There’s not a hotter otter in the Dales

dalesRain, floods, freezing temperatures, snow, cloudy skies and clear skies – yes, a typical weather week in the Dales. But what perked me up was the sight of an otter on Langcliffe mill pond early Thursday morning. It wasn’t long before the sighting became hot news – more than 5,000 viewed my (poor) photo posted on Twitter, and many folk headed to Langcliffe Locks to get a view of the otter. I wondered if the otter had found its way to the pond as respite from the flooding river. Neighbours tell me they later saw it back by the riverbank. Although otters are quite a common site for some folk, in all my years observing the Ribble I’ve never come across one on this stretch. It will be welcomed by many wildlife groups but I dare say some anglers – and fish – won’t be too impressed by its presence. Three shots of it swimming in the mill pond:

Around Ribblesdale
Minor flood on the Highway between Langcliffe and Settle.
While trying to shield the camera from rain I just about managed to capture part of a rainbow at Settle weir.
Angelic waterfall at Ribblehead quarry. The top photo in blog was also taken from the quarry and shows clouds swirling around Ingleborough on Saturday.
Dales appeal
This photo of Whernside was taken on Friday before the snow. The path under threat is towards the left of the picture.

There were quite a few Three Peakers heading out yesterday morning, taking on the 24-mile challenge in snowy conditions. It shows that whatever the weather there will always be folk tramping the footpaths between Penyghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. This week, ‘Pitch in for Whernside’ was launched by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority as part of the British Mountaineering Council’s ‘Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million’ fundraising campaign. The aim is to raise £46,000 to help strengthen the Bruntscar path on Whernside where the steepest section is becoming increasingly eroded, undermining the local ecology and creating an ever-widening scar on the side of authority’s highest hill. Last year £17,042 was raised to pay for flagstones on the Swine Tail path on Ingleborough. Further details here:

Penyghent in Saturday’s snow, taken from Helwith Bridge.

Dales churches

This week’s church is St Mary’s at Kirkby Lonsdale which although in Westmorland is now part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, so there. A lovely church dating back to Norman times, it has lots of quirky and interesting architectural features – both inside and around the churchyard – and is well worth a visit.

A colourful Dales Highway
Everyone seems to take this kind of picture so why not me? The walk along the Highway into Settle from Langcliffe proved to be colourful trip.

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