Ribblesdale, 27th & 28th December 2016

Scaleber Force

This morning we had this superb waterfall all to ourselves. It lies just east of Settle and cascades 12 metres down limestone rocks into a small wooded gorge and is one of the most photogenic waterfalls in the Dales. After parking the car and climbing the stile we soon get our first view of the falls across the gorge to our left, wow this is an impressive place. The path leads down to the foot of the falls where the view is even more stunning…

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And just a few metres downstream are another series of smaller falls…

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Winskill Stones

A few miles northeast of Settle lies the small nature reserve of Winskill Stones. It is a very steep and twisty road up to the reserve but once up on the top the views across to Pen-y-Ghent are breathtaking. The area is mainly limestone grassland but there are some excellent patches of limestone pavement including one with an much-photographed lone hawthorn….

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The lone tree and Pen-y-Ghent


Norber Erratics

The Norber Erratics are an amazing collection of sandstone boulders that were carried about a kilometre on a glacier during the last Ice Age 13,000 years ago. As the ice melted they have been deposited lower down Crummackdale on top of the limestone at Norber. They have acted as natural umbrellas and protected the limestone underneath them from rain erosion leaving them perched in sometimes incredible looking positions. There are hundreds of boulders scattered around at Norber, some small and some bigger than cars, I’ve got to say I’ve never seen anything like it and it was definitely my highlight of the trip.

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Robin Proctor’s Scar at Norber


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Ribblehead Viaduct

I’ve travelled over Ribblehead Viaduct dozens of times on the scenic Settle – Carlisle railway but never explored the area on foot. On our first visit the cloud was very uninteresting – overcast, grey and dull, not what I’d been hoping for at all, the image I’d got in my mind was of stormy skies or an amazing sunset. However I think the photos look ok in black and white…

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Ingleborough in the background


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The following day the weather was completely different and the viaduct had a totally different feel…

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Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside


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Swaledale, 19th December 2016

The Yorkshire Dales is an area I’ve never really explored so we decided to head down to Keld where there are a number of interesting waterfalls to enjoy.

Wain Wath Force

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East Gill Force

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East Gill Force has two main falls, the upper fall (pictured above) drops around 6 metres and is particularly attractive.


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The lower fall at East Gill Force cascades into the River Swale


Kisdon Force

Kisdon Force lies on the River Swale deep in a spectacular carboniferous limestone gorge but getting down to the two impressive falls requires a bit of scrambling and careful footing. A handily placed rope tied around a tree is definitely helpful in descending the final part, especially while carrying a camera and tripod – I certainly hadn’t anticipated that I’d be abseiling today! The short track to the falls is signposted off the Pennine Way and winds it’s way through woodland (where I flushed a Woodcock) and passes beneath a limestone scar with this huge detached pinnacle…

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Once safely down by the river I begin to enjoy the sight and sound of the waterfalls and the huge limestone cliffs behind. The setting is just incredible. The two falls drop a combined total of about 10 metres – the upper falls are the smaller of the two and they drop into a huge dark plunge pool. I noticed that some crazy soul had attached a rope swing to an overhanging branch right over the falls, I can only assume that in the warmer months brave youths (nutters!) leap into the pool from the swing…hmm I think I’ll give that a miss today!

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About 50 metres further downstream lies the higher and more impressive lower falls which thunder into another dark and deep plunge pool…

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With so little daylight at this time of year it was all too quickly time to head for home, but at least there was a nice sunset to end the day…

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Northumberland Coast, 16th & 17th December 2016

I’ve enjoyed many trips to this beautiful stretch of coastline over the years but I’d never really managed to do any landscape photography here. So this was a chance to hopefully get one or two nice shots of some iconic landmarks, and also visit a spectacular hidden waterfall which I’d wanted to visit for some time.

Dunstanburgh Castle

The shot I was really hoping for was of the sun rising behind the castle, which of course necessitated a very early start on the 16th. We arrived on the coast just as dawn was breaking but the drive over in the dark had been pretty foggy and I was cursing our luck thinking I wouldn’t be able to see a thing when we got there! Thankfully though within a mile or two of the coast the fog thinned just enough for me to get some shots of the boulder-strewn beach with Lilburn Tower silhouetted in the distance…

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All the images above were taken from the southeast end of Embleton Bay


The popular way to visit Dunstanburgh Castle is to walk from Craster to the south, from this direction most of the castle is in view as you meander northwards along the coast, but the gloomy conditions on the 16th meant that we couldn’t even see the castle at times! Oh well, the overcast conditions gave me a good excuse to use my 10-stop neutral density filter and try out some very long exposures – the shot below was my best effort and was a 30 second exposure which gives the waves a misty and eerie look…

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Looking south towards Craster from the same spot


By complete contrast the following day the weather and visibility was superb…

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Bamburgh Castle and Beach

The morning of the 17th dawned crisp, cold and clear and I just about managed to capture the last bit of colour from the sunrise…

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As we walked along the beach I again messed about with different filters and exposure times trying to capture the movement of the waves…

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And as the tide dropped the waves left some interesting patterns in the sand…

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Roughting Linn

Twenty miles inland from Seahouses and hidden away from the crowds lies the draw-droppingly picturesque waterfall of Roughting Linn…

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Bronze Age Carved Rock at Roughting Linn

Just a few hundred yards away from the waterfall is an isolated outcrop of sandstone rock which is covered in carvings. Apparently the carved markings are one of the best examples in Northern England of the unexplained prehistoric practice of decorating outcrops of stone with hollow cups, surrounded by rings and occasionally spirals. This form of decoration, perhaps with a religious inspiration, was common from at least 3000 BC or earlier, until about 1500 BC. As I gazed at the carvings I wondered why and who made them all those years ago. Fascinating stuff.

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High Rigg (1161ft, 354m), 26th November 2016

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It was a beautiful crisp and frosty start to the day, and as we drove down into the lakes the scenery was looking incredible with the high tops covered in recent snowfall and the valley floors still clinging on to the last vibrant colours of the autumn. Click on the images to see them larger.

Our walk begins at Smaithwaite Bridge on the A591 just north of Thirlmere and from there we begin the pleasant climb up through mature oak trees and Scots Pines to Wren Crag where we pause awhile to admire the views to the south…

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The bare trees down on the valley floor are still covered in a hard frost which contrasts with the beautiful rich autumn colours of the trees and bracken higher up on the fellside.


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Ullscarf, Raven Crag and High Seat


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Looking over St. John’s in the Vale towards Blencathra and Clough Head


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I was fascinated as these wispy ghost-like clouds suddenly appeared and the way that they closely followed the contours of the fells…


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It’s a day full of contrasts, both in the colours of the fells and the temperatures – where the ground was in full sun there was no frost at all and it was surprisingly pleasant, but where the frost remained it was like walking into a freezer!


After an enjoyable and relaxing climb we are on the summit and there’s plenty of time to sit and breathe in the views…

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Eel Crag and Grisedale Pike


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White Side and Helvellyn


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Looking over Latrigg to Dodd, Carl Side, Skiddaw Little Man and Skiddaw


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Lonscale Fell, Great Calva and Knott with Tewet Tarn in the foreground


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Blencathra above Threlkeld village


Our return walk takes us steeply down to the Church of St. John’s in the Vale and then we take the track heading south along the lower slopes on the eastern side of High Rigg towards Sosgill Bridge.

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The Church of St. John’s in the Vale


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Sosgill Bridge


Spout Force, Whinlatter and Bassenthwaite Lake, 2nd November 2016

After an early morning frost I set off for the lakes in an optimistic mood with the hope of capturing some interesting images of a nice autumn day. As I headed alongside Bassenthwaite Lake I decided to park up and try a few shots from the shore…

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I’d made up my mind that I was going to head for Spout Force just off the Whinlatter Pass, somewhere I’d wanted to visit for a long time. However as I made my way there I just couldn’t ignore the truly fantastic autumn colours and I was soon stopping again to take some more shots…

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I then parked up at Scawgill Bridge and began the short walk up to Spout Force, but instead of heading for the viewpoint I walked along Blaze Beck in the hope of being able to admire the waterfall from below.

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As I made my way along the beck it suddenly headed into a steep sided gorge with towering cliffs either side of me, and then Spout Force dramatically came into view. I was stunned at the sight and sound in front of me, there was something magical, almost mystical, about it. Anyway, here’s some images of this spectacular setting…

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As I returned to the car I had an idea for a photograph at Scawgill Bridge. I really liked the contrast of the monotone stone arch and the rich autumn leaves of the trees behind…

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