I’ve decided that sheep get a bad press. I like to think they can be proud, strong leaders. And this character, encountered on a short walk on Monday, definitely agrees. The start of the week was grey so I continued on the black-and-white theme with a shot of the lane leading to Stainforth Scar from Langcliffe, and another of a farm in Swaledale – a different kind of Dales landscape.
Wednesday was Budget Day and those Tories really do see everything in black-and-white don’t they? The chancellor has a misguided impression that his friends in business will solve all our economic and social problems. Yes, of course George, all businesses will now start paying their workers decent wages and abolish zero-hours contracts. Business owners and shareholders will immediately stop hiking off as much profit as they can for themselves, they’ll cough up all the tax they owe, won’t go live abroad and will stop hiring cheap immigrant labour. Not all businesses are so greedy, I know – there are shades of grey in everything. Smearsett Scar, below, is a good example.
Thank goodness Thursday brought some colour into my life. I rose early for some fabulous shots up Ribblesdale which looked stunning.
Then it was on to one of my favourite spots of all: Thorns Gill, at the very head of the dale. Two hours I spent at the gill and the abandoned grange of Thorns – and I never saw another soul. From the top of a small rise just beyond the ancient settlement, on the path to Nether Lodge, the 360-degree views are outstanding. I took far too many pictures to show here: ruined buildings, strange rock formations, lichen encrusted signposts, moss covered walls and overgrown ancient tracks and, of course, Ribblehead viaduct and the Three Peaks (I may in future publish a blog on Thorns only). The waterfalls were tranquil compared with how I’d seen them in the past, but nevertheless hypnotising. Gayle Beck, looking like well-brewed Yorkshire tea, cackled excitedly over the rocks. The dark, still pools were inviting on this hot day – dare I strip off for a bit of wild swimming? Not with all those sheep watching.
Friday reminded me that folk actually work in the dales and don’t just aimlessly flit around the place as I do. Near Austwick, half a dozen farm workers, in a kind of synchronised, motorised dance movement expertly cleared the meadows.
Exhausted by the thought of all that work I took a stripey photo of Moughton Scar (which might look better in b&w) before heading home for a brew of Yorkshire tea. By the way, has anyone ever seen the vast Yorkshire tea plantations?