Special 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.
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.
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 http://ow.ly/aI4R30f5LH0
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.
15 Dales photos here – agricultural show or shopping mall? – glory of Ribblesdale – trainy days – Dales art – Malham magic and tasteless stupidity. Above is one of my favourite Ribblesdale views taken from Giggleswick Scar this week. On the horizon is Pendle Hill.
Biggest doesn’t always mean best. Take the Great Yorkshire Show, for example. Yes it’s the largest agricultural event in the country and a tremendous showcase for the county and its farmers. I went on Thursday but can’t say I really enjoyed the day. Too commercial for my liking – and too many people. More than 40,000 trying to force their way around what is in effect an enormous shopping mall, with some fairly unhappy looking animals being paraded or caged up around the edges. Give me the small Dales village shows any day. Thank goodness I decided to go by train to avoid being stuck in some horrendous traffic congestion.
Orchids and other wild flowers in ungrazed areas of the Dales were looking lovely after a drop of the wet stuff this week.
This ancient wall near Colt Park in Ribblesdale exhibits plenty of character. You can find art all over the Dales when you slow down and take in everything around you. Here are some other examples from Ribblesdale:
A couple of shots as I passed through Malham…
A short walk from home to Stainforth on a grey day …
And on a sunnier day, two shots of Ribblesdale showing Stainforth Scar and the village of Langcliffe.
One evening this week I went for a short walk and got bitten by midges. I was itching all night and dug out some cream to slap on. In the morning after a bad night I went to brush my teeth, but squeezed Savlon on my toothbrush instead of toothpaste … not recommended – breakfast did not taste good at all.
A mixed bag of Dales weather created photographic allsorts this week. I spent one morning admiring the changing cloud formations as they passed over Ribblesdale. I had a few goes at capturing the steam specials up and down the Settle-Carlisle line (pics at foot of post) – a bit disappointing really. Besides been very late on a couple of occasions, the engine wasn’t giving off much ‘oomph’ coming up the Long Drag from Settle. I tried to get a shot of it passing by the old limeworks at Langcliffe on the return journey from Carlisle but got so carried away taking photos of the Hoffmann kiln (pic below), the train whizzed by before I got to the track – early for a change.
One evening I had a drive over the minor road from Settle to Kirkby Malham, then on to Malham for a walk up to the Cove.
The evening light was strong and the area was sparsely populated apart from some climbers and a few more cheery walkers who prefer Malham after the bulk of tourists have departed this pretty part of the dales. Have you ever noticed just how many notices there are at the entrance to the National Trust fields? I’ve done a montage of just a few of them …
Several years ago I was chatting with Bill Mitchell in Settle town centre when we were interrupted by two elderly ladies – as often happened whenever and wherever you were with Bill. He introduced me to one of them, Edith Carr – well known in these parts. I’d previously read about Edith’s life in the Dales at Capon Hall on Malham Moor, and remembered a lovely story Bill had written in Dalesman about her life at the isolated farm, and the time it was cut off for weeks during a bad winter (1947 I think). Two coincidences this week got me thinking about our meeting in Settle (I wish I’d had a tape recorder that day as it was a cracking conversation between two great characters). I drove past Capon Hall on my way back from taking pictures of Malham Cove. The pleasant evening light was shining on the old building – modernised greatly since Edith’s day but you could still feel the isolation. The previous day I’d been to Langcliffe Church to have a browse through the second-hand books on sale there (always worth a look if you’re passing) and picked up a copy of Edith’s verse, called Cobblestones. She moved to Langcliffe later in her life, where in her words she could ‘still see limestone hills so dear to me’. That line is from one of her poems, The Riverfields. I have strong empathy with the second verse, reproduced here:
A sylvan stream our Ribble here, gliding and bubbling on his way, O’er moss grown rocks, through banks so steep, where golden catkins Dangle on the bough of hazel tree and willows tall. The setting sun glows red o’er all. A tawny owl begins to call, his sharp talons hold On twisted branches, gnarled and old. As watchful bird its vigil keep, ’Tis time for man to take his sleep. Eventide, the busy day is o’er, shadows deep pass over all. Peace at last.
I’ll treasure the little book both as a reminder of my brief meeting with her, and the fact it came at a good Yorkshire price of just 50p.
A while back I took the camera for a drive in the Dales from Settle over to Malham, looking for some long-distance shots. It’s surprising – or maybe it isn’t surprising for those in the know – how different the scenery is along either side of the Craven Fault. These two photos were taken from locations quite close to each other, one looking over the once densely wooded expanse towards Pendle Hill; the other in the opposite direction across the limestone of Malham. The contrast is clear to see.
Last week’s successful hosting of the finish to Day 1 of the Tour de Yorkshire in Settle is still being talked about in glowing terms. To use the sporting vernacular, the town done good. A suggestion has been put forward that the Hollywood-style lettering should be kept clinging on to Castleberg Rock. Not so sure myself; I think storing the letters and dusting them down for special occasions is preferable. How long before a T or an E start to dangle at some ungainly angle or worse still drop off and give someone a nasty headache?
Back problems and sciatica ended any thoughts of me getting out and about in the much improved weather around the dales this week. Even just sitting at the computer is proving excruciating. Lack of sleep and being dosed up on painkillers have not helped the old creative juices flow either. So my apologies for this week’s abbreviated and uninspiring blog – fingers crossed my situation will improve over the next week. My thanks to friends, family and neighbours who have all offered help.
Sitting in the car is also painful, and I’m missing the drive up Ribblesdale to see the Three Peaks. Here’s how they look in my memory…
Sometimes I sense an elemental spirit when I’m out on lonely moorland. An inconsistent wind rocks me and the camera; layers of cloud opening up then slamming shut, creating an ever-changing picture before my eyes. This weather-beaten old barn has stood for centuries but has been long-abandoned by a long-forgotten smallholder. Beneath my feet spongy peat and moss soak up recent rain. If you look closely you’ll see a second framed picture within the photograph, created by the brighter light, left centre, as it meets up with the barn wall and roof. It neatly captures Lancashire’s Pendle Hill here on the very edge of Yorkshire.
This shot is looking back at yesterday’s location – Giggleswick Scar is middle right looking down on Settle – and was taken from Hunter Bark this morning just before heavy clouds moved in. Hunter Bark is the name of the highest point on the ancient track over the hills between Long Preston and Settle in Ribblesdale. If you start from Long Preston railway station you’ll climb a steady 1,000 feet to the trig point on Hunter Bark where you’ll be rewarded with a superb 360 degree view of the region. On the ascent from the village you’ll also see the mazy path the meandering River Ribble makes as it snakes down the dale, as well as the hazy mass of Pendle Hill dominating the distant horizon.