and a moody-looking Whernside it dawned on me that the big hill was looking a bit grim because it was about to suffer a heavy hailstorm – and the wretched weather was heading my way… quickly. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not a good idea to sprint (not that I can sprint nowadays anyway) over tufty moorland with camera equipment, so my pace wasn’t sharp enough to avoid the hail stones which pinged my face and other exposed skin all the way back to the car.
Does anyone know how long a Christmas cactus lives? The photo shows a plant I took from my mum’s house when she died 24 years ago – I’m not sure how long she’d looked after it, but it was certainly hanging round her home for a very long time. This one tends to flower around Easter rather than Christmas and seems to thrive on neglect.