Yorkshire Dales

Doug Stratton Doug Stratton

Yorkshire Dales
Yorkshire Dales

Another recent trip with

Hiking Nation

took me to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, and a great opportunity to practise my long exposure skills on the waterfalls that are found throughout the area. An extra test would be added by the fact that this was primarily a hiking trip, not a photography trip - so I would need to quickly set up my tripod, shoot, and pack up again without falling too far behind.


The first stop was Janet's Foss, a small waterfall and pool in Malhamdale, nestled in a magical wood near Malham village. The name of the waterfall is believed to refer to a fairy queen who inhabits a cave behind the fall. I was concentrating too much on balancing the tripod on wet rocks to notice any supernatural entities. Perhaps I missed a shot.



Further up the river is Gordale Scar, about which Wordsworth wrote "let thy feet repair to Gordale chasm, terrific as the lair where the young lions couch". Again, I missed the lions if they were there, but I did find a moment to capture the fall without hikers clambering up.



Those who do scale the Gordale falls, are treated to another waterfall just above. The water has forced a hole in the rocks, rather than flowing over the top, so the falls appear to emanate directly from the cliff face. Scrambling up here, and then setting a tripod on these enormous boulders was certainly a change from London's flat and level pavements.



A little more climbing up rocky steps brings you to a limestone plateau, and some classic Yorkshire weather. I was drawn to this lone tree which had somehow survived the elements.



Limestone outcrops on the route toward Malham Cove.


Some of the trees need a little help to survive this Yorkshire weather.



A long stone wall, and path, pass between the Watlowes and Ing Scar, as the sunlight plays on the hillsides. In the distance are fields and villages.


Suddenly, without warning, the path ends at Malham Cove. Here at the top of the 230-foot cliff is a huge plateau of limestone pavement. In some places, great care must be taken to pick a route through the clints and grikes of the limestone, but close to the cliff edge offers a stunning view of the dales below.



Looking down into Malham Cove from the cliff edge. A steep path leads down to the valley below. Vertigo is getting the better of me. Time to descend.



Looking back upstream to the huge cliffs of Malham Cove.



It is less barren down here, and the trees enjoy the shelter of the nearby cliffs. A stone footbridge is laid to help walkers cross the stream.



Not far from Malham is the Ribblehead (or Batty Moss) Viaduct, built in 1874 to carry the Settle-Carlisle railway at the cost of over 100 lives. The viaduct is still in use today, carrying trains on a single track.



Further north is Bolton Castle, which is in Wensleydale, and not in Bolton. Built in the 14th century, it survived the English Civil War, and remains owned by the same family that built it. At one time, Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner here.



The purpose of this continued journey north was to find Teesdale, and a pair of waterfalls known as Low Force and High Force. Here, Low Force drops 18 feet over a series of steps. Somehow, I found a small area of level ground to grab this shot of the waterfall and its distinctive rusty coloured water.



Further upstream is High Force waterfall, a 70 foot drop. After heavy rain, sometimes the water flows over the right hand side as well, creating a double waterfall. This was most notably captured by

J.M.W. Turner

(although not with a DSLR).



Time to bid farewell to this beautiful place. I hope to return some day.

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