Dales Three Peakers deserve better

DalesI’ve seen a lot of bedraggled Dales Three Peakers this year. This summer has been a big disappointment especially for those who perhaps have planned for months if not years to take on the 24+-mile walk around Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. I regularly pass them at the top end of Ribblesdale on that horrible section of road walking between Ingman’s Lodge and the viaduct, when it dawns on them they’re nobbut a third of the way round. And again in Horton-in-Ribblesdale when they look a bit more relieved, if aching and blistered, as they head from the station to the cafe for their moment of triumph.

Dales Three Peaks: Top photo shows Ingleborough, above is Whernside, and below is Penyghent.

Around 30 years ago I completed the route with a lovely lady who had some health issues. We went at her pace and she was so proud to have completed the walk. The time was only about 20 minutes outside the allotted 12-hours for her to be able to receive a certificate but that didn’t lessen the sense of achievement. Well done to everyone who takes it on, especially this year.

We haven’t had many of those relaxing sunsets in the Dales this summer either – maybe the next month will offer more, and as I write the forecast for Bank Holiday Monday is good.

Nor have we seen much in the way of sharp contrasts and deep shadows – too much greyness around the Dales. Here are a few examples I’ve managed to capture.

Two friends travelled on the steam special which chugged up the dale on the Settle-Carlisle railway this week. They remarked that although the scene was grey as they passed through the dales the weather did improve further north. I captured the engine Leander pulling the train across Ribblehead Viaduct. More train pics here

From Batty Moss I zoomed in on Leander as it left its mark on Ribblesdale at Salt Lake Cottages before reaching the viaduct.

My thanks to those who pointed out that the larger of the yellow plants featured in last week’s blog was Senecio jacobaea – or ragwort to you and me. Normally you will see the plant as a much duller shade of yellow beside roads where it carries all the traffic filth, but no such pollution up here in the dales. I read up about the plant to satisfy my curiosity and learned there are many myths and falsehoods told about the plant. Yes it can be harmful to horses if eaten in large amounts but its reputation is not as bad as it has been painted – see http://www.ragwortfacts.com/ragwort-myths.html – and is very useful for pollinators.

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