Although it’s been a mixed weather week in the Yorkshire dales my photo diary shows several golden moments. I walk with Romans, drive the border and a cow takes the wee-wee.
I did it byway
I popped over into one of Ribblesdale’s next-dale-neighbours to follow in the footsteps of the Romans on Monday. The ancient route to Bainbridge, which I picked up at the top of Sleddale, offers some fine views up and down Wensleydale and Raydale. Although it wasn’t the crispest of days for long-distant shots, Semerwater, Pen Hill and Addleborough helped paint a good picture. It didn’t seem worth ploughing a way through the peat bog to the top of Wether Fell as the view across Wensleydale can be enjoyed just the same along the path which circles around the hill like a necklace.
Golden days and nights in the Dales
A late stroll from Langcliffe to watch the sunset was well worthwhile. Here several shots in no particular order:
Along the border
For a change of view of the sunset, the following evening I took a trip along the Yorkshire-Lancashire border …
Summer 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’ …
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll discover whether you have a link to my lot.
I’ve had a pleasant week wandering around the dales. A few gentle walks averaging around four miles per saunter; some warm weather and not a sign of sciatica. The photography’s been worthwhile too, judging by the number of ‘hits’ on Facebook, Twitter and my website which reached a new high following my postings during the week. 20 dales photos to view here this week.
I headed for the top of Langcliffe Scar last Sunday. It’s a fabulous viewpoint from which to see Ribblesdale, the Three Peaks, Pendle Hill and other nearby dales. The wispy clouds directly above me threw up all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes. Is that a broken heart and an angel looking for me? Further away, to the east, lenticular clouds were forming spaceships. And the blue sky contrasting starkly against the limestone always draws the eye.
Strictly speaking there isn’t a public footpath to the top of Langcliffe Scar. Under foot it can be quite tricky with much of the limestone clints and grykes covered by vegetation. One benefit of this is the sheep don’t like it too much so there is more chance for the wild flowers to get a hold. Sometimes getting down on the ground and really seeing what’s growing can be as rewarding as the magnificent long-distant views.
Taking advantage of the valley bottom lanes around Austwick once again, I visited one of the ancient clapper bridges near the village. The first photo in the blog shows Flascoe Bridge, which is Grade II listed with Historic England. It was built in the 15th century of limestone and five slate flags on rubble piers. The bridge is about 12 strides across for those with short legs like mine.
Down memory lane
Somewhere from the murky depths of my mind I dredged up memories of an old deserted church seen on a walk I did many years ago around Semerwater. So on Wednesday I popped over the pass from Ribblesdale to Wensleydale and hidden Raydale to see whether the place had changed in the intervening 40+ years.
Semerwater on a quiet pre-school-holiday, midweek day with the sun blazing down seems a million miles from the world’s angst. I followed the lakeside path through the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve to the outskirts of Stalling Busk where the ruined old church still stands. The place was actually in better condition than I remember. On returning home I discovered on tinterweb that consolidation work was carried out in 1981 and further restoration undertaken in 2000. It was still being used as a church in the 1920s.
I walked back to the car via the quiet top lane so I could see Semerwater from above. The weather turned dramatically, as it often does in the dales, during the hour or so I was walking.
At first I thought this sheep had been crushed by a tombstone at Stalling Busk. But I soon realised it was quite happy and just shading from the sun. A bit like my dim cat, it can’t understand why its head is cool but the rest of its body remains boiling hot.
The sheep looked cooler admiring the view from Winskill, above Langcliffe.
Squirrel setting a bad example about rail safety at Settle Station.
On hearing of plans to upgrade our Trident missiles this week several moles in the Yorkshire Dales decided to surrender.
Is that Mark Rand sitting on the S of his converted water tower at Settle Railway Station?
I’m taking a summer break from blogging but will continue to post photos from Ribblesdale and the rest of the Dales here and on Twitter (@paulinribb) whenever I can.
I love maps. From where I’m typing this in my Ribblesdale cottage I can see about 20 of them, balancing precariously on a shelf. I have an 1841 tithe map of Langcliffe framed and hung on a wall. I often read maps instead of a books; I’m forever scouring them for new features or to compile fresh walks. There’s probably a polite name for someone with such an obsession. But I wonder if the end of the large folded paper map is upon us. I hope not. This week the OS were trying to flog a new deal for online mapping for smartphones. You can get unlimited mapping plus a host of other clever do-dahs for an annual fee. I can’t afford a smartphone or indeed yet another annual fee, so when I’m out in the Dales I’ll continue to bumble along in my quaint old-fashioned way – so I hope they are kept up to date. One day last summer I was out on the moors above Dent, sitting on a rock, eating a sandwich and reading a map. A couple of hikers approached me and asked for guidance because their gizmo had ‘died’. Smug, is how I would describe my mood that day. They were foolish not to take a proper map – no batteries required.
In last week’s blog I went off on one about HS2 and how the high-speed railway will destroy much countryside just to cut a few minutes off a journey. I compared my anger to that of people of Ribblesdale when the Settle-Carlisle line was cut through the dale. Out of interest (it was raining again) I pored over a pre-railway OS map of the route – published in 1842. As much as I admire the engineering feat needed to take the railway through some very tricky parts of Ribblesdale, its construction must have caused mayhem. And let’s face it, as much as many people enjoy seeing the big old steam locos chugging up and down the line today, residents at the time would have dreaded the great fire-breathing monsters spewing out filthy smoke and making a noise like a herd of rampaging elephants. The incline from Settle to Ribblehead passes over some tough terrain – everything from solid rock to boggy marshes. Much of the work was done manually as the line inched up Ribblesdale; so hats off to the poorly-paid workers whose section is still providing services.
The same can’t be said about the route further north, near Appleby, where ground saturated by unprecedented rainfall has become unstable. The line could be closed for several months for repairs. I hope this doesn’t put passengers off coming to Ribblesdale or using the line between Leeds and Appleby. http://www.settle-carlisle.co.uk
I hope too that there is a good service available by April 29 when the Tour o’ Yorkshire (I’m refusing to use the ‘de’ – what’s it got to do with the French?) comes to the area. There will be a public meeting at Victoria Hall, Settle, on Monday Feb 29 (6pm) to discuss local plans.
Lovely to see snowdrops appearing around the village once again. Their brief show is said to herald the arrival of spring. I suspect as usual in these parts that their appearance is premature.
I snatched an hour or so out on the fells above Malham one bright breezy day this week. Hardly a soul to be seen as I wandered along the Pennine Way between Watlowes valley and the Tarn, normally quite a busy trail at the weekend. Note to self: do this walk in the morning so as not to get the dark shadow on the west slope of Watlowes. The Tarn took on a deep dark blue hue when viewed from a little knoll just off the path.
When my head is full of all sorts of daft stuff I’ll often drive the car over to Halton Gill on the Stainforth road to try clear my mind. There are only half a dozen farms from one end to t’ other along the seven miles or so. The landscape and views are breathtaking. I get out of the car, mooch about, find a new spot from which to take a photo, or as on Friday sit and stare at two daft beggars cycling up that incredibly steep hill from Halton Gill.
The light changed rapidly as the clouds scuttled across lovely Littondale. For a few seconds the tiny hamlet was bathed in sunshine. Behind it, the domineering moors switched from moody browns to inviting orange, while the tops kept on their dreary, misty hats.
The smaller, less populated dales have always appealed to me – Kingsdale, Coverdale, Raydale, to name but three – and they’re all firmly on my to-do-again list in spring. The top picture in the blog was taken from Coverdale, looking back down the valley towards Wharfedale. Here’s one looking across Kingsdale.
Well, it’s St Valentine’s Day again and in true Yorkshire bloke fashion I say ‘thank goodness I don’t have anyone to waste mi brass on’. I expect all my cards and gifts will arrive via a fleet of home delivery vans tomorrow, it being Sunday today.