I loved this neat example of the traditional narrow boat folk art. 'Roses and castles' is what this art form is called - though the flowers often depict more than just roses and any buildings shown may be castles or cottages or anything 'romantic'. The boats themselves and many of the items aboard - pans, kettles, planters, lamps, doors, shutters, in fact practically anything - were often painted in this way, with colourful, stylised designs. Some say it reflects the traveller lifestyle (akin to Romany caravans, which are often similarly decorative). It is almost certainly one way that the boat families could show pride in the tiny living quarters of their working homes. See HERE for more info.
Wednesday, 29 September 2021
I see the (or a) grey heron, meanwhile, on most of my walks. I presume it is always the same bird, which seems to inhabit a range from the Roberts Park weir to the aqueduct, sometimes on the canal and sometimes on the river, which runs parallel. Here s/he was, between the two waterways, perched in a tree and just watching the world go by, which is unusual - although I know they nest in trees. This one is more habitually found paddling in the weirs or standing on the bank scouting for fish or voles. Maybe it had had enough lunch.
Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Burnsall, in Wharfedale, is a pretty spot with an attractive bridge over the river. The village acts as a focal point for visitors to the dale, with cafés, a good pub and a car park. A few days ago (HERE) I described a walk from the village, clockwise to the east. I returned to do a similar length walk, anti-clockwise to the west. It's an even more scenic route, initially following the Dalesway alongside the river to Linton.
Some of it featured fairly recently on one of those 'Yorkshire Walks' type TV programmes, where a celebrity films themselves walking and chatting. I can't actually remember which celeb it was that did this one, but they filmed themselves with hand-held cameras on sticks (I think due to Covid restrictions), which gave a somewhat weird and jolty view to the proceedings, making the viewers feel a bit sea-sick.
Further upriver from Burnsall, near Hebden, you have to cross the river over a narrow suspension bridge - quite thrillingly bouncy! - though that didn't make me feel sea-sick.
It happened to be the autumn equinox, so some of the trees are beginning to look a little more golden.
The stepping stones across to Linton church looked a bit uneven. Even though the river level was really low, I was glad the route doesn't make you cross here but skirts along the river bank to a wooden footbridge at Linton Falls.
Leaving the River Wharfe behind, it was uphill to Linton village, which made a good place to stop for lunch. Again, it's a pretty spot, set around a village green with a ford and packhorse bridge over the stream.
Monday, 27 September 2021
The hamlet of Denton, where St Helen's Church (see yesterday) is sited, is a picturesque little place, originally part of the estate of nearby Denton Hall. Nowadays the original stone farm buildings and cottages have been extended and renovated to provide rather luxurious homes, like the former school house, below left.
Denton Hall itself, a place with a long history, is now a wedding and conference venue. The present hall was completed in about 1778, designed by the celebrated Yorkshire architect John Carr, to replace earlier buildings that were twice damaged by fire. Carr's work is generally in the classical Palladian style, very symmetrical, and from what I could see of the hall from the gates, that is true of Denton.
The hamlet sits among meadows and parkland, partway up the hillside above the Wharfe valley and has lovely views over to Ilkley Moor and the Cow and Calf Rocks.
Sunday, 26 September 2021
There is a pretty little graveyard and some of the graves predate the present church.
The main reason the church was open was to allow visitors to see its rare painted glass window, the only surviving complete window painted by the artist Henry Gyles. It was commissioned by the Fairfax family of Denton Hall in 1700, and was later moved to this church from a chapel near the hall. Carr designed the church with Gothic windows, rather than his usual classical Palladian style, especially to accommodate the glass. The painting depicts King David playing a harp, surrounded by a choir and cherubs. The glass is very fragile and needs some serious conservation, so they are trying to raise money for this.
Alongside the ancient glass, there was a complementary exhibition: Journey - Teithiau - of contemporary painted glass panels by various artists. Those below are by Nicola Kantorowicz and the panel at the bottom is the work of Christian Ryan. Very beautiful, very colourful - and very expensive to buy!
Saturday, 25 September 2021
Friday, 24 September 2021
Call me a party pooper but I'm not sure I'm entirely in favour of the trend for yarn-bombing / fabric wrapping / guerrilla knitting. It's harmless in a way but it's graffiti in a different form and once that starts there's no end to it. One person's 'cute' is another person's 'tacky' or 'kitsch'.... I could not, however, let it go without a photo, since this kind of thing is very much part of our urban environment these days.
Thursday, 23 September 2021
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Not deterred by a slightly drizzly day, I walked a circular route from Burnsall, a Dales village with a rich history and a fine bridge over the River Wharfe. (See HERE for some photos of the village that I took a couple of years ago.) Skirting the side of Kail Hill, the path gave lovely views across the rolling limestone scenery. I have read since that Kail Hill and others like it in the area are the remains of coral reefs that formed in the shallow tropical sea that covered the Dales 300 million years ago. Who knew? I find that fascinating. See HERE for an explanation.
The path then drops down into the area known as Trollers Gill, where, reputedly, a vicious tribe of trolls lived, who would throw boulders at passing travellers, There is also a mythical wolf-like beast that could kill anyone who stared into its eyes. Luckily I met neither! The Gill is a dry limestone ravine but partway down it, the little stream of Skyreholme Beck bubbles up out of the limestone and begins to make its way down to join the Wharfe. (See HERE for more photos).
Appletreewick and Skyreholme are pretty villages that sound as though they come from the pages of a children's book. A farming hub and also a centre of leadmining in the 19th century, they are now a draw for tourists and visitors, with holiday lets and campsites.
Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Monday, 20 September 2021
Sunday, 19 September 2021
On offer in Roberts Park, as part of Saltaire Festival, there was a performance of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. (In Act One, a group of tradespeople meet to discuss performing a play for Theseus' wedding.)
It was a lovely day: warm, sunny and breezy, so there was a good crowd gathered to watch. Further down the promenade, our local Morris side, Rainbow Morris, were dancing, again with a sizeable crowd watching - and several enthusiastic children joining in.
Saturday, 18 September 2021
On Thursday night, before the second of the Saltaire Festival weekends, Exhibition Road was closed to allow the vendors time to set up their stalls for the Continental Market. In past years, many of the stallholders used to come from Europe (or at least have their roots there) but with Brexit and the pandemic, I'm not sure that is the case this year, though the food still has a European vibe. The pitches sell a bewildering array of street food, plus sweets, cheese, meat, bread and baked goods, as well as gifts and clothing. Whatever you want to eat, it is probably on sale here!
When I went past, there was a loud hum of generators and lots of activity as white vans were unpacked, stalls and street kitchens laid out. These will stay right through until Sunday night, three full days of trading. At night there are security guards keeping watch to make sure no-one runs off with the goods.
I always feel a bit sorry for the people living in the adjacent streets, as the noise of the generators must get a bit wearing, not to mention the closed roads, the hot food smells and the crush and noise of people. I imagine some resort to going away for a few days. If I lived much nearer, I probably would! But still, it is good to see people enjoying themselves and our village. It all helps to 'put us on the map'.
Friday, 17 September 2021
Saltaire Festival is back! After a hiatus of a year due to Covid (with just a few online activities last year) the Festival returned. The first weekend (last weekend) always has a very local, community feel with community markets, 'pop-up' events and residents opening their gardens for visitors. I must confess I gave the smaller gardens a miss this year. Even outside, I am wary of being in close contact with others and some of the yards are rather confined. I did, however, have a wander down the path through the allotments behind the church. It's usually out of bounds to all but the allotment holders but I do love it down there. On the strip of land between the canal and the railway, it feels like you're in the country and a million miles from the city.
At the entrance I chatted to Michael, John and Snezhina, allotment holders who were showing some of the abundant produce grown there. You get the feeling that it's a very happy collective of gardeners.