You’ll not find the name Beacon Scar on a modern OS map of Ribblesdale despite the place being higher and more significant than many of the surrounding named hills. Go back to the 1800s when they were fond of lighting beacons and you’ll find the hill on maps, 1,426ft above sea level beside Warrendale Knotts on the edge of Stockdale near Settle. Presumably the good folk at Ordnance Survey thought there were too many ‘Beacons’ around the north so they decided to cull a few.
They did however note that it was in such a strategic position that they placed a trig point where the ancient beacon would have been. If you stand there, looking west, you’ll note you are lined up almost in a straight line across Ribblesdale with Smearsett Scar and Ingleborough (see pic above) which also have trig points and were once beacon sites – and ideal places for warning locals of invading Scots in days gone by. The 360-degree view from Beacon Hill is superb. There’s a short video of it here if you’re interested. https://youtu.be/kQQwk7PebPM It wasn’t the clearest of days when I went up there on Monday and you’ll note the furthest fells are melting away a little.
I’ve bumped into a lot of chuffing train enthusiasts on my saunters around Ribblesdale this week, as there’s been a lot of steam action on the Settle-Carlisle line. Here are a few of the shots I’ve taken:
I see Tan Hill pub is for sale at £900k. When it was up for grabs in 2008 it was on the market for £1.1m although I don’t know what it eventually sold for. Pictures show the place some 50 years apart.
If you haven’t yet tried Ribblesdale’s newest Coffee House at The Folly in Settle then I can highly recommend it (they also do tea for tea freaks like me). https://www.facebook.com/follycoffeehouse/?rc=p Mind you, all the cafes and pubs in Settle are worth a visit – but don’t attempt to do them all in a day, you’ll put on two stone such is the quality of available cakes. Some of the creations for this year’s Flowerpot Festival are also impressive – another reason to visit the town. I hope to bring photos of the festival next week.
Away from the madding crowd in Ribblesdale
Yesterday I managed to squeeze in a stroll around one of my favourite spots, Thorns Gill and the derelict settlement of Thorns at the head of Ribblesdale. Ribblehead, looking more like Blackpool prom on a Bank Holiday Monday, is nobbut half a mile away yet there I was completely alone for an hour in this beautiful glen with its waterfalls and fascinating rock formations.
Sheep don’t often pose for me but I think this one’s a bit of a diva …
A neighbouring cat gives me the eye for disturbing the peace. I wonder if cats dream in black and white?
During the week I also post shots and opinions on Twitter. Visit @paulinribb
There’s a splendid website which I regularly visit called grough.co.uk which offers all sorts of news and views for walkers, visitors and residents of the Dales, Lakes and beyond. I read a report on there on Tuesday of a walker being rescued from Watlowes dry valley above Malham (pictured). The Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation came to the walker’s aid. It was the team’s 72nd rescue of the year. What a great job done by them and the other volunteer rescue teams, such as uwfra.org.uk. It is so easy at this time of year to slip and slide on the fells. I nearly came a cropper myself, slipping on damp limestone while heading down the steep bank to Catrigg Force on Monday. All I was bothered about was my camera. We both emerged unscathed. I got a few photos of the water falls but I’ve not yet captured my ideal shot of this place. There’s usually a lot of ‘clutter’ in the way, but with leaves now dropping rapidly more can be seen of the main falls. Also, there’s such a contrast between the bottom half and the top half of the scene that getting the exposure right is difficult. Perhaps some experts can advise.
The bright blue sky seen through the canopy at Catrigg was almost the last I saw of it this week.
The track up from Stainforth to Catrigg and on to Winskill seems to get steeper every time I tackle it but the view back down between the walls, looking over to Smearsett Scar and Ingleborough, provides a perfect excuse to stop.
Tuesday’s stroll from Langcliffe to Settle via Victoria Cave and Warrendale Knotts was a strange affair. I moved from bright sunshine into thick fog several times. It’s a good job I know the route well – it would have been so easy to have strayed off course. Here’s one of the bright moments:
The landscape’s outline along this part of Stockdale sometimes reminds me of the wild west as seen in old cowboy films. So I couldn’t believe it when I saw heading towards me a herd of cattle being driven down from the hills by some farmhands. Ye-ah.
I chap momentarily mistook me for Mike Harding in Settle the other day; on top of this, someone else mentioned our similarities on Twitter. I wouldn’t mind but he’s even shorter than me and is also about 10 years older. Either I’m looking older than my age or he appears youthful… let’s go with the latter. Perhaps I can get away with a few free pints around Settle? As long as they don’t ask me to sing Rochdale Cowboy or play the banjo. If you’re a fan of folk and traditional music I highly recommend Mike’s podcast which can be downloaded (for nowt) from mikehardingfolkshow.com every Sunday. Perhaps you can listen to it while reading this blog and imagine we’re the same person.
Even though I am ancient I still enjoy kicking my way through the fallen leaves as I’m walking down country lanes. The leaves offer an opportunity for some creative work with the camera – not that it’s my normal style, but I liked the colours and patterns of this shot across Langcliffe Mill Pond taken last Sunday.
Unfortunately, another engagement means I miss the Remembrance service at the village memorial today when the names of Langcliffe’s fallen are read out.
For folk like me who are now past their best-before date, the trek up from the Ribble in Settle to the head of Stockdale is a bit of a toil. The reward from some 1400ft of puffing and panting is this glorious view back down the dale, especially when the clouds are scudding by and the changing light is making patterns on the pastures. Ancient man would have looked upon great forests here as he made his way over to Malham beside the towering limestone knolls and scars created by the Craven Fault.
Light played a big part in my photography this week when I stayed local to Ribblesdale after having handed the car keys to my son. A couple of lovely sunsets and a lower sun brought about a subtle change to the dale after the harsher (albeit brief) summer brightness. Some of the hillside trees gave off an autumnal glow in the late sun. The evening sunlight also brought new tones to Langcliffe village green and surrounding buildings. The pictures tell the story far better than I can…
Another sign of autumn is the sight of people with plastic bags and baskets full of berries and other free wild booty… nothing wrong with this in moderation but I hope they save some for the birds and other wildlife that depend on Nature’s harvest.
The steam train season along the Settle-Carlisle Railway may have ended but along came two ‘specials’ this week, catching me somewhat by surprise. I saw the Galatea engine from the High Way into Settle and the Leander as I was walking along the lower main road to Langcliffe.
A major fault led to my best moments this week. I’m talking about the Craven Fault, caused by a prehistoric act of Nature which created some of the country’s most magnificent and intriguing landscapes. A walk following the fault-line from Clapham in the west to Grassington in the east would surely be one of the most spectacular trails in Yorkshire – over to you, trailblazers. I trod two sections this week – the first from near Feizor across to Giggleswick Scar where views down Ribblesdale and the floodplain early evening on Tuesday were exceptional.
On Friday I walked the Settle Loop – part of the Pennine Bridleway – which includes views of the fault-line over Malham and Malham Moor. For me though, the tiny valley of Stockdale provides one of the greatest panoramas. Heading from the Malham direction, the Settle Loop reaches the top of Stockdale and squeezes between the Rye Loaf Hill and the limestone scars of Attermire and Langcliffe. Here Warrendale Knots stand guard on the border between limestone and gritstone, and here the grand sweeping valleys of Ribblesdale and Airedale open up before you. Being there on a warm summer’s day certainly makes you feel glad to be alive.
(That’s not me in the picture – hope you don’t mind whoever you are.) Back to Sunday … after I’d written last week’s blog the day brightened up so I drove to Selside and a nice little photo spot near the start of the track to Alum Pot. Here Penyghent is perfectly framed by the trees which somehow grow from the limestone pavement. On Monday I strolled from the village up to Winskill to find that one of my favourite pointy-signpost-photo-foregrounds had been switched for a short stumpy little effort. I suppose it helps open up the view a bit but I like signs that have place-names on them. Perhaps the authorities have been instructed to remove all signs containing names because there’s an imminent invasion threat?
I got the rare urge to desert the Dales on Wednesday and use my senior railcard on a trip to York. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the holidaying population of the UK and beyond had decided on the same destination. As you’ll gather, I’m not one for crowds but the experience was bearable thanks to the many attractions of this magnificent little city, and I saw many sights and heard sounds I’d never normally come across back home …
With the sun still having its hat on yesterday I walked up to Castleberg Rock to take a panoramic view of Settle and Giggleswick. I made a very short video with my normal camera – something I’m not very good at, as you’ll see here …