On a regular walk by the Ribble earlier this week I wondered what was different. I had a Bo Peep moment and realised that the sheep had gone – carted off to the abattoir no doubt. Just a few lucky ones remained in a distant field. I’ll miss them. Looking back at some of my photos of the lambs in those same fields earlier in the year, and thinking about their short lives, leaves me quite saddened. I’d be a useless farmer.
From when I edited The Countryman magazine I recalled an article on the different styles of gates to be found around the British countryside – there are dozens of styles, many with their own names and peculiar to their region. I’ve made a note to search through my collection of photos looking for the various styles that I’ve captured while wandering through the Dales… it’s certainly a job for the long winter nights, but for starters I took this shot of an old gate on the back road between Langcliffe and Settle this week. Is there a term for ‘gate collectors’?
I’ve given up my car for a few weeks and left it, probably unwisely, in the hands of my son. It’ll be interesting to see how I go on without wheels. On Saturday I caught the train to Horton and called in at the village show. I’m sure this is the sheep that features on the Yorkshire Dales National Park signs.
Back in Settle it was cracking the flags… the Flag Crackers of Craven were performing along with other traditional folk dancers (although one little girl wasn’t too keen on the loud drumming). With a free folk festival also on over the weekend this little town sure is a vibrant place to live.
Here the 4th emergency service arrives in the nick of time to replenish stocks at the Lion.
Before I handed over the car keys I took a trip over to the enigmatic town of Holmfirth to visit artist Ashley Jackson and his lovely family. We’re not related – at least I don’t think so, although Granddad Jackson did have a bike. I’ve long admired Ashley’s work, even before I signed him up to produce a series of pieces for Dalesman magazine. He’s currently celebrating 60 years as an artist and also his 75th birthday, and is putting on an exhibition of his work called Passing Storms and Spiritual Skies at his Holmfirth gallery. You may have viewed his work on screens or in magazines but to see his original works full size, close-up, is a totally different and enlightening experience. No one captures Yorkshire’s moorland moods and atmosphere so intimately. The exhibition closes Sep 12 – for gallery opening times visit www.ashley-jackson.co.uk
On Thursday, despite the grey cloud cover I had a very pleasant walk with friends, taking in the Hoffman Kiln at Langcliffe, up to Catrigg Force, Winskill and Victoria Cave above Settle. I’ve yet to get a cracking photo of these spectacular falls but I always enjoy my visits – and there was plenty of water in the beck to make this trip worthwhile. I also got this nice shot of farm buildings with Ingleborough in the background, which I felt would look good in black and white.
Another day I wandered around Settle and saw this yellow ‘beck’. Sad old fool that I am, I still remember a pop song by Christie from 1970 called Yellow River, and I ended up singing the darn thing all the way round the rest of the walk. Finally, I came across these ducks on a pipe, looking as though they were about to start a proper duck race. A couple have not quite got the idea and are facing the wrong way. Quackers.