Dales for work and play

Thousands of visitors head to the Yorkshire Dales as an escape from their workplace and urban life. It’s easy to forget that the Dales is actually an industrial area too. There are many relics of industry scattered around the hills and valleys, such as lead mines and limekilns. There is still large-scale quarrying being carried out just up the road from me here in Ribblesdale. Agriculture is an industry, too – and so is tourism.
More Dales folk are involved in tourism than anything else today. Shops, pubs and accommodation providers not only benefit the visitors but offer employment and opportunities for locals too.

My son, fed up with zero-hours contract jobs, and extremely reluctant to head to the dole office, decided to go it alone and start a care-taking and cleaning business. The venture is growing and he in turn is now providing employment for cleaners wanting work in this part of the Dales. http://www.cravencleaningservices.co.uk

There are problems though, as with many rural areas, such as poor broadband and mobile networks and a lack of affordable start-up units.

Top shot shows Ingleborough in evening light. Above, steaming through the Dales over Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle line http://www.settle-carlisle.co.uk

Happy birthday Dalesman

Last week I also visited the village where another successful business began – Clapham, the original home of Dalesman, my former employer. The magazine celebrates its 80th ‘birthday’ this month and it amazes me to think it was only 54 years old when I joined. Working for the publisher helped cement my love of the Dales landscape, its people and traditions. I wish Dalesman every success for the future in what is a changing marketplace. http://www.dalesman.co.uk

Cyclist heading down towards Hellifield with rain clouds gathering over Penyghent
Stop the world from spinning … slanty pic of Penyghent

I’ve not posted many pictures over the last month on the blog or on Facebook and Twitter, even though the camera’s been well used. I had a flick through what I’ve taken, choosing what I thought might be of interest. I selected more than fifty so I’ve had to whittle the selection down even further. Hope you enjoy this short trip around Ribblesdale.

This week a peewit (tewit, lapwing – whatever you want to call the bird) swirled around just above my head as I walked through the disused quarry which is now part of the nature reserve at Ribblehead. It screeched at me for being too close to its nest. Not my fault the daft bird built the blooming thing so close to the permitted path.

The memorial fountain in Langcliffe has been having a spruce-up. Before and after pics. Good job done in my humble opinion.

Hot iron

There’s some tremendous architectural work on Hellifield Railway Station if you look closely enough.

The visiting engines aren’t too shabby either.

Light fantastic

Sunny evening in Langcliffe seen from St John’s (pictured below).

The blossom came early and disappeared quickly in some strong wind.

Lamb basting

When you’re just too hot and fed up with posing for stupid photographers.

What does tha think’s on t’ other side o’ yon ‘ill?
Mum sez it’s Lankisher an’ Ah must nivver go theer.

A fond farewell and those frightful Dales

DalesTravelling through the Yorkshire Dales in 1724 Daniel Defoe got to Settle Bridge. In his diary he wrote: “Looking to the north-west of us we saw nothing but high mountains, which had a terrible aspect and more frightful than any in Monmouthshire or Derbyshire, especially Penigent Hill. So that having no manner of inclination to encounter them, merely for the sake of seeing a few villages and a parcel of wild people, we turned short north-east.”
You’d think that the chap who created such strong characters as Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders would have had a bit more about him than to worry about the good folk and the landscape of upper Ribblesdale. Anyway, he missed a treat.

During my own travels up this ‘frightful’ part of the Dales this week, I sat in the shade beneath a beautiful tree showing off its new spring clothes. I listened contentedly to the cackle of water over the pebbles of a low Ribble, and to the chirping of excited birds. Sheep and lambs, cows and calves mingled in a field across the river – there was no human-style dispute over who had the right to graze here.

The smell of wild garlic filled the air, and a small fish popped up briefly to cause a ripple on the shallow water – and surprise a duck and her tiny offsprings who were showing cowardly Defoe-type tendencies. The scene reminded me once again of how lucky I am not to be shackled to some hectic city street or suffering in a war-torn country.

Dales
All the above photos were taken by the Ribble near Langcliffe.

Clouds and steam

As I waited for this week’s Dalesman steam-hauled train to pass over Ribblehead Viaduct I watched wispy clouds floating aimlessly over the Dales. The mass of Whernside, seen in the panorama below, looked glorious in the midday sunshine.

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This week’s Dalesman steam excursion on the Settle-Carlisle line… with Penyghent in the background, on the way up (above) and back down (below).

Farewell for now

I’ve been blogging here every week for more than four years now. That’s well over 3,000 photos of the Dales and goodness knows how many meaningless words. It’s time to give it (and you) a rest. I’ll continue to post photos on social media and, occasionally, on here – and I’ll also update the Yorkshire surnames section of the site once a month. Thanks for taking an interest in the blog – have a great summer. My Twitter feed is @paulinribb

While at my son’s house I asked if I could borrow a newspaper. He said, “We don’t have newspapers any more Dad, get with the times – use my Ipad.”
I’ll tell you what, that annoying fly never knew what hit it!

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St John’s, Langcliffe.

Memories (vague) of a real Dales pub

10 Dales photos here. Earlier in the week I was staring down Chapel-le-Dale. It was hazy in the distance – and hazy in my head. I was overlooking the Old Hill Inn (see pic below) and thinking, I’m sure it was just called the Hill Inn when I went there in the 1970s, but I suppose even pubs get old.

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I’ve not been inside for donkey’s years; if I do it’ll probably ruin the nostalgia. Back in the seventies it was full of walkers, climbers and cavers – and we drank lots of beer; there was nothing else on tap. If we were lucky there might have been a packet of crisps to share. I remember dozens of wet hiking socks and boots drying by the open fire.

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Ingleborough this week.

Daft cavers and climbers would test their skills by traversing the exposed internal stone walls like gigantic spiders, making their way to the outside loos. I don’t remember there being a closing time but somehow we (usually) ended up in our tents in the neighbouring field.

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High-contrast view down Chapel-le-Dale, one of my favourite dales.

Occasionally a guitar would appear and a bout of folk singing would break out; but the music genre depended very much on the clientele – my group of rowdy outdoor activities types, for example, preferred bawdy rugby songs.

dales
You’ll not be surprised to learn that Penyghent features again this week. The dominant hill of Ribblesdale puts on many faces (top photo in blog, seen from Langcliffe Scar), above from Selside and (below) as a backdrop for the Settle-Carlisle railway line. Good to see the steam excursions heading up and down the dales once more.

The pleasant weather had me out on a few local strolls to capture the colour, flora and wildlife …

St John’s, Langcliffe.


In other news: I’ve reluctantly switched from Yorkshire Tea to PG Tips and will remain that way until Yorkshire Tea remove plastic from their tea bags. So there.

My contributions to May’s Countryman and Down Your Way magazines include memories of the old kitchen ranges, a round-up of conservation news, and a look at the surname Holmes. Please support local magazine publishers: dalesman.co.uk  Latest magazines available in most newsagents and supermarkets.

Dales the place to be whatever the weather

dalesWhat a wet week in the Dales. But there are a lot worse places to be when it’s chucking it down, so mustn’t grumble. One of my favourite perching places is on Bowland Knotts where the Western Dales can be seen in all their glory. On Tuesday, while sitting on this gritstone outcrop at around 1400ft above sea level, I took this layer-cake of a photo. The Lakeland Fells weren’t visible this time but the Three Peaks were.

dalesThe above photo shows bleak Clapham Common from the same spot. Clapham is a few miles away but the smallholders from the parish were (maybe still are?) allowed to graze their stock here. The area was probably once forested and as I sat here I thought this would be the perfect kind of land on which to plant much-needed native trees.

With forests on my mind I drove down to Gisburn Forest and Stocks Reservoir for a few more photos and a stroll through the woods where the colours are rapidly changing.

Hoping in vain for another day without rain, later in the week I headed up Wenningdale to High Bentham and attempted the town’s Heritage Trail. A couple of miles in I had to turn back such was the rain and boggy ground. Another one to add to the list of dry-day walks.
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Referendum for Yorkshire?

Talk this week about Yorkshire becoming a self-governing country got me
wondering if all of us who voted to remain in Europe would also vote for our county to remain in GB should there ever be such a referendum. What would our stance be over immigrants from Lancashire and the North East? There would be no problem about passports for Yorkshire folk, as we never leave the county anyway, but would we allow people from London and the South East safe passage through to Scotland for their skiing or golfing trips, or even let them cross our air space? The Dalesman has a test to see if you qualify as a Yorkshire person – take it here. Ashamedly, for a former editor of the magazine, I only got 11/12 (I know nothing about films – had that question been about Yorkshire football I’d now be a fully qualified Tyke. More revision required.).

Dales
Last Sunday there were some brief moments of sunshine in the dales. Stackhouse in Ribblesdale looked a picture (above). Below is the river Ribble at Langcliffe.

The Ribble was a bubbling cauldron at Stainforth Foss one evening this week. I tried to capture the violence and chaos – and a rainbow.

Also, here’s a short video of the scene…

Dales churches (again)

Adding to my collection of Dales churches are these two – St Leonard’s at Chapel-le-dales and St Batholomew’s at Barbon.

Dales beasts, giants and teacakes – 10 pics


The dales took a back seat this week as I’ve been working on a project with my son. So it felt grand to take a short break one afternoon for a trip in the sun between Ribblesdale and Littondale. Penyghent, Plover Hill and Fountains Fell all looked glorious from the narrow Silverdale Road before clouds eventually descended and turned the scene grey.

The fascinating area around Giant’s Grave, where water for Penyghent Gill springs from any number of mysterious underground caverns through holes in the dishevelled looking rocks, was bursting with colour.

I believe the bright yellow plant is mountain saxifrage but I welcome any other suggestions from better educated botanists. It can be found all around the dales and contrasts well against the higher fells where the heather is becoming more and more purple. Littondale was as always picture perfect…

Dales

I timed my walk last Sunday with the arrival of Flying Scotsman near Langcliffe on the Settle-Carlisle line. It really looks a big beast close up.

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Flying Scotsman

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Dales differences

I spent my childhood in Yorkshire’s Heavy Woollen District and despite residing for much longer here in the Dales there are certain words and phrases I still use from those early years that give away my past. Not that I’ve ever tried to hide my upbringing in the working class mill-town area of the county of which I am very proud, but whoever you are and wherever you are from you will usually retain some of the local lingo. I brought up the subject of different dialects and sayings within Yorkshire when I edited Dalesman, and boy did it open a can of worms. Correspondence about certain words is probably still continuing many years on. I was reminded of all this during the week when I went into a local bakery and without thinking asked for teacakes. It’s not the first time I’ve done this and regretted it. I was brought up to believe a teacake was a plain, white, flat-ish, light, round of bread about the size of an adult hand. None of your bread cakes, balm cakes, stotties or whatever other fancy name you want to give them. And where I came from if you wanted one with fruit in it you asked for a currant teacake. Simple job then, but not now, not here in the Dales anyway. In the shop I’m questioned, slowly, like I’m some kind of half-witted alien until I end up just pointing to what I want, paying up and leaving the shop red-faced.

My surnames page is proving really popular with visitors from all over the world. Is your surname there yet?

 

Dales memories, chasing nymphs and Daleks

dales clouds

I went memory jogging in the Dales this week. I didn’t plan to – it just happened. As I was driving out of Hawes up the Fleet Moss road which links Wensleydale with Wharfedale a flashback to the 1970s occurred. I recalled the day when four of us were in an old Morris Minor heading up this road. The car was struggling on the long ascent so two of got out and walked up the rest of the hill. We were never far behind the car on our trek to the top.

dales road

dales sleddale
This is Sleddale, is one of the short narrow dales I like, squeezed between Dodd and Wether fells with just a few habitations at the top end. Hard to believe there was once coal mining and lime burning going on here. I parked the car at the junction with the Roman Cam Road which runs up from Ribblehead and carries on to Bainbridge. The newly tarred road here looks and feels out of place, like someone’s used an indelible black marker across a Turner painting. The surfaced lane terminates at the isolated settlement of Cam Houses. On the western side of the moor are fabulous views across to Whernside and Ingleborough. From Cam Houses to Gearstones the track is rough but has been smoothed out somewhat to facilitate the transportation by wagons of tons of wood. Sitka spruce was planted in Cam Wood during the late 1960s ‘as an investment opportunity’. Around a quarter of the site will remain to help maintain a red squirrel population.

dales cam

dales wensley

While here I witnessed the beginning of the Dalek invasion of the dales. Looks like they are making their way towards Wharfedale and have already exterminated a few sheep. One of the Daleks seems to have slipped on some sheep muck – perhaps their assault on the world is doomed for failure? Picture above shows the view the Daleks have of Wensleydale.

dales daleks

After wandering around with my head in the clouds for a while (see first photo in blog), looking at the changing light across Wensleydale, I trundled down through Oughtershaw and stopped by the infant River Wharfe to look up at Cowside Farm, pictured below along with my old pic from 2008. Back in 2008 I visited the then derelict farm before writing about an appeal in Dalesman aimed at raising funds for its restoration. The Landmark Trust co-ordinated the appeal and the farm reopened in 2011 as a splendid self-catering spot – see details here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q6BVOnpbsU

dales cowside

dales cowside old

After a couple of snaps in Langstrothdale I had a wee stop in Buckden where again my memory was jogged. I’d spent several weekends in the 1970s at Buckden House (and also the Buck Inn and the George at Hubberholme; oh, and the White Lion at Cray … not to forget the Fox & Hounds at Starbotton. I think we also enjoyed a few pints in Kettlewell, too… anyway, I digress) I was on an Outdoor Activities course. I was pleased to see the big old buckden househouse still buzzing with youngsters being introduced to the dales. I’d also spent a few bob on Mars Bars and Skittles at the old Post Office/village store in those days. I notice it is now for sale for anyone with half a million to spare. While here I also recalled a time even further back when I cycled up to Buckden and the dales from the Heavy Woollen District. The old picture isn’t of that visit but you get the idea.

buckden shopold buckden

 

Strangers in the dales

Through Wharfedale I turned off to Arncliffe and a reminder of the time at the Falcon Inn where I remember a couple of tourists staring mouths agape at being served beer from a jug. From cosy Arncliffe the road to Malham via Darnbrook transports you into a sparse, rugged and spectacular environment. Here strangely named places such as Scoska, Brootes, Clowder, Studdleber and Yew Cogar add to the aura. After I dropping down the Alpine-style road to Darnbrook and along the pastures I stopped in a passing place to let a car, well … pass. The young driver wound down the window and asked where the nearest city was. The expression on my face and high-pitched reply of ‘CITY?’ obviously alerted him to his mistake and he changed his query to ‘town’. A young girl in the passenger seat asked if they were in the Yorkshire Dales. I was a bit lost for words, to be honest. I named a few villages which received blank looks, then mentioned Grassington to which someone in the back seat acknowledged vague recognition. I then looked at the inexperienced driver and pointed to the narrow road behind me on the hillside with its 1 in 4 incline and hairpin bends and said ‘Are you sure you want to go up that?’ Anyway, there was nothing on the news later that day about missing day-trippers.

darnbrook

You can see the road from Darnbrook if you look closely at the picture, behind the sheep playing ‘king of the castle’.

Dales nymphs

I can’t think what reminded me of satyrs chasing nymphs, must have been some spam email I received. Anyway, the thought brought to mind the ebbing and flowing well at Giggleswick (bear with me). I’ve read somewhere that this phenomenon was created when a nymph who was being chased by a satyr prayed to the gods for help. They turned her into a spring of water, which still ebbs and flows with her panting breaths. Right, yes, of course they did. However, the well at the foot of Giggleswick Scar was once a big pull for Victorian tourists and other more ancient visitors to the Settle area. Nowadays you risk your life if you want to see the phenomenon, as it’s on the edge of the Buckhaw Brow road down which traffic speeds up to 60mph within inches of the well. I chose a quiet time to take this picture so you don’t have to get run over. It still ebbs and flows – not as much as it once did … I’m not going into a lengthy explanation here about the science behind it but you can find out more at
https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/ebbing-flowing-well-giggleswick-north-yorkshire-holy-well/

ebbing dales

Thursday morning was cold and frosty. I had a short walk across Moorhead Lane from the Silverdale Road above Stainforth over towards Helwith Bridge. The distant views down Ribblesdale with Pendle in the background were a little misty but to the north-west Ingleborough was clear. There were plenty of lapwings fussing around a field where the farmer had been muck spreading. I thought I heard a curlew, which would have been my first this year, but I didn’t spot it. They usually know when spring is on its way, but I still think winter will have sting its tail.

moorhead lane

I couldn’t let the blog go with a photo of Penyghent which looked fabulous again the blue sky this week. Shot taken from Selside.

pygtreeup

Flood lessons, forgotten lanes, fireworks and Ribblesdale photos

wharfe

The former newsman in me said I ought to go find some dramatic flood shots last week, but then I thought that would only be adding to the misery of the situation. Flooded fields, gushing rivers and waterfalls are often witnessed here in Ribblesdale but further down the valleys, as all that water looks for a way back to the sea, many homes, businesses and lives can be ruined as a consequence.

In Nature, every action causes a reaction. When us humans mess with Nature, be it through greed or naivety, we generally cause mayhem somewhere down the line. Hopefully, a lesson is being learned about what causes flooding besides awful weather: the value of flood plains and why they shouldn’t be built upon; the erroneous river-banking to increase landownership; the cutting down of trees which absorb water; the bad management of moorland; the slashing of funds needed for proper river dredging, etc. Our obsession with cars doesn’t help – we build roads without adequate consideration for natural water flow, create enormous car parks; remove gardens so cars can be parked… the list goes on.

In 2012 I wrote a Diary piece in Dalesman following some more dreadful flooding in Hebden Bridge – here’s an extract:
“ … many residents are partly blaming the management of the nearby Walshaw Moor where it is claimed that excessive burning of the blanket bog has been taking place. The estate owners, [headed by Boundary Mills businessman Richard Bannister] have also created new tracks through the 6,000ha estate which has increased the flow of water down the hillside. Sphagnum moss, Nature’s ‘sponge’ which slows the water coming off the moor, is rapidly disappearing as the estate owners try to create a habitat for red grouse which are then shot.
“The management of this estate has caused Natural England to raise serious concerns in recent years. However, in March, without a clear explanation, Natural England reached an agreement with the landowners over the estate management and dropped legal proceedings, including a prosecution on 43 grounds of alleged damage.
“Residents have set up a Ban the Burn campaign and are asking for support. They say: “We are aware that this is not just a local issue and it is not just about flooding. Sphagnum mosses are the main peat forming species providing vital carbon sequestration and carbon storage, but damaged UK peatlands currently release almost 3.7 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent per year of more than all the households in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Leeds combined.”

Three years on the battle to see sense continues, and the unfortunate residents of Calderdale are still suffering. This isn’t just me having a go at rich folk again. We could all do more… by protesting against stupidity and greed and offering practical help: simple things like helping rid your local beck of rubbish, keeping drains clear of leaves and other debris, making sure your garden has grass, trees and plants and not just covered with impervious Tarmac or decking. Rant over.

dentstation

bridges

The promise of blue sky tempted me out on Tuesday. Mist hung around the tops of the Three Peaks (Penyghent below) as I drove through Ribblesdale to Dentdale. The simple old road bridge over the beck is dwarfed by the viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle line at Cowgill. I turned up the steep, Third-World-road between Dent and Garsdale railway stations where the views in all directions are wonderful. I couldn’t imagine making a living on these wild, boggy moors – it seems some have tried and failed. Returning home via Appersett, which had been cut off by flooding the previous day, a patch of blue sky briefly lit up Stags Fell as though nothing untoward had happened over recent times.

oldfarm

pygcloud

A couple of centuries ago, the main road from Settle to the west went through Giggleswick, Lawkland and on towards Austwick and Clapham. These places are now all bypassed by bigger, faster roads. The old lanes and off-shoots provide a pleasant drive or walk in lovely countryside completely missed by the majority of motorists to this part of the Dales. Those who travelled the ancient route by horse and cart centuries ago would have probably stood mouth agape at the sight of the mainly Elizabethan Lawkland Hall (a private residence with a fascinating history). Visit www.hha.org.uk/Property/568/Lawkland-Hall

lawkland

My route was only just clear of water problems as I carried on through Austwick (pictured), and on to the hamlet of Wharfe (first photo in blog). The road back to Ribblesdale via Helwith Bridge was impassable the previous day because of flooding.

sheepaustwick

The following day I ascended – on foot – the steep slope from my house to Winskill Stones. It’s only a mile, but after eating and drinking excessively since my last trip up that hill I needed several ‘photo halts’. The light in the north-west was weird, probably something to do with incoming storm, while above and behind me was a bright blue sky.

unusuallight

A classic Winskill shot beckoned as that gallant tree, seemingly sprouting impossibly from the limestone, and Lower Farm standing out like a beacon set the scene.

classicwinskill

Descending back down the side of Stainforth Scar looking towards Settle I saw that the mysterious vanishing tarn was back again. Geological features, ancient field patterns, the rolling Ribble and distant Langcliffe Mill show the development of this area.

rivertarn

Impressive as they were, I felt a tad miffed watching London’s extravagant fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Knocking on £2m spent on 11 minutes, during which time half of London’s population stood with camera phones pointing towards the sky, taking blurry pictures that will end up looking like the remnants of a three-year-old’s birthday party spread. £2m can be raised for the capital’s hedonistic event but ask for brass for London’s homeless or the North’s flood victims and people look the other way. Call me a party-pooper if you want, but I’m sure we used to enjoy NYE just as much before all this excess.

Ribblesdale photos

For my final photo round-up of the year I’ve chosen from pictures taken between September and November inclusive. I’ve not included December as most can be viewed in recent posts. Have a happy new year and thanks for dropping by.

Three Peaks alternative & There must be Dales in Paradise

2peaksajbrownPrinted in the first Dalesman magazine (April 1939) is this little snippet describing an early Three Peaks walk – certainly not the route walkers would normally take today but an interesting one-way trek from Dent to Kilnsey.  A J Brown was a popular walking-book writer between the 1920s and 1950s. Striding Through Yorkshire, written in 1938, was one of his most popular books and can be picked up for a song on Amazon, Ebay or second-hand bookshops. He was a prolific walker – his book, Four Boon Fellows – a Yorkshire Tramping Odyssey (1928), was about a 100-mile walk he did one Easter weekend from Barnard Castle to Ilkley.
I’m not sure how far Brown’s Three Peak walk was – my guess is between 35-40 miles depending on the exact route. Not bad for a day’s trek which included three of Yorkshire’s highest mountains (and two pubs).
hurtlepotInterestingly, the route took in Weathercote Cave. I visited neighbouring Hurtle Pot (pictured) on Monday, close to the Ribblehead Viaduct Navvies church of St Leonard’s in Chapel-le-Dale. Nowadays Weathercote Cave, just a few hundred yards north of Hurtle Pot, following the mysterious disappearing Chapel Beck, can only be visited by gaining permission from the landownstlener.
In days gone by Weathercote Cave was a major tourist attraction –  visitors paid to view the spectacle, described as follows by Victorian writer Harry Speight:
‘The rocks here ascend to a vertical height of 108 feet, and the water is seen leaping from a large cavity 33 feet below the surface, and, expanding into a misty sheet of bright dissolving particles, drops 75 feet below with such tremendous violence into the stony whirlpool at our feet, that the noise and reverberation of the clashing waters render conversation an impossibility.’
The painter Turner visited the cave several times and it has been described as one of the wonders of England, especially when the beck is in full spate. However, the place was closed to the public in 1971 following the death of a visitor.
If you can’t obtain permission then the next best way to see Weathercote Cave is to visit
http://oldfieldslimestone.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-darling-of-early-tourists-cave-this.html

Back to A J Brown – I was reminded of  him at Bill Mitchell’s funeral when one of Brown’s poem’s was mentioned. Anyone who loves the Dales will relate to Brown’s sentiments. Here is the full verse:
There must be dales in Paradise
or what would a dalesman do?
There must be dales in Paradise
to wander through and through
Bold Pen-y-gent and stern Whernside
are wondrous fair to see
And bonny Dentdale’s sunny slopes
are paradise for me.
To feel the rhythm of the pace that
wanders far and free!
To stride rough pastures of Cam Fell
and Langstrothdale so fair!
On steps above Wharfe’s waters bright
to breath the moorland air
Is nectar to tired townsmen who
the asphalt deserts flee.
But when we’ve done with wandering
amongst these well loved hills.
When Earth has loosed its hold on us,
its blessings and its ills.
We’ll find familiar pathways as
we reach fair Zion’s strand.
And our feet will know the blessings
of that beauteous Beulah Land.

Sunsets, tarns, top views, trains and therapy

This week I took far more photos of trains than would normally be considered as healthy. Therapy has been suggested but in my defence it was the final week of the summer steam train season on the Settle-Carlisle line which runs close to my home. I’ve bunched a few of my favourites from Wednesday and Thursday at the foot of the blog. The helicopter, however, was not the form of transport I was expecting to see while waiting at Ribblehead Viaduct.
viacopter
After writing my previous blog on Sunday I walked up Ribblesdale to Stainforth and back to Langcliffe via the scar and Lower Winskill. There’d been thunderous storms the previous night and a new ‘tarn’ emerged at the foot of the scar. I suspect that eons ago there was once a tarn covering much more of this area as well as in many other parts of the dale.
newtarn
The calm after the storm brought about a fabulous sunset, and once again the camera went into overdrive. Here are a couple of my favourites looking west from Winskill Stones.
winsunsetsheepsunset
Wednesday saw me visit one of the old quarries on Ingleborough Nature Reserve where Nature is gradually taking over once again. This will one day be a super place for studying wildlife, plants and enjoying the landscape. There’s a well-designed seat which follows the contours of the background hills of Park Fell, Simon Fell and Ingleborough as well as portraying the underlying geology. There’s no doubting the major wind direction in this area – Whernside in the background.
windwhernquarryseatinrquarryquarryfall
I always know that summer is coming towards its end when the rowan berries add an orange tinge to the dale’s scenery. They sit well against the grey walls, barns and scars, contrasting perfectly against green pastures. This was taken on Thursday and shows Stainforth Scar.
orange
This week saw the publication of Dalesman’s Top 50 Yorkshire Views, as voted for by its readers. The county is spoilt for choice, of course, and we all have differing reasons for liking particular scenes. The number one view is that from Sutton Bank, looking across Lake Gormire, the York Plain and beyond. A cracking panorama which I suspect also came out tops because of the viewpoint being easily accessible. I prefer hillier landscapes with limestone scars, walls, barns, pastures: typical Yorkshire Dales scenes. Also, I like the element of surprise; being able to walk around a corner or reach the top of a hill where a whole ‘new’ view opens up before me and takes my breath away. I’ve seen so many of these around the Dales that I don’t think I could ever choose a favourite.  Check out the Dalesman website/buy the magazine – now on sale. www.dalesman.co.uk

As promised, more trains. Time to google ‘steam train therapy’.
trainpyg2traincloseviatrainwide

Shame, blame, radar, birds and trains

housebleaLast Sunday was one of those grey Dales days which have been all too familiar this summer. Nevertheless I drove to Ribblehead where often on a summer Sunday there can be more people than on Blackpool prom – but it wasn’t too bad. Knowing that a steam train was due to be heading back from Carlisle I walked up to Blea Moor until my head almost reached the height of the low cloud. Approaching Blea Moor signal box I recalled a diary piece I wrote around five years ago for Dalesman concerning the lonely house which is situated next to the box. It was in a poor state and the ‘garden’ was covered in tons of scrap metal – a real eyesore. This was the first impression many travelers got of Ribblesdale as they entered from the north-west and so the owner was asked to clean it up, which he did to a fashion. As seen in my pic above, It doesn’t look too good again today and the house seems deserted – a great shame.

saltpygHowever, looking back down the dale I managed to capture something more cheerful as a brief shaft of sunlight illuminated the valley while Penyghent remained shrouded in mist.

birdsbathI could hear the cat growling while he was sitting on the internal window ledge. This usually means there are birds outside which he can’t get at. Together we watched a group of sparrows and finches having a bath in the puddles –  but our thoughts about ‘capturing’ them differed somewhat.

traingiggIt’s steam train season here in Ribblesdale and during the peak summer period there can be five a week passing up and down the Settle-Carlisle railway. They attract people to the area and help keep the grand old line open. The politically correct may consider these great machines as eco-unfriendly. If they were running an hourly service every day of the year I might agree with them. But I’d still rather see one of these chugging up the dale than a hundred polluting cars any day. On Tuesday I captured this one as it was leaving Settle.

trainais1With a good forecast for Wednesday I’d planned to pollute the dales myself by driving over to Wensleydale through Mallerstangdale, then head back via Birkdale and Swaledale. Perfect timing saw me meeting another steamer on the line near Aisgill (above pic) where the line leaves Yorkshire and enters Westmorland. This is the final major climb for the train and a popular location for train buffs.

warningOn clear days the views as you climb the road out of Nateby are breathtaking. With the Eden Valley, North Pennines, Howgill Fells then bleak Birkdale and Ravenstonedale plus the uppermost reaches of Swaledale all visible, this journey is one of the best in the dales. In the distance can be seen the Air Traffic Control’s radar station on top of Great Dun Fell (2782 ft), in the North Pennines. The private road which ascends to the ‘giant golf ball’ is the highest surfaced road in England. Slightly further up the Pennine chain is Mickle Fell (2585 ft) whose summit is the highest point in Yorkshire (proper boundary).thwaite

Sadly I couldn’t manage the rest of Swaledale as the road was shut from near Thwaite (where I took the above pic) because of work on Usha Gap Bridge. Not for the first time a vehicle failed to negotiate the narrow bridge – and also Ivelet Bridge further down the road. These bridges weren’t built for big loads so the authorities need to do one of two things: forget about preserving the past and knock them down and build ones suitable for the 21st century; or ban unsuitable vehicles from the road. Knocking some common sense into drivers might also be a solution.

heronflightAfter being in the car for such a long period I needed a walk that evening and managed to capture this heron when it dashed passed me as I walked by the Ribble. Technically it’s not a good shot but it does show the superb aerodynamic nature of this ancient bird.

fieldlangThursday: the farmer created a new view on my regular walk by cutting one of his fields, while back in the village the memorial fountain was colourfully dressed for today’s VJ Service.

langmenflowLo and behold, I also encountered another train this time completely by accident. As I walked to the Hoffman Kiln in Langcliffe I saw photographers waiting for the arrival of the engine Galatea. The footpath is right next to the line and you can feel the ground rumble as the great monster gets up close and personal.

galatealangYesterday was a big day in the village as the efforts of talented locals were on view at the annual show. Sadly I was otherwise engaged but I did participate and was lucky enough to earn a first for three of my photos and a second for this black and white photo of New Street…langcliffeBW