Sheepish in the Dales and a waste of space

dales sheepUsually at this time in my Dales photo blog I’ll offer a ‘best of’ selection from throughout the year. Instead, for the next three weeks I’ll be presenting a different theme using photos taken during 2016. No prizes for guessing this week’s Dales theme…

dales sheep

dales sheep

dales sheep

dales sheep
Waste of space

This week I received a letter from our MP, Julian Smith, in response to a letter I’d sent regarding the proposed closure of Horton-in-Ribblesdale school. Of course, he didn’t give any personal opinions or his own thoughts on the closure but he did include a response he had received from North Yorkshire County Council. There was nothing more in the tangled reply than I hadn’t already read elsewhere, but I was interested in the paragraph reproduced above. The lack of spaces between some of the words has me wondering if this is part of the cutbacks now facing local government. I imagined the following memo being distributed: ‘Management is concerned about the number of spaces being used in correspondence and therefore from today all letters, memos, emails, blogs, Tweets and Facebook posts must contain at least 10 per cent fewer spaces. Thiswillnotonly savetimeand wearandtear oncomputerkeyboards butwillalsosave paper. However, the saving of man hours means that we will have to let one of you go, so wearelooking forsomeone totake voluntaryredundancy.’ The management.

Train of thought

I’m a great fan of the Woodland Trust and once again this year I’ll not be sending out Christmas cards (bah humbug) but will make a small donation to the trust to help with saving trees. I was dismayed to discover a while back that the trust agreed in principal to the building of the HS2 railway – in my opinion it is an expensive vanity project which will churn up the countryside, destroy farms, homes and ancient woodland, increase pollution, drain rescources and cost you and me billions of pounds just so those who can afford it will get to London half an hour quicker. Far less money would be needed to improve the existing network.
However, at least the Woodland Trust is putting up a fight against some of the HS2 proposals – you can read more about on the link below. Their main concerns are: 1. HS2 Ltd has failed to identify ancient woodland before selecting route options for Phase 1; 2. The compensation proposed for loss of ancient woodland is woefully inadequate; 3 Phase 1 could set a precedent for future infrastructure project, including subsequent phases of HS2.
Ancient woodlands and the ecosystems created around them are irreplaceable – think of it as Brimham Rocks … would you agree to destroying this ancient landscape to run a railway line through it?,YXGL,4VVIR1,2QT4O,1

Friends asked if I’d send them some photos of Langcliffe as a reminder of a recent visit to the dales. Instead, I put together a little calendar for them and had a couple printed by one of those quick-print internet companies. One of the calendars is on show in St John’s church so villagers can take a look should they ever need reminding about where they live!

Yes, this week’s theme was cows.

Heads up for Dales sky; MP or NMP?

Dales rainbowingleWe all love looking at the Dales. But this week I raised my eyes a little higher to take in the natural wonders up above. Incredibly, the first two photos in this week’s blog were taken just 8 minutes apart. The stormy ones below of a shower passing over Ingleborough were taken in Chapel-le-Dale. Then I captured the rainbow on another side of Ingleborough when I stopped along the old Ingleton to Clapham road.

Dales shower

Dales rainbow2

Dales ingle2

Earlier in the week I was loitering around Winskill Stones, as you do, just waiting for the sunset when the sky turned pink – and yellow – and blue – and all sorts of colours in between. It was cold and spectacular, both looking west towards sunset and north to Penyghent where the clouds took on the general hue. Beautiful.

Dales pink2

Dales sun2

Dales pink

Conditions were such a contrast to this week last year when we witnessed some of the worst flooding in the Dales for many years. I dug out these photos I took looking down Ribblesdale from Giggleswick Scar to remind me of how widespread the floods were – and how Nature had created flood plains for such events.

Dales storm

Dales storm2

Lights of a different kind caught my attention in Settle. The town is looking very festive at present and one shop window almost had me feeling quite Christmassy. Snow on the ground and a child wrapped up in winter gear with nose pressed up against the glass might just have swung it, but fortunately I was able to continue on my way in my usual grumpy humbug manner.

Dales lights1

Dales lights2

Dales shop

MP or NMP (Not My Problem)

Never would I want to be an MP. But if I was, I would always aim to give an honest opinion on any subject that affected or concerned my constituents. Unfortunately, my own MP, Julian Smith, doesn’t seem to be of the same mind. This year I have written to him on a few matters including fracking and more recently concerning the proposed closure of Horton-in-Ribblesdale school. Each time I have received predictable replies stating his party’s policies or completely washing his hands of the issues I raise. I wanted to know HIS opinions. I wanted to know whether I could trust HIM to act on behalf of constituents, no matter what their political persuasion might be or whether his party had a view on the subject or not. He is a party whip and scared stiff of rocking the Tory boat. In my eyes that is not properly serving the people who pay his wages. Regarding the school closure he writes ‘this is a matter for North Yorkshire County Council’. I knew that, Mr Smith … but are YOU in favour of or against the closure? Are YOU concerned about the future of Dales villages and what are YOU doing about it? What are YOU doing to ensure Dales children and families are being best served by the education authority? Will YOU back your constituents who are rallying against the closure and put pressure on the council? Always toeing the party line might enhance an MP’s career prospects within the party but will it gain any respect amongst constituents?

Dales in print

On Thursday it was good to see David and Janet Mitchell at my favourite Settle venue, The Folly. They were promoting the new Dalesman book Bill Mitchell’s Yorkshire, which I can highly recommend – see reviews. I also had two articles published this week – one in Down Your Way concerning the Forget-me-Not Fund’s war time Christmas parcels. The other appears in The Countryman and concerns countryside connections uncovered while researching family history. The Countryman article features my photo of the lovely Dales church of St Mary’s, Long Preston.

Dales cman_0212

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