My encounter with the Dales reds

Ten photos from the Dales and beyond this week. On Wednesday I recalled heading from Hawes to Snaizeholme while on duty for Dalesman. The red squirrel trail had just opened. It’s a fair old trek from Hawes railway station up to the viewing area and on that first visit in miserable weather I did wonder if a very fleeting glimpse of a distant red was worth the effort. I’ve been several times since – usually from a closer starting point – and been utterly enthralled. This week’s visit was the best so far. Not only were there many more reds scuttling about, but they were also more visitor friendly. I moved slightly away from the popular viewing area and stood quietly beside a fence, my right hand resting on a gate. I noticed some movement to my right and there was a young red sat on the fence just a few feet from me. I didn’t go for my camera but stayed very still. It continued towards me along the fence, ran over my hand and under my nose along the gate before jumping into the undergrowth. Two more chased each other at such a speed that neither me nor the camera could keep up – I have a lot of very blurred images to remind me of the experience. Top photo shows part of Snaizeholme Wood.

dales red
Not as blurry as the others…
dales geese
The noisy honking of Canada Geese echoes around Snaizeholme
dales jeep
Gradually merging into its surroundings in the Dales at Snaizeholme.

A day earlier I left the dales to meet some old friends over Huddersfield way. I enjoy the rugged Pennine moors and moody sky here – and my visits are made even more memorable when I see the town’s football team defy the odds to see off some of the league’s big spenders.

dales huddersfield
Not the dales… above and below, two views from Castle Hill as the light was fading

dales viaduct
A clear view of Dent Head Viaduct on Wednesday in the Dales
dales railway
Goods train passes down Ribblesdale beneath Penyghent, Wednesday
dales winskill
Subdued evening scene from Winskill this week.
In the middle distance is the farm famously sandwiched between the two sides of the M62 motorway as seen from Ripponden Road.

Where the wind blows… and blows… and blows

castle hill

Whenever I’m around Huddersfield way and I have the time, I’ll nip up to the Victorian tower on Castle Hill and remind myself of the fantastic 360 degree view. Yesterday I noticed for the first time a wind farm on the south western horizon. The turbine blades ought to have been whirling round in demented fashion, as the wind on this exposed outcrop felt like gale force – alas, apparently you can have too much wind on a wind farm for a wind turbine to work. Could be a wind up of course. Certainly put the wind up me – nearly got blown over the edge.

castle hill windfarm

Pennine wind farms – at what cost to us?


I’ve yet to be convinced that wind farms are of much use to the majority of us; rather that they mainly benefit those involved in the manufacture of turbines and landowners looking to make a quick and easy profit. Enormous turbines are springing up all around the Yorkshire Dales National Park with little regard to those like me who treasure the views and care for wildlife and the rural way of life. Although I now live in the Dales my childhood was spent in the West Riding and I still travel regularly to Huddersfield to pay homage to Yorkshire’s greatest football team. One of my favourite places in the town, after the John Smith’s Stadium, is Castle Hill and the Jubilee Tower. The 360 degree view from the top of the tower, even with its industrial aspects, is one to behold. For hundreds of years Castle Hill has provided for ordinary folk an escape from the mills and the daily grind. To me and most residents, the surrounding moorland is just as precious and personal as that of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. The Pennines hills around Huddersfield offer beauty, solitude and drama which can’t be assessed in terms of pound coins. The number of wind farms appearing or planned for the region disturbs me greatly and I hope the local authority sees the deeper value in our countryside when considering wind farm applications.
Pics: above a view from Jubilee Tower; below, one of a crop of 93m turbines towering above grazing cows near Harrogate.


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