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:
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.
Just a couple of short Dales trips squeezed into this busy week. One fine morning I had a walk up to Norber Erratics, a place I first visited on a school field trip some 50 years ago. There’s always a different rock shape to photograph on these boulder-strewn slopes, but this time I concentrated on the views. (11 pics)
And once again I called in on that lovely off-shoot of Ribblesdale, Chapel le Dale. Here you can wander along (and off) the old Roman road without needing a great deal of energy as it follows the flat valley bottom. I branched off to God’s Bridge where the beck, when low, reappears after a stretch underground. With Ingleborough towering on one side and vast limestone scars accompanying you on the other (first two pics below), this is a fabulous part of the Dales.
Ancient Dales tradition
I didn’t know until recently that each year at one minute past midnight on March 31, an age-old tradition is carried out in my village of Langcliffe in Ribblesdale. The fountain in the village centre was once a well, around which a Pagan ceremony is thought to have been carried out. Although exact details have been lost in the mists of time, the ritual has something to do with the alignment of the moon and an mysterious boulder which once covered the site of the well.
Legend has it that if the shadow cast on the boulder by the first moon in April does not align properly with an ancient ley-line heading in the direction of Ingleborough, then bad luck would befall the villagers.
During the thirteenth century the boulder was moved by invading Scots as an act of defiance against the English. After the stone’s removal, the village – apart from the home of Langcliffe’s eldest resident – was inexplicably burnt to the ground. Some claim that Samson’s Toe at nearby Winskill is the actual rock.
As time went on and the village was rebuilt, the rock was replaced by a cross, and more recently by the stone memorial we see today. It now falls upon the oldest surviving member of the family with the longest lineage in the village to check the line of the moon’s shadow using a sacred yew branch, or ‘Prolifola’ (from the Old Norse word meaning ‘preserving life’), and to warn residents of any misalignment and thus of their impending doom.
Thankfully, there is still reading material around that isn’t politically biased or in the hands of corrupt owners. Magazines you can read, save, re-read years later and flick through without having to stare at a screen, remember a password or recharge a battery. While the aim of writing this blog is to give my brain cells a little work-out and to share Dales views, I still look forward to writing occasional magazine columns. So here’s a blatant plug for two pieces I have in the April issues of Countryman and Down Your Way. In the former I look back at what happened in 1958 when apparently we ‘never had it so good’. And this month’s Surname File in Down Your Way looks at the Yorkshire name Ledgard.
Thar’s gold in them thar Dales – tha knaws … there have been some glorious golden moments in the Dales over the last 12 months. By standing in the right place at twilight – with or without a camera – I’ve enjoyed many a memorable sunset scene here in the western Dales. I’ve dug out a few shots for this week’s blog:
One of my pet hates is fly-tipping. Whether found in the Dales or in towns and cities it’s disgusting and whenever I see such selfishness I will report it. Last week on my way to watch my football team in Huddersfield I saw a wagonload of discarded household goods dumped near the canal. I Tweeted about it and the story was followed up by the Huddersfield Examiner. I was there again yesterday and the rubbish had gone. So the understaffed local press still has some power and a part to play in the community. I wonder how long the trash would have stayed had it not been publicised – and how long before more is dumped there? https://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/huddersfield-town-fan-brands-fly-14290468
In 2015/16, the estimated cost of clearing of fly-tipping to local authorities in England was nearly £50 million. When councils are struggling to pay for schools and social services, this is such a waste of revenue. Added to this, the cost of fly-tipping on private land is estimated at between £50 – £150 million a year. Fly-tipping can attract an unlimited fine and up to 5 years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court yet this doesn’t seem to stop the criminals.
I know people will say that councils should stop charging residents for taking larger loads to their tips – I wonder if those same folk would complain if the £50m cost was added to the general rates? In many cases fly-tipping is carried out by rogue traders who charge customers for disposal but instead of disposing it properly just dump the rubbish on someone else’s doorstep. As I say, scumbags.
That youthful lad inside my head really wanted to sledge down this sloping track above Langcliffe. Alas, I think it would only have ended in tears and broken bones.
A Dales photo for each month during 2017. Looking back on a year’s wandering – fairly aimless wandering it must be said – and photographing around the western Dales this year, I hadn’t realised how much the sky had dominated so many of my shots. Clouds move swiftly in this part of the country as the breeze sweeps in from the Irish Sea and strikes the hilly barrier in its way. A stormy sky can turn clear blue in minutes – and the opposite can happen quickly too, to catch out the unwary.
Photos can often hide the truth – the top picture, taken above Giggleswick Scar, shows a lovely clear day looking down on Settle bathing in sunshine. But don’t be deceived, it was taken in January and believe me it was freezing up there that day.
This February shot shows snow on Penyghent and a steam special heading through Ribblesdale.
In March I watched this dramatic cloud formation above Kingsdale as it made its way from the north-west. Whernside bore the brunt of the bad weather it brought.
About as far as you get in the western Dales is Barbondale. This April day was full of light and shade.
The Sun in May is still fairly weak and I was able to point the camera directly at it for this shot of a distant Ingleborough from Winskill.
The weather was right for a stroll up Attermire Scar in June. This was the view looking north-west, showing the track to Malham by Jubilee Cave and the foot-hills of Penyghent and Fountains Fell.
Just as the sun was going down on a July day at Winskill, Ribblesdale. Distant Penyghent soaking up the last rays.
A typical August sky and a typical walled green lane. I was on my way from Horton-in-Ribblesdale to photograph the impressive Hull Pot.
A September shot of Settle. I chose this one for my yearly round-up not because of the great view of the town from Castleberg Rock but for the shape of the clouds above, which take you to the distant fells.
October brought some storms to the region. I was right on the edge of this particularly nasty one above Ribblesdale before making a hasty retreat back home to Langcliffe.
As autumn turned to winter I was lucky to grab this November shot on the track between Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Brackenbottom before the gold and brown tints disappeared.
I had to include a December shot of a snowy Penyghent, even though Ribblesdale didn’t have a white Christmas Day. This was taken from Selside.
Thank you for continuing to follow this blog during 2017 and I hope you have a fabulous new year.
Happy Christmas from the Yorkshire Dales. It’s not been a good week for photography with there being so much fog around here in Ribblesdale. Add that to my annual catch-ups with old friends, visiting family and having a stinking cold means my photographic output has been practically zilch. It has, however, given me chance to search through this year’s archives and pick out a few Christmas and wintry scenes featuring the Three Peaks area and further afield in the Dales. The top picture and this one of frosty trees were both taken in Wharefdale, near Appletreewick.
There are 12 Dales photos in this week’s blog. Yep, not just the one shown above. I had a message from someone who has been seeing notifications about my blog for over a year, saying that she’d only just realised there were actually many more photos to view if she clicked on the appropriate link. Clicking on the website link also shows other goodies. Enough of this self-promotion… it’s been a mixed weather week in the Dales but sometimes the light at this time of the year makes you appreciate oft-visited local scenes even more.
I’ve taken countless pics from Winskill, like the top photo showing Penyghent, and the one above of the farm, Smearsett Scar and Ingleborough. But I can’t stop myself from going back to see the scene in different light and conditions. The view is only a few minutes from home – and I can be quite lazy at times. Here are three more taken from the road between Langcliffe and Malham during the same late afternoon light:
Dales planning dilemma
There’s an interesting planning application being put forward in my village of Langcliffe. The owners of Bowerley, a large Victorian mansion which now houses privately owned and rented accommodation, want to build a subterranean eco-friendly house on – or should that be under – part of the 3.2 acre garden to live in during their retirement. It’s an interesting concept for this part of the Dales and throws up something of a dilemma for planners. Although just outside the main village which is inside the National Park, Bowerley is still in a conservation area. Subterranean eco-friendly housing usually means plenty of aluminium and glass so I wonder how this fits into the definition of ‘conservation’. The applicants say the house won’t be visible other than from a distance at the other side of the valley – and from passengers on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. There are no protected trees under threat and as far as I am aware no great-crested newts live there. I have no problem with seeing something from the 21st century in the mix of buildings and I’m all for eco-living, as long as there isn’t a negative impact on surroundings or neighbours. I do wonder if being underground so close to the Settle-Carlisle the earth will move for them when the Flying Scotsman hurtles past? https://publicaccess.cravendc.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OVYH5ZFKG8R00
I needed to pop over to Hawes this week but it wasn’t the most photogenic of days. But I did capture the beck, church (see further below) and Gayle Mill.
Nearer home I took these showing ancient field systems, a view up Ribblesdale and a fine tree silhouette:
Two more Dales churches this week: St Wilfrid’s in Burnsall has a lovely setting beside the river Wharfe. There’s been a church here since at least 700AD. The present Grade I Listed building shows additions and alterations from the 13th through to the 19th century.
St Margaret’s church in Hawes is Grade II Listed and was built in 1851. It replaced an older chapel of ease. Most photos you’ll see of it feature the slab path to and from Gayle. So, here’s another:
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
When I’m president of the People’s Undemocratic Republic of Yorkshire, and when Lancashire has been converted into my private golf course, I’ll be ordering southerners to build a wall from the Humber to the Mersey. The annexing of the Lake District will have been completed by then. The Geordie Camps, set up along the Tees for north easterners to be taught how to speak properly before being allowed across the border, will be producing a steady flow of workers for the Yorkshire Parkin mines. Yorkshire will not only be a buffer zone between the warring factions of Scotland and London but will also provide sanctuary for poor immigrants from Lincolnshire and East Anglia who have no hills. Should any cocky Cockney pilot try to enter Yorkshire airspace I will launch T’ Mam of all Bombs from the Alan Bennett International Airport, aiming to destroy the set of Eastenders. I aim to allocate more than half a dozen boats from Whitby to patrol the Thames Estuary, a show of force that will act as a deterrent and send a message that Yorkshire’s not to be messed abhat wi’.
As you can see, war has been on my mind. Around the world, scum has been rising to the top of the melting pot. Unhinged despots have been allowed to take charge of countries; selfish, trigger-happy tyrants flexing their muscles without a care for the consequences of their pathetic bravado.
I spent a day at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington near York this week where I was reminded in graphic detail what happened the last time a maniac tried to rule the world. We would all do well to remember that what our eldest generation witnessed here in our country 60+ years ago is actually happening now elsewhere in the world. Will we ever learn?
Yorkshire at its best: top picture and the two here show Giggleswick Scar and Settle on a bright and breezy Saturday evening.
Above, Stainforth Scar and lovely Langcliffe in Ribblesdale this week.
Ingleborough from near Buckhaw Brow as the light fades.
At the other end of the day: Smearsett Scar from Winskill in Ribblesdale just after sunrise.
BREAKING NEWS – Leeds United Airlines statement regarding the man being dragged kicking and screaming from the 8.30am flight from Birmingham Jasper Carrot Airport to the Alan Bennett International Airport: We would like to apologise to all passengers for any disruption caused by the removal by security staff of this man. Contrary to Press reports, the flight was not overbooked – we just didn’t like his accent.
It’s been a funny old start to 2017 here in Ribblesdale and beyond. The weather has been neither one thing nor t’ other; I’ve not had much time for getting out and about, and in the world in general, us humans don’t seem to know how to cope with the messes we’ve got ourselves into. Still, plenty to look forward to this new year. Hopefully steam trains will soon be back on the Settle-Carlisle railway, my Huddersfield Town footie team will be promoted to the Premier League, and our unelected Prime Minister will have sorted out all the injustice in our country as promised. Well, anyway, there’s a fair chance we might get one of those three.
The more observant of you will have noticed I’ve switched ‘publication day’ for my blog from Sunday mornings to Monday. Two reasons for this: one, I seem to get more traffic to the site on a Monday, (probably because too many people spend time on t’ internet at their work computers than they do at home); and two, I’m able to make better use of my Sundays. Not that I really set myself deadlines in my retirement but it’s still a buzz to have a challenge. This week’s photos highlight the changeable conditions encountered in Ribblesdale since the start of the year. The top shot of Penyghent from Winskill is in black and white, but in real life it wasn’t much different.