I was annoyed that I couldn’t get to Malham to capture the rare sight of water tumbling over the Cove last weekend. The road from home to Malham was blocked, and with floods all around Settle I didn’t want to risk a longer journey. Settle bypass was also closed and the alternative route through town and up Buckhaw Brow was under water in parts. I did walk up to Giggleswick Scar and snapped the water lying in the Ribble valley floodplain. The former Giggleswick Tarn (top pic) also made a rare appearance. In 1863 a chap called Joseph Taylor came across a medieval dug-out canoe while carrying out drainage works on the site of the former Giggleswick Tarn — just thought I’d tell you.
While I was scuttling about around the old tip beneath Stainforth Scar, trying to find a decent spot to take the waterfall photo, I spotted this tiny fungus growing on the tip of a fence post. Nature never ceases to amaze me. I swear I noticed a couple of tiny dancing pixies but I put that down to the previous night’s red wine.
You will have noticed that I’m slightly better at photographing things that stay still for long periods. For three days this week I visited the millpond at Langcliffe Locks trying to capture a spectacular kingfisher which I first glimpsed on Tuesday. There was another flash of blue, inches above the water, on Thursday but I was too slow to get a picture. Friday I loitered around again but didn’t see it. I was distracted briefly by a squirrel scampering across a wall but once more I was too slow focusing on the speedy little beggar. Later it popped up on fence just after I put the camera away. It was definitely smirking.
While in Stainforth I nipped down to the Foss which was in an excited mood; a thunderous, boiling cauldron in fact, as the Ribble swept through like a tidal wave first beneath the ancient arches of the packhorse bridge and then over the deep, rocky precipice.
The river was much calmer on Friday after its exertions of the previous few days. I often wonder why the Ribble rushes so much in these parts — you’d think it would saunter through Yorkshire and push on as quickly as possible through Lancashire.
Yesterday we were hit by snow and yet more rain. You’ll be starting to think this blog is just about the weather, but it really has dominated life recently in the dale and beyond. At least some rainbows around Ribblesdale helped briefly brighten the place up. The Christmas lights in Settle are also cheering — let’s hope the weather doesn’t totally ruin the year’s best week for local traders.
Like most people — at least those living north of the M62 — my thoughts have been with those affected by the storm and floods in the North West. Sometimes there’s not a lot we can do about taming Nature and we just have to cope with it — as the good folk of Cumbria seem to be doing: help if you can… http://www.cumbriafoundation.org
Understanding flood plains and leaving them well alone is, however, something people CAN control. Yet a recent report by Greenpeace states that almost half of those areas fast-tracked for new housing development by the government are on floodplains. On top of this, the number of staff in the floods and coastal erosion risk management section of the Environment Agency has been reduced dramatically in the past three years, along with the agency’s funding. Trying to solve one problem by creating another is very poor management of the country’s affairs.
It seems that I am one of the few people in the world without a smart phone. I’m really old fashioned and still use a computer (one of those things that sit on a desk with a big screen – you remember them, don’t you?). It appears that the flipbook of Ingleton I produced for last week’s blog doesn’t work too well for those who prefer squinting at a tiny screen and swishing it around in circles to avoid reflections. So I’ve produced a more ‘mobile-friendly’ version here…
For anyone who has more money than sense and owns one of those watch-screen-thingies then… tough, get out more and go see Ingleton for yourself (smiley do-da wotsit here).