Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Brimham Rocks and a swift one

A post-Christmas shopping trip to Harrogate was followed by a drive down Nidderdale and a stop off at Brimham Rocks with the camera.

The day was bitterly cold with a biting wind but after working over the Christmas period and also knowing I was working over the New Year as well, I was just glad to be out with my camera in to the fresh air. The photos aren't anything special but are a record of my day.

This is yet another place where the National Trust rips you off for parking. The minimum charge is four pounds for which you get four hours parking. I can't really see many people spending that length of time here so maybe a two hour period would be more apt albeit not as profitable. I suppose once they've got you there you are stuck with it though.

Brimham Rocks are balancing rock formations and some reach a height of about 100ft. Their formation was caused by the Millstone Grit being eroded by water, glaciation and wind, giving some amazing shapes. Many are named, though you do need a vivid imagination at times and also the correct viewing angle is helpful. Examples are The Sphinx, The Watchdog, The Camel, The Turtle and The Dancing Bear. I think the Dancing Bear is the most realistic but it is also one of the highest and most exposed so the wind just wouldn't allow me to take a decent photo.

The busiest place was the coffee kiosk where the kind lady served me up a piping hot Cappuccino and slice of flapjack which kept me going. The wind was now so severe that I had trouble holding the camera steady and in places, staying on my feet. As time was getting on I beat a hasty retreat to the car and set off for my second destination, The Craven Arms in Appletreewick where I had my Christmas drink. A beautiful pint of Blonde Witch, sat in front of a warm log fire in the best pub in the Dales......heaven!

Friday, 23 December 2011

In search of Robin and his Merry Men.

I should have posted this last week but I'm afraid I just haven't been able to summon up the enthusiasm to write it. I think working all Christmas knocked the stuffing out of me a bit, especially with it being a night shift as well. Anyway it's done and dusted now.

These photos were taken in Sherwood Forest last Thursday when I had a day out with Sal. She was spending Christmas down with her folks from where I picked her up and we sallied forth in search of Robin and his Merry Men. Oh and also to exchange our Christmas presents!

We met up in Kiveton and went for a quiet drink in a delightful pub called The Parish Oven at nearby Thorpe Salvin. It's one of the pubs in that area where they do communal carol singing which is a tradition that has become a major part of the locals Yuletide festivities. Thorpe Hall is said to be the inspiration for "Torquilstone" in the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.  According to the story, Ivanhoe is imprisoned in Tourquilstone before being released by King Richard the Lionheart and Robin Hood. 

We then headed to the Forest and in particular to search for the Major Oak which, legend would have us believe, is where Robin Hood and his Merry Men hid from their enemies. The fact that the tree would probably only have been a sapling in those days is by the by. It's an impressive oak tree by any standards though.

There was a very interesting Visitors Centre plus a cafe and gift shop where I bought a Robin Hood fridge magnet; I think Sal has finally worn me down with regards to buying tat. We also had a comical fight with a machine into which you place a penny, turn a huge wheel which flattens it and presses a crest on to it. I was convinced Sal had broken it but brute force and sheer ignorance got it going again. Why do things like that only ever happen to us??

We then had a look around the Craft Centre before walking into the local village of Edwinstowe where legend has it that Robin Hood married his sweetheart Maid Marian in the local Church of St Mary's.

We also found a lovely homely pub called the Forest Lodge which had a good selection of real ales and a warn coal fire but unfortunately they weren't serving food so we had a drink and then it was back to the faithful Red Lion for our Christmas meal and to exchange presents. I'm beginning to feel a bit like a local in there now!

Sal bought me some lovely presents and for me, this was my Christmas Day. I couldn't have wished to have spent it any other way or with a nicer person.

Ancient Oak tree

Ancient Oak tree

The Major Oak

The Major Oak


The Laughing Man

Silver birch wood

Silver birch wood


Christmas Robin

Sal with a smile :)

Robin of Loxley

The Merry Men

Sherwood tat

Friday, 9 December 2011

Misty Morning down Ullswater

27 November 2011

These shots were taken on my way back down from the Lakes a few weeks ago. I was meeting Sal on Skipton station and thought I had plenty of time to spare but.............

The conditions from the northern end of Ullswater right down to the foot of Kirkstone Pass were amazing with drifting mist on the Lake and lifting cloud on the Fells. No matter how hard I try, I can't resist a photo opportunity so I kept stopping the car and jumping out and just lost track of time.

Fortunately once I started to climb the Pass, the cloud just closed in and by the time I was part way up, I could hardly see a few feet in front of me otherwise God knows what time I would have turned up!. It cleared slightly as I descended but was misty and miserable for the rest of my journey back

We had a lovely afternoon in Wharfedale and Wensleydale though so I think I will be forgiven for my sins ;)

I think I pulled into the station about ten minutes late but if the tables had been turned, I have a feeling that Sal would have done the same as I did.

Place Fell, Ullswater


Island in mist, Ullswater

Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater

Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater

Boathouse, Ullswater.

Woods nr Glenridding.

Autumn Colours.

Looking in to Dovedale.


Dove Crag

Dove Crag and Dovedale.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Leisurely Stroll.

19 November 2011

I'm not one for lunchtime drinking but if I've earned it then it's a different matter. The walk from Pooley Bridge over to Askham is a nice steady stroll and also a good excuse to pay a visit to the Punchbowl and the Queens Hotel. Well it is if your names are Norm and Dave.

On our walk over, we crossed the Roman Road of High Street which starts at Brougham Castle (BROCAVVM ROMAN FORT) and finishes at Ambleside (GALAVA ROMAN FORT), a distance of some 23.5 miles. The countryside has a vast open feel to it here with many paths and bridleways leading off in all directions and is the start of the High Street fells away to the south.

The area is a great favourite with horse riders as well as walkers due to its openness. Most of the people about seemed to be doing the same as us, just taking a leisurely stroll across to Askham or vice versa.

Askham is one of the most attractive villages in the district, especially in spring when the village greens are full of daffodils. It is also the home to a herd of fell ponies who never seem to stray very far from their food base! I have seen some on the high fells though around the head of Haweswater, mainly on Mardale Ill Bell and Thornethwaite Crag but today they were more concerned with stuffing their bellies and were totally oblivious to the many walkers and dogs which passed by. The autumn colours added to the village's attractivness, the upper village green being a carpet of golden leaves.

We made our way to the bottom end of the village and to the Punch Bowl Inn where a pint of perfectly pulled Golden Pippin awaited us. There are new owners in and has been tidied up since we were last there. Gone is the horrible gloomy dark red paint and in it's place is a lighter violet colour. There was also a blazing fire which tempted us to stay indoors but with the weather being so mild, we thought it only right to sit outside in the warm autumn sunshine.

It was then a trudge back up the hill to the Queens Hotel for a pint of Black Sheep before we set off back over the moors towards Pooley Bridge. A nice sunset seemed on the cards at one stage but as usual, there was thick dark cloud in the far west and the sun disappeared behind this, giving a rather chilly return to out starting spot.

At this time of year with the days drawing in, this walk is perfect just to stretch your legs and get some fresh air into your lungs and the views aint that bad either!

Looking South East

The distant High Street Fells.

Bridleway into Askham.

Askham Fell Ponies.

Fell Pony.

Hill Top Farm, Askham.


Apple Tree, Askham

Upper Village Green, Askham

Upper Village Green

Carpet of leaves.

Saved for the return journey.

Mmmm Curry


Lower Village Green

Local Horse Rider.

Weeping Willow outside the Punch Bowl

Dave has got the call!

Open fire, Punch Bowl.

Golden Pippin

Punchbowl Inn

Lower Village Green.

Lower Village Green.


It must have been over twenty years since I was last in Cartmel and as you'd expect from this sleepy corner of Cumbria, the place hadn&#...