I did a mini tour of Dales waterfalls with my son on Wednesday. After heading up from Skipton through Wharfedale we dropped down to Cauldron Falls at West Burton. The view down Bishopdale towards the higher fells beyond as you top Kidstones Pass still makes my heart miss a beat. We did the touristy Aysgarth Falls trio, and called in at Semerwater before paying our dues at the Green Dragon to take in spectacular Hardraw Force. Then it was up over Fleet Moss for the gentler falls of Langstrothdale. A great day in the dales.
The views up Crummackdale and in the opposite direction towards the Bowland Fells were excellent as I walked from Austwick up to Oxenber and Wharfe Wood. But it was the sky that caught my attention that day – crisp blue high to the south-west with a cauldron of clouds bubbling up beneath.
Steamy lovers corner
Last Saturday through to Tuesday saw four consecutive days of steam excursions on the Settle-Carlisle line. I managed to capture a few as they passed close to home….
On another early evening stroll near Selside I enjoyed some lovely scenery across Ribblesdale. First pic in blog and the one below show Penyghent from Selside.
If you’re going out fruit-picking in the Dales this week please remember to leave plenty for the birds and small mammals …
Excluding games being played Sunday, as I write, my beloved Huddersfield Town are top of the Premier. A little premature to be celebrating anything perhaps, but it’s not been often during the 60 years I’ve been watching the team – my Dad first lifted me over the turnstiles at Leeds Road when I was a 4-year-old – that I’ve been able to gloat. So I’m not getting carried away… but already looking forward to playing Barcelona in next year’s European Cup.
This week I had a day in ‘The Dale that Died’ (allegedly) – Grisedale, just off Garsdale on the Yorkshire-Westmorland border. A TV film made in the 1970s and a book by Barry Cockroft labelled it The Dale that Died, but notice of its death was greatly exaggerated. Grisedale – or Grisdale as it used to be called but for some reason it gained an extra e during the 20th century – has not yet had its life support machine switched off.
I get the impression that the few people who live or have holiday cottages there would rather we all stayed away from this lonely dale. I don’t blame them – the Dales should have more places where cars and buses and kiss-me-quick-hatted-type tourists can’t venture.
The footpaths across Gris[e]dale’s boggy surrounding hills can be difficult to follow. On several occasions I was ankle deep in gunge while heading over from Garsdale Head to Blake Mire – an ancient farmstead bought a while back but to which only recently were the new owners allowed to build an access track (previously the only way to it was on foot). Wish I could have afforded it.
Not quite as isolated is Crummackdale where I ventured on another day, making my way up from the hamlet of Wharfe. I’d wanted to walk along the edge of Moughton Scar to capture the views across the limestone, but the cloudy weather put me off so I just did a circular walk using some of the old drovers’ paths.
I sat and watched a bird of prey for a while – I’m not going commit myself to saying what it was – probably a sparrowhawk – it didn’t get close enough for me to identify or photograph successfully – but its aerobatic display was impressive.
I had similar weather up in the Lakes on Monday. I’d fancied a drive through Great Langdale to snap the spectacular scenery but cloud came down and it turned out very grey – as it often does up there. I did have an enjoyable touristy-type walk from Elterwater to Skelwith Force though.
It was back home in Ribblesdale, where of course the sun really came out. The views lifted my spirits …
I also post a selection of photos during the week on Twitter which are not included here – look up @paulinribb
Sometimes I’ll post on social media a Dales photo which I’m particularly pleased with only to find there’s but a trickle of interest in it. Other times I’ll pop up a quick snap which I feel is quite ordinary that causes a torrent of interest and admiration. The reasoning behind these reactions I’ll leave for the social media gurus and psychologists to fathom. I hate to use the phrase, but here goes anyway … ‘whatever floats your boat’. This week I dabbled a bit with Photoshop on a couple of shots (at this point half the audience throw their hands up in horror, their faces showing utter disdain). But I don’t care what people think of my resulting ‘artwork’. For me, Photoshop, and any other picture manipulation method, is just a medium, or a paintbrush. There’s satisfaction about creating something unique – which you personally enjoy. And anyway, the forming of the ‘watercolour’ of the area near Wharfe, Crummackdale, (above) helped pass away an otherwise miserable day in the Dales.
Close to where I took the original for my ‘artwork’ is this small dales waterfall along Wharfe Gill Sike. It looks serene here but after heavy rain it can be dramatic.
You’ll need to view this panorama large on a computer screen to appreciate the detail – clouds are still hanging in the dale to the north of Gearstones, seen from the limestone pavement above the former Ribblehead Quarry.
Similarly, this one showing the outline of Penyghent, taken from near Colt Park, will be nobbut a black blob if you view on a little phone screen. There’s some subtle light in the foreground and I was pleased with the redness of the cloud tops.
I wasn’t lucky enough to see the aurora this week but did manage a couple of stunning sunsets from up on Winskill Stones, above Langcliffe.
On a walk between Wharfe and Austwick the autumn sky cleared briefly to light up this lovely scene.
More dales views
A few more shots from my stroll around the former Ribblehead Quarry… the first three showing the Three Peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and a distant Penyghent.
I popped into the impressive Village Store at Clapham for an open night this week. Besides sampling some impressive dales produce I bought Dalesman’s latest book, Bill Mitchell’s Yorkshire. Bill’s son David and daughter Janet were both there and it was a delight to see them both again. David compiled the book – you can see my thoughts about it on the Reviews page.
I don’t just take landscape photos around the Dales, although they are my favourite kind of shots. Sometimes I like to capture people working in the countryside, such as this farmer at the hamlet of Wharfe in Crummackdale (below).
Also, I like to photograph hidden places and old or unusual subjects. This old gate up a narrow overgrown path near Wharfe intrigued me – it made me want to enter and find out what mysteries lay behind (I resisted).
In my own village of Langcliffe there are many views slightly off the beaten track, such as these atmospheric places.
The late evening sun is a good time for a wander with the camera round Langcliffe…
A walk taking in Ilkley Moor and the Cow & Calf rocks on Wednesday was spoiled for me by racist in the car park. Had I been more quick-witted I would have responded more cuttingly to the elderly man’s disrespectful remark about a group of fellow visitors. Maybe he thought he was being amusing, saying something that might have been acceptable in a 1970s’ sitcom – or perhaps I was just being oversensitive. The people were out of earshot – I doubt the coward would have said anything otherwise – but he obviously thought I was of a similar mind to him. Nothing could be further from the truth. The visitors looked very smart and happy, obviously enjoying their important Eid festival day out. I much prefer to share the Yorkshire countryside with them than with small-minded halfwits. Intolerance of other people’s ways of life certainly seems to be on the increase. A general feeling of injustice, unfairness and inequality in society, created by greed and corruption and a quest for power by the few, seems to be manifesting in racism all around the world.
Anyway, mustn’t spiral into despondency and depression over the actions of others, there’s still a lot to enjoy in life and much beauty to be experienced on the planet, especially here in the Dales. Ilkley Moor – with or without a hat – was moody but enjoyable, despite the fact that I fell down a rabbit hole… well, not all of me, that would have had to be some giant Roger Rabbit hole, but one leg up to my knee disappeared. Going in at any angle other than straight down I could have been another Fell Rescue Association statistic. It did, however, create some merriment for my walking companions (friends, eh?).
On track in the Dales
Dodging showers has been the story of the week really. I managed to grab a couple of local photos as the darker clouds sped by. The flowers on this elder have recently blossomed (not sure if this is a little later than normal – perhaps some expert will let me know) and make a handy foreground on this typical Dales track near my home. The mackerel sky stood out strongly against the hillside trees above Langcliffe to create a nice backdrop.
A short spell of sunshine on Friday evening tempted me out for a quick drive around the local dales. Moughton Scar looked fine from the bridge over the beck in Austwick (below), and Penyghent briefly caught the sun – seen from above the fishery at Helwith Bridge in the first photo in blog.
Earlier this week I saw, and added my name in support of, a post on tinterweb concerning trains – or rather a lack of them between Skipton and Settle. Like many other people I find it really frustrating that there is no train after 8pm from Skipton back up Ribblesdale. This isn’t just because it prevents me from having a drink with friends in Skipton, but also because of the problems of linking trains for longer journeys. Having a last train to this part of Yorkshire from Leeds at 19.19 is ridiculous. I look at the obscene money being spent on – and the disruption being caused by – the silly HS2 scheme and wonder how can such a folly be justified when the current rail infrastructure is so inadequate? https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=train%20skipton%20to%20settle
The long days this week have created some great lighting for photography in the Dales. The best times have been in the evenings – which has was good for me as I’ve had a busy time during the day at my computer. Locally I’ve driven the short distances to Kingsdale, Chapel-le-Dale, Crummackdale, Silverdale and Littondale – and of course Ribblesdale. The Three Peaks proved once again to be perfect subjects as they caught the late sunshine. They seem to be dozing like three sleepy cats after a hard day’s play, keeping their distance from each other but still having a wary eye on what’s going on. Fantastic, too, to see people enjoying the extra daylight – I’ve encountered road cyclists, walkers, runners and on Thursday evening around the massive bulk of Ingleborough, mountain bikers and paragliders. (A strange aircraft with propellors flew low over the top end of Ribblesdale as I drove home on Thursday evening. Even I don’t take pics while driving – so did anyone else capture it?). The top shot I’m calling ‘playing with light’. It shows patchy late evening sunshine over Ribblesdale. Other evening shots are spread throughout the blog.
One of my favourite pastimes is watching other folk work while I laze about doing nowt. I was leaning on a wall one day this week near Austwick, admiring the Dales view; nearby, two chaps were putting up a timber fence around a small thicket. I couldn’t tell what wood was being used but it reminded me of an old country proverb I once included in Countryman magazine www.countrymanmagazine.co.uk when I was editor. It went something like: ‘If you build a fence of elm you can forget it for 20 years. If you build it with oak, you can forget it’. A timely reminder that what we do today affects what we’ll need to do in the future.
It’s been a week for contemplating life hasn’t it? While sitting on a small hill during a short spell of sunshine in the Dales on Friday evening I watched several sheep wandering aimlessly around a field. Which one was leading the gang was hard to fathom; maybe they all believed the one with the dodgy hairdo, or the one with the loudest baa as they intimated that the grass was greener through the open gate. The ewes didn’t question the leaders and led their young into the unknown, never thinking the leaders could be telling lies or just having their own interests at heart. They didn’t seem to have a plan as to what to do once through the gate – I do hope there wasn’t a cunning fox waiting for them all on the other side. I didn’t hang around to see.
Doggy do in the Dales
Now that it seems we officially exist in an intolerant society I feel happier about having a moan about certain dog owners. I’m sick of finding these bags of dog crap all over the Dales, at the sides of paths or jammed into drystone walls. I’m sure I’ve seen a lot more crap about since we voted to come out of Europe (that’s a lie, by the way, but it seems lying is acceptable nowadays, too).
This sign near Penyghent Farm on the wonderful Stainforth to Halton Gill road, says: ‘The Countryside Stewardship Scheme – Part funded by the European Communities’. I wonder if there’ll be a sign here in future saying ‘Left to rot after England turned its back on the European Communities and went bankrupt’?
At the moment I, along with many experts (whom I listen to and believe, Mr Gove), don’t feel very optimistic about what will happen to our countryside or local wildlife and heritage projects once the exit from Europe kicks in. During the referendum campaign leave leaders either lied through their back teeth or genuinely just guessed when asked about what would happen to the countryside after leaving. Currently I can’t see where money will come from given the predictions of economic gloom, yet I’ll bet that pet vanity projects like HS2, which revolve around London and which will rip up the countryside for no good reason, will somehow survive.
I have a habit of saying stuff that shows my age. This week I said to a youngster (someone under 30), ‘What’s the recipe today, Jim?’ – a phrase which anyone over 60 will probably recognise from radio of the past, but to which the person listening to me responded quizzically by saying that she was not called Jim.
I was very pleased to see the initial plans for The Folly in Settle on Monday. It’s vital that this unique building is kept in good order, is utilised by the community and helps attracts visitors to the Dales town. The Folly’s development will help boost the local economy and provide another welcome focal point. All they’ll need to make the plans come true is some funding … oh, wait a minute though.
I’m pleased to see that from tomorrow (27 June) train services on the Settle-Carlisle line are to be extended to run as far north as Armathwaite instead of the current terminus of Appleby. The existing train times between Leeds and Appleby will continue with revised timings for journeys between Appleby and Armathwaite. There will be a number of changes to the bus connections so passengers should check the updated timetable before travel. www.settle–carlisle.co.uk/ Remember, the original purpose of building the line was to access Scotland – this could be handy in the future if there’s an exodus from England to Scotland – let’s hope that repair work on the track north of Armathwaite is completed before the Scots shut the border.
(Don’t worry, friends and family who voted to leave – my bitterness will eventually subside. And I understand clearly that besides the racists and far right who want to take over the country as a dictatorship, there were other factions adding support to the leave campaign – such as disenchanted people wanting to teach Cameron & Osborne a lesson; those who think they are being told what to do by Jonny Foreigner and don’t like it; and people who think the EU is a useless bureaucratic mess and want out. Unfortunately, when all that support was added together, the combined vote was claimed as a victory by a bunch of hapless liars and bigots who don’t want to understand the bigger picture.)
Seeing this new build on the edge of Settle while on a walk to Cleatop Park on Friday reminded me of an article I’d read about the housebuilding industry in this country. The government continually tells us that the country needs more housing yet Britain’s biggest developers are currently sitting on enough land to create more than 600k new homes. The top four companies – Berkeley, Barratt, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey – own 450k of these plots, and are hoarding £947m cash set aside to build the houses. Last year those four dished out £1.5bn to their shareholders (Berkley’s chairman netted a cool £23m himself). Yet according to CPRE developers are still looking to gobble up more of our precious green belt land. We need to put a time limit on these vultures – build on the land within six months or hand it back for less than the price paid, oh, and keep your grubby hands off our countryside.
Sadly, Otley-born cycling champ Lizzie Armitstead won’t be in day one of the Tour de Yorkshire race letour.yorkshire.com which ends in Settle on Friday (her race is elsewhere on Saturday). It is very likely that Lizzie’s distant ancestors came from the settlement called Armitstead in the parish of Giggleswick. The surname (as well as the alternative spelling of Armistead) is still common in these parts. This old photo shows the former Armistead shop by which the cyclists will pass on Duke Street, Settle. Today we find it strange to see the sale of tobacco and sporting equipment in the same shop. (See also my surnames column link above.)
Settle is certainly gearing up for the visit of hundreds of cyclists and spectators. Huge Hollywood-style lettering on Castleberg Rock reminds everyone where they are, and local shops, organisations and individuals have made a real effort to make everyone feel welcome. I’m not sure whether there was enough money or material to spell out GIGGLESWICK across the scar. The sprint race passes through that fine parish and I’m looking forward to seeing the cyclists tackling Buckhaw Brow.
I watched some very pleasant sunsets this week. Instead of focusing on the sun itself I thought I’d try to capture its late light on west-facing hillsides. Penyghent, Stainforth Scar, Moughton Scar and Crummackdale all took on a friendly fiery glow. Someone asked me the other day how the name Crummack originated. In 1190 it was recorded as Crumbok which stems from an ancient British word ‘crumbaco’ meaning crooked hill – so Crummackdale means ‘the valley of the crooked hill’.
When in Rome…
On Wednesday I went to Rome and saw Wham. Before you put me down as some kind of jet-setter with a dodgy taste in 80s music, I should clarify that Rome, Farther Rome and Upper and Lower Wham are tiny settlements on left of those zooming up Settle bypass towards the Lakes.
The lanes and paths in the area between Giggleswick and Gisburn Forest are a great place to explore. Good map reading skills are needed in some places as old signposts stating ‘Footpath’ (but no destination) often point across vast fields bearing no obvious sign of a path.
There were hazy views of Penyghent and Ingleborough to remind me that I was in the western Dales, but you can easily imagine being in the undulating Yorkshire Wolds. Unfortunately, the walk was spoiled for me when the line ‘wake me up before you go-go’ got into my head around Wham and stuck with me for the rest of the journey.
Just a gentle stroll in Thursday’s sun around Thorns Gill. The water was low and inviting; the pools the colour of Wainwright’s Gold beer.
Whernside, Ingleborough and Park Fell stood out against the blue sky, not yet in their green summer coats – the nights are still very cold here. There are signs, however, that some bushes and trees are starting to bud.
OK, just one more cute lamb shot and that’s yer lot this spring.
I started the blog telling you about Cleatop Park didn’t I? Well that was Friday. I love the views on this walk – the Ribblesdale panorama includes all three peaks (it’s the 62nd Annual 3 Peaks Race is next Saturday, by the way) – but my aim was really to try capture bluebells in the wood at Cleatop. Alas, too early; just a few brave souls peaking through here. I’ll be back to see them and the wild garlic.
I also had a delightful drive around Dentdale this week but I’ve already prattled on too much so I’ll save that for another blog.
A tourist went into a Yorkshire department store and asked where he could find towels. They gave him directions to the bird sanctuary.
One of the best things about Yorkshire is that you don’t have to climb great big mountains to enjoy fabulous views. Even a distant mist couldn’t spoil the outlook yesterday as I walked around Moughton Scar above Austwick. The views down Crummackdale and over the clints and grykes of the limestone pavement to both Penyghent and Ingleborough were stunning. I’m going to be writing up the walk shortly – here are a couple of pics to whet your appetite…