Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wharfedale


These are just a selection of photos I took a few weeks ago. The first bunch are of Linton Bridge and the River Wharfe just outside Grassington. The concrete retaining walls of Linton Mill by the side of the bridge now support a housing development called ‘Linton Falls’. A corn mill has probably stood on this site from Medieval times. In 1788, Robert Hargreaves & Co of Addingham built a worsted-spinning mill there. Soon after a new tenant, Samuel Gill, and until 1804, his partner James Parker, turned the mill over to spinning cotton. By 1830 it had returned to worsted spinning under the ownership of J & W Birkbeck. Birkbecks then built a five-storey cotton mill on the site in the mid-19th century. This mill burnt down in 1912 and was replaced by a smaller structure. This went out of business during the 1950s. It was demolished in 1983 apart from the houses facing onto the footpath that crosses the river. Prior to demolition, the mill’s rare uniflow steam engine was rescued and is now in the collection of the Bradford Industrial Museum.

The second batch is further up the Dale at Hubberholme which is the home of the George Inn and St Michael and All Angels Church. The Church is famous for it's pews, carved by Robert Thompson, the “Mouseman of Kilburn”.  Several of his trademark mice can be seen carved in the pews.

The author, J.B. Priestley, described St Michael and All Angels Church as “one of the smallest and most pleasant places in the world” and he has a memorial at the back of the church and his ashes were scattered in the churchyard.

The George is an old, beautifully preserves Dales Inn. The pub was originally constructed as a farmstead in the 1600's and was once used as the vicarage. When the vicar was at home he would put a lighted candle in the window as a signal to his parishioners. This tradition is carried on today with a candle lit whenever the bar is open. The candle is also used in the annual land-letting auction known as the Hubberholme Parliament and is held on the first Monday night of the year in a tradition dating back centuries. The local farmers gather to bid for 16 acres of pastureland owned by the church, the proceedings of which go to help the poor people of the parish. The vicar oversees the proceedings and sits in the House of Lords ( dining room ) while the bidding takes place in the House of Commons ( the bar ). The highest bid made when the candle flickers out wins the auction. Who says Yorkshire folk are tight?


Linton Falls

Pathway to Linton Bridge

Linton Falls

Lower weir, River Wharfe

Linton Bridge

Hubberholme Church

River Wharfe

River Wharfe and the George Inn

Linton Church

The George Inn

Linton Church

Cray Gill

Cray Gill

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Coppermines Valley

Coppermines Valley is an fascinating place whether you are interested in the mining heritage of the area or not. It is easily reached by either following the road by the side of the Black Bull or going up past the Sun Inn and on to the main Coniston Old Man footpath. With Coniston being very busy, I was fortunate enough to find a free parking spot by the sports ground around the back and took the Black Bull road up out of town. Considering the town was so busy, the walk up to the valley was very quiet. I suppose most of the people who visit Coniston either go down to the Lake or walk up the Old Man. It was the same for most of the day, there were very few people about.

The history of the copper mines go back over 400 years but extraction of copper will go back much further than this, probably to Roman times or even earlier. The most prosperous period was the 1850s and by the 1870s the mine went in decline. For most of the mines history only gunpowder was used, hand drilling, and only tallow candles as light. The country rock is volcanic so progress would have been painfully hard and slow. Getting to the copper veins at depth could only be done by descending wooden ladders and stagings. Some of the workings were over 1100ft below the surface and around 500ft below sea level. 

When you first enter the valley it is quite scenic, being surrounded by all the distant Coniston Fells. However the deeper you get into it, the more you see evidence of it's past with abandoned slate and copper mine workings and lots of waste heaps. On a plus side, the many old miner's tracks have now been adopted as safe routes on to the Fells. I have been on top of every one of the Coniston Fells and just about all of the walks were either started or finished on one of these. The first branch off takes you up Wetherlam way and the track I followed eventually takes you up to either Swirl How or Brim Fell.

I walked up as far as the main waterfalls of Church Beck which flow out of Levers Water and nestles below Swirl How and Brim Fell. I sat and had my lunch overlooking the valley with Coniston Water beyond, a scene of contrasts to say the least. The only people about were a group of four who I had seen having a picnic down in the valley. They were only trying to negotiate a pushchair along the path! As they passed me, the track narrowed to just a normal pathway but they persisted albeit most of the way the baby and pushchair were carried. I suspect they were walking right round the head of the valley and coming down the Walna Scar Road which in itself is something I wouldn't want to tackle with a pushchair.

I came down on the same paths as far as the bridge over Church Beck. There I took the track down to the Sun Inn where I sat out in the warm sun and enjoyed an excellent pint of Loweswater Gold. Well it would have been rude not to wouldn't it?

It was a very enjoyable way to end an interesting afternoon.

Bridge over Church Beck

Coppermines Valley

Coppermines Valley

Mine ruins and Brim Fell

Mine ruins and Coniston Old Man

Main copper mine ruins

Main copper mine ruins

Main copper mine runs

Main copper mine ruins

Mine ruins

Church Beck with Coniston Old Man

Church Beck

Lower waterfall Church Beck

Upper waterfalls, Church Beck

Upper waterfalls, Church Beck

Looking back down Church Beck

Coniston Old Man's lead mines.

Church Beck

Lane back to Coniston

Outbuilding, Coniston

Mind your head cottage, Coniston

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Rannerdale Bluebells



These are a set of photo I took of the bluebells down Rannerdale which is near Crummock Water in the Lakes. The valley is almost hidden from the road thankfully so it is reasonably quiet and the bluebells literally carpet the Rannerdale valley floor and surrounding fell sides.

I took these photos over two weekends, the first time I went they weren't fully out but the sun was shining. The second weekend I went with Dave when they were fully out but there was no sun. Typical!

Rannerdale is sometimes referred to as the 'Secret Valley', this area is said to be the site of a battle at which native Cumbrians and Norsemen ambushed and defeated Norman armies in the century after they conquered England in 1066. Local historian and publican Nicholas Size published a historical novel about Cumbrian resistance to the Norman invaders in 1930 called 'The Secret Valley'. 

This was beautiful little walk which also gave me (and the 2nd weekend me and Dave) a good excuse to call in the Kirkstile Inn.












Up and over the Bealach

The Bealach na Ba is a historic pass through the mountains to the Applecross peninsula in Wester Ross and is the name of the famous twisti...