Tag Archives: yorkshire

Walking in God’s county

I have touched the heart of England twice in the past few weeks. The first was a weekend walking in Swaledale with a friend, the second was my daughter’s school summer concert.

Swaledale, Yorkshire

Swaledale, Yorkshire

Muker meadows

Muker meadows

Late June we escaped London and hiked the low dale and high moor. Quite breathtaking…

the meadows

the meadows

buttercups, red clover, cranesbill

buttercups, red clover, cranesbill

meadows, walls, moors

meadows, walls, moors

Viking village names speak of a history that is unchanged for centuries: Muker, Keld, Thwaite. Truly a place touched by God – the shape of the dales, and by man – the partition of the land.

Stone walls and barns

Stone walls and barns

how did they get all this stone here?

how did they get all this stone here?

This is James Herriott country, the bleakness of the moors softened by the gentleness of the meadows in the dales: “The airy roof of Yorkshire. It is like taking time out of life”

View down the dale

View down the dale

Country snickleway

Country snickleway

I remember this when I was a kid. We came here and played behind this waterfall. Now they don’t like to let people venture behind – health and safety…. I went anyway, for old times sake. Sod ’em

Hardraw Force

Hardraw Force

Back home I touched England a second time. A concert at school. As a tribute to a teacher retiring after 60 years service, 2 boys sang ‘Is my team ploughing’ from Butterworth’s setting of A Shropshire Lad. Lyrical and bittersweet, hugely nostalgic. Impossible to keep a dry eye.

East Stonesdale Beck

East Stonesdale Beck

Upper Aysgarth Falls

Upper Aysgarth Falls

History of land, of loss, of remembrance, rebirth and regeneration. Swaledale and Butterworth. Of course a partial picture of England, but not a bad mix. I recommend both.

Hardraw Force waterfall

Hardraw Force waterfall

The pictures are for David, who almost admitted that this truly was God’s county. 

Friends

Friends


And God scarred the earth…

My father has a wonderful picture at home. A great waterfall cutting through the rock which towers around it. The rock burns red as the water scars through it. Very dramatic. And I’ve wanted to see that waterfall for years – I managed to get there last weekend.

Gordale Scar

Awesome truly is the word. In past times they believed God had struck the cliffs to form the cleft. A huge rent in the earth. A scar indeed. It’s difficult for a photo to do it justice, even more so on an overcast day in February (hence my black and white version – I’ll go back for the colour another day)

This is one of the great walks in England. The path starts in the glades of Janet’s Foss, where people hammered nails into the tree trunks as an offering to the faeries. Hidden amongst the trees is a gentle waterfall.

Janet's Foss

The plunge pool

And then comes the drama of the big Falls. Once you’ve climbed the lower falls the gash is revealed where the upper fall punches through the stone

This is just the top fall from the first picture

The power of the water is immense, and just to prove it the walk finishes at Malham Cove where the traces of ice and water in the limestone leave clefts between the grykes and clints.

Malham Cove

A magnificent scene and a magnificent walk in God’s own county.


I never realised how beautiful York was…

Youth is wasted on the kids, that’s for sure. You simply don’t see, the focus in elsewhere – on the self obviously, and you miss so much. I think that every time I go back to visit my parents in my home town. York. It’s so beautiful, and when I grew up I was blind to it.

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Minster at dusk

Perhaps you just need to be older to appreciate the beauty around you. Or maybe you need to move away. At any rate, whenever I get the chance I love to photograph my home town.

The centre of York looks truly beautiful, especially if you get up early and get the shots before the hordes descend. And the Minster is at the heart. As a kid I used to go here every Xmas Eve for the service on nine lessons and carols. Maybe I did sense some of the beauty of the place even then. I didn’t realise it, but a germ of appreciation was there.

the oldest window

the tower

So now, when I go to visit my parents, I make the effort to get up early. See if I can grab a shot that captures something of the home town. Perhaps I re-live my younger days a bit. At any rate, I look, and I marvel. If only I had had the patience to look more closely as a child…

Petergate

Early morning, no-one around...