I’m dedicating this post to my dog Chloe, who has been my faithful, loyal and loving companion for many years, R.I.P. Chloe.
We rescued her when she was about a year old from people who were neglecting her and she fitted in with us and our extended family seamlessly. She loved going away in the campervan and as a result our campervan was usually covered in either wet mud, wet sand, or wet leaves and on some occasions all three.
we only had to open the sliding door and immediately Chloe leaped aboard, ready for a new adventure.
When she wasn’t away in the van making new friends, she liked to sit at the end of our drive, basking in the sunshine and being fussed by passersby.
Or having a cuddle with our old cat Tabby.
It was on this trip to Yorkshire that, after a stressful 2am dash on Sunday morning across the Yorkshire moors, and searching out and waking up various vets we had to take that awful decision which every pet owner knows and fears.
I will put up various pictures of Chloe throughout this blog post because it was her last trip with us and seems like a fitting tribute to a wonderful dog. So, on with the trip…
I had received lots of tips about good places to visit in Yorkshire from friends on my campervan club ‘The Late Bay’, in keeping with most online clubs they all had weird names such as “Fugly76”, and “Flakey”, and “GingerBus” along with “Lasty”, “Pony” and “YorkieMan”. Strange names notwithstanding, they all had very good tips on where to visit so thank you all very much indeed.
We started our visit with a trip to Malham which was absolutely full due to the lovely Easter weather. This is a shot of the overflow carpark.
Camping alongside Goredale Beck near Malham we were handily placed for walks to Goredale Scar…
and an easy walk towards Janet’s Foss.
‘Foss’ is an old Scandinavian word meaning waterfall or force. Legend has it that Janet, or Jennet, queen of the local fairies, lived in the cave behind the waterfall. The cave has actually been formed by dissolved limestone being deposited on lichen and mosses growing on the lip of the waterfall.
You can just see our little red and white van parked up beside the footpath up to Malham Scar, just after I took this picture almost everyone else went away and we were left with the whole place to ourselves.
This hill, leading up to the Limestone Pavements and Malham Tarn, from our campsite, looks quite steep, and I can confirm that it is.
One of the places that “Fugly76” recommended was the Green Dragon pub in Hardraw. We stayed in the pub car park for free and, luckily, our neighbours in the graveyard were dead quiet during the dark, moonless night.
The Hardrow Scar waterfall wasn’t looking it’s best due, I think, to the lack of recent rain but we did get a very accurate weather forecast before we left.
“Gingerbus” recommended that we visited the Ingleton waterfalls trail and I’m very glad he/she (I’ve never met them in real life) did. I had a wonderful day out walking the trail which follows the river Twiss through Swilla Glenn passing the money tree which is covered in hundreds of thousands of coins hammered into it to bring good luck,
The trail passes several waterfalls including this one, Pecca Falls which again wasn’t as impressive as it could be due to lack of water. I may be tempted to return here in the winter after heavy rainfall to see these falls in all their glory.
The trail leads eventually to Thornton Force where the river plunges 46 feet over a cliff of limestone which began life at the bottom of a sub tropical sea over 330 million years ago.
This very waterfall was the inspiration for artist William Turner who made a sketch of it in 1816. I’ve seen the sketch and, without wishing to sound big headed, I think my photo’s better.
After Thornton Force the trail crosses the Twiss via a footbridge and heads steadily upwards to Twistleton Lane and then heads back towards Ingleton following the course of the river Doe. The next photo shows the start of Twistleton Lane looking down towards Ingleton. The shape of the tree gives an idea of the severity of the winds up on this exposed hill.
Whereas the calm attitude of Chloe here gives no indication of quite how severe her wind could be at times, especially after the campervan was closed up for the night.
We stopped at Little Stainforth for a walk to Stainforth Force where the river Ribble tumbles over a series of rocky cascades with the 350 year old monastic packhorse bridge in the background.
After a quick stop in Hawes to fill the van with Wensleydale cheese we decided that we needed to stop in a proper campsite to catch up on those little luxuries in life, like a shower, so we rocked up at the next site we saw which was Colman’s Guest House and Camping Site near Aysgarth. It turned out to be a beautifully run site with very pleasant owners and lovely hot, and free, showers. We had all the usual compliments about our van, both from the owners and other campers, and we were asked if we minded posing the van for photographs to be used on the owners facebook page.
I decided that I wanted a photograph of the lambs happily frolicking in the spring sunshine, so I found a nice composition, set up the camera and waited for the lambs and the sunshine to make an appearance. I waited some more, and then some more, then I waited even more and, eventually a brief break in the clouds gave me a few minutes of good lighting. “But where are the frolicking lambs?” you may ask.
Well it turned out that the lambs had obviously finished ‘frolicking’ for the day and were now onto their ‘exploring strange things’ phase. I’d been stood quietly behind the tripod for so long that I’d obviously become part of their surroundings because just after I’d noticed this lamb trying to eat my camera bag I had another lamb come up behind me and start nudging my leg. He bounced off across the field when I bent down to stroke him.
From the Aysgarth site we went down to Aysgarth Falls on the river Ure, which consist of a series of broad limestone steps known as the Upper, Middle and Lower falls. This picture shows the lower falls and with a little bit of scrambling you can get right down to water level.
These are the middle falls taken from the viewing platform off of the footpath through Freeholders wood.
This Dipper had a nest amongst the rocks beside the falls, It’s not a fantastic picture of the bird but it’s the best I could do with the camera lens I had and I didn’t go any nearer because I didn’t want to disturb the bird at it’s nest.
Our next port of call was recommended by ‘Lasty’ from The Late Bay who suggested that we check out Nidderdale and Howe Stean Gorge which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and, it turns out, is well worth a visit.
The gorge itself is about 1/2 mile long and up to 80 feet deep in places. This view is from the bottom of the gorge after a scramble over very wet, slippery rocks and you can just see the wire safety line on the right of the picture.
This song Thrush seemed oblivious to me standing on a narrow ledge just a few feet from her. I suppose she’d become accustomed to a steady stream of visitors using the footpath every day.
Part of the walk through the gorge is the (optional) route through Tom Taylors Cave which leads off the side of Howe Stean Gorge. Tom Taylor, along with Dick Turpin, reputedly used the cave as a hideout and legend has it that Tom Taylor was tracked down and killed in the cave where his restless spirit is said to remain to this day. I took a two minute exposure just by torchlight with my camera bag serving as an impromptu tripod, but I didn’t spot any ghoulish ghosts.
This is the way out of the cave and it’s a jolly good job I didn’t eat all the pies until afterwards because it’s a bit of a squeeze.
Our last stop on our trip through Yorkshire was to Brimham Rocks near Glasshouses and Pately Bridge, which is part of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty.
The rocks which are formed of Millstone Grit have been eroded over thousands of years by water, glaciation and wind to form weird and wonderful shapes. The National Trust look after the site and entry is free although they do charge for parking unless you’re a NT member.
I had a very early start just in case there was a good sunrise (there wasn’t) and then spent a happy few hours photographing the rocks before finally walking back across the moor to the van for lunch.
Some of the rocks seemed a little bit precarious.
And if you got just the correct viewing angle it was possible to imagine shapes in the rocks. This one looks like a watch dog.
None of the places we visited felt quite right as we don’t have our dog with us anymore, and I’ve lost track of the rivers, beaches, woods and lakes that I’ve thought “We could stop there to let Chloe have a run” before realising that she isn’t with us anymore.
So, to finish, here is a picture of Chloe on a beach.
Chloe I am honoured to have known you and I feel lucky that you came into my life.