Dales snow: make the most of it – 14 photos

Dales

The Dales wrapped in a white winter coat – a rarer sight than it once was. I wonder if today’s youngest generation will one day be telling their grandchildren about the time they witnessed the final snowfall in the region. Climate change is definitely happening.

‘Experts’ might disagree over the causes, and certain trumped-up heads of state might be in denial over it, but I’ve seen it happening in my lifetime. That’s not just through misty reminiscences of harsh winters – such as in 1962/3 when as a child I recall enormous ice-slides and endless sledging – but also through my work.

When editor of Countryman http://www.countrymanmagazine.co.uk/ I received hundreds of articles concerned with changes in animal behaviour, the disappearance of species, alterations to landscape, unusual flooding and strange seasonal variations etc. Left alone, Nature will take its course – the trouble is, humans are not always in line with Nature’s wider picture.

I received hundreds of articles concerned with changes in animal behaviour, the disappearance of species, alterations to landscape, unusual flooding and strange seasonal variations etc. Left alone, Nature will take its course – the trouble is, humans are not always in line with Nature’s wider picture.

Dales Whernside
Whernside and Ribblehead Viaduct

Changing times

This month’s photos show how different the weather has been over the last few weeks . One minute it’s green and warm, fooling spring flowers into poking through; the next minute the same plants are battling temperatures of -6C.

Seeing all the snow reminds me of some of the old Dales sayings I’ve come across over the years. Farmers up in Swaledale might say: “Snaw’s fair stourin’”, which means a strong wind is blowing snow strongly.
If it is tewtlin’, it means the snow is falling gently and settling. In one of his many books, Bill Mitchell talks of farmers teeavin’ (wading) their way through snowdrifts to rescue sheep. Small 4x4s can help nowadays but hill-farming is still a very arduous job (with scant financial reward) when the Dales are in the grip of winter.

Penyghent from Horton-in-Ribblesdale

Penyghent – in fact, all the Three Peaks – display an air of majesty in the snow. Lovely to look at but their ascent should be tackled only by the fit and well-equipped. I did the Three Peaks this week – by car and photographically, needless to say – to capture the scene from some of my favourite locations:

What do you mean?

Folk often ask me, ‘What does Penyghent mean?’. You’ll discover a few answers but really no one can be certain of its origin. It’s (probably) a name that’s been passed down from the days when Celtic tribes lived in the area. But as our language changed and different people moved in, translations were often corrupted or deliberately altered. Even in the last century thoughts on the name’s meaning have varied. Today we’re told it means ‘hill of the winds’, whereas in Victorian times it was translated as Pennigant (from Pen-y-Gaint), meaning ‘at the field head’ or ‘end of the plain’. Another Dales mystery.

Trains in the Dales

There was a fair old gathering of photographers braving the chilly conditions at Ribblehead yesterday. For those who need to know … it is the Mayflower (front) and British India Line pulling the Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express excursion. https://www.settle-carlisle.co.uk/

While the posse kept an eye out for the main event, I was looking the other way at the setting Sun.

Some more of the greener stuff from late January…

Stainforth Scar from Langcliffe
Ancient fields near Langcliffe, Ribblesdale
View to Ingleborough from Winskill
Penyghent Gill at Giant’s Grave
Penyghent from the road between Stainforth and Halton Gill

Check out your Yorkshire surname: http://www.jacksoneditorial.co.uk/yorkshire-surnames/

Look forward to another year in our changing Dales

Dales - Ribblesdale from Langcliffe

Another year passes by – and so quickly, too – here in the Yorkshire Dales. An outsider looking in via occasional visits might think very little changes in the Dales, and they are comforted by that thought. But those who have lived here many years have a different perspective.

Yes, there are still the beautiful rivers, waterfalls and hills (‘Nobbut gurt mounds o’ muck’ as one old Dalesman once stated), but Dales life has altered a great deal over the last few decades.

Village schools are closing at an alarming rate; local shops and businesses have gone; there are fewer jobs, bringing about the dispersal of many long-established families. Their homes are being bought by commuters, holiday-let owners and as weekend retreats (that’s not a dig at those people, by the way, as without them some villages would probably have closed down altogether).

Ancient agricultural buildings are being left to decay as farmers no longer have use for them, can’t afford their upkeep or are refused permission to sell off or develop the barns as homes. Bus and train services are poor, as is broadband in many areas.

But would I prefer to live in a large town or city? Not on your Nellie! (Apparently this expression stems from rhyming slang, originally ‘Not on your Nellie Duff’ – rhymes with puff – meaning breath of life. Your education is incomplete without this knowledge.)

Dales sunset
Top photo shows Ribblesdale from Langcliffe; above, capturing a Dales sunset.

Back in the Dales soon!


My nearest hospital is a 45-minute drive away, a journey I’ve had to make several times over the last few months for treatment on kidney stones. How something so tiny can cause so much pain and leave a person so debilitated is astounding, but hopefully I will be heading up and down the Dales again shortly.

Photos in this final blog of the year show some of the places I’ve been missing, but which I’ll be re-visiting during 2019.

Dales Horton
Memorial at Horton-in-Ribblesdale
Dales Stackhouse
Stackhouse
Dales steam train
Steaming beneath Penyghent
Dales Settle Station
Settle Station
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Settle area from Giggleswick Scar
Dales - Brimham
On the rocks at Brimham
Dales - Littondale
Lovely Littondale
Dales Ingleborough
Majestic Ingleborough
Dales meadow
Thank you for reading the Dales blog during 2018. I hope you’re enjoying a merry Christmas and have a happy new year.

My Yorkshire Surnames page is updated every month. Visit http://www.jacksoneditorial.co.uk/yorkshire-surnames/

Summer: there it was – gone! (21 Dales pics)

Summer seems to pass through the Dales a little quicker each year. Since last month’s blog the landscape has changed colour, fields have been cropped, lambs have disappeared and the bulk of tourists have headed home. The Settle area where I live is a vibrant place during summer with local shows, the flowerpot festival, folk music and dancing, steam trains on the Settle-Carlisle line and much more. After all that activity it could feel like we’re already starting to batten down the hatches for a long winter – yet autumn can also be an exhilarating season, full of colour, drama and beauty and I’m looking forward to getting out and about in the Dales with the camera.
Here is a selection of photos that I’ve taken since my last blog, a reminder of summer 2018:

Top photo, above and below late summer in Ribblesdale.

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Even in August there were signs of changing colour down Ribblesdale.

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A moody evening near Cowside.

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I see the beautiful ancient tree by the rugby ground in Settle has been destroyed despite a lot of opposition. At least the chap who wanted more light in his house and garden will be happy.

 

Settle Railway Station once again looked splendid during August – as did all the stations up the Settle-Carlisle line.

 

That’s how to make an entrance.

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Ribblehead where the weather can catch out the unwary.

 

A classic Dales railway shot taken near Selside with Penyghent in the background.

Above and below, sunny evenings to remember in Ribblesdale.

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I often wonder if trees get lonely. Mighty Ingleborough is its neighbour.

 

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I was asked to judge the photo competition at this year’s Langcliffe Show. The standard was excellent, especially in the sunset category. I was inspired to head up to Winskill to take a few shots myself…

The main steam excursion season is over but there’s still much to see in this part of the Dales. I look forward to seeing what the next month brings.

Joyous June in the Dales (37 pics)


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.

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Let’s start with some Three Peaks photos. Top is Ingleborough; above is Whernside seen over Ivescar Farm; below are two shots of Penyghent in Ribblesdale.

Trains in the Dales

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Apologies for the quality. I zoomed in from the Coal Road above Dent station across a few miles to try capture this train as it left Blea Moor tunnel.

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I see now what I have in common with train enthusiasts: grey hair.

Littondale

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First few photos around Foxup, Cosh and Halton Gill. The last two on the way to Littondale from Stainforth showing Penyghent Gill and farm, and Fountains Fell.

Nature in the Dales

Cheeky little monkey (calf, actually) sticking its tongue out at me.

More Dales scenes

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Four photos from a walk along the Pennine Way around Malham and Darnbrookdale. Below a couple from around the Dentdale area.

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Aisgill Falls near Hawes, and a classic shot of Hawes church.

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

And finally…

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.

See you next month.

Memories (vague) of a real Dales pub

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.

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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.

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Ingleborough this week.

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.

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High-contrast view down Chapel-le-Dale, one of my favourite dales.

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.

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You’ll not be surprised to learn that Penyghent features again this week. The dominant hill of Ribblesdale puts on many faces (top photo in blog, seen from Langcliffe Scar), above from Selside and (below) as a backdrop for the Settle-Carlisle railway line. Good to see the steam excursions heading up and down the dales once more.

The pleasant weather had me out on a few local strolls to capture the colour, flora and wildlife …

St John’s, Langcliffe.


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.

A bomb dropped on the Dales

dalesDales 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.

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Just before the storms ‘bombed’ us and whipped off all their leaves, I thought I’d best capture the trees around Langcliffe village green.

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.

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Old and new technology? Mobile phone meets Leander the engine.

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

Summer blues, a cleaner Dales and a rant

dalesWell 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 …

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Top photo shows Whernside from Thorns Gill; above, evening light on lonely Kingsdale.

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Above and below, views of Penyghent from Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

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Dales days to remember on Semerwater.

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This view down Littondale from above Halton Gill never fails to brighten my 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.

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The dales village of Langcliffe – secluded Langcliffe Park is hidden behind the trees on the middle right of the photo.

Dales torment, trees and trains (13 pics)

The dales weather can be a real torment. I’ve given up on trusting forecasts for the whole region as each dale seems to have a different climate. After driving under blue skies and fluffy clouds through Ribblesdale the other day I reached Newby Head to be confronted with darkness, rain storms and a plague of frogs. The farm at Newby Head was once a pub, and reckoned to be the second highest in Yorkshire after Tan Hill. Here, and at the former pub at Gearstones, drovers, farmers, miners and navvies drank, scrapped and sheltered from the worst of weather. A much more welcoming greeting awaits nowadays.

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View from Coldstones Cut.

I had a bit more luck with conditions over in Nidderdale although a grey background and low cloud spoilt the photography. Two man-made structures brought me to this part of the dales though – the intriguing artwork of Coldstones Cut – now seven years old – and the immense Scar House Reservoir which is around 80 years senior. The designs are very different but both feats of engineering are impressive.

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I also had a wander through Salt Lake Nature Reserve in Ribblesdale. The former quarry is now under the protection of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and is being left to Nature. There are some lovely dales plants here – and I managed to capture a picture of a red admiral butterfly too. The trust launched an appeal in July to save Ashes Pasture, which is just 100 yards from their Salt Lake site. £175,000 is needed to save this area of wildlife-rich grassland habitat from being sold on the open market. They are almost halfway to reaching the target and will shortly submit a bid to Heritage Lottery Fund asking them to help with the balance, but the more the trust raise the more likely they are to be successful. Please visit http://www.ywt.org.uk/ashes_pasture

The Salt Lake Nature Reserve is also a handy place for capturing passing steam trains on the Settle-Carlisle railway …

The felling of a 150-year-old beech tree (below) on the edge of North Ribblesdale RUFC’s ground was due to start on Sep 1. The club want to level their pitch and say it can’t be done because of the tree. I was surprised when permission was granted to get rid of the beautiful tree – I doubt I would have gained similar authorisation if it were near my house. The work hadn’t started yesterday when I walked by – perhaps a stay of execution?

The brilliant (and free) Settle folk festival weekend was well under way in the town centre yesterday … the flamboyantly dressed, flower-hatted Flagcrackers of Craven with their blackened faces (do today’s PC laws still allow them to do that?!) were busy hitting each other with sticks as I passed.

One good evening sunset in the Dales this week. These photos – and the first one in the blog, were taken from Winskill Stones above Langcliffe.

And finally in the Dales…

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“This is a quiet spot Doris, why do you think the others don’t rest here?”

 

Steamy lovers and falling for the Dales – 20 pics for you

dalesI did a mini tour of Dales waterfalls with my son on Wednesday. After heading up from Skipton through Wharfedale we dropped down to Cauldron Falls at West Burton. The view down Bishopdale towards the higher fells beyond as you top Kidstones Pass still makes my heart miss a beat. We did the touristy Aysgarth Falls trio, and called in at Semerwater before paying our dues at the Green Dragon to take in spectacular Hardraw Force. Then it was up over Fleet Moss for the gentler falls of Langstrothdale. A great day in the dales.

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Top falls at Aysgarth

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Semerwater

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Son Will at Lower Falls, Aysgarth

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Cauldron Falls, West Burton

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Mighty Hardraw

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Middle Falls, Aysgarth

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Behind Hardraw Force

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Close-up of the falls at West Burton

The views up Crummackdale and in the opposite direction towards the Bowland Fells were excellent as I walked from Austwick up to Oxenber and Wharfe Wood. But it was the sky that caught my attention that day – crisp blue high to the south-west with a cauldron of clouds bubbling up beneath.

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Austwick and Robin Procter Scar

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View up Crummackdale from the path to Oxenber Woods

Steamy lovers corner

Last Saturday through to Tuesday saw four consecutive days of steam excursions on the Settle-Carlisle line. I managed to capture a few as they passed close to home….

 

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The scene at Ribblehead Station wouldn’t have been much different 50 years ago

On another early evening stroll near Selside I enjoyed some lovely scenery across Ribblesdale. First pic in blog and the one below show Penyghent from Selside.

If you’re going out fruit-picking in the Dales this week please remember to leave plenty for the birds and small mammals …

Excluding games being played Sunday, as I write, my beloved Huddersfield Town are top of the Premier. A little premature to be celebrating anything perhaps, but it’s not been often during the 60 years I’ve been watching the team – my Dad first lifted me over the turnstiles at Leeds Road when I was a 4-year-old – that I’ve been able to gloat. So I’m not getting carried away… but already looking forward to playing Barcelona in next year’s European Cup.

Sheep, trains and flowerpots – it’s all go in the Dales

DalesMy Yorkshire Dales photo diary. Sadly, many of the swallows living around the house have disappeared – a bit early for departure but perhaps they know something we humans don’t. There is still one pair lodging in a former outside loo – perhaps they had second chicks and are awaiting their development. I hope it doesn’t mean summer’s over before it’s really begun.

Thankfully there have been a couple of rain-breaks this week when I’ve been able to get in a little exercise and some photography. There was some mellow evening light around the local dales on Friday, as in the top photo of sheep grazing beneath Penyghent at Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The next two show Kingsdale and Ingleborough from Chapel-le-Dale.

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Another shot of Penyghent, this time from Horton churchyard

Settle is certainly looking colourful with all the flowerpot creations dotted around town for the annual festival. I took a few photos one night this week before rain interrupted my tour. You can see a selection by clicking here – by no means a complete set. Great work by everyone involved.

Living in such a lovely part of the country means every day is cause for celebration here in the Dales but Monday was a bit more special as it was Yorkshire Day. I pinched a white rose from a neighbour’s tree and popped it into a glass of water – it’s still blooming nicely as I write this six days later.

Clapham is always worth a visit – I was there for an evening stroll earlier in the week…

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Love this old-style road furniture.

Steam train excursions up and down the Settle-Carlisle line are still attracting a great deal of attention, especially when Flying Scotsman is hauling (first pic shows Flying Scotsman passing through Settle). Other two show other engines pulling trains earlier in the week at Ribblehead and another in Settle (Saturday).

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