The dales weather can be a real torment. I’ve given up on trusting forecasts for the whole region as each dale seems to have a different climate. After driving under blue skies and fluffy clouds through Ribblesdale the other day I reached Newby Head to be confronted with darkness, rain storms and a plague of frogs. The farm at Newby Head was once a pub, and reckoned to be the second highest in Yorkshire after Tan Hill. Here, and at the former pub at Gearstones, drovers, farmers, miners and navvies drank, scrapped and sheltered from the worst of weather. A much more welcoming greeting awaits nowadays.
I had a bit more luck with conditions over in Nidderdale although a grey background and low cloud spoilt the photography. Two man-made structures brought me to this part of the dales though – the intriguing artwork of Coldstones Cut – now seven years old – and the immense Scar House Reservoir which is around 80 years senior. The designs are very different but both feats of engineering are impressive.
I also had a wander through Salt Lake Nature Reserve in Ribblesdale. The former quarry is now under the protection of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and is being left to Nature. There are some lovely dales plants here – and I managed to capture a picture of a red admiral butterfly too. The trust launched an appeal in July to save Ashes Pasture, which is just 100 yards from their Salt Lake site. £175,000 is needed to save this area of wildlife-rich grassland habitat from being sold on the open market. They are almost halfway to reaching the target and will shortly submit a bid to Heritage Lottery Fund asking them to help with the balance, but the more the trust raise the more likely they are to be successful. Please visit http://www.ywt.org.uk/ashes_pasture
The Salt Lake Nature Reserve is also a handy place for capturing passing steam trains on the Settle-Carlisle railway …
The felling of a 150-year-old beech tree (below) on the edge of North Ribblesdale RUFC’s ground was due to start on Sep 1. The club want to level their pitch and say it can’t be done because of the tree. I was surprised when permission was granted to get rid of the beautiful tree – I doubt I would have gained similar authorisation if it were near my house. The work hadn’t started yesterday when I walked by – perhaps a stay of execution?
The brilliant (and free) Settle folk festival weekend was well under way in the town centre yesterday … the flamboyantly dressed, flower-hatted Flagcrackers of Craven with their blackened faces (do today’s PC laws still allow them to do that?!) were busy hitting each other with sticks as I passed.
One good evening sunset in the Dales this week. These photos – and the first one in the blog, were taken from Winskill Stones above Langcliffe.
And finally in the Dales…