There are 12 Dales photos in this week’s blog. Yep, not just the one shown above. I had a message from someone who has been seeing notifications about my blog for over a year, saying that she’d only just realised there were actually many more photos to view if she clicked on the appropriate link. Clicking on the website link also shows other goodies. Enough of this self-promotion… it’s been a mixed weather week in the Dales but sometimes the light at this time of the year makes you appreciate oft-visited local scenes even more.
I’ve taken countless pics from Winskill, like the top photo showing Penyghent, and the one above of the farm, Smearsett Scar and Ingleborough. But I can’t stop myself from going back to see the scene in different light and conditions. The view is only a few minutes from home – and I can be quite lazy at times. Here are three more taken from the road between Langcliffe and Malham during the same late afternoon light:
Dales planning dilemma
There’s an interesting planning application being put forward in my village of Langcliffe. The owners of Bowerley, a large Victorian mansion which now houses privately owned and rented accommodation, want to build a subterranean eco-friendly house on – or should that be under – part of the 3.2 acre garden to live in during their retirement. It’s an interesting concept for this part of the Dales and throws up something of a dilemma for planners. Although just outside the main village which is inside the National Park, Bowerley is still in a conservation area. Subterranean eco-friendly housing usually means plenty of aluminium and glass so I wonder how this fits into the definition of ‘conservation’. The applicants say the house won’t be visible other than from a distance at the other side of the valley – and from passengers on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. There are no protected trees under threat and as far as I am aware no great-crested newts live there. I have no problem with seeing something from the 21st century in the mix of buildings and I’m all for eco-living, as long as there isn’t a negative impact on surroundings or neighbours. I do wonder if being underground so close to the Settle-Carlisle the earth will move for them when the Flying Scotsman hurtles past? https://publicaccess.cravendc.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OVYH5ZFKG8R00
I needed to pop over to Hawes this week but it wasn’t the most photogenic of days. But I did capture the beck, church (see further below) and Gayle Mill.
Nearer home I took these showing ancient field systems, a view up Ribblesdale and a fine tree silhouette:
Two more Dales churches this week: St Wilfrid’s in Burnsall has a lovely setting beside the river Wharfe. There’s been a church here since at least 700AD. The present Grade I Listed building shows additions and alterations from the 13th through to the 19th century.
St Margaret’s church in Hawes is Grade II Listed and was built in 1851. It replaced an older chapel of ease. Most photos you’ll see of it feature the slab path to and from Gayle. So, here’s another:
I spent a great deal of my working life looking at photographs, deciding which should appear in the publications I worked on. Often the decision was down to the story told by the photo rather than its artistic or technical merits. When all those points were satisfied in one shot the chances were I wouldn’t be able to afford to pay for it. Now I’m retired but I still enjoy looking at photos. The internet provides a wealth of photographic material for me to view (get your minds out of the gutter, please!) but I also love visiting photo exhibitions where the art of printing and presenting also comes into play. On a very wet Wednesday I went to Wensleydale to see a photo exhibition by Selside photographer Hilary Fenten at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes. She captures the essence of the Dales extremely well and obviously has a natural talent. Seeing such work helps inspire me with my own photography. The top picture showing Horton Scar Lane tells the story of Thursday – see later on in the blog.
The rain was pouring down in Hawes, as can be seen in this shot of the beck through the town centre.
And back home in Ribblesdale, this shot was taken with a shutter speed of 0.3000s which tells you how quickly the Ribble was traveling over Langcliffe Weir.
While the river was raging like a good un just a few yards away, Langcliffe Mill pond looked serene. Stainforth Scar in the distance had a cloud for a hat almost all day…
Many folk had a fine sunset on Wednesday but a combination of low cloud and fog here created a strange light and the chance to take a direct photo of the sun.
The previous day had seen clear blue skies as I strolled into Settle from Langcliffe via the high path. Grazing on the steep hills is donkey work, but the animal is perfectly developed for such land with its long back legs and neck.
I always think Castleberg rock provides a dramatic welcome to the town centre…
The forecasters predicted the rain would cease on Thursday afternoon so I planned a stroll up Horton Scar Lane from Horton village to see the water pouring into Hull Pot. The main waterfall was a great sight and there were smaller falls seeping out through the sides, making it look like a leaking dam about to burst. However, there wasn’t much of a collection of water in the bottom of this great hole so there must have been plenty of room underground to take it away down the hillside to eventually join the Ribble. I’ve witnessed water up to about halfway up the hole while other people tell me they’ve seen it full. It’s an awesome place and deadly if you are unaware of its presence on a misty day. At 300ft long, 60ft wide and 60ft deep, Hull Pot is thought to be the largest (natural) hole in England – although personally I think that title belongs to London.
I watched the cloud clear to reveal Penyghent but I wasn’t tempted to head up to the top – my excuse being it may well have started to get dark on the way back (honest).
The small wood near Ribblebanks at Langcliffe always puts on its coat of many colours around this time of year and is best seen from the opposite hillside above the railway line. The view over the stoneworks isn’t so pleasant but then this part of Ribblesdale, with all its natural resources, has always been home to industry with quarries, limeworks and mills providing employment for centuries.
Hallowe’en passed by quietly apart from when I was preparing for bed. I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw a grotesque grey-haired old man looking back at me. Where did my youthful looks go?
(Bear with me during this lengthy blog – the sun’s gone in now and I’m reminiscing for my own amusement about the week just gone)
Two fine days in a row last week – or, what we in these parts call summer – saw me out and about with the camera once again. The pastures beneath Stainforth Scar shone like gold lamé carpets. They brought out the poet in me and I penned the following verse – but re-reading it now I wish the poet had stayed inside and had another glass of something strong. Choose me! Choose me! Plead the buttercups to a bee. Come by! Come by! Hears the languid butterfly. Hopeful hosts of gold — Such a sight to behold.
Further up the dale, Dry Beck Farm, which I must have photographed a hundred times, lured me in once more. I made a mental note to put together some kind of time-lapse sequence showing the shot through the seasons … one of those jobs I’ll probably never get round to. There’s a splendid beech tree in one of the fields – its fresh foliage looked vibrant against the meadows, limestone walls and bright blue sky.
Horton was busy with Three-Peakers – must be the time of year for charity fundraisers. Even fans of my footie team, Huddersfield Town, had groups out on the fells raising cash to help deprived youngsters in the Kirklees Community. I thought of those walking the 24 gruelling miles to raise a few pounds to help the under privileged while their idols were idling away their time on a beach somewhere earning up to £??k a week.
I stopped near Selside, close to the spot – a notorious bend on a hill – where a motorcyclist had sadly died after crashing into a road sign just a few days earlier. Last year a few hundred yards away, I came across another accident where a biker was killed. Dales roads weren’t meant for thrill seekers. I mentioned this on Facebook where locals added words of sadness for those involved, their own grief at witnessing and encountering these scenes, and also their annoyance at not being able to get home because of the road closure.
I’m not sure what the collective noun for train photographers is (an Orak, perhaps?) but when I saw a gathering at Ribblehead I presumed something important must be imminent. Here it is. Anyway, nice view of Whernside. I took in the exhibition at Ribblehead station while I was there – I’d been before but failed to notice the stained glass windows on previous visits. There are several depicting old railway names and emblems plus this one which lines up nicely with Ingleborough.
I motored on through Widdale which seems to be rapidly losing its clothes. the pine and spruce forests planted during the last century are gradually all being replaced by the kind of tree species that once thrived here before Man brought his hatchet into the dale.
Hawes was waking up when I travelled through on Thursday, even the ice cream sales had not begun but the parking chaos had; delivery trucks haphazardly abandoned amongst dirty farm Landrovers and unwary tourists looking for a free spot. The first bus full of grey-haired visitors was attempting to barge its way through to Wensleydale Creamery.
My mission was to try get a decent picture of the Buttertubs. The pass was quiet apart from the sheep who despite having hundreds of square miles of perfectly good moorland to wander over, prefer to meander aimlessly down the middle of the road. The mums appear unkempt at the moment with their fleeces falling apart at the seams. Their ’teenage’ lambs stay a few paces behind looking embarrassed and thinking ‘Is she really going out looking like that? I hope I don’t see any of my friends’.
I was lucky to grab one of the few parking spots at the Buttertubs which were dark and cool and had only a minor fall of water echoing in its depths. I always fear for the road’s foundations here as it spans the chasms but perhaps it’s best not to ponder too long and instead head down into Swaledale. I’ll have to try again at Buttertubs as the pics didn’t turn out too well.
Muker was thrang as Throp’s wife; I was passing through to capture the hay meadows and barns. Mainly comprising buttercups and daisies at this time of year the pastures were nevertheless a beautiful sight which I never tire of seeing. Made a mental note to come back shortly for a greater variety of plants.
Parking near Low Row, I headed for the river on the Crackpot road where I once again gazed enviously at a lovely row of cottages which overlook the Swale and the smart bridge. There’s a delightful path (partially blocked at present due to work by Yorkshire Water) which runs beside the river. The path actually goes along the top of a wall for a 100 yards or so. I felt as though I needed one of those vehicles ahead of me warning oncoming traffic of a ‘wide load’. I’d no need to worry as I didn’t see another soul for the next hour. There’s a nature trail here; flora and fauna abound, there were rabbits, too, and I heard all kinds of birds accompanied by the sound a low, brown river cackling over rocks and mini falls.
There was a small market in Reeth and every parking spot with a mile radius seemed to be taken, even on the village greens. It’s a pleasant village but I needed a bit more solitude today and headed for one of the glorious passes between Swaledale and Wensleydale.
Don’t ask me to pick a favourite road between the two dales because they are all spectacular. On Friday I took the one from Grinton over to Redmire. The lonely isolated grouse moors are certainly not where I’d choose to be on a winter’s night but this day a wonderful place to get out of the car and sit, look and listen to the cries of curlew and lapwing cries and the wind rushing through the heather which was still brown but showing signs of budding in sheltered area.
The previous day I’d taken on the pass between Askrigg and Muker/Gunnerside where I came face to face with a car on a 1 in 4, 45 degree bend. The other driver looked terrified so I reversed blindly, praying there was nothing following. Last year I took the Satron road – more of a track really but it is surfaced – which runs parallel to, and joins on to, this one. It’s not signposted and feels like a private road to a farm but it is a public way (I think!). It’s scary and you require a gate-opening passenger and someone to mop your brow. The views of Wensleydale dropping into Askrigg are vast and I was lucky to capture a glimpse of Semerwater across the wide valley.
Heading back to Ribblesdale I was tempted to park up for a walk to Snaizeholme and see if the red squirrels would come out to pose for me but it was getting late. When I returned home my neighbour’s clematis was basking in the late evening light … sadly, I’ve not seen much of the sun since.
The unmistakeable outline of Ingleborough greets those motorists driving from Hawes towards Ingleton near Ribblehead. This afternoon the sun was getting low in the west; there was icy blue sky to the east, while snow clouds were building up all around me. There’ll be much more of the white stuff here by the morning.
By the time I’d taken this photo those two Jaffa cakes had melted. The cuppa was welcome though here at Ottiwell Lodge, Snaizeholme, near Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. I’d come to see how the population of wild red squirrels were doing. I spotted a few of the cuties but the little beggars weren’t in the mood for posing for the camera and I certainly wasn’t quick enough to capture them in focus! The scenery of course was wonderful and the temperature in the wood very pleasant.
Driving through Swaledale this morning I doubted there was a better place I could possibly be. I travelled up Ribblesdale, in amongst the Three Peaks, before heading over Buttertubs Pass and negotiating my way around sheep that had serious suicidal tendencies (they were sunbathing in the middle of the road). Almost got run over myself while taking some photos of the meadows near Gunnerside (shame the Kings pub has now closed). Then, in sharp contrast to the neatly walled enclosures of the dale, it was over the wild open heather moorland to Redmire in Wensleydale and back home via Bolton Castle and Hawes. Yorkshire writer Alfred J Brown (1894-1969) once wrote: ‘One of the charms of the Yorkshire Dales is that they are all characteristically different, like lovely sisters of the same family.’ Nicely put.