So, a month of strolling and taking pictures in the Dales has gone by without a blog from me. It’s not been easy – I’ve been dying to show off about living in such a beautiful place and the Nature I’ve seen as the Sun threw wide its arms, saying ‘come on lad, fill thi booits’.
Even the milk-bottle legs got an airing (allowing all manner of flying objects to help themselves to a Jackson blood-fest).
Within a 25-mile radius of home the Dales have provided relaxing walks and waterfalls, stunning sunsets and glorious sweet meadows to melt the senses. The camera has worked overtime and illustrates the wonderful Yorkshire Dales through pictures much better than I can with words.
Trains in the Dales
Nature in the Dales
More Dales scenes
I also visited Appleby Horse Fair earlier in the month. Some locals complain about the annual fair while others are happy to make a bit from increased visitor spending, renting camping space and charging for parking. As a visitor I only see a snapshot of the event, of course, but it seemed well policed and had plenty of RSPCA officials on hand. I wasn’t around to clear up any mess though. For a short slideshow visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSu-Ypcw0zM
I could have filled the blog with many more June shots but you’d have probably fallen asleep … here are three shots taken at sunset from Winskill, Ribblesdale, looking towards Ingleborough, to help you snooze.
Travelling through the Yorkshire Dales in 1724 Daniel Defoe got to Settle Bridge. In his diary he wrote: “Looking to the north-west of us we saw nothing but high mountains, which had a terrible aspect and more frightful than any in Monmouthshire or Derbyshire, especially Penigent Hill. So that having no manner of inclination to encounter them, merely for the sake of seeing a few villages and a parcel of wild people, we turned short north-east.”
You’d think that the chap who created such strong characters as Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders would have had a bit more about him than to worry about the good folk and the landscape of upper Ribblesdale. Anyway, he missed a treat.
During my own travels up this ‘frightful’ part of the Dales this week, I sat in the shade beneath a beautiful tree showing off its new spring clothes. I listened contentedly to the cackle of water over the pebbles of a low Ribble, and to the chirping of excited birds. Sheep and lambs, cows and calves mingled in a field across the river – there was no human-style dispute over who had the right to graze here.
The smell of wild garlic filled the air, and a small fish popped up briefly to cause a ripple on the shallow water – and surprise a duck and her tiny offsprings who were showing cowardly Defoe-type tendencies. The scene reminded me once again of how lucky I am not to be shackled to some hectic city street or suffering in a war-torn country.
Clouds and steam
As I waited for this week’s Dalesman steam-hauled train to pass over Ribblehead Viaduct I watched wispy clouds floating aimlessly over the Dales. The mass of Whernside, seen in the panorama below, looked glorious in the midday sunshine.
Farewell for now
I’ve been blogging here every week for more than four years now. That’s well over 3,000 photos of the Dales and goodness knows how many meaningless words. It’s time to give it (and you) a rest. I’ll continue to post photos on social media and, occasionally, on here – and I’ll also update the Yorkshire surnames section of the site once a month. Thanks for taking an interest in the blog – have a great summer. My Twitter feed is @paulinribb
While at my son’s house I asked if I could borrow a newspaper. He said, “We don’t have newspapers any more Dad, get with the times – use my Ipad.” I’ll tell you what, that annoying fly never knew what hit it!
10 Dales photos here. Earlier in the week I was staring down Chapel-le-Dale. It was hazy in the distance – and hazy in my head. I was overlooking the Old Hill Inn (see pic below) and thinking, I’m sure it was just called the Hill Inn when I went there in the 1970s, but I suppose even pubs get old.
I’ve not been inside for donkey’s years; if I do it’ll probably ruin the nostalgia. Back in the seventies it was full of walkers, climbers and cavers – and we drank lots of beer; there was nothing else on tap. If we were lucky there might have been a packet of crisps to share. I remember dozens of wet hiking socks and boots drying by the open fire.
Daft cavers and climbers would test their skills by traversing the exposed internal stone walls like gigantic spiders, making their way to the outside loos. I don’t remember there being a closing time but somehow we (usually) ended up in our tents in the neighbouring field.
Occasionally a guitar would appear and a bout of folk singing would break out; but the music genre depended very much on the clientele – my group of rowdy outdoor activities types, for example, preferred bawdy rugby songs.
The pleasant weather had me out on a few local strolls to capture the colour, flora and wildlife …
In other news: I’ve reluctantly switched from Yorkshire Tea to PG Tips and will remain that way until Yorkshire Tea remove plastic from their tea bags. So there.
My contributions to May’s Countryman and Down Your Way magazines include memories of the old kitchen ranges, a round-up of conservation news, and a look at the surname Holmes. Please support local magazine publishers: dalesman.co.uk Latest magazines available in most newsagents and supermarkets.
The 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.
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.
I 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:
It’s a pleasure to see a steam-hauled train dashing through the Dales. Here Galatea makes its way off Ribblehead Viaduct on the spectacular Settle-Carlisle line (yesterday evening). There were just a few remnants of snow on Whernside but looking at the weather forecast it seems like there’s more to come.
I thought it was about time I tried a longer walk this week to see if my injured (ancient) left hip and knee could stand it. Four miles around Ingleton was enough. I took in part of the waterfalls walk and although the lighting was poor I managed to add a few shots to my collection.
The collection of Dales twilight and sunset shots also grew a little fatter this week. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram etc are not really geared up to show subtlety in photographs but I hope, even on phones, you can get some idea of what I was aiming for in these shots taken in Ribblesdale.
As mentioned in previous blogs, if I want to clear my head I’ll often drive on the road from Clapham up to Bowland Knotts and have a little saunter around. I love the view over the western Dales but by heck it was cold earlier in the week.
If you’ve got a ‘Hi-Dad-hope-you-are-ok-can-you-do-me-a-favour’ offspring then you’ll know that most of what you’ve said to them over the years has probably gone in one ear and straight out of the other without saying the briefest hello to any active brain cells. A few weeks back my son said he’d love a kitten for his new home and I dutifully (and boringly) informed him about all the pitfalls about costs, smells, vets, food costs, leaving it alone while at work, keeping you up at night etc, etc. Last week he got one – of course. I must admit he’s the cutest thing (the cat, not my son) and his picture (the cat, not my son) is now my screensaver. I reckon the cat, who looks very smug, will take as much notice of my son as my son does of me. Photo by William Jackson.
I see that several of my favourite areas of the Dales are featured in the list of Britain’s top 100 walks. Many of the 8,000 people who contributed to the list have walked in my footsteps. It’s good to see the promotion of a healthier lifestyle, and when it benefits local traders, accommodation providers and publicans etc, then so much the better.
My small gripe about the list is that most of the walks are already popular and the publicity is likely to attract thousands more boots over those same paths. I wonder how many walkers (or TV programme makers for that matter) will be willing to pay for the upkeep of those over-used routes.
Before you have a go at me, I know that in a way my blog and other writing down the years has also contributed to attracting more tramping of the fells – I’m not being hypocritical, I have given (and still give) money towards path repairs and Mountain Rescue charities in the Dales.
Since slipping on icy steps a few weeks ago and injuring my left hip and knee I’ve not done much strolling, so thank goodness I also have a car to get me around the dales. Top photo in the blog shows Penyghent from near Brackenbottom. To complete the Three Peaks trio here’s a wintry looking Whernside and Ribblehead Viaduct.
I’m saddened to hear this week of the death of the inspirational Hannah Hauxwell (91). I only met her briefly at some ceremony or other. Being involved with Dalesman at the time I asked if she and her neighbours up in Baldersdale still considered themselves as Yorkshire folk (since the political boundary changes in 1974). Hannah replied firmly that they always thought of themselves as Yorkshire and felt no association with Durham. I hope everyone born on the south side of the Tees still thinks the same. Hannah was a lovely lady unspoilt by all the attention she received.
I must add my congratulations to everyone involved with Langcliffe Community Gardens on winning the Greener Craven Award category of Craven Community Champions. A great effort by those neighbours of mine who got involved. Plenty of snowdrops to admire in the local churchyard, too:
by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Many, many welcomes,
Ever as of old time,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many, many welcomes,
Fans of steam trains make sure you buy a copy of this month’s Countryman magazine (now in the shops) in which I reminisce about the golden age of railways. The Settle-Carlisle and Keighley & Worth Valley lines are included. http://www.countrymanmagazine.co.uk
In February’s Down Your Way magazine I write about the surname Loftus/Lofthouse. http://www.downyourway.co.uk
Somebody famous once wrote, ‘There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather’. I suppose that could well be a motto for landscape photographers and artists. As long as you are still able to get out and about, different and difficult conditions offer new opportunities – even on familiar territory. I hope my selection of photos this week of mainly local (to me) places, which I’ve pictured many times before, prove the point.
I’ve no idea how many photos I’ve taken of the Three Peaks – they seem to put on a fresh dress every time I travel up Ribblesdale.
Cold weather stations
Two stations on the Settle-Carlisle line: Ribblehead with Park Fell in the background, and Garsdale, where Ruswarp patiently awaits his owner.
Whenever I take this shot of Brokken Bridge in Clapham – this one snapped on Friday – I’m reminded of the late Bill Mitchell. Bill and his family would have been celebrating his 90th birthday this week. A few years ago he and I cheekily knocked on the door of Fellside (the top house of the row to the left). We announced that we both edited Dalesman and that Bill had worked from this house when it was the magazine’s headquarters. Thankfully the owners recognised Bill and let us in to enjoy some of his reminiscences.
This Ribblesdale view at Helwith Bridge always reminds my of a Welsh mining valley. The 19th-century quarry workers’ cottages at Foredale were the setting for a cracking film released in 2013 called Lad: A Yorkshire Story. Staring down at them from the other side of the valley is Penyghent – many a mini blizzard on the top there this week.
Thanks to one of my neighbours thinking about the birds during cold weather I’ve been able to take a few more wildlife photos from the comfort of home. Taking photos through double-glazing can prove difficult but this doesn’t spoil my enjoyment. I think this is a female blackbird but I’m sure an expert will let me know if I’m wrong.
Dales storm watch… my top photo shows the quickly changing scene over Ribblesdale from Winskill earlier this week. I’d hung around a while waiting for that strong shaft of sun to hit the farm. Moments later darkness fell upon the area and I scarpered down the hill to sanctuary back home. I quite enjoy being out in a summer storm in the Dales, as it refreshes the greenery, satisfies the thirsty trees and replenishes the rivers. But autumn storms feel more threatening, the winds are stronger and in my mind do no good for anything or anybody. I almost spat out my Yorkshire tea yesterday when I read somewhere that we should expect another ‘weather bomb’ this weekend. ‘A what? A (expletive) WHAT?’ I spluttered. I suppose I should start to accept that news nowadays is more about hyperbole and drama than pure facts. Is there some kind of directive going around newsrooms that the more shocked and startled readers/viewers/listeners are the more likely they are to be impressed with the output? Well, not in my house. It’s just weather for goodness sake, stuff that’s been happening since the world began. Sometimes the weather’s bad, and we feel sorry for those unfortunates who suffer from its consequences, but there’s no one up there deliberately dropping bombs on us – just yet.
Excuse the language… not sure if you will be able to read the writing on the paper sign on the board at Ingleton outdoor swimming baths, but that’s the water temperature in Yorkshire f-f-f-farhenheit.
Continuing my quest to photograph as many Dales churches as possible, here are a few more:
St Andrew’s Slaidburn
St Mary’s Ingleton
St Michael & All Angels, Hubberholme.
A warm welcome at St John’s in Langcliffe.
Perhaps an appropriately sombre photo of the year’s final steam excursion up the Settle-Carlisle line. This one taken yesterday at Hellifield – a lovely old station and a Grade II listed building.
I tried to capture some autumnal action at Settle United FC … I think I’ll stick to landscape photography.
Finally I was saddened to hear that after today Mike Harding is no longer to broadcast his fabulous folk music show from the Dales. He’s one of the best radio presenters I’ve ever listened to – straight-forward, amusing, no gimmicks, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He’ll certainly be missed on the airwaves in my house. http://www.mikehardingfolkshow.com
16 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 …
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’.
Well what a rotten week in the Dales for photography – or anything else for that matter. Ribblesdale’s been so shrouded in cloud for most days that I’ve had to dig out a few older shots from this year’s ‘summer’ to fill the blog. Pity the poor souls who thought they’d have a final break in the Dales before heading back to school or work. Anyway, it’s churlish to be moaning about our summer when you see what’s happening in the rest of the world at the moment, so here’s a few shots to brighten the day …
I see that plans by North Ribblesdale Rugby Union Club to chop down an ancient beech tree in Settle seem to have stalled – perhaps just temporarily. I hope they can come up with a better solution for levelling their pitch.
The steam train season will be ending soon which is a shame. Even though I’m no train buff I do enjoy seeing and hearing them working their way up and down the Settle-Carlisle line in Ribblesdale.
A cleaner dales
Tired of being paid minimum wage (and less), sick of zero hours or short-term contracts, my son has decided to start his own cleaning services business. Over the last seven years he’s carried out all kinds of cleaning and maintenance duties from rinsing out toilets to renovating massive industrial refrigeration units for some of the biggest names in retailing. Unfortunately, in this country cleaners are often treated disrespectfully by public and employers alike – even the highly trained, diligent, hard-working ones who take enormous pride in their work. Yet without them many businesses and accommodation providers would fail miserably.
I do wonder what will happen to those who rely on cheap labour when the short-sighted, narrow-minded Euro leavers get their way and borders are closed to the people deemed to be unworthy to enter our ‘superior’ shores. Some large hotels and accommodation providers in the cities can have over 90% Eastern European or immigrant workers on (or off) their pay rolls.
Here in the dales, where around a quarter of housing is classified as second homes or holiday lets, many of the owners live far away. Knowing that trustworthy cleaners and housekeepers can be called upon is vital for their investments. If you are such a person or know someone who needs a dedicated cleaner please contact Will – more details on his website http://www.cravencleaningservices.co.uk or drop me an email/message.
I’m proud of the lad (still a lad to me despite him being 25 next birthday) and he has started his business well with some promising contracts such as the refurbished Maypole Inn at Long Preston, and the impressive Langcliffe Park site near Settle, plus a few holiday-let cottages in the Dales.