Flashes of despair and delight in the Dales

Dales photo opportunities have been rare for me recently but I have managed a couple of quick forays up Ribblesdale. As is usual in the Dales, the colour and appearance of trees can change quickly as the wind from exposed fells whistles from all directions through the valleys, and the temperature away from the towns drops rapidly. There are pockets of trees all around this sheep-munched region so autumn in the Dales is still a joy. Top photo shows Stainforth Scar as seen from the road to Knight Stainforth.

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Further down the road towards Settle is Stackhouse, with different views seen below from t’other side of the Ribble.

The other week I stopped off at Hellifield Flashes to pay my respects after being shocked by the decision of Yorkshire Dales National Park and the RSPB to withdraw their objections to totally inappropriate development plans for the area. Thankfully the CPRE and local campaigning groups haven’t similarly turned their backs. At a planning meeting this week the council didn’t come to any firm decision and said they ‘wanted to walk the area’. You’d have thought that after umpteen years of receiving planning requests for this green space they would have done that already.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/saveourcravencountryside-108150632557939/

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The largest of the Hellifield Flashes.

I attended the launch of a booklet called ‘Fifty Years On – Securing North Craven’s Heritage’, at the Folly in Settle last week. In his introduction to the publication playwright Alan Bennett comments: “The planning process is still weighted against conservation with the proposed development at Hellifield Flashes a good example. The planning set up is weighted in favour of a developer who, faced with opposition, can submit an amended plan as often as is required with the opposition eventually worn down and the developer winning by process of attrition.”
I’m not being NIMBY about this, but looking at the number of housing developments and applications being submitted for our region it’s obvious that developers are seeing this edge of the National Park boundary along the A65 and Settle as being an easy and profitable area – and that Craven Council are more than happy to tick off a few boxes of targets set by a distant and uncaring government. ‘Nobody wants a suburban Craven’ says Alan – I’m not sure about ’nobody’, Mr Bennett.
The splendid booklet celebrates 50 years combined work by the Settle & District Civic Society, North Craven Heritage Trust, North Craven Building Preservation Trust and Museum of North Craven Life. It is available from the Folly in Settle and other outlets.

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Changing colours near Clapham.
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Evening light below Penyghent, seen from Selside.

Being confined to quarters for longer than usual I’ve watched a bit more television than normal and come to the conclusion that the majority of programmes are not aimed at me. I’ve never managed to watch a whole Strictly or Big Brother; or anything that contains wannabes or celebrities (what is a celebrity? I thought a celeb was someone I would recognise – but apparently not). I don’t do soaps at all (I use them now and then). There is one TV programme about people watching TV programmes and loads more where we witness people cooking meals, baking cakes or painting their houses. Programme announcers drive me mad with their smirky tone and drawn-out last syllables. When it comes to adverts I’m not the type of person to be persuaded to buy my insurance by a stuffed mammal or an opera singer; and don’t get me started on what is described as ‘The News’.  Then there are those annoying programmes where they tell you what’s coming up beforehand, tell you again before every ad break, then give us a reprise of what happened before the break because we’re not capable of remembering what we were watching three minutes ago. I realise that many people who work full time need to switch on their tellies and ‘switch off’ their minds but… please let me back out into the Dales.

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Track near Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
Evening light on Stainforth Scar; below, looking from the same spot but west this time.

Great to see that the Blue Plaque Society will recognise the achievements of icon of the Dales Bill Mitchell with the unveiling of a plaque (7th December 2018) at Skipton Parish Church Primary School. Bill was a pupil there and the idea of a plaque was put forward by Bill’s son David who said:
“My father dedicated himself to writing about Yorkshire for over 60 years. He was editor of the Dalesman for twenty years and wrote over 200 books as well as hundreds of articles. He delivered innumerable talks and conducted countless interviews with Yorkshire characters. Many are contained in the WR Mitchell Archive, available online. Yorkshire TV marked his retirement with a programme about his life, narrated by Alan Bennett. He received an MBE in 1996 and was made an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Bradford. He was the first patron of the Yorkshire Dales Society. September 2009 saw him voted ‘Greatest Living Icon’ for the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In April 2014 he was voted 33 in a poll to find the 75 Greatest Icons of Yorkshire. Much much more is covered in his Wikipedia entry. There cannot be many parts of our great county that haven’t been touched by his magical presence. My sister and I are very proud of him”.

A spot of synchronised supping at Winskill.
Colours and detail of a Dales autumn.

Spectacular Dales show without Ant and Dec

DalesThe Dales shower didn’t bother me; I wasn’t cold. There was no fierce easterly wind biting as it did last week. I stood on Winskill Stones and watched a perfect semi-circle rainbow form above Ribblesdale. There was a dusty mist in the valley, dark streaks of rain drifted into the distance as the shower passed through. A grey veil hid Ingleborough’s flat summit.
The underside of heavy cloud to the west was tinged purple by the glow of a magnificent setting Sun. Just for a few minutes I forgot about problems caused by humans and marvelled at the wonder of a far superior Nature. Too briefly, shades of gold and red filled a stage in the sky. A beautiful Saturday night performance played for the benefit of many but attended by few. And people say they’ll miss Ant & Dec.

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A friend asked me to settle an argument about where the River Ribble starts. I’ve been through this before via the blog, with me spouting some high and mighty claptrap about it never starting or finishing, as it is just rain water which heads to the sea, evaporates and falls again.
Not satisfied with my theory I was told to point to a place on a map. Annoying my pal further I insisted that there isn’t one particular source. There are so many tributaries, some just starting out as trickles of water off the highest fells or from springs dotted around the dale.
I’ve read a dozen books in which the authors have put forward arguments for different ‘sources’. There’s a spot on Cam Fell where water can either go east through Wharfedale or west through Ribblesdale; water from Batty Moss can head off to Morecambe Bay via Chapel-le-Dale or join the Ribble for a longer journey west. From up around Newby Head and surrounding fells, water can head down into Wensleydale to the Ure or find its way via various gills to help form the Ribble. Even the mass of Park Fell and Ingleborough on t’ other side of the dale can lay claim to providing a ‘source’ for the Ribble.
The people at the Ordnance Survey aren’t much help, either. On a Dales map from the mid-1800s (reproduced here) is marked a spring, and beside it is printed ‘Ribble Head’. Later editions of the map don’t include this. In fact, the terms River Ribble and Ribblesdale do not appear on the later versions of the OS map until various water courses have joined forces near Selside.
We ended up agreeing there are bigger things to worry about in life, like whose round it was.

DalesI have a treasured signed copy of Bill Mitchell’s book, Summat & Nowt, which is looking a bit tatty now having been read half a dozen times and referred to on numerous more occasions. I’d already known and worked with Bill for about five years when in 1998 he dropped off copies of that newly published book at the Dalesman office. He liked to pop in to talk of journalistic matters and be reminded what life was like ‘at the coal face’, as he would say.
The book has a chapter called The Long Drag, which is culled from a book he wrote of the same name. It’s a lovely piece on the Settle-Carlisle Railway – not about the intricate technical details the train buffs prefer, or a dry account of its construction and history – but of the characters who brought the line to life. The drivers, signalmen, station masters, tea lady – and a host of other volunteers who dragged the line through its darkest days.
So this week it was a great pleasure to be invited to the unveiling of a plaque at Settle station to commemorate Bill’s contribution to the railway. His son David and daughter Janet gave moving accounts of their dad’s affliction: Settle-Carlilitis. Photo shows David and Janet beside the plaque (yes, it was cold, Janet).

Talking about the Ice age … here’s a good example of how those vertical cracks form and destabilise rock faces (near Ribblehead):

Some more shots taken on a freezing trip around the former quarry at the top of Ribblesdale:

Further into the Dales: I had a quick trip down Widdale into Wensleydale early in the week – stopped to capture snow blowing up Burtersett High Pasture:

Another shot of Ribblehead Viaduct:

 

There’s not a hotter otter in the Dales

dalesRain, floods, freezing temperatures, snow, cloudy skies and clear skies – yes, a typical weather week in the Dales. But what perked me up was the sight of an otter on Langcliffe mill pond early Thursday morning. It wasn’t long before the sighting became hot news – more than 5,000 viewed my (poor) photo posted on Twitter, and many folk headed to Langcliffe Locks to get a view of the otter. I wondered if the otter had found its way to the pond as respite from the flooding river. Neighbours tell me they later saw it back by the riverbank. Although otters are quite a common site for some folk, in all my years observing the Ribble I’ve never come across one on this stretch. It will be welcomed by many wildlife groups but I dare say some anglers – and fish – won’t be too impressed by its presence. Three shots of it swimming in the mill pond:

Around Ribblesdale
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Minor flood on the Highway between Langcliffe and Settle.
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While trying to shield the camera from rain I just about managed to capture part of a rainbow at Settle weir.
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Angelic waterfall at Ribblehead quarry. The top photo in blog was also taken from the quarry and shows clouds swirling around Ingleborough on Saturday.
Dales appeal
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This photo of Whernside was taken on Friday before the snow. The path under threat is towards the left of the picture.

There were quite a few Three Peakers heading out yesterday morning, taking on the 24-mile challenge in snowy conditions. It shows that whatever the weather there will always be folk tramping the footpaths between Penyghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. This week, ‘Pitch in for Whernside’ was launched by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority as part of the British Mountaineering Council’s ‘Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million’ fundraising campaign. The aim is to raise £46,000 to help strengthen the Bruntscar path on Whernside where the steepest section is becoming increasingly eroded, undermining the local ecology and creating an ever-widening scar on the side of authority’s highest hill. Last year £17,042 was raised to pay for flagstones on the Swine Tail path on Ingleborough. Further details here:
http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/living-and-working/other-services/press-office/news/recent/new-campaign-pitch-in-for-whernside

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Penyghent in Saturday’s snow, taken from Helwith Bridge.

Dales churches


This week’s church is St Mary’s at Kirkby Lonsdale which although in Westmorland is now part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, so there. A lovely church dating back to Norman times, it has lots of quirky and interesting architectural features – both inside and around the churchyard – and is well worth a visit.

A colourful Dales Highway
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Everyone seems to take this kind of picture so why not me? The walk along the Highway into Settle from Langcliffe proved to be colourful trip.

Dales the place to be whatever the weather

dalesWhat a wet week in the Dales. But there are a lot worse places to be when it’s chucking it down, so mustn’t grumble. One of my favourite perching places is on Bowland Knotts where the Western Dales can be seen in all their glory. On Tuesday, while sitting on this gritstone outcrop at around 1400ft above sea level, I took this layer-cake of a photo. The Lakeland Fells weren’t visible this time but the Three Peaks were.

dalesThe above photo shows bleak Clapham Common from the same spot. Clapham is a few miles away but the smallholders from the parish were (maybe still are?) allowed to graze their stock here. The area was probably once forested and as I sat here I thought this would be the perfect kind of land on which to plant much-needed native trees.

With forests on my mind I drove down to Gisburn Forest and Stocks Reservoir for a few more photos and a stroll through the woods where the colours are rapidly changing.

Hoping in vain for another day without rain, later in the week I headed up Wenningdale to High Bentham and attempted the town’s Heritage Trail. A couple of miles in I had to turn back such was the rain and boggy ground. Another one to add to the list of dry-day walks.
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Referendum for Yorkshire?

Talk this week about Yorkshire becoming a self-governing country got me
wondering if all of us who voted to remain in Europe would also vote for our county to remain in GB should there ever be such a referendum. What would our stance be over immigrants from Lancashire and the North East? There would be no problem about passports for Yorkshire folk, as we never leave the county anyway, but would we allow people from London and the South East safe passage through to Scotland for their skiing or golfing trips, or even let them cross our air space? The Dalesman has a test to see if you qualify as a Yorkshire person – take it here. Ashamedly, for a former editor of the magazine, I only got 11/12 (I know nothing about films – had that question been about Yorkshire football I’d now be a fully qualified Tyke. More revision required.).

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Last Sunday there were some brief moments of sunshine in the dales. Stackhouse in Ribblesdale looked a picture (above). Below is the river Ribble at Langcliffe.

The Ribble was a bubbling cauldron at Stainforth Foss one evening this week. I tried to capture the violence and chaos – and a rainbow.

Also, here’s a short video of the scene…

Dales churches (again)

Adding to my collection of Dales churches are these two – St Leonard’s at Chapel-le-dales and St Batholomew’s at Barbon.

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.

 

A different light on the Dales


dales16 Dales photos here. Did you feel the season turning this week? Is the central heating back on? When September opens the door to let in autumn we all feel the draught. It did lead to some lovely evening light on Wednesday around my Langcliffe home in the Dales, and I was able to take the camera out for a stroll …

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Superb bench around a tree in the new allotment site in Langcliffe.

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Back in the mid to late 1960s when I was a teenager I often visited Stainforth Foss at this time of year. We either stayed in The Hut or camped in the field where it is housed as we undertook the Duke of Edinburgh Award. ‘The Hut’ was the nickname WRCC’s Outdoor Education Centre set up in the early sixties which you can still see in a field above the Ribble. It looks a bit forlorn and underused nowadays but the Foss still draws in visitors. While I was there one evening this week a young family were staring at the falls waiting to see salmon leaping. Doing my best impression of that old country character from TV, Jack Hargreaves, I told them it was probably a little bit early for the fish to be jumping. Just then up popped a salmon. I skulked away embarrassed, still mumbling about it being early.

Of course I didn’t catch it on camera. I also struggled to snap one of the many rainbows created by the combination of water and evening sunshine. There was a dead lamb floating in the Ribble by the old packhorse bridge, perhaps caught out by the heavy rain we’d had earlier in the day – the river rises quickly here.

Train of thought

I was waiting for this steam train to arrive at Ribblehead. It was raining and the west wind was blowing strongly in this exposed part of the Dales. The tops of Whernside and Ingleborough were covered in cloud and there were few people about given the time of year. Even the hardy train buffs were absent. Bill Mitchell once described this area as having a ‘frontier feel’. In his book, Summat and Nowt, Bill tells of the time in the 1950s when ‘the station had a harmonium in the waiting room and a wind-vane on the roof – the station combined its railway role with that of a church and weather station’. In 1954, 109 inches of rain were recorded here.

There’s an easy pleasant walk of only a couple of miles I do which takes in the pretty little waterfall, above, of Wharfe Gill Sike (off the road between Austwick and Helwith Bridge). From there I follow the path through Wharfe. The hamlet has some lovely old Dales buildings and residents like this horse, which insisted on showing me its ‘best side’.

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Some lovely views along this walk, too.

 

Dales tree petition

Campaigners trying to save the 150-year-old beech tree at North Ribblesdale RUFC in Settle are ramping up their objections against the tree’s planned execution. They have started a petition on the website 38 Degrees – join the campaign here http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/think-again?bucket=email-blast-15_9_2017_settletree_cby_blast

 

Two falls and a submission in the Dales

The blog (+12 pics) title refers to a Dales walk I did on Monday. Many locals will know the 5-mile circuit from Langcliffe in Ribblesdale. Starting from the village head down to the mill and around the mill pond to cross the Ribble at Langcliffe Locks. Follow the river up to Stainforth Foss, over the packhorse bridge and up into Stainforth. Take the road by the church up to the stepping stones over the beck, then up the steep track to Catrigg Force (the submission part is where you wrestle with the path and have to stop several times for a large breather and take a photo). From the falls head up to Winskill then take the path down the Langcliffe side of Stainforth Scar back to the village, enjoying the fabulous views down Ribblesdale. Sadly, Langcliffe no longer has a pub to round off the walk properly but if you do the route on a summer Sunday there’s usually yummie tea and cakes available at the Village Institute (2-4pm). Above and below are a few pics along the journey.

Friends of the Dales is the new brand name of the Yorkshire Dales Society the only registered membership charity campaigning for, protecting and enjoying the Dales. I renewed my membership this week – why not help keep the Dales special and vibrant for years to come? Visit https://www.friendsofthedales.org.uk

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Distant Ingleborough seen from Keasden.

On a brief respite from rain I took a short walk around the tiny settlement of Keasden, near Clapham. Quiet roads and barely visible paths across fields and through woods make it ideal for exploration. Centuries ago this would have been a busier place but now there are just a few farms and a church – St Matthew’s. Keasden’s name stems from old words for ‘cheese valley’ – I wonder if there is an old recipe for original Keasden cheese lurking around somewhere. There’s a thought for some local cheesemonger and marketing whizz to latch on to…

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Another chunk of the ancient packhorse bridge at Knight Stainforth has been knocked into the Ribble. I’m presuming a vehicle caused the destruction – when will common sense prevail here?

On Friday, not for the first time this year, the electric was off in the village, and it was chucking it down so I didn’t fancy another walk. I looked around the house for something to read – nothing new so off I set for Sedbergh and a mooch around the bookshops. Now I’m proud owner of a first edition (1956) copy of The Yorkshire Dales by Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby. I already have some of their books and I just turned the first few pages when the power came back on. I like the pair’s fussiness and little personal asides which offer a glimpse of their upbringing and lives in the post-war Dales. Their observations of Dales life are always backed up with detailed research; they have an authoritative writing style which seems to proclaim ‘we are always right in what we say’! I also love Hartley’s sketches and woodcuts.

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Penyghent from a footbridge over the Ribble near Helwith Bridge.

I travel by train as often as I can but it’s not always easy. Settle is my nearest station, so invariably I have to travel via Leeds (even if my destination is in the other direction, such as Manchester). Leeds is an hour away, trains are infrequent and the last one back to Settle leaves Leeds at 19.19 (17.41 on Sundays). I’ve been on Settle-Leeds trains when passengers have had to stand the whole journey, and often at Leeds station there is a rugby scrum of people trying to board the service. So it is with increasing dismay I see the predicted costs for the new HS2 spiralling out of control. The first phase alone (London to Brum) started at £32bn, then it went to £56bn while latest figures from DfT suggest the cost will double. There’s absolutely no justification in spending so much money when there are far greater priorities in this country. This folly will wreck so much countryside and ruin so many people’s home lives. Spending £100bn+ to knock half an hour off the journeys of those who will be able to afford a ticket is scandalous. HS2 symbolises a country run against the interests of the many and in the interests of the few. Far less could be spent on creating better local services, restoring old lines and adding to the current ‘low speed’ (apparently 125mph isn’t fast enough) rail network over the next decade. Maybe we should have a referendum on it … oh wait a minute, they don’t work do they. Or how about just letting politicians do whatever they want and have their rich friends pick up all the lucrative contracts, and sod the consequences?

Harking back to a bygone era – steam engines heading along Ribblesdale this week

I see that a video of the beck rising in Kingsdale has ‘gone viral’ this week (I also saw on tinternet that the Daily Bile (Mail) described the water’s steady progress as a ‘torrent’- apparently people actually buy this disgraceful excuse for a newspaper). The sudden rise of Dales streams isn’t uncommon. I remember seeing similar happening in neighbouring Chapel-le-Dale. You can witness the Skirfare suddenly appear in Littondale when rain soaks the surrounding hills. Also, near Cowgill at the top of Dentdale the dry bare rocks on the bed of the River Dee can instantly turn into cascades. Still a cracking video though – gotta love the Dales.

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The dry bed of the Dee near Cowgill.

Horsing around outside the Dales

DalesA stunning journey up the Dales on the Settle-Carlisle line took me for the first time to the Appleby Horse Fair. Friday had the best weather forecast, and the views down Ribblesdale, Dentdale, Mallerstang and the Eden Valley along the railway route were brilliant. Appleby was full of colour and character; travellers and gypsies greeted each other in a great range of accents, and at times I felt like I was intruding on a private party – not that it wasn’t a welcoming atmosphere. I’m sure that when all us tourists departed the real party began. I’ll go again next year and be more adventurous with my photography.

To help with loading today’s post, I’ve put the Appleby photos on a separate page here remember to come back for the rest of this week’s blog!

On Monday The Dalesman train chugged through the Dales in heavy rain. At a soggy Selside where Penyghent and much of the dale was hidden behind cloud, I managed one shot which looks better in black and white.

The following day I thought the rain would have strengthened Stainforth Force and I wasn’t disappointed. I timed the visit so that another steam excursion (above) was passing by.

I couldn’t get to Stainforth on Saturday evening when the river was even higher. I did manage to see the Ribble in Settle however …

I had a little bumble around Rathmell too this week (top pic in blog is one of the views). There are many underused paths here, small woods, streams … and llamas.

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“Like the hair do, Mavis. Did you get it done in Settle? Could do with a fresh style myself. That bloke with the camera could do with a trim an’ all.”

Has anyone else noticed that Settle is being overrun by rabbits? While walking by the river near Bridge End the other evening I was amazed at the number of rabbits in the school grounds, around the swimming pool and football pitch. In great numbers they can do a lot of damage here in the Dales to farmland and stock, and they also spread diseases; before I’m inundated by comments from animal rights activists, I’m not advocating their total elimination but don’t they need to be humanely controlled so that a proper balance is maintained?

New book review here

New surname here

‘Having five minutes’ in the Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire DalesIn the Yorkshire Dales there are lots of places where you can ‘have five minutes’. I used to get so frustrated as a youngster when my parents wanted to ‘have five minutes’. This usually meant stopping something interesting or exciting and doing nothing other than having a cuppa and sitting still. Boring. Nowadays in my ancient state I love ‘having five minutes’, sitting on some rocky outcrop and staring at the Dales landscape, watching the clouds pass by and listening to the birds. As in the past, the five minutes often become ten and more. Just a short walk from home, above Winskill Nature Reserve, is a favourite place of mine for ‘having five minutes’. From here you can see the Three Peaks and Fountains Fell, look up, down and across Ribblesdale. To the south west is Warrendale Knotts, Attermire Scar and the Bowland Fells. By your feet the limestone pavement shelters beautiful tiny plants and insects typical of the Yorkshire Dales … a big, wide world and another miniature one side by side. Top photo: a good spot for ‘having five minutes’ – at the head of Barbondale where the Howgills and Dentdale add to a spectacular view.

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From Winskill Nature Reserve: Penyghent and Fountains Fell, plus early purple orchids.
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Unusual sky colour over Warrendale Knotts seen from Winskill Nature Reserve.
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Taken just moments later, looking in the other direction over Ribblesdale and the quarries at Helwith Bridge, Ingleborough is seen under a very different sky.
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The mood changes often and quickly in the Yorkshire Dales.

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Compulsory mum-with-lamb pic for this time of year. Nice earrings.
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Another shot of Ingleborough, this time looking over Crummackdale.
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Sunlight catching the meadows near Langcliffe.
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Family history research took me to the lovely church of St Michael’s in Hubberholme this week. I spent many a happy hour in the George pub (in the background) while on outdoor activities weekends while camping or at nearby Buckden House.
Mallerstang in May – and a lamb doing aerobics by Pendragon Castle.

Nakedness, monks and dry Dales days

dales13 photos. The cackle of a stream over water-worn pebbles; hidden birds striking out perfect notes. The sight and smell of wild garlic; bluebells gently swaying in dappled sunlight. A Dales wood is a delight on such a day. The few people I meet are cheerful; happy to be out and about in this peaceful haven, forgetting the world’s troubles and its greedy fools.

At the start of the week I was contemplating changing the name of my blog to Scribble by the Pebbles, such was the lack of water in the Ribble and elsewhere in the Dales. Many stretches of the riverbed near my home could easily be walked across which is very unusual as this is an area where water has traditionally been collected for meadows and powering mills.

One day I popped over to Wensleydale to see how low Semerwater was looking. The two large boulders by the car park (top pic) were totally exposed. I took photos of the naked rocks for posterity. In fact, I got a bit carried away with camera clicking this week and had a job whittling down the choice for the blog so I’ll let the pics do most of the talking.

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No water heading over Langcliffe weir earlier this week
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The millpond provided sanctuary for this family
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Outbreak of wild garlic at Langcliffe

 

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Bluebells and ramsons basking in the sun by the Ribble

 

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Looking down on Semerwater
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Bainbridge in Wensleydale

 

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Time to top up the tan in the Dales

 

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Looking across the meadows towards Malham Cove on a walk to Gordale

 

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Standard Dales shot of Gordale Scar. I posted more on Twitter and Facebook earlier in the week.

 

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I find it hard to get the exposure right when inside steep-sided Gordale which is usually in strong shadow. Again, the waterfall was nobbut a trickle.
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Sawley Abbey lies beside the Ribble on the traditional Yorkshire-Lancashire border. The monks at Sawley owned the land around Langcliffe and Giggleswick for around 400 years.
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Stone carvings at Sawley Abbey, done a almost 1,000 years ago – I wonder if my blogs will still be hanging around the Dales in 3017?