Dales trains, waterfalls, sunsets and kittens

dalesIt’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.

DalesI 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.

Penyghent under a sunlit cloud.

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.

The other two of the Three Peaks, Whernside and Ingleborough, as seen from Bowland Knotts.
If you look closely all three can be seen in this photo.

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.

Dales Three Peakers deserve better

DalesI’ve seen a lot of bedraggled Dales Three Peakers this year. This summer has been a big disappointment especially for those who perhaps have planned for months if not years to take on the 24+-mile walk around Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. I regularly pass them at the top end of Ribblesdale on that horrible section of road walking between Ingman’s Lodge and the viaduct, when it dawns on them they’re nobbut a third of the way round. And again in Horton-in-Ribblesdale when they look a bit more relieved, if aching and blistered, as they head from the station to the cafe for their moment of triumph.

Dales Three Peaks: Top photo shows Ingleborough, above is Whernside, and below is Penyghent.

Around 30 years ago I completed the route with a lovely lady who had some health issues. We went at her pace and she was so proud to have completed the walk. The time was only about 20 minutes outside the allotted 12-hours for her to be able to receive a certificate but that didn’t lessen the sense of achievement. Well done to everyone who takes it on, especially this year.

We haven’t had many of those relaxing sunsets in the Dales this summer either – maybe the next month will offer more, and as I write the forecast for Bank Holiday Monday is good.

Nor have we seen much in the way of sharp contrasts and deep shadows – too much greyness around the Dales. Here are a few examples I’ve managed to capture.

Two friends travelled on the steam special which chugged up the dale on the Settle-Carlisle railway this week. They remarked that although the scene was grey as they passed through the dales the weather did improve further north. I captured the engine Leander pulling the train across Ribblehead Viaduct. More train pics here

From Batty Moss I zoomed in on Leander as it left its mark on Ribblesdale at Salt Lake Cottages before reaching the viaduct.

My thanks to those who pointed out that the larger of the yellow plants featured in last week’s blog was Senecio jacobaea – or ragwort to you and me. Normally you will see the plant as a much duller shade of yellow beside roads where it carries all the traffic filth, but no such pollution up here in the dales. I read up about the plant to satisfy my curiosity and learned there are many myths and falsehoods told about the plant. Yes it can be harmful to horses if eaten in large amounts but its reputation is not as bad as it has been painted – see http://www.ragwortfacts.com/ragwort-myths.html – and is very useful for pollinators.

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