A mixed bag of Dales weather created photographic allsorts this week. I spent one morning admiring the changing cloud formations as they passed over Ribblesdale. I had a few goes at capturing the steam specials up and down the Settle-Carlisle line (pics at foot of post) – a bit disappointing really. Besides been very late on a couple of occasions, the engine wasn’t giving off much ‘oomph’ coming up the Long Drag from Settle. I tried to get a shot of it passing by the old limeworks at Langcliffe on the return journey from Carlisle but got so carried away taking photos of the Hoffmann kiln (pic below), the train whizzed by before I got to the track – early for a change.
One evening I had a drive over the minor road from Settle to Kirkby Malham, then on to Malham for a walk up to the Cove.
The evening light was strong and the area was sparsely populated apart from some climbers and a few more cheery walkers who prefer Malham after the bulk of tourists have departed this pretty part of the dales. Have you ever noticed just how many notices there are at the entrance to the National Trust fields? I’ve done a montage of just a few of them …
Several years ago I was chatting with Bill Mitchell in Settle town centre when we were interrupted by two elderly ladies – as often happened whenever and wherever you were with Bill. He introduced me to one of them, Edith Carr – well known in these parts. I’d previously read about Edith’s life in the Dales at Capon Hall on Malham Moor, and remembered a lovely story Bill had written in Dalesman about her life at the isolated farm, and the time it was cut off for weeks during a bad winter (1947 I think). Two coincidences this week got me thinking about our meeting in Settle (I wish I’d had a tape recorder that day as it was a cracking conversation between two great characters). I drove past Capon Hall on my way back from taking pictures of Malham Cove. The pleasant evening light was shining on the old building – modernised greatly since Edith’s day but you could still feel the isolation. The previous day I’d been to Langcliffe Church to have a browse through the second-hand books on sale there (always worth a look if you’re passing) and picked up a copy of Edith’s verse, called Cobblestones. She moved to Langcliffe later in her life, where in her words she could ‘still see limestone hills so dear to me’. That line is from one of her poems, The Riverfields. I have strong empathy with the second verse, reproduced here:
A sylvan stream our Ribble here, gliding and bubbling on his way,
O’er moss grown rocks, through banks so steep, where golden catkins
Dangle on the bough of hazel tree and willows tall.
The setting sun glows red o’er all.
A tawny owl begins to call, his sharp talons hold
On twisted branches, gnarled and old.
As watchful bird its vigil keep,
’Tis time for man to take his sleep.
Eventide, the busy day is o’er, shadows deep pass over all.
Peace at last.
I’ll treasure the little book both as a reminder of my brief meeting with her, and the fact it came at a good Yorkshire price of just 50p.