Dales snow: make the most of it – 14 photos

Dales

The Dales wrapped in a white winter coat – a rarer sight than it once was. I wonder if today’s youngest generation will one day be telling their grandchildren about the time they witnessed the final snowfall in the region. Climate change is definitely happening.

‘Experts’ might disagree over the causes, and certain trumped-up heads of state might be in denial over it, but I’ve seen it happening in my lifetime. That’s not just through misty reminiscences of harsh winters – such as in 1962/3 when as a child I recall enormous ice-slides and endless sledging – but also through my work.

When editor of Countryman http://www.countrymanmagazine.co.uk/ I received hundreds of articles concerned with changes in animal behaviour, the disappearance of species, alterations to landscape, unusual flooding and strange seasonal variations etc. Left alone, Nature will take its course – the trouble is, humans are not always in line with Nature’s wider picture.

I received hundreds of articles concerned with changes in animal behaviour, the disappearance of species, alterations to landscape, unusual flooding and strange seasonal variations etc. Left alone, Nature will take its course – the trouble is, humans are not always in line with Nature’s wider picture.

Dales Whernside
Whernside and Ribblehead Viaduct

Changing times

This month’s photos show how different the weather has been over the last few weeks . One minute it’s green and warm, fooling spring flowers into poking through; the next minute the same plants are battling temperatures of -6C.

Seeing all the snow reminds me of some of the old Dales sayings I’ve come across over the years. Farmers up in Swaledale might say: “Snaw’s fair stourin’”, which means a strong wind is blowing snow strongly.
If it is tewtlin’, it means the snow is falling gently and settling. In one of his many books, Bill Mitchell talks of farmers teeavin’ (wading) their way through snowdrifts to rescue sheep. Small 4x4s can help nowadays but hill-farming is still a very arduous job (with scant financial reward) when the Dales are in the grip of winter.

Penyghent from Horton-in-Ribblesdale

Penyghent – in fact, all the Three Peaks – display an air of majesty in the snow. Lovely to look at but their ascent should be tackled only by the fit and well-equipped. I did the Three Peaks this week – by car and photographically, needless to say – to capture the scene from some of my favourite locations:

What do you mean?

Folk often ask me, ‘What does Penyghent mean?’. You’ll discover a few answers but really no one can be certain of its origin. It’s (probably) a name that’s been passed down from the days when Celtic tribes lived in the area. But as our language changed and different people moved in, translations were often corrupted or deliberately altered. Even in the last century thoughts on the name’s meaning have varied. Today we’re told it means ‘hill of the winds’, whereas in Victorian times it was translated as Pennigant (from Pen-y-Gaint), meaning ‘at the field head’ or ‘end of the plain’. Another Dales mystery.

Trains in the Dales

There was a fair old gathering of photographers braving the chilly conditions at Ribblehead yesterday. For those who need to know … it is the Mayflower (front) and British India Line pulling the Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express excursion. https://www.settle-carlisle.co.uk/

While the posse kept an eye out for the main event, I was looking the other way at the setting Sun.

Some more of the greener stuff from late January…

Stainforth Scar from Langcliffe
Ancient fields near Langcliffe, Ribblesdale
View to Ingleborough from Winskill
Penyghent Gill at Giant’s Grave
Penyghent from the road between Stainforth and Halton Gill

Check out your Yorkshire surname: http://www.jacksoneditorial.co.uk/yorkshire-surnames/

Another year in the Dales goes west

A Dales photo for each month during 2017. Looking back on a year’s wandering – fairly aimless wandering it must be said – and photographing around the western Dales this year, I hadn’t realised how much the sky had dominated so many of my shots. Clouds move swiftly in this part of the country as the breeze sweeps in from the Irish Sea and strikes the hilly barrier in its way. A stormy sky can turn clear blue in minutes – and the opposite can happen quickly too, to catch out the unwary.

Photos can often hide the truth – the top picture, taken above Giggleswick Scar, shows a lovely clear day looking down on Settle bathing in sunshine. But don’t be deceived, it was taken in January and believe me it was freezing up there that day.

This February shot shows snow on Penyghent and a steam special heading through Ribblesdale.

In March I watched this dramatic cloud formation above Kingsdale as it made its way from the north-west. Whernside bore the brunt of the bad weather it brought.

About as far as you get in the western Dales is Barbondale. This April day was full of light and shade.

The Sun in May is still fairly weak and I was able to point the camera directly at it for this shot of a distant Ingleborough from Winskill.

The weather was right for a stroll up Attermire Scar in June. This was the view looking north-west, showing the track to Malham by Jubilee Cave and the foot-hills of Penyghent and Fountains Fell.

Just as the sun was going down on a July day at Winskill, Ribblesdale. Distant Penyghent soaking up the last rays.

A typical August sky and a typical walled green lane. I was on my way from Horton-in-Ribblesdale to photograph the impressive Hull Pot.

A September shot of Settle. I chose this one for my yearly round-up not because of the great view of the town from Castleberg Rock but for the shape of the clouds above, which take you to the distant fells.

October brought some storms to the region. I was right on the edge of this particularly nasty one above Ribblesdale before making a hasty retreat back home to Langcliffe.

As autumn turned to winter I was lucky to grab this November shot on the track between Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Brackenbottom before the gold and brown tints disappeared.

I had to include a December shot of a snowy Penyghent, even though Ribblesdale didn’t have a white Christmas Day. This was taken from Selside.

Thank you for continuing to follow this blog during 2017 and I hope you have a fabulous new year.

Dales Angels and why walking is stressful (16 pics)

dalesDoes anyone know of a decent etiquette guide for Dales walkers? I’ve tramped the county’s hills and valleys, villages and tracks for umpteen years and still I’m never sure when and how to greet fellow walkers. My guess is that you’re allowed to acknowledge people as long as there aren’t too many folk around. For example, if I’m walking from my village of Langcliffe to Settle along the back road known as the High Way, it seems acceptable to say ‘Morning’ – provided it’s the morning of course – but by the time you get to Constitution Hill at the top of Settle you must not pass the time of day with anyone (unless you know them).
Last week on a lonely green lane, after not seeing a single person for almost an hour, I crossed paths with a jogger who completely blanked me. Perhaps runners and cyclists have their own code of conduct? What do you do when you’re out in the countryside, where paths can be quite busy – like at Gordale Scar or Malham Cove – and where you can spend too much time saying hello when you ought to be admiring the scenery or avoiding animal droppings? Or when you pass a waggle (that’s my collective noun for a group of walkers) who have stopped mid route for refreshments, or you meet at a gate or stile – ‘morning all’ has to suffice in such cases, surely? When a waggle is a straggly waggle, it just becomes tiresome to say hello to everyone.
Then there’s what to say. I’ve tried all sorts … hello, how do, hiya, the aforesaid morning (but at what time should this change to aft’noon?). Just to amuse myself I have been known to drift into Yorkshire with ey up and na’then. Often I’ll come out with something that’s a mixture of many greetings and I’ll wander on, somewhat embarrassed, thinking ‘why on earth did I say that?’.
Sometimes I get the feeling that strangers from distant lands, like Bradford and Leeds, are humouring my quaint rural ways. Other times I receive a wary, suspicious response as strangers mentally question my sanity. And just who am I allowed to involve in this briefest of communication? You can get those strange teenage-type gawpy expressions from some younger folk; others avoid eye contact. Couples can be deep in conversation or mid argument and I don’t like to intrude – do I march on and ignore them? Occasionally there are those who deliberately bring you to halt and want to know your life story – or at least demand to know where you have been/going. There are walkers who insist on mentioning the weather – nice day; bit colder today; that wind’s a bit naughty intit? Not being one for eloquent or snappy responses, I normally respond with ‘Aye’ and quickly move on. And when is just a brief nervous smile, a raising of the eyebrows or a Yorkshire nod of the head deemed acceptable as a greeting? Walking can be stressful. Is it any wonder I try to find the loneliest places in the Dales?

Anyway, on with this week’s photos. The top pic and this one were taken on a morning walk by the Ribble from Horton.

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Northern Belle’s engine passed me near Horton – don’t know if this is an unusual sighting.

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The Ribble was flowing strongly and silently beneath the still green canopy.

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Not a sign you see too often in the Dales.

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To the person who thought it cool to leave their litter on a tree branch – I took it home and deposited your ‘artwork’ in the recycling bin.

As mentioned on my Yorkshire Surnames page, I write a short piece each month about names for Down Your Way magazine. I’m pleased to see that the publication won Best Community Publication at this week’s O2 Media Awards. Visit http://downyourway.co.uk

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A red admiral in a neighbour’s garden brightened up a dull day.

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I loved the late evening sun above Langcliffe on Thursday.

Dales Angels

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This year’s Angel Festival in Langcliffe once again proved popular. Here are a few examples – although one of them might have been a figment of my imagination…

I see there’s festive food for sale in supermarkets. First person to ask me if I’ve made any plans for Christmas gets a withering look.

 

Why Horton stirs dales memories

dales horton12 new Dales photos here. I found myself mooching around Horton-in-Ribblesdale on the week’s only fine day. Passing Penyghent Cafe I remembered the days 40-odd years ago when I used to clock out and in there for the Three Peaks challenge. My knees would probably crumble to dust if I took on the 24-mile Dales hike today so this time I opted for a few gentle miles by the river. Apart from the odd rumble from the quarries, the walk was peaceful. Heavily pregnant ewes were scattered around the meadows while much more active birds sped up, down and across the Ribble.

dales horton

dales horton

There’s a pleasant spot in a small wood where the river widens. It’s shallow here and the water cackles across well-worn stones; a perfect place for contemplation. The morning mist slowly vanished and Penyghent came into view along with patches of blue sky.

dales horton

dales horton
In the village I remembered bits of a piece written by Victorian Dales wanderer Edmund Bogg. Back home I dug out the extract from his oddly title book, Wanderings on the Old Border, Lakeland and Ribblesdale:
“It was a dark, boisterous October night that found us tramping towards the village of Horton; the wind howled, and the clouds swished rapidly past overhead; rain descended in torrents; the wild mountain country became enshrouded in mystery and silence; a light here and there gleamed from a grey stone dwelling; further up the village one solitary lamp, over the entrance of the Golden Lion, tried in vain to pierce the gloom. A ray of light, however, fell on the venerable lych gate, just across the roadway, and dimly, like a shadow thrown from bygone ages, the grand old tower of Horton Church loomed out of the darkness, typical of a religious light burning through the dark ages of a far past. There was a motley gathering at the Golden Lion on that night, quarrymen from the limestone quarries, and the dalesmen of the district, thirsty souls, we should imagine, by the amount of beer we saw consumed. Three farmers, who had been to Clapham Fair on that day, were benighted here on our visit; their homes lay some eight or ten miles over the moors, and it would have been sheer foolhardiness to have attempted the journey in the dense darkness of that night. One, an elderly man, who had spent upwards of half-a-century in crossing and re-crossing the moors, attempted the journey; he missed his way, and his horse floundered in a bog, and he was glad to grope his way back to the inn. We joined them in company later on, and jolly fellows we found them, yet withal shrewd, stark, and strikingly original.”

My recollections of the Horton pubs in the 1970s also involve the drinking of copious amounts of beer but the clientele were students rather than hardy Dales farmers.

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On a blustery wet day this week I drove up to Chapel-le-Dale and captured swiftly moving clouds hiding Ingleborough and Whernside

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Two views from a footbridge over the Ribble near Horton. Must remember this spot for when the Flying Scotsman passes through the Dales along the Settle-Carlisle railway on 31 March to celebrate the line’s reopening at Eden Brow.

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Ribblehead Station

Inspirational Yorkshire women

My interview with Amanda Owen, the Yorkshire Shepherdess, appears in February’s Countryman magazine which is now on sale. Amanda is a remarkable young lady who with husband Clive and nine (at the last count) children live and farm at out-of-the-way Ravenseat in Birkdale. As I re-read the article I am reminded of a piece I wrote in Dalesman about another fine Yorkshire woman, Hannah Hauxwell. On the face of it they appear to be very different characters and their lives have certainly taken diverse paths. Hannah, before retiring, lived a solitary existence with just a few animals; Amanda, although isolated, is surrounded by her extensive family and hundreds of sheep and other animals. But they are similar in that both are strong willed and extremely hard working individuals, showing true Yorkshire grit. Both have beautiful complexions – that’s what clean Yorkshire air and clear Dales water does for you – with gentle mannerisms and caring attitudes. In my head I can still hear Hannah’s soothing tones, tinted with that North-East influence you find amongst those born near the Tees. Amanda, originally from Huddersfield, retains a hint of the West Riding in her speech which I recognise from my own childhood in the Heavy Woollen District. Both are completely unpretentious with a natural warmth, and I feel privileged to have met the two of them. Yorkshire women aren’t all Nora Batty stereotypes – they can be inspirational too. http://www.countrymanmagazine.co.uk

 

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Amanda Owen and two of her younger children at her Ravenseat home

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Isolated Ravenseat

As relief from a spot of decorating, on Wednesday I drove through several Yorkshire Dales and up to Dent Station. Directly above me was as clear a blue sky I’d seen for ages, but looking towards the horizon the distant view was masked by a fine mist. The landscape west down Dentdale was still impressive but the bitterly cold wind meant I didn’t linger for long. Over the old Coal Road the views down Wensleydale, Mallerstang and Garsdale were similarly shrouded. I stopped off at Garsdale Station to pat my favourite metal dog, Ruswarp. He was still gazing out expectantly waiting for the return of his master. A quick stroll to Cotter Force proved as worthwhile as ever. The sound of tumbling water seemed to echo around like applause in a small theatre.

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View from Dent Station

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Garsdale Station with Ruswarp

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Cotter Force

On Friday more blue sky in Ribblesdale tempted me out again. Penyghent and Fountains Fell looked great but further along the Silverdale Road I hit low cloud. I could hardly see 20 yards in front of me which meant the route along the narrow unfenced road and the steep descent into Halton Gill was interesting to say the least.

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Day of contrasts. Heading along Silverdale Road into the fog.

A stunning morning yesterday saw me at Helwith Bridge. The view along Ribblesdale from above the fishery was grand (see top pic). My old friend Penyghent looked like an iced cake. I imagine plenty of people were tempted to trek up the mountain but I was f-f-f-f-frozen – no way would I have gone up there, so it was back home for some proper cake.

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Snow on Winskill Stones ,Ribblesdale

Snow, a storm and a Dales star

dales ribbleHalf a dozen dales, a destructive storm, snow and a TV star … it’s been a funny old week. 14 pics to enjoy. My camera captured the last of autumn’s colours down by the Ribble (top pic). My cottage roof captured the worst of the storm, with several tiles being dislodged. Fortunately the storm and the worst (or the best, depending on your point of view) of the snow dispersed later in the week so I was able to keep a date with the ‘Yorkshire Shepherdess’ Amanda Owen on her isolated farm at Ravenseat.

Being short of time today I’ll let the photos and captions tell the story.
PS: A dales date for your diary… meet David and Janet Mitchell at The Folly, Settle on Tuesday Nov 29, 10am-4pm to help celebrate the launch of the new Dalesman book, Bill Mitchell’s Yorkshire.

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Snow-capped Penyghent seen in the distance from the mill pond at Langcliffe

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Late colours on the mill pond. 

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A cold start to the day in the Dales… frost on the higher trees and a lively River Ribble rushing by some late autumn colour.

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Before the storm – plenty of blue sky above Langcliffe. The snow line was just a couple of hundred feet away on this day.

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Giggleswick Chapel looking like a Victorian postcard.

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The sad sight of disappearing snowmen at Winskill. All that work just melting away.

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A classic dales view. Looking across Ribblesdale from Winskill to a snowy Ingleborough.

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Two views of Penyghent. Looks inviting but with icy winds blowing, the temperature up at the top was well below freezing – not that I went up to find out.

pygsheep

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Further north in the dales – Wainwath Falls near Keld in Swaledale.

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Looking across a frozen dales landscape from Buttertubs Pass. The sky seems to blend into the icy landscape.

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View from Buttertubs looking back towards Ingleborough.

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Ravenseat, the isolated Dales farm of author, shepherdess, supermum and now TV star Amanda Owen and her husband Clive and their nine children. I interviewed Amanda for an article due to appear in February’s Countryman magazine.

See Ribblesdale in autumn

Ribblesdale langcliffe_seatA short 12-photo blog this week as I was only able to grab a couple of strolls down Ribblesdale. My aim was to snatch some of the changing colours in the dale and around the village (Langcliffe pictured above). Fortunately there were some vivid moments when the sun shone briefly but strongly to add more interest to the scene.

Ribblesdale colours

Ribblesdale pen-y-ghent

Over the years of living in Ribblesdale I’ve learned the ideal times to visit certain locations for the best conditions. I love the light on the western flanks of Penyghent in the hour before the sun goes down. The colours differ depending on the time of year and the strength of the sunshine. The clouds also play their part in painting the scene. Sitting in a lay-by on the Little Stainforth road above Helwith Bridge you can watch the evening light over Penyghent and also see the sunset over Proctor’s Scar to the west.

Ribblesdale langcliffe_weir

ribble_scar

langcliffe_mill

ribble_wood

In the early afternoon, a walk by the Ribble can be a delight as the light catches the leaves in the ancient riverside woods and on the trees clinging to Stainforth Scar.

Ribblesdale stainforth_scar


langpath

scarpath

Ribblesdale langtrees

I did venture briefly outside Ribblesdale. While I was in Kirkby Stephen I took a detour to visit the charming village of Barbon. The current church of St Batholomew hasn’t a long history but is lovely and in a beautiful setting. I was lucky to catch it in some glorious light.

barbon

Why seeing red in the Dales is vital

Dales arncliffe2Bright red telephone boxes in the Dales, like this one at Arncliffe, need to be preserved. Too many of the old pay-phones all around the countryside are being disconnected and removed. In the Dales some have been developed into tiny book-swap-shops, art galleries etc, and in the Lake District I’ve even seen one turned into a fish tank. I’m not just some old fart wanting to wallow in nostalgia. I can see the logic behind getting rid of some urban boxes but in the countryside where mobile reception is poor, or where walkers and campers have no way of recharging their mobiles’ batteries, the old red boxes can help save lives. I read this week that Keswick Mountain Rescue Team are asking people to help keep a kiosk at Seathwaite on a popular route to Scafell Pike. Surely the saving of just one person during the whole life of a phonebox is more important than the minutest of dents made in the profit margins of a communications giant like BT? Comments can be made at:
http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=148110

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Another shot of the kiosk in Arncliffe.

I popped into Arncliffe this week during a superb Dales drive from Langcliffe in Ribblesdale, over the Silverdale road to Halton Gill and down Littondale. From there I doubled back along the dodgy road via Darnbrook to Malham Tarn. Then it was back to Langcliffe via Cowside and Winskill. Here’s a selection of pics on the journey…

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Looking back over Arncliffe from the Darnbrook road

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Looking towards Penyghent from the Silverdale road at Dalehead Farm.

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Further along the road to Halton Gill at the ‘backside’ of Penyghent.

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The breathtaking Dales view down Littondale. One of my favourites.

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I like it so much here’s a black and white shot.

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Little Halton Gill snuggles between Littondale’s steep hills.

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The beck at Arncliffe.

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There are some fascinating tombstones at St Oswald’s church, Arncliffe.

Dales stocks
Bring back the village stocks, I say. Not enough time for me to list who I’d throw rotten tomatoes at. Arncliffe.

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It’s not always as tranquil as this in the Dales – the river Skirfare near St Oswald’s in Arncliffe.

Whenever I drive through Rathmell in Ribblesdale, as I did one day this week, I wonder about the origins of the term ‘Reading Room’. I realise it is the equivalent of a village hall but why was it so called? Is it a Dales thing?

rathmell1

Dales plumpewes
I don’t know what happens at the treatment works by the Ribble here in Settle but those ewes certainly look to be thriving on it.

Sitting ducks

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Team photo: Millpond Ducks FC first XI line up for their latest match in Langcliffe.

Changing Dales

Dales locks
Yesterday I thought I’d take one more summer shot at Langcliffe Locks before the trees change colour.

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Earlier in the week I dropped in at Clapham Falls where there was already more than a hint of autumn.

A Dales summer & are we related?

IMG_8982Summer can be all too brief, especially here in the Dales. Hopefully there are a few more warm days to come. Here are fourteen shots from a Dales ‘summer’ …

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First shot and above, sheep enjoying a summer sunset in the dales – both taken at Winskill, Ribblesdale

 

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The signpost should really read ‘Good weather left, stormy weather right’

 

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Looking the other way from the previous picture of Penyghent taken at Dale Head Farm, I like the way the wall follows the ridge

 

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Looking across the Ribble near Horton in Ribblesdale

 

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Shame about the telephone wires but still a nice shot of a tree in the Ribble meadows with Penyghent looming ominously in the background

 

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There aren’t many flatish, open spaces in Upper Ribblesdale – this one is between Horton and Helwith Bridge

 

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I posted a similar shot to this a few weeks back but prefer this one with a shaft of sunshine lighting up the meadow in Horton, and Penyghent looking dark and moody in the background.

 

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Someone shouted ‘mint sauce!’ and started a stampede

 

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A Dales stile and drystone wall with interesting sky. Fountains Fell in the background.

 

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Sheep couldn’t care less about what’s happening in the Dales sky.

 

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Not the clearest view of Pendle Hill from near the top of the Craven Fault above Settle.

 

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Trees soaking up the summer sun in the ground of Langcliffe Hall, Ribblesdale. (I’m peering over the wall, not trespassing!)

 

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Finally, a shot of Marsett in Raydale – hidden just over the hills from the Dales of Ribblesdale, Wharfedale and Wensleydale.

For the benefit of anyone tracing their family tree – particularly in West and North Yorkshire – I have now published a list of surnames connected to my own family. Click on the Family History page to see whether your surname is included – if so, please feel free to contact me via the comments section or by email on paul@jacksoneditorial.co.uk and we’ll discover whether you have a link to my lot.

Idylls, ideas, ideals and idiots

Ribblesdale hardrawlandAfter some poor weather I was desperate to get out of the house. So on Tuesday evening I drove through Ribblesdale, over Newby Pass to Wensleydale. The earlier rain had lifted the river Ure and adjoining becks so I thought two popular waterfalls might be worth visiting. Cotter Force (below) was shaded and mysterious, but pleasant, while nearby at Hardraw (above) the water clattered noisily into the great chamber of the scar. I was alone at both places and came over all poetic…

Cotter Force
Soothing sound
Quiet dale
Cackling water
Sweet cascade.
Languid heron
Patient angler
Lurches skyward
Seeing stranger.

Hardraw Force
Noisy neighbour
Violent slapping
Never ending
Diving splashing.
Green Dragon
Wood burning
Breathing fire
Landlord earning.

Ribblesdale cotter1

The Green Dragon remains an atmospheric pub despite some odd extensions and additions on the adjoining land. I don’t remember it costing £2.50 to enter the waterfall grounds the last time I was there, but I don’t begrudge the money to visit such a spectacular place. Many years ago when we camped nearby as youngsters we would walk through the churchyard to enter the great echoing theatre through which the beck flows, saving ourselves a thrupenny bit.
Short shaky video here https://youtu.be/h2I5fB3st4g

Ribblesdale hardrawsplash

Ribblesdale pyglight
I just had to stop by the roadside to capture the black cloud heading towards Penyghent on the Silverdale road on Wednesday evening. The light was really dramatic. I was in two minds whether to use Photoshop to delete the telephone wire but then I thought it added something to the picture.

Ribblesdale stainforthlane
On the Silverdale road near Stainforth

Ribblesdale at its best

There’s a short, flat, circular walk of just a couple of miles or so around Horton-in-Ribblesdale which takes in one of my favourite sections of the Ribble. At this time of year the tree branches hang low over the water, their vivid green leaves shading the slow moving river from the evening sun.

Ribblesdale river

A fish momentarily popped its head from the clear brown water to catch a midge, causing an elegant ripple – which of course I missed capturing on camera as I sat admiring the tranquil rural scene.

Ribblesdale pygriver

There are some great views of Penyghent to be had across the dale from this short section of the Ribble Way. There’s an abundance of wild flowers in the riverside meadows, and unusual plants I wish I knew the names of growing along the water’s edge.

Ribblesdale peace

In a meadow across the other side of the wooden footbridge two children ran freely, laughing as they chased each other along the grassy path, their father following on with an obedient dog. It was a scene straight from one of those middle class books from which teachers taught us to read in the 1950s –  idyllic summers, a fresh unblemished countryside, well-dressed, perfectly behaved children… a million miles from my earliest years in a West Riding milltown.

I wondered whether those children in Ribblesdale on Thursday will ever realise how lucky they were right then. At that very moment in France a murderous monster not deserving of the title of human being was starting out on a hideous plan to kill innocent men, women and children no matter what their nationality, colour or faith.

Ribblesdale hortonchurch
A few Three Peaks finishers were dotted around Horton, sitting discussing their achievement or removing steaming boots. Others were putting up tents or enjoying a pint. Evidence that farmers had been busy lay all around and their neat rows cut of meadow provided a different foreground to Penyghent.

Ribblesdale hortonfield

The trickle of traffic through Ribblesdale was brought to a standstill as a flock of sheep were cajoled along the road, noisily bleating their annoyance at being removed from their comfortable surroundings.

Ribblesdale wideload

Serious Euro debate?

Earlier in the week I overheard a couple of elderly ladies talking while standing at the veg stall in Settle market. “I’ll be glad when they get rid of these silly metric thingies now we’re out of Europe,” said one. I couldn’t tell whether she was jesting or if she had actually voted to leave the EU because she can’t get to grips with metrification. (By the way, ladies, the EU did not ‘force’ metrification on the Brits as some Brexit liars had us believe – but I’m not going on the journey again… in miles or kilometres.) Which brings me to the point of this rant: I picked up a walks pamphlet the other day which gives all the heights in metric and all the distances in imperial; I also came across a driving booklet which gives stopping distances in metric only and speeds in mph only … and then shopkeeper’s wonder why old blokes like me just point at a lump of cheese and ask for ‘a fiver’s worth of that stuff’.

Ribblesdale thistles
Thistles added a touch of colour by the Ribble yesterday. Below, a family gathering on Langcliffe mill pond last evening.

ducks