Snapshot Saturday: from Pyrenees to Pennines via books, a cup of coffee,a skein of geese …. and an elephant

The WordPress photo challenge this week is ‘Beloved’.

I don’t think the humans in my life whom I love would be happy for me to plaster their images all over the blogosphere.  I have no pets, beloved or otherwise.  So I’ll have to look a little further.

Here’s a little miscellany of images, beloved images:

  • The Yorkshire Dales, whose rolling hills, bisected by ancient drystone  walls I missed so much during our years in France.
  • The Pyrenees, from their richly flowered springtime meadows through to winter, when their rocky slopes are covered in deep snow, and which I now miss every single day.  I’ll miss the shared picnics on our walks together, when our French friends pooled resources, and we ate everybody’s offerings of home-cured sausage, local cheeses, bread, home-baked cakes together with wine and somebody’s grandfather’s very special eau de vie.
  • Springtime daffodils.  Every year I go into deep mourning when they wither, die and finally become untidy heaps of dying leaves.  I’m happier now as they thrust their sheathed stems through the hard soil, promising to flower soon- but not quite yet.
  • There are books: I need a pile beside my bed to get me through the night.
  • A single, perfect cup of coffee from Bean and Bud in Harrogate.
  • Skeins of geese flying overhead mark the seasons here, and I love their haunting, raucous cries.
  • And so on….

I’ll end though with this.  I wasn’t beloved of this elephant in Kumbakonam,  Tamil Nadu, who was only doing his job when I visited him ten years ago on my Indian Adventure.  But I felt beloved and very special when he raised his trunk and brought it down upon my shoulder – his very distinctive way of blessing me.

Elephant in the temple of Adi Kumbeswarar, Kumbakonam, ready to give me his blessing.

Click on any image to see a slideshow of the photos, full-size.

Snapshot Saturday: a wintry walk

For the last WordPress Photo Challenge of the year, we’ve been bidden to come up with our favourite shot of 2017.  How to choose?

I was thinking of maybe reviewing the year, one month at a time: family moments, walks in the Dales, trips to Poland, Germany, France and Spain.  Nope, it wasn’t working .

The shot that I found kept presenting itself was this one, taken on a chilly walk not so far from here almost a year ago.  It chimes in with my somewhat gloomy feelings about the future: political uncertainty here, in Catalonia, in America, to name just three.

Not all was gloom though.  Look!  We were walking with friends.  And in the end, the sun came out, and we were able to turn our backs on the damp unfriendly fog.

If only politics were so simple.  Happy Christmas everyone.

Snapshot Saturday: up – and down – in the Yorkshire Dales

If you go walking in the Yorkshire Dales, you won’t avoid a few ups and downs.  And not just the hills either.  There’s a small matter of stiles to be climbed to get over all those drystone walls.

Near Kettlewell, Yorkshire.

This post is in response to this weeks WordPress Photo Challenge: Ascend

Snapshot Saturday: a peek at a peak

This bulky cliff of long thin fang-like rocks that we could see last week from our Black Forest hotel while on our European Escape piqued our interest.  So on our last afternoon, while Malcolm was having a rest, I set off to explore.

I had only the most basic of maps: but this is Germany, land of the Walker’s Waymark.  Once I knew I was off to Falkenstein, there was no problem.  I yomped up to the woods outside town, turned right, and set forth.

I even tried to get a little lost, but however hard I tried, I was never far from a reassuring sign pointing me onwards to my chosen destination.

Once there, I found I couldn’t have more than a peek at a time.  That solid mass of rock visible from our hotel was never once in full view.  Instead, one, two, possibly three peaks at a time pointed skyward from my path below.  Here they are.

This post is in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Peek.

Snapshot Saturday: A house on the hill: only a child need apply

If you go walking in Wensleydale: if you go for a walk from Jervaulx to Jervaulx via Thornton Steward, you’ll come across this tree home, at the edge of a field, commanding views over the valley.

It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere much, but I always like to imagine a doting grandfather, tall and rangy from a tough life’s farming and probably reminiscent of the BFG, lovingly creating a little refuge for his grandchild in this hollow tree.

I couldn’t fit in it, neither could you.  Perhaps the grandchild is too big now.  It’s all a question of scale after all.

This post is in response to this week’s WordPress Challenge: ‘Scale’.

 

O Level Geography for walkers

This time 54 years ago – more or less – I was sitting my O Level in Geography. Among other things, we studied the economic geography of England, interpreting Ordnance Survey maps, and a little elementary geology.

The Pennine Way near Gargrave.

Our walk the other day would have made an excellent field trip.  We were over in West Yorkshire, and our route from Gargrave took in sections of the Pennine Way, and quite a stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

A section of an OS map showing the area round Gargrave (from the BBC website).

Map-reading wasn’t our problem, because John and Pat were competently leading us onwards.  The hills weren’t a problem, because the slopes were relatively gentle.  They were the drumlins which are a feature of the area.

We’re walking over drumlins. The Pennines are over there in the distance.

O Level question: What are drumlins?  Drumlins are elongated hills of glacial deposits. They can be 1 km long and 500 metres wide, often occurring in groups. They would have been part of the debris that was carried along and then accumulated under an ancient glacier. The long axis of the drumlin indicates the direction in which the glacier was moving. The drumlin would have been deposited when the glacier became overloaded with sediment.

Here are drumlins. Drumlins as farmland.

We walked through fields of cows, fields of sheep, and through woodland, emerging at lunchtime on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

O Level question: What is the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and why was it built?  The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is a canal in Northern England, linking the cities of Leeds and Liverpool. Over a distance of 127 miles, it crosses the Pennines, and includes 91 locks on the main line.  It was built from 1770, and allowed  textiles to be sent from the woollen towns of Yorkshire for export from Liverpool.  Liverpool also required coal to fuel its manufacturing and shipping industries.

Our first view of the Leeds and Liverpool canal at East Marton.

What an industrial thoroughfare it was then.  Busy, dirty barges and narrow boats piled with goods moved between Yorkshire and Lancashire, where now there are only bucolic scenes and holidaymakers enjoying tranquil holidays slowly wending their way along the canal.

We watched as boats rose or descended through one, two, three, four, five, six locks to reach a different level of the canal.  We marvelled at a section of our route along the canal towpath.  We, and the canal itself, were travelling along a viaduct, and far below us were fields and a river.  I couldn’t organise photographic proof. Soon after, we were back in Gargrave.

So there we have it.  If only I’d done that walk when I was 16.  I would hardly have had to do any geography revision at all.

The canal towpath. No longer a scene of industry and commerce.