Reasons to be cheerful in the Yorkshire Dales

As the Sun sets on another year – a pretty awful one for most people – at least I can flick through my photo diary and take comfort from the fact that the local Dales landscape and Nature have provided me with many high points.
I’m a lot more fortunate than millions of others. How lucky I am to live in a small village in the Yorkshire Dales and not trapped in a tiny flat in some high-rise city building. This part of Ribblesdale has just moved into tier 3 but I can still exercise locally and enjoy sights and sounds in some gorgeous countryside.

Although stretching my camera’s magnification to the limit and being held by an unsteady hand, this picture of Penyghent remains one of my favourites. It was taken in May a few years back. The shadow across the centre highlights the Craven Fault line, the border between the limestone uplands and the more fertile valley.

I thought I’d use this end of year blog to post a selection of photos which I don’t think I’ve published either here or on other social media. The places will be familiar, though, as they are within a few miles of home – regular ports of call as I stroll and drive aimlessly around the dale.

Looking over Gauber towards Park Fell and Ingleborough.

My dodgy knees prevent me from tackling longer walks and more difficult ascents nowadays, but there’s still plenty of scenery for me and my camera to enjoy.
I started to make a list of some of my favourite things about living in upper Ribblesdale – it turned out to be a lot longer than my Christmas shopping list …

Wild flowers, the curlew calls;
high peaks and waterfalls.
Drystone walls, abandoned barns;
charming churches, ancient farms.
Skies threatening or clearest of blue;
sculptured clouds, changing hue.
Sunsets and sunrises, a golden glow;
trees tall or gnarled, bent like a bow.
Hedges and bushes with colourful berries;
hidden paths where no one hurries.
Birds with attitude, sweet songs they sing;
painted butterflies, bees on the wing.
Lambs playing in packs until dusk;
their mothers fretting while mowing the grass.
The river Ribble when slow and calming;
or rushing by, impatient, alarming.
Quirky hamlets asleep so it seems;
cottages huddle, crooked doors, curved beams.
Steam engines huffing, causing a fuss;
respectfully crossing that great colossus.
Autumnal tints the woodland bring;
buttercup meadows, welcoming spring.
Signposts and stiles, all sizes and shape;
walkers instructed to ‘Please Shut the Gate’.

Distant Ingleborough and Crummackdale.
Stackhouse seen from Langcliffe.
Malham Tarn.
Penyghent from two angles.
Looking west from Smearsett Scar.

I’ve just completed a first Christmas alone (which was actually fine, but it’s not the same without the warmth of a family around you). But I have plenty of photographic reminders of our festive past. I found this picture of my son taken around 25 years ago, dressed in his new Huddersfield Town shirt. I had to clear every bit of furniture to accommodate that train set. It might have been extremely early Christmas morning but I enjoyed playing as much as he did.

Have a better new year and thanks for reading the blog

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