Earlier posts

Earlier posts
This blog is a continuation of an older one. To explore previous posts please click the photo above.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021


Seem to be having a spate of Oriental spam! Tedious. I’m going to put comment moderation on for a few days to see if I can stop it. It’s about time you could ‘block’ such people but you can’t do that on Blogger. 

Snow melt

The sudden snowfall after Storm Arwen didn't last long; higher temperatures soon melted the light covering we had. A couple of days later, the River Aire at Hirst Weir was a tumbling mass of waves crashing down over the rocks. Exhilarating to see and great too to enjoy a crisp, dry day and some sunshine. 

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Lighting up

Storm Arwen, the other weekend, played havoc with many places' plans for a grand 'switch-on' of their Christmas lights. I heard that the contractors were unable to decorate Saltaire's Christmas tree due to the the high winds on Saturday. I'm not sure whether events went ahead exactly as planned though I think there was a festive market inside the Victoria Hall. Once the snow had abated on Sunday afternoon and I went out for a walk, all seemed quiet. The tree, in its usual place on the lawn in front of the Victoria Hall, had festive lights - and a light dusting of real snow.

Monday, 6 December 2021

Settle station

The railway station in Settle, like most of the stations on the Settle-Carlisle line, retains a lot of its heritage charm. Opened in 1876, as part of the Midland Railway Company, it is still painted in their colours of red (properly called Crimson Lake) and cream. Almost closed in the 1980s, pressure groups ensured its survival and the line has gone from strength to strength, helped by the superb scenery that it passes through, although I believe there are only 8 or 9 services a day through Settle. 

The station occupies an elevated position, giving lovely views across to Giggleswick school's unusual copper-domed chapel  (above) and with a view of Pen-Y-Ghent along the platform (below). 

I was amused to read the signs on the platforms - 'Settle down' on the Carlisle side and 'Settle up' on the Leeds side, though I was puzzled... I always think of anywhere south (Leeds, London) as 'down' and anywhere north (Carlisle, Glasgow) as 'up' so to me these signs were illogical. My knowledgeable friend pointed out that in railway terms, London is the centre, so you always go 'up' to London.

A few vintage suitcases reinforced the heritage feel of the station:

and, in the station yard, what was once a huge water tower with a cast iron tank for replenishing the supplies of steam trains, has been converted into a residential property. I'd love to see inside! The owners are, apparently, fellow Bloggers so there is an entire blog dedicated to it - see HERE - with some photos. 

Sunday, 5 December 2021


It just happens that I've ventured up to Ribblesdale quite a few times in the recent past. One day I decided to explore the market town of Settle in a little more detail, instead of just passing through. In the photo (below) of its market square, you can just see in the background a rock outcrop with a flagpole atop. That's Castleberg Rock, and I decided to walk up there, just for fun. It's a bit of a steep scramble but worth it for the views, and interesting to watch the rock climbers negotiating the steep crag. 

The panorama from the top is stunning, looking over the town and the neighbouring village of Giggleswick and with far reaching views. The photo (above) taken from that viewpoint, shows the Town Hall, with its numerous chimneys and huge gables, on the left and the famous 'Ye Olde Naked Man Café' just across the main street. According to some accounts, that building dates back to 1663 and was once a house - and the name maybe comes from an undertaker's business or the trade sign of a local carpenter. Other accounts date the building to the 19th century and suggest it may have been an inn. It doesn't really matter. These days it's a family run café and bakery and provided a tasty sandwich and good coffee. I shared an outside table with a couple on holiday and within minutes we'd shared a myriad of details, so that I felt like I'd found a new BFF (as my grandchildren would put it!). She was from Lancashire, he from Yorkshire and I still find it heartwarming how genuine and friendly people can be round here. 

Another notable building in Settle is The Folly, built as a house in the 1670s by a local lawyer, Richard Preston. In its time it has been a farmhouse, bakery, warehouse, furniture shop, bank and even a fish and chop shop. It has been divided up into dwellings and then reunited into one building. A Heritage Lottery Fund grant allowed it to be rescued and preserved. Now it holds the Museum of North Craven Life. 

Just as a foot note, I was intrigued by the carefully chiselled graffiti at the base of the flag pole up on Castleberg Rock - 1841! Proof that 'vandalism' has existed for a long while. 

Saturday, 4 December 2021

Scaleber Foss

Scaleber Foss or Force is a scenic waterfall, just off the road between Settle and Malham. Scrambling down to it through the steep, wooded gorge, on the slippery rocks and fallen leaves, was a little tricky, so I only ventured as far as the first flat viewpoint. Had I been braver (or more foolhardy?) I could no doubt have found a vantage point clear of the trees. Nevertheless you can see it's quite attractive and worth the visit. 

From the road above, the limestone scenery is stunning, with Stockdale Beck carving a route down from the hills on its way to the falls. 

Friday, 3 December 2021

Lighted window

It was, sadly,  too cloudy for a sunset when I took my tripod and camera down to the canal between Salts Mill and the New Mill. I did, however, find just one lighted window in the Mill, which I thought made an interesting story. Maybe someone was working late on a Saturday evening? Or maybe it was just someone forgetful who left the light on? The perspective along here does funny things too. Despite much measuring and checking the verticals in processing, it still looks like the mill tower is leaning a bit! Maybe it does? 

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Malham Cove

And so to the wonder that is Malham Cove... My route took me around the back of the cove and then down the steep steps to its left. There is a large area of limestone pavement up at the top, but I know from past experience that it can be slippery and treacherous - and these days I am keen to avoid twisted ankles or anything worse, so I avoided most of that, though it is an interesting landscape feature. 

The Cove is a large, curving limestone cliff, formed by a waterfall of glacial meltwater more than 12,000 years ago. Nowadays the water of Malham Beck erupts from the base of the cliff, seeping down through the porous limestone. Eventually it becomes the River Aire and ends up flowing through Saltaire. 

Moving closer to the cliff face, you can see climbers about halfway up, where there is a ledge that allows access. It must be a difficult climb, with a large overhang at the top. Peregrine falcons breed here too, during the summer, so some of the climbing routes are out of bounds from March to at least the end of July. It's heart-stopping stuff to watch the climbers! 


Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Gordale Scar

Beyond Janet's Foss (see yesterday) the route to Malham Cove branches off at Gordale Bridge, following the Dales Highway long distance path. Most people, however, make a detour further up the valley first, to see Gordale Scar, a deep limestone gorge with two waterfalls and overhanging limestone cliffs over 330 feet high. It's a pleasant walk, especially when the beck is flowing fast, as it was the day I was there. The water is really clear and has lovely turquoise and amber tints. 

The Gordale falls tumble down a huge drop. It looks relatively unimpressive in my photo (below), since there is nothing to give it scale. Sometimes there are visitors scrambling over the rocks but the beck was too full to allow that. If I say that about ten people standing on each other's shoulders might just reach from the base of main cascade, in the middle of the photo on the right, to the lip of the rock, that might help you visualise how big it is. 

Much of the rock around the falls is tufa: dissolved limestone precipitated out of the water onto the surrounding rocks. 

Backtracking down to the main path, I then climbed over to Malham Cove, where the Dales Highway and the Pennine Way briefly share the same route northwest before diverging again. 

The views from up here are stunning. A track leads down into the village of Malham, among the trees, with a sightline right over towards Pendle Hill in Lancashire, on the horizon. 

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Janet's Foss

After briefly slipping into winter yesterday, we return to autumn, when a week or two ago I had a really lovely walk up at Malham. It is always busy there but, midweek on a day with a not-so-good weather forecast, it was not too busy. In fact I almost turned back on the way as there were road signs saying the approach road was closed, but I stopped for a coffee in Airton and the lady serving said: 'Oh, just ignore the signs, they're to stop it getting overcrowded. You'll be alright today.' And I was. And the weather was better than forecast too. 

The iconic walk is: Janet's Foss to Gordale and then over the hill to Malham Cove and back down to Malham village, so that's the way I went.  Janet's Foss is a waterfall where Gordale Back tumbles into a pretty little pool. Often it's a mere trickle but after a day or two of heavy rain there was more water coming down than I've ever seen before. 

It gets its name from Jennet, queen of the fairies, who is said to live in a cave behind the falls. 

Monday, 29 November 2021

First snow!

Storm Arwen brought high winds and snow to Scotland and the north of England over the weekend. It appeared that we had missed the worst of it here but on Sunday morning it started to snow and by mid-afternoon a covering had settled, even in the valley. Some of us still get a little bit excited by snow since it is a relatively rare occurrence here these days. When the blizzard abated I went out for a short walk, ostensibly to post some letters. It was quite pretty everywhere so I walked a little further into the village centre with my phone and took a few photos. The snow was already starting to disappear where people had walked and overnight it will be icy. It's impossible to predict whether that will be our only snowfall of the winter or the precursor of much more. Either way, it's nice to capture the moments in a few photos. 

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Tales of the unexpected

I enjoyed a random kind of wander around Bradford recently, taking in the Cathedral and the area known as Little Germany. There, in the 1850s, wealthy and influential German wool merchants, attracted by the thriving textile industry in this area, built their offices and warehouses in an elaborate neoclassical style. Some of the buildings have now been converted for residential use and attempts have been made to preserve the area and attract arts-based organisations. At various times, street artworks have been added - both 'official' and 'unofficial'. 

You really wonder what you're going to find round the next corner - from the sculpture called 'Grandad's Clock and Chair' by Timothy Shutter (street furniture of the best kind!) to Samson in the temple of Dagon (I guess!)....

A nice googly-eyed door:

A portrait of Bradford born artist, David Hockney, made entirely of nails:

and, in the Cathedral, a tiny 'green man' in the stonework under the pulpit. 


Saturday, 27 November 2021

Autumn riches

Autumn came slowly this year, with a whispering softness that at first made me impatient and then eventually beguiled me. The woodland below the old limestone quarry between Langcliffe and Stainforth was full of subtle colour. 

By contrast, trees in the nearby market town of Settle were bolder: copper, gold, russet and orange glowing beautifully in the sunshine.

Friday, 26 November 2021

The old bridge

I've shown this bridge, along the canal in Shipley, before. I think it's a good subject for photos, with its sweeping curves and all the different textures of the water, foliage, stonework and setts (the large cobbles that surface the pathway). It looks good in mono but in this picture I wanted to retain the russet beech leaves in their autumn glory.

Bridge number 208 on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, it's known as Junction Bridge. It dates back to 1774, when the Bradford Branch canal was opened here, an offshoot of the main canal that allowed boats to travel right down into the industrial heart of Bradford. The bridge allowed horses towing boats to pass from one canal towpath to the other. Beset with problems due to the water quality, the Bradford canal was declared a public health hazard and closed in 1866; reopening, with an improved water supply four years later, it finally closed in 1922 and has since been filled in. 

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Walking home

Warm autumn colours, the familiar (and, to me, almost comforting) monolith of Salts Mill chimney, standing guard over the mill and the village - and a lush, late afternoon sky.  Almost home, ready for a cup of tea... aah. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Woodland oddities

Deep in the dark wood, you sometimes come across trees that appear to be frozen in the act of being something else....      A parrot swooping down to a slender birch tree....

Or two brothers squaring up for a fight...  

Or a long-limbed dancer....

Or some kind of squirming, many-tentacled, sea creature, perhaps.  

Then again, perhaps I'd just overdosed on magic mushrooms in the forest: