I didn’t know until this week that someone could become a ‘honorary Yorkshireman’. The old notion that unless your Yorkshire lineage stretched back as far as the Viking invasion you were, and always will be, considered as an offcumden, seems to have been chucked out with the bath water. On Monday, a bloke called Gary Barlow was awarded the distinction of Yorkshireman at what appears to have been a very un-Yorkshire-like OTT event put on by the Welcome to Yorkshire tourist organisation. Apparently, this Barlow fellow was once part of a popular beat-combo ensemble called Take That, and his credentials for being upgraded from Ordinary Cheshire Chap to Honorary Yorkshireman is due to him writing songs about our Calendar Girls. Now I’m not knocking Welcome to Yorkshire, who do a splendid job promoting the county, but I wonder if they are overstepping their jurisdiction here. Just who has the right to declare someone as being ‘Yorkshire’? And surely a pie and pea supper followed by a bingo session at a village hall would have been a more appropriate occasion to bestow such recognition? I wonder if Mr Barlow (Hon Yks) is now advocating a change of name to ‘Teck That Pal’?
Top picture: a giant caterpillar crawls out of the mist over the Settle landscape this week.
I attended the memorial service to a real Yorkshireman on Tuesday when the folk of Settle and district paid their respects to the late Bill Mitchell at St John’s. Bill attended the chapel for many years and was also a lay Methodist preacher in the district. The place was packed – he will certainly be missed in these parts but thankfully he leaves a great legacy.
I was itching to get out into the Dales by Thursday, and with the forecasters saying there could be some sunshine in the morning I found myself heading up Penyghent early doors. Just a quick trip up-and-down the pointy bit, starting from Dalehead Farm on the Stainforth to Halton Gill road. The forecasters didn’t mention there would be intermittent sun/cloud, which led to scene changes happening every few minutes. I got all the way to the top without meeting another soul, and ate my chocolate digestives alone beside a very windswept and mist-covered trig point. Neighbouring Fountains Fell was completely enveloped by cloud, while the view down Ribblesdale offered little by way of photography. You can just about recognise distant Littondale in the above picture during a brief cloud break-up.
In his lovely book, Summat and Nowt, Bill Mitchell says Penyghent from this angle looks like a marooned whale. He continues: “From the west it takes on the appearance of a recumbent lion with splendid mane. The nose-end enhances the view from the Ribble bridge between Settle and Giggleswick. A local philosopher spent so long contemplating this view that someone asked him what great thoughts had been going through his mind. He replied: ‘I was just thinking how much Penyghent resembles an upturned pudding dish’.”
I sometimes see the great hill as a partly-eaten layer cake. On Friday it looked like icing sugar had been sprinkled over (above). Last weekend those Met Office types had predicted snow on them thar hills by the end of the week. There was the aforementioned light coating on Penyghent and also on Whernside, but nothing on Ingleborough by the time I drove down Chapel-le-Dale.
Regular readers will know of my fascination for changing light in the Dales – and are probably fed up to the back teeth with me mentioning it – however, my passion was satisfied once more near Ingleton as the clouds parted and the landscape around Twisleton Scar briefly lit up. The spectacle is difficult to capture on a still photo and I wish I’d set the camera to video mode:
I continued my journey home through Clapham along the old back road to find the village’s normally sedate falls sporting a whole new persona following the heavy rain. This time I did switch to video – there’s a 23-second movie here:
If you can’t be bothered with going to Youtube for a video then here’s a still…
As I take in the beauty and peace of the Dales countryside I often wonder who will look after it for future generations, thus allowing them to do likewise. Judging by the actions of some fellow human beings recently, I can’t help but think we are still too primitive a species to be left in charge of this beautiful, fragile planet. We kill each other indiscriminately instead of adequately pooling wealth, resources and knowledge; we exterminate plants, birds and animals which keep Nature in balance; we continually destroy and exploit natural assets for selfish gain. Does anyone actually know what – if there is one – the long-term goal is for humanity? Sometimes it’s difficult not to feel depressed about such issues. Thankfully I’m lucky enough to live in a peaceful part of the world and still have the freedom and ability to enjoy and appreciate its precious gifts.
Meanwhile, the rain continues to pour down here in Ribblesdale. Time to put on the waterproofs and see how my part of the world is coping…