I’m a fan …

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire, Weather, Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales

I’m a fan of fog. Not the yellowish throat-catching, grimy sooty pall that that I remember from a 1950s London childhood, which dirtied our clothing and made us cough while we waited in vain for buses, delayed by their headlights’ inability to pierce the gloom with their faint orange glow. Sometimes the conductor, carrying a torch, had to walk in front, picking out a path through the murk. No, now I enjoy peeking through the windows at a landscape softened in a mantle of greyish white. Or walking in the Dales, barely able to distinguish the path ahead, as sheep suddenly loom before us, concealed behind frozen grassy clumps.

These are all from the Yorkshire Dales, in Wharfedale near Burnsall. Here are just a few more – three taken near our house, and one, like the header photo, at Fountains Abbey.

For Jez’s Fan of … challenge

A Sunset Walk

North Yorkshire, Walking

I didn’t take my camera. I’ve done that walk from home, along the river to West Tanfield dozens and dozens of times. Late the other afternoon, I was just scurrying along to collect our car, being serviced at the garage there.

Then on my left, I saw this:

And I knew that my walk would be a dramatic one. I stopped scurrying as I watched the sun falling gently behind the clouds, behind the trees, as I changed my vantage point with every step. It wasn’t a spectacular sunset, but it was special, as every sunset invariably is. Come with me.

The sheep appeared to have wandered away: the fields were empty.

To the right of me, the river was more delicately tinted:

At every step, a different view: sometimes the vivid fiery tones of the setting sun: at others, the gentler, prettier powdered pinks and blues of the more distant clouds.

My walk was almost over: I crossed the bridge and arriving in the village. The river continued its journey towards the Ouse, then the Humber, without me, and the sun finally disappeared behind the trees.

For Jo’s Monday Walk and Hammad Rais’ Weekend Sky

Tracks, trails and paths

North Yorkshire, Walking

In my last post, we took a walk through my village. Over lockdown, and the weeks and months afterwards, I came to know our local paths more intimately than I would ever have imagined. But I came to see them through fresh eyes, enjoying the changes of season: the difference between a walk taken at dawn, at midday, at sunset. A sunny walk: a snowy walk: a rainy walk: a windy walk. Walks with bluebells: walks with poppies: walks in mud.

Here, for the Which Way Challenge, are some local paths and byways.

Following last week’s Lens-Artists Challenge, when we were encouraged to dip into a new challenge or two, I think I’ll give Monday over to just that – for a while anyway. I’ll revisit the challenges that were new-to-me then, as well as revisiting older favourites.

A morning walk with the rangers at Studley Royal

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Heritage, National Trust, North Yorkshire, Walking

It’s 7.45. Here’s the sunrise on our way to Studley Royal.

And having met the rangers and our fellow walkers – volunteers on the site, here’s who we’d come to see.

Red deer, but ancient trees too. Cherry trees aren’t meant to last 400 years, but somehow this one is clinging on. Whereas the oak nearby is thought to be more than 800 years old, and dating from the days when the monastic community was at its height in nearby Fountains Abbey.

Come with us as we walk past the entrance to the park, framing the view down towards Ripon Cathedral, before we climb uphill to less frequented parts of the parkland, where deer usually roam free and we could enjoy open views across to Ripon and the North York Moors beyond.

And by 10.00, the rest of the day’s our own.

For Jo’s Monday Walk, because I know Jo would love this walk too.

A walk in the grey dawn

North Yorkshire, Walking, Weather

Since clock change, I’ve been unable to wake up later than 5 o’clock. So inspired by Becky’s walk at sunrise, and by the clear sky last night, I was out by 6.00 to catch the sun’s first rays. But it was cloudy – thick cross-patch grey. And my phone doesn’t do low light levels. But here’s my early morning photo-diary. With not a sunrise in sight.

These images may be grey and black enough for Jude’s Life in Colour. And can multi-task for Jo’s Monday Walk too. AND Six Word Saturday as well

A Castle Fit for a Captive Queen Revisited

North Yorkshire, Walking, Wensleydale

We seem to have been to Castle Bolton quite often recently. It reminded me that shortly after we came back from France, one of our early walks was here. Maybe it’s time to revisit my blog post about it, to remind myself, if nobody else, about its history.

A CASTLE FIT FOR A CAPTIVE QUEEN

October 2014

We travelled the road in thick white mist, fearing a dank and gloomy day.  But the higher we climbed, the more the mist fell away, and the brighter the sun shone.

Looking down over Wensleydale from Castle Bolton

As we began walking, Daphne shared some of the castle’s history with us.  It has belonged to the Scrope family since the time it was built in the 14th century, and has always been admired for its high walls.  It’s a proper castle, looking exactly like the ones you will have drawn when you were eight years old.

Bolton Castle

Tudor history is largely about the constant religious and temporal battles between the Catholic  and the Protestant church, which Henry VIII had made the Established Church, with the king as its head: the Fidei Defensor – Defender of the Faith (unbelievably, Henry hung onto this title, awarded him in his pre-Protestant days by Pope Leo X, in recognition of his book  Assertio Septem Sactramentorum which defends the supremacy of the pope).  His son Edward briefly succeeded him, and then his daughter Elizabeth, and both were Protestants.

But Elizabeth’s rule was threatened by the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, and she was held captive first at Carlisle Castle, then at Bolton.  Here she was attended by 51 knights, servants and ladies-in-waiting, not all of whom could be accommodated in the castle itself.  She also had cooks, grooms, a hairdresser, an embroiderer, an apothecary, a physician and a surgeon, while furnishings fit for a queen were borrowed from nearby Barnard Castle.  She went hunting, learnt English – for she spoke only French, Scots and Latin – and spent time with local Catholics.  She made an unsuccessful bid to escape from captivity.  It’s said she climbed from an upstairs window in the castle, and fled on horseback past the nearby market town of Leyburn.  It’s here she dropped her shawl and so was discovered and recaptured.  And that is why, so they say, the long escarpment above the town, nowadays a playground for walkers and sightseers, is still called ‘The Shawl’.

As we enjoyed our history lesson, we passed a field of Wensleydale sheep.  We very much admired their sultry fringes.

Wensleydale Sheep

And onwards. Autumn colours.

A completely pointless stile in the middle of a meadow.

Then Aysgarth Falls.  What a wonderful lunch spot.  The crashing waters made conversation quite impossible, but we sat enjoying the surging waters, the coppery leaves above our heads, and the all-encompassing percussion of the tumbling River Ure.

And then it was time to turn round and head back by a different route.  Another great day’s walking, with an added history lesson.

But wait! This post was all for Fandango’s Flashback Friday, when we’re invited to dig up a Post From the Past. But Becky’s Past Squares demands a look at the past too: here’s Bolton Castle, square style:

Then there’s always Jo’s Monday Walk

An ordinary outdoor café …

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire

… doesn’t look quite so ordinary when viewed in its reflection in the Airstream trailer which multi-tasks as kitchen, serving hatch and till.

And here’s a view as I walked past – for Past Squares

And just to be really cheeky, as there’s not a pane of glass in sight, I’m including it in Monday Window, as it really is a different window on that lunch time pit-stop.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #169: The Ordinary

Photos taken at Paradise Food, Daleside Nurseries, Killinghall

Revisiting A Sheep is a Sheep is a Sheep

Blogging challenges, Festivals, Heritage, North Yorkshire

Somehow, we forgot all about Masham Sheep Fair last weekend. We forgot about the dozens of different breeds of sheep on show; the sheep-shearing demonstrations; the sheep dog competitions; the children, some really quite young, demonstrating their knowledge and prowess as sheep-handlers. There’s no help for it. We’ll have to revisit this post from October 2014 instead. And by the way. Please don’t show yourself up. Pronounce Masham correctly. Mas-ham. Anyone who lets the side down and calls it Mash’em is immediately recognised as an outsider.

And let’s include this blast-from-the-past in Becky’s Past Squares, as well as including it in Fandango’s Flashback Friday, a celebration of past posts which deserve another outing.

A SHEEP IS A SHEEP IS A SHEEP …

… or not.

On Saturday we called in, far too briefly, at the annual Masham Sheep Fair. This is the place to go if you believe a sheep looks just like this.

Saturday was the day a whole lot of sheep judging was going on in the market square.  Here are a few of the not-at-all identical candidates. And yet they are only a few of the many breeds in England, and in the world. There are 32 distinct breeds commonly seen in different parts of the UK, and many more half-breeds.  I was going to identify the ones I’m showing you, but have decided that with one or two exceptions (I know a Swaledale, a Blue-faced Leicester or a Jacobs when I see one), I’d get them wrong. So this is simply a Beauty Pageant for Masham and District sheep.

And if you thought wool was just wool, these pictures may be even more surprising.  Who knew that sheep are not simply…. just sheep?