My visits back to Yorkshire had been to East or West Yorkshire in the past years with visits in between to watch the Touring car racing at Croft circuit near Darlington but I decided to go back in December 2011 to revisit some of the places I had enjoyed so many years ago.
My first revisit to Yorkshire was in December 2011 I wanted to see some of the places I had been too like Gunnerside, Muker, Reeth, Hawes and Ribblehead Viaduct. They still looked as lovely as ever especially as snow was on the hills which made it even more enchanting and helped to make my mind up to come back again to see different seasons and how the views would change.
Both Gunnerside, Muker and Reeth looked spectacular in the snow but the most amazing sight was the drive on the “Butter tubs pass” that takes you over from Muker to Simonstone near Hawes but connects the two dales of Swaledale and Wensleydale . At lunchtime it was minus 2 driving skills at the sharpest looking for ice or other hazards. Now and again the sun tried to break through the gaps in the clouds with stunning shafts of light on the snow.
Dropping down towards Simonstone in Wensleydale on the way to Hawes
Drove onto Wensleydale to visit the Wensleydale Cheese company which is well worth the visiit , I needed to stock up with cheese for Christmas presents and to the visitor centre for tastings and some late lunch.
Numerous purchases later as well as some Wensleydale cake to go with the cheese I was on my way back towards Ribbleshead Viaduct and I was not to be disappointed.
Left home at 5.30 am as I wanted to catch the Ribblehead viaduct in early morning mist, arriving early mist was not the issue but fog with visibility poor to say the least, disappointed after such a early start and my plans for walking in turmoil and my photographic dreams dashed.
But towards dinner time – what a view
My plans were now back on track to do a circular walk up towards Blea Moor and then back round the bottom of Whernside and back to the viaduct. The walk took me level with the train line at one point and spent some time sitting on a stile watching the trains coming and going – both passenger and goods trains coming down from Carlisle.
Onwards past some lovely streams, through a farm yard with an old landrover in limestone colour parked up in the field. Through various meadows and eventually reaching a stream I had to cross whilst in summer it was dry but with the recent rain was now uncrossable for my sins and even I was not that brave especially as I cannot swim either! Carried on walking until I eventually found a bridge to cross safely and onwards on my way.
A bit further on past another farm I came across another valuable asset to the dales a dry stone waller rebuilding a wall. I walked over and asked could I watch, he was more than happy to let me stay.
We exchanged a few sentences, he commented your not local with that accent, we both laughed about this but then when I explained I was from a farming family we exchanged some farming stories from both our counties and we were the best of friends. We talked about dry stone walling and told him how I had got them to demonstrate at our local agricultural show and how interested people were in the skills of dry stoning. Stayed for some time watching him, it was like building up a upright jigsaw but without a exact picture to follow with no two pieces of limestone the same. It was fascinating watching him select the limestone, trying it where suitable and putting other bits here and there. I apologised If I had held him up but he seemed pleased to see someone who was so appreciative of his work. Its things like this that make a day more memorable but cannot be planned in advance for.
Then it was back towards the Viaduct, past the next farm and I met a delivery lorry on the track with a load of timber fencing poles on board, the driver had pulled up and was watching the Colas rail train going over the viaduct with countless goods carriages full of timber fencing poles and commented ” wish I could get that many on my lorry, makes my load seem insignificant doesnt it ?” we both laughed at this as we watched the endless carriages going past overhead.
But the best signs of spring are captured on the following photographs