17 photos of Ribblesdale: snowdrops are fading from memory, daffodils are drooping, but blossom is bursting out all over the place. The swallows have returned, their energy lifting my spirits and livening the neighbourhood. Last year they nested under the eaves directly above my door, which meant daily removal of splatterings from the doorstep. The postman needed to be quick. I’m told there’s a possibility of snow next week, but it’s not unusual – snow fell briefly last April too.
The eastern slopes of Ribblesdale, where my village of Langcliffe sits, averages a gradient of about 1 in 7 (my own calculations so don’t quote me – it could be false news) from the River Ribble to the limestone outcrops some 750ft above. This means there aren’t too many flat strolls from home. My heart and lungs were working overtime one day this week as I struggled straight up the hill to the crags above the village. So, plenty of opportunities to stop and look back to admire the views. All Three Peaks can be seen from the crags, as are many of the small settlements scattered along the dale. Up here are several hidden little valleys, small plantations, limestone pavements and signs of ancient farming activity.
Lower down, in a field where lambs were playing in the sunshine, some lazy dog-walker had deposited a plastic bag of dog-poo. I’d only just read about horses being killed by choking on these bags and I wasn’t having any lambs suffering the same fate. The offending article is in my dustbin should anyone wish to claim it. Further up Ribblesdale at Helwith Bridge I watched a coot hen and its chicks venturing in and out of the reeds in the old quarry, while a pair of noisy tewits cavorted overhead. I love Nature at this time of year.
One cold, grey day I headed for the top end of Ribblesdale for a quick stroll around part of the Ingleborough Nature Reserve. All Three Peaks didn’t look particularly welcoming, but with politics dominating the TV back home, I’d still rather be struggling up those hills.