Earlier posts

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

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Signs and portents?

Mostly I try to see and capture the beauty in the world through my camera, though you have to acknowledge that there is much that is not so lovely. Out on a country walk, I spotted a length of baler wrap, caught on a barbed wire fence and flapping around rather pitifully in the breeze, like some kind of malevolent but trapped spirit!

On another more urban walk, a tree fern (or similar... at least I hope that's what it was!) protectively wrapped for the winter seemed also to exude a somewhat sinister vibe. I'm not given to fanciful notions but in both cases I felt simultaneously a little amused and yet also a little shivery. Perhaps our deep and primitive ancestral fears are still there in our collective unconscious. Or maybe I've been watching too many dark crime dramas! 

On the other hands, rainbows seem always to represent hope, beauty, a pot of gold or good fortune, as well as inclusivity, love and friendship. So I reckon the one I saw the other day cancels out any evil spirits that have crossed my path! Actually it was - albeit very faintly - a double rainbow so twice the value. Did you know that in a double rainbow the colours are reversed? 

Monday, 27 February 2023

In windows

I set out for a short local stroll quite late one afternoon and noticed how the sun was catching the old stained glass panels in the corner shop/bar on Caroline Street. I don't think the panels are original Victorian, though I may be wrong. Many of the stained glass panels in doors and windows around the village were added in the 1930s when they were fashionable. My iPhone rendered the scene with a rather drunken perspective... anyone would think I'd imbibed a few bottles of the wine in the window! 

Further down Victoria Road, the floristry display by Shipley College students in the Dining Hall window caught my eye. The round glass vase held a miniature reflection of Salts Mill, opposite, to echo the larger reflection in the window itself. 

Down on Albert Terrace some of the arched windows catch a neat reflection of the church tower, visible through the bare branches of the winter trees when it is highlighted by the setting sun. 

Sunday, 26 February 2023

Softly the evening came...

'Softly the evening came with the sunset' ( H W Longfellow)  

I've mentioned before that from my house I can't really see the western sky, so I hardly notice whether or not there is a pretty sunset. There was, however, one evening recently where I suddenly realised that the whole house was tinted pink from the light coming through the windows. It was both beautiful and a little weird. Looking east, where I can see the sky through trees, I could see everything was suffused with a glorious pinky-purple hue. I've seen other people's photos of the same night's western sky and realise I missed a very spectacular sunset, but even the reflected glory that I observed was amazing.

Saturday, 25 February 2023

The arrival of Spring

It's always a joy to see the crocuses flowering in Roberts Park, reminding us that Spring is just around the corner. We'll probably get another burst of winter before the better weather arrives, but the days are getting longer, the sun - when it shines - is warmer and that wonderful seasonal progression is underway. 

Elsewhere there are a few dwarf daffodils in bloom, though the larger ones usually flower a bit later. 

One of the trees in the park had this extraordinary froth of bright yellow: blossom and / or pollen, I'm not really sure. Either way, it looks like the tree pollen hay fever season will be off to a great start! Atishoo! 

On the nature reserve there is, however, little sign yet of new leaves...

and along the park promenade, the bandstand is by far the brightest thing, apart from that blue, blue sky. 

Friday, 24 February 2023

Wild country

There's a minor road out of Ribblesdale from Stainforth that goes over the fells to the hamlet of Halton Gill in Littondale, which then joins up with Wharfedale. There is very little up there apart from a couple of farms and their stone barns, and quite a few hardy Yorkshire sheep. The scenery, however, is magnificent. The Pennine Way follows the road for a short distance before climbing to the trig point on the western end of Pen y Ghent (the 'whale hump' mountain in my photo below) and then dropping down into Horton in Ribblesdale. It's wild and all very beautiful in a minimalistic way. 

It was so windy up there that I took these photos from the safety of the car, through its open window!

Thursday, 23 February 2023

A donkey track

Catrigg Force (see yesterday) sits in a little valley above the Ribblesdale village of Stainforth. To get there you follow a track that my grandmother would have termed 'a donkey track', twisted and tortuous, as though a donkey was let loose on its own! It forms part of the Pennine Bridleway, a National Trail of some 200 miles through the Pennines from Derbyshire to Cumbria. It is the equivalent, I suppose, of the better-known Pennine Way, except that the Bridleway is specifically designed for mountain bikers and horse riders as well as walkers.  The scenery in this stretch is beautiful, even on a blustery day with rain threatening. 

That's Stainforth, in the dip in the fields. It's an attractive little village, and boasts another waterfall on the River Ribble called Stainforth Force, which I've visited in the past (see HERE). 

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Catrigg Force

Above the village of Stainforth in Ribblesdale, the innocuous little stream called Stainforth Beck runs down from the fells. Suddenly, it disappears... 

It's only the sound of rushing water that gives the game away... A track through a gate leads you down into a wooded ravine and the quite breathtaking sight of Catrigg Force. The stream falls over several big drops (there are more downstream, though you can't easily access those) and through a rather pretty plunge pool.

The advantage of going in winter is that a spectacular cascade of water is more or less guaranteed, and the bare trees enable you to see it well. I could, however, imagine this is a magical place in early summer with young green foliage and, no doubt, wild garlic and other flowers on the banks of the stream. 

With all the beautiful waterfalls we have in Yorkshire, I often wonder why anyone bothers to travel to Iceland! (OK, I know theirs are mostly a lot bigger!) 

Tuesday, 21 February 2023


My online photo group theme for December was 'texture'. This was my entry - taken when the canal was frozen over. My explorations were sadly curtailed by catching Covid just before Christmas, otherwise I might have found something a bit more exciting for the theme. 

Monday, 20 February 2023

Enjoying the sunshine

Winter does mean that I notice and relish those crisp, cold sunny days when we get them. I walked my usual route along the canal to Hirst Lock. Between the lock and the swing bridge, the canal widens in a turning circle so that boats can pass and turn at this point if they need to. It was still and calm, with lovely reflections of that blue sky.  There were quite a few people out and about enjoying the weather, including a couple enjoying the view whilst having a good chat on the bench.

Sunday, 19 February 2023


Walking back to Malham village down Gordale Lane, there was a really spectacular sky. The sun's rays were piercing through gaps in the cloud to illuminate the land and give that scattered, curtain effect. I've always thought these were 'crepuscular rays' and I think they are often loosely called that, though crepuscular properly relates only to sunrise and sunset when the sun is below the horizon. 

The effect was very clear to see but proves to be harder to capture in a photo. I've tried to process these images to emphasise them. 

Saturday, 18 February 2023

Subtle beauty - and silhouettes

As the cloud cover increased towards the end of the afternoon around Malham, I was captivated both by the scenery, the sky and my camera's struggle to make sense of the changing light. 

Soft processing brings out some subtle, gentle colours in the scrubby vegetation (above), trees shallowly rooted in the thin, rocky soil. I also loved that line of molehills near the trees, imagining Mr Mole toiling along his tunnel, muttering under his breath. It must have been hard work! 

Looking up towards the bright sky tricked the camera into underexposure and created some evocative silhouettes of the scree-covered hillsides and trees:

Friday, 17 February 2023

Janet's Foss and Gordale Scar

Gordale Beck falls prettily over a band of tufa rock into a circular pool. It's really attractive, both the way the cascade tumbles down and the pool itself, which in good light is a clear, soft, aqua turquoise colour. There are small caves in the rock, said to be inhabited by 'Jennet, Queen of the Fairies' - not that I've ever seen her. For those with time to spare, there's an interesting article HERE by a blogger who at one time lived in Malham and has researched the legend. 

Looking back the way I walked in, the rocky sides of the gorge rise above the stream as it trickles down. 

Out beyond the gorge the valley opens out and then narrows again at the spectacular ravine of Gordale Scar, where the overhanging limestone cliffs are over 330 feet high. There is another double cascade, which in theory you can climb. You can perhaps see a couple of lads and a dog attempting the climb but it was very wet and slippery on the tufa and they didn't get all the way to the top.  

The ravine was probably formed by water from melting glaciers at the end of the Ice Age, which carved out caverns and potholes that run through and under the limestone in this area. It's likely that a cavern collapsed here, to form the gorge. It is breathtaking scenery. People come from all over to see it and it has featured in poems, paintings and films. 

Thursday, 16 February 2023

Malham - again

The best laid plans... I had decided to go Stainforth to visit the waterfalls near there but just outside Gargrave there was a sign, helpfully informing that the main A65 was closed at Long Preston, with a diversion in place. I didn't fancy sitting in a traffic jam so, although such signs often turn out to be about mythical closures, I diverted instead to Malham, an equally enjoyable destination. It was - for Malham - distinctly unbusy and the weather was chilly but fair. Despite having been there relatively recently, I had a most pleasant walk up the stream to Gordale Scar. 

I often end up photographing the same scenes (though I suppose they are never quite 'the same' every time). There's a pretty little waterfall in the stream that always catches my eye. I think it's something about its curve as well as the water frothing over. My photo hasn't really captured how clear the water is around here, filtered down through the limestone rock. 

A little further on, you come to a pretty, stone barn - which I didn't photograph in its entirety this time but which I have often snapped on previous visits (see below, last autumn). 

I stopped to admire a really old doorway into the barn; 1755 by its date stone, which I've never really noticed before. I just loved the weathered stone and wood. 

Just outside there are a couple of old agricultural implements, abandoned to rust. I couldn't even tell what this one was, it was so overgrown with grass. It pleases me to think of the history round here, farmers and agricultural labourers ekeing out a living on the sparse grasslands, keeping a few sheep, maybe a cow or two and cutting hay for the cattle and horses. Many of my ancestors were 'ag labs' in Lincolnshire in the 18th and early 19th centuries so, for me, there's a visceral link with the countryside. It's 'in my blood', I guess.  

Beyond the barn, the track enters a narrow wooded gorge, which ends at the waterfall known as Janet's Foss. Here, again, there were quite a few fallen trees, no doubt casualties of the dry summer in 2022. Their roots don't go deep in this rocky terrain and if the soil is too dry they are prone to topple. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

My roving eye

I love to wander the gardens at Harlow Carr and just see what catches my eye each time I visit. There's usually something I haven't noticed before or something that I suddenly see in a new way. It may be the colours that attract me or the way the light falls. I'm never sure that anyone else would either 'see' these things or even appreciate them, but it's something that gives me a great deal of pleasure. 

I must have passed the big stone pot (above) many times, and the foliage around it looks quite dead right now (though no doubt it will burst into new growth sometime soon). Nevertheless, something about it struck me as rather beautiful... the way the light catches it, the contrast of smooth and rough, the harmony of neutral tones.   

In contrast, the shrub below (whose name I'm not sure about.. possibly a mahonia japonica?) seemed like a bonfire or a firework, with its colourful leaves catching the sunlight. 

Last time I went to Harlow Carr, I mentioned the new bridge across the lake (which I said reminded me of a barcode! see HERE). Well, it's open now and the struts at one side of are made of a weathering steel (I think) which is designed to rust. From the inside, the warmth of the rust looks splendid against the cool toned water in the background. I got a few funny looks as I stopped to photograph it though! 

I find the grasses in the 'teaching garden' endlessly fascinating: 

Dogwood and willow stems mirror each other in shape whilst having very different colours: 

Finally, a plant with tiny, shiny leaves was reflecting the sun as though each highlight was a little LED bulb. I played around with defocussing my lens, just for fun.