Signs of the past, dodgy wives and the Elf King

sunsetpyg

After last week’s regular Sunday stroll by the Ribble under Stainforth Scar I stayed out a bit later than normal to watch the sun go down. Golden light settled briefly on the Scar, while Penyghent looked cooler in the distance with snow still lying in the shade. The late sun shining through the trees above Langcliffe stopped me in my tracks. No filters or Photoshop shenanigans on these shots, just the ‘sunset’ setting on my camera.
treegatesun

pjsignpostAround 40 years ago I posed for this photo at Ribblehead (taken by my friend Graham Hobson). The signpost was replaced with a bland version many years ago – probably due to idiots climbing up the old one. The photo serves to remind me just how long I’ve been visiting this enigmatic area. I’m always finding something different or interesting here – long may it continue. I was there again on Wednesday, taking a boggy trek around the Limestone Walk on Ingleborough Nature Reserve in Chapel-le-Dale. There were still some icy patches along the path where the sun hadn’t reached, and flecks of snow were still visible on Whernside.

ingleuprightAlong this route you can hear water rushing into and through the limestone caverns beneath your feet. There’s a great network of caves and pot holes around here, and the path, going clockwise, passes Great Douk Cave then later, joining the main path up to Ingleborough, goes by the amazing sinkhole of Braithwaite Wife Hole – partly pictured below. It’s around 80ft deep and knocking on 200ft wide. I’d be interested to know how it got the name – there are a few sink holes named after wives in the Dales. Legend has it that the ladies were chucked down the giant pits after some misdemeanour. But if that were the case you’d think there’d be even more of them named after men.

 

wifehole

oldfarmIt’s sad to see old farm buildings in a dilapidated state – like this one at Southerscales in Chapel-le-Dale. But I suppose it is all part of the evolution of the Dales. Less than a mile away on one of the limestone ridges between Ingleborough and Ribblehead are the remains of an ancient settlement, dating back thousands of years. In this part of the Dales humans have come and gone since prehistoric times and evidence of ancient walls can be found all around…
oldwall

Making a living on this boggy land has always been extremely difficult. Shaded by Ingleborough, Simon Fell and Park Fell, there is little direct sunlight during winter. Hardy farmers still try to eke out a living here…

farmer

I took some fine photos of Chapel-le-Dale along the route, which I’ve already posted on Facebook and Twitter this week, showing Twisleton Scar, Whernside and Ribblehead Viaduct. Here’s a different one, looking down on the small settlement around the Chapel Inn.

chapdale

As Black Friday turned into Grey Saturday there were few photographic bargains to be had in the dales for me, but one of my neighbours, Mark Corner, emailed me this photo taken on Giggleswick Scar. Myths and legends surround these ‘fairy circles’, and here Mark’s lovely dog Oscar looks like a worthy king of the elves.

corner

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