Men of the Dales beware

dalesSpecial equipment is being shipped into the Dales to prise pound coins out of Yorkshiremen’s palms. The old rounded £1 coins cease to be legal tender in mid October so I’m busily sticking my hands down the back of the settee and rifling through old jackets. Mind you, some old farmers up the dales are still holding on to ten bob notes. I was reminded this week of the round un’s demise in a Settle car park where a notice on a machine states they wouldn’t be accepted. I looked in my pocket and noticed all three pound coins I had were old versions. No way was I paying over the odds by using a £2 coin.

Looking over the tiny Ribblesdale settlement of Newhouses towards Ingleborough.

Parking fees not required for a morning walk up Horton Scar Lane to Hull Pot below Penyghent on Tuesday. The mist had lifted from the valley but in the distance I could see it clinging to the Ribble Valley. In the background the silhouette of Pendle Hill looked like a giant sleeping animal.

Hull Pot was almost dry, just a trickle of water from the lower fall echoing around the great chasm. No matter how many times I visit this place I’m always taken aback with its sudden and dramatic appearance. I certainly wouldn’t walk this way in the dark.

I followed the Three Peaks route to where it joins the Pennine Way. The views across Newhouses Tarn towards Whernside and Ingleborough (first pic in blog) were well worth the trek along the shale path. As I headed back towards Horton I tried to recall the number of old Dales buildings I’d seen along the route – it must have been ten or more. Such a shame.

Another field barn in need of repair; Whernside in the background.

Although all probably redundant nowadays it is sad to see so many in decay. They are part of the Dales furniture, as much as the walls, farms and tiny settlements. Grants for restoring traditional farm buildings in the area are available, via The Yorkshire Millennium Trust and Stories in Stone initiative, closing date 26th September. Visit

I love the old dales tracks and paths in this part of Ribblesdale.

Back down to Horton-in-Ribblesdale
Farewell to greener Dales

I thought I’d capture a few trees before they lose their greenery. These were taken on the High Way between Langcliffe and Settle this week.

Always worth the short steep ascent to Castleberg Rock for the view of Settle and Giggleswick.

Ribblesdale’s TV stars and the white stuff

Ribblesdale snowWhile it’s always good to see Ribblesdale featured on the box I wasn’t too impressed with the programme on Friday in which Julia Bradbury walked up Penyghent. I liked the people in it, but I was left wondering what the real point of the programme was other than to give Julia something to do.

I’m all for promoting walking and the area, but in this programme everything appeared so manufactured, even by TV standards. I suppose that with it filling a slot between Coronation Street episodes I shouldn’t have expected anything of great depth. If I’m sounding pompous I apologise but I was put off in the first few minutes on hearing the term ‘Ribblesdale valley’ which always annoys me – a dale is a valley so why double up? And I’m not sure Horton-in-Ribblesdale can be classed as a ‘town’ as described – a population of around 400 with a shop is not a town in my book. And Hull Pot: a canyon? Mmmm.

There was plenty more hyperbole scattered throughout. Hull Pot was ‘totally unexpected’ enthused Julia. What was totally unexpected was the sight of Mr Lord with his fossils laid out on a sheet beside the ‘canyon’. Lucky he was there at the same time as Julia’s unexpected visit. Anyway, I’m glad she made it up ‘the sheer limestone cliff face’, and that the wind ‘put hairs on her chest’ (What?).

I was also disappointed the walk ended halfway round. A mention of all the hard work put in by volunteers to maintain the paths and environment wouldn’t have gone amiss, but I suppose I’m being picky – the shots from up above were great. By the way, is Minnie Caldwell still in Corrie?
Ribblesdale trainI’m not free from criticism myself either – a chap wrote to me after I enthused about the return of steam engines through Ribblesdale, asking why we should be celebrating the reappearance of these ’noisy, dirty, expensive, environmentally-friendless monsters’.

Yes, they are outdated, I replied to him. But they pull in visitors to the area and it’s not as though they slog up the ‘Long Drag’ every day is it? I added. Then, rather embarrassingly for me, I read this week that some steam trains are to be scheduled into regular slots up the Settle-Carlisle Line! Ah well, still not as environmentally unfriendly as the planes I see leaving their marks across the sky above the Yorkshire dales, hey?

For further details of the timetabled steamers and news of the Flying Scotsman on the line, visit

Ribblesdale langcliffe
Langcliffe looking pretty in this week’s snow

I didn’t get out much this week for one reason or another but I did manage a few Ribblesdale snow shots. A snowy Ingleborough is shown at the top of the blog.

Ribblesdale lane
Pike Lane, Langcliffe
Ribblesdale train
Goods train leaving Ribblehead Viaduct
Ribblesdale Whernside
Ribblesdale scar
Stainforth Scar
Ribblesdale sheep
Sheep feeding through the white stuff by the Ribble

Dales inspiration – whatever the weather


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?

A Hull of a hole in the dale


Someone once told me that Hull Pot was the biggest natural hole in England… mind you, another person told me that Birmingham was the biggest hole in the country but they could have been alluding to something different. Without a person in the shot it’s difficult for viewers of the photo to imagine the scale of this chasm – which can come as something of a shock to the unwary as they march along the path from Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Foxup beneath Penyghent. It’s around 90m long and 30m wide with sheer drops all round – and no warning signs. I thought the waterfalls might have been more impressive this morning after all the recent rain but it wasn’t to be, and I’ve yet to capture them in full flow. Today I headed back to Horton via the Pennine Way down Ribblesdale where the views across the valley were gorgeous. Here a cloud has just enveloped the top of Ingleborough.


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