I might not always see eye to eye with some decisions and policies made by the National Park Authorities, but all in all I think they do a fine and very necessary job of safeguarding our countryside. I’ve certainly never viewed them as being extravagant or a total waste of taxpayer’s money – unlike, say, the House of Lords. (In 2014 the net operating cost of the outdated House of Lords was around £100m while that of the Yorkshire Dales National Park was nearer £4.5m – and not all paid for by the taxpayer.) The National Parks have already suffered massive cuts and are are now faced with even more. Staffing has been slashed by 20 per cent meaning among other things that right-of-way management, visitor facilities, car parking, toilets etc have all been hit. I know there are many other pressing matters to be concerned over, but does this government see the British countryside as just another asset which they can sell off to the highest bidder? The parks have been told to raise more money themselves … we interrupt this Blog for a short advertisement …
The McDonalds Yorkshire Dales National Park
Our walk-through diner on Penyghent now features the famous Barbequed Spare Ribble Platter. At our Dodd Fell branch you’ll find the McWensleydale Cheeseburger and our Snaizeholme McSquirrelnut burger for vegetarians. Our popular Sedburger Club Sandwich with our home-made Hawes Radish Sauce is popular at our Ingleborough branch. The Malham McMuffin with Maple Syrup will delight you at the new Cove Experience outlet. While our exciting Strawberry Strid Milkshake is free with every Wharfedale McWrap bought at our Bolton Abbey franchise located in the former priory. Admission fees apply.
The Yorkshire Dales … I’m Loving it.
I’ve taken more than 250 pictures this week so it’s been a bit tricky narrowing down a selection for the blog. I’ve even ventured slightly outside my normal patch of Ribblesdale into Sleddale, Wensleydale and Clapdale. No wonder I’m feeling a bit jet-lagged today … or maybe that’s more to do with the beer consumed while drowning my sorrows watching the Rugby Union. Rather than base my choice of pictures on technical prowess or prettiness, I tend to go for those which tell a story or remind me of the occasion, so professional photographers please look away now.
Last Sunday I did a lovely circuit from Langcliffe – these trees on the route at Stackhouse (top picture) will look superb in a couple of weeks – towards Feizor then back via Giggleswick Scar (pic of my boots from there pointing to Settle) . There were some terrific views, including Penyghent, Ingleborough, Settle and Stainforth Scar (2nd pic), despite an ever-present distant mist.
Monday I followed the ancient track from Horton to High Birkwith, returning along the surfaced road via Newhouses Tarn and the smart hamlet of Newhouses. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between the clouds and vapour trails and today they mixed to form some interesting patterns in the sky.
I often wonder how many of those hundreds of Three Peakers who charge through this area in a bid to chalk off the mountains, actually stop and take in the extensive views from this side of the valley.
It had been many a year since my last visit to Aysgill Force in Sleddale so on Tuesday I returned to find it in a sedate mood. I recall it gushing like a mini Niagara last time, but today a steady flow, captured here without any clever time-lapse photography, seemed to perfectly match my mood. It was great too to see a red squirrel scurry along a fence – far too quickly for me to capture. Wensleydale looked gently rural, too, and I liked this farmer’s humour …
Scaleber Force also looked laid back in the evening. I’d gone out to capture a sunset from Stockdale but couldn’t resist a quick look at the falls above Settle. Then, looking west from Stockdale, the sun said a colourful farewell. Looking in the other direction, the limestone scars of Warrendale and Attermire took on a warm pink glow.
On Wednesday my intention was to head up to Ingleborough from Clapham. The walk started well as I took the route via Clapdale’s fortified farm (pictured below), part of which dates back to the 13th century. Some of the walls are said to be 5ft thick and built to ward off rampaging Scots. (Before any friends snigger, accusing me of avoiding paying the fee to walk through the estate grounds, I really was genuinely interested in seeing the building, honest.)
However, by the time I got to Gaping Gill having struggled up Trow Gill (below) my knees were giving me such pain that I decided it would be wiser to turn back than have to call out Mountain Rescue further up. The other picture is of an unnamed pot hole close to Gaping Gill looking towards Little Ingleborough.
Thursday morning I struggled to make it downstairs to brew my morning cup of Yorkshire Tea such was the stiffness in my knees. I decided there and then to curtail my walking for a few days, and I looked up the price of a teasmaid on t’ internet. Not on my pension. I did manage to pop out and capture this speckled wood butterfly sunbathing on the house wall and later enjoyed another fine sunset from Winskill.
I was back at Winskill yesterday to see if there was a temperature inversion shot to be taken over Ribblesdale. But it was the heavier stuff – fog drifted in very quickly – the two shots below were taken just five minutes apart. My own fog is beginning to lift now so I might go try out the old knees again today.