Flooding brings back different dales memories

Dales IMG_4772I’m lucky enough to remember lapping up weeks of sun in the Yorkshire Dales during the sweltering summer of 1976. Those days of my early 20s, when I was still enjoying life to the full, came to mind last Sunday.

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Conditions during those long, dry summer days of 40 years ago couldn’t have been more different. In the greyness of the morning I photographed the flooded Ribble at Langcliffe. It cascaded over the weir where surrounding fields were soaking up unusually heavy August rain from further up Ribblesdale.

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Thankfully, a brighter day followed and I was able to take my only walk of the week in the Dales. I parked at St Leonard’s in Chapel-le-Dale, pottering about around Hurtle Pot before heading up the rough track to Ellerbeck Farm and circling back.

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I can’t for the life of me remember what the bright orange-red plant is – can anyone remind me?

The sun struggles to find a way through the tree canopy along this way, and Nature has created a strange little world here. The limestone outcrops are covered in a carpet of mosses and lichens; ferns and other shade-preferring plants thrive in the crevices.

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A surprising statue jumps out of the shrubs – the plaque says:
‘For years a statue stood on this spot. It was vandalised on Saturday August 27th 1983 and subsequently found in 30 feet of water at the bottom of Hurtle Pot. An enthusiastic team of divers made the recovery and it has been erected again as found. It was the creation of the late Charles I’Anson the well known sculptor and artist. Time will tell if the spirit of the Boggard of Hurtle Pot is now enshrined in the statue.’

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Not wishing to hang around to find out, I moved quickly on. The track opens out beneath the mass of Whernside into a landscape of wild boggy fell which had acted like a sponge during the previous day’s downpour. The limestone outcrops which break up the bogland provide some excellent foregrounds for photos (first pic in post).

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Great views up and down the Dales appear as you gain height. Beyond Ribblehead Viaduct I could clearly see the old Roman Road heading up Cam. It’s creamy surface, laid to take wagons for wood clearance, creates an open scar on the hillside. Hopefully it will soon blend into the surroundings.

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There’s a pleasant waterfall beneath my feet here where I stopped to take a short video of the view – see link below (yes, I am out of breath and incredibly unfit at the moment).


I could also pick out the path restoration work being carried out up Ingleborough. There were plenty of folk attempting the Three Peaks and I hope they all contribute to the route’s upkeep – http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk

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I think I’ve found a couple of extra carriages for Branson’s trains. Plenty of room here Jeremy.

Alien day in the Dales


Thought I’d stretch the little old legs with a walk out of Chapel le Dale despite the grey, misty weather. I took a look around the tiny church where the navvies who died while building Ribblehead Viaduct are buried. Plenty of snowdrops in the churchyard but the daffs haven’t made an appearance yet. Took a slight diversion to gawp down Hurtle Pot . It felt a little eerie, dark and dank standing in this great gully with the only sound being the echo of a screeching raven high above. There was very little water and the River Doe was running completely underground. I mooched around the dry river bed a while in a pointless search for Weathercote Cave before heading up the hill towards the limestone scars. The landscape beside the track is weird here. Limestone rocks are scattered everywhere and are coated in thick moss and fungi about which I know nothing. Large trees grow from the crevices despite there seemingly being little to sustain them. Half way up the track is a rusting old statue created by a famous (so it says on t’ internet) sculptor called Charles I’Anson – hard to tell whether the creation is supposed to be an archer or an alien. There’s a plaque which says that the statue was vandalised in 1983 and subsequently found by cave divers in 30ft of water down Hurtle Pot. ‘Time will tell if the spirit of the boggard of Hurtle Pot is now enshrined in the statue’ states the plaque. Strange coincidence maybe, but  I’anson died in 1983. A bit further up the track a sheep’s skull lay in the path looking towards Whernside. I took this as a hint that I shouldn’t venture that way. The opposite way didn’t bring me any photographic joy though, as a still snow-laden Ingleborough only reluctantly and briefly appeared in the distant mist. Perhaps the omens were against me today but in some perverse way I enjoyed the walk.


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