We all love looking at the Dales. But this week I raised my eyes a little higher to take in the natural wonders up above. Incredibly, the first two photos in this week’s blog were taken just 8 minutes apart. The stormy ones below of a shower passing over Ingleborough were taken in Chapel-le-Dale. Then I captured the rainbow on another side of Ingleborough when I stopped along the old Ingleton to Clapham road.
Earlier in the week I was loitering around Winskill Stones, as you do, just waiting for the sunset when the sky turned pink – and yellow – and blue – and all sorts of colours in between. It was cold and spectacular, both looking west towards sunset and north to Penyghent where the clouds took on the general hue. Beautiful.
Conditions were such a contrast to this week last year when we witnessed some of the worst flooding in the Dales for many years. I dug out these photos I took looking down Ribblesdale from Giggleswick Scar to remind me of how widespread the floods were – and how Nature had created flood plains for such events.
Lights of a different kind caught my attention in Settle. The town is looking very festive at present and one shop window almost had me feeling quite Christmassy. Snow on the ground and a child wrapped up in winter gear with nose pressed up against the glass might just have swung it, but fortunately I was able to continue on my way in my usual grumpy humbug manner.
MP or NMP (Not My Problem)
Never would I want to be an MP. But if I was, I would always aim to give an honest opinion on any subject that affected or concerned my constituents. Unfortunately, my own MP, Julian Smith, doesn’t seem to be of the same mind. This year I have written to him on a few matters including fracking and more recently concerning the proposed closure of Horton-in-Ribblesdale school. Each time I have received predictable replies stating his party’s policies or completely washing his hands of the issues I raise. I wanted to know HIS opinions. I wanted to know whether I could trust HIM to act on behalf of constituents, no matter what their political persuasion might be or whether his party had a view on the subject or not. He is a party whip and scared stiff of rocking the Tory boat. In my eyes that is not properly serving the people who pay his wages. Regarding the school closure he writes ‘this is a matter for North Yorkshire County Council’. I knew that, Mr Smith … but are YOU in favour of or against the closure? Are YOU concerned about the future of Dales villages and what are YOU doing about it? What are YOU doing to ensure Dales children and families are being best served by the education authority? Will YOU back your constituents who are rallying against the closure and put pressure on the council? Always toeing the party line might enhance an MP’s career prospects within the party but will it gain any respect amongst constituents?
Dales in print
On Thursday it was good to see David and Janet Mitchell at my favourite Settle venue, The Folly. They were promoting the new Dalesman book Bill Mitchell’s Yorkshire, which I can highly recommend – see reviews. I also had two articles published this week – one in Down Your Way concerning the Forget-me-Not Fund’s war time Christmas parcels. The other appears in The Countryman and concerns countryside connections uncovered while researching family history. The Countryman article features my photo of the lovely Dales church of St Mary’s, Long Preston.