Monday, 17 June 2019

Goals & Coincidences!

Well another weekend of no fishing due to mother nature giving it her best with the rain, so Plan B came into fruition although I knew it was going to be a long & hurtful slog which I can now confirm it was with the muscle aches & pains I have whilst sat writing this entry. 

The last few weeks I've been researching waterfalls in the dales & I stumbled across 2 which have very limited information or photographs of, one of those photographs was taken in 1988 (31 years ago) so with this in mind I set off yesterday with 3 goals in mind.

Goal One.

To locate & photograph Birk Gill Waterfall, no online information found & a single winter photograph taken back in 1988 to go on.

I have now found out why the above applied, getting to this waterfall is definitely not for the sick, lame or lazy! In places there was sheer rock faces which I had to constantly avoid just to get up the beck to the waterfall as there was no real places to gain access so had to walk up the course of the beck itself.

Heading up the beck looking back wards with the sheer rock face on the right side.

The first glimpse I got of the waterfall.

Birk Gill waterfall can now officially be seen online after 31 years of no photographs.

After the trek up it was time to head back downstream and a total change of scenery and new challenges, walking through knee deep heather with no clear paths for over 3.5 miles which was definitely energy sapping to my legs, the views were good though!

Goal Two

Find & locate the 2nd forgotten waterfall, Deep Gill Waterfall.  I managed again to find one photograph of this dated back in 2010 but nothing since & it has now got a plantation all around it.  The amount of undergrowth I had to plough through just to find it was like going back to Jungle training & I have more nettle stings and bruises on my legs than I care to admit, but perseverance paid of in the end & after almost 40 minutes of searching I found it.

I had achieved 2 of my goals & to be honest I should have quit as I was totally done in physically & I had to hike back to the car back across the heather but my 3rd goal was on route back to where I had left the car otherwise I would have left it for another day.

As I lay on some dry grass in the corner of the plantation in the sun grabbing a rest before setting off on the Hike back I was joined by a soldier beetle which I though was rather funny, an ex soldier & a soldier beetle sharing the same patch of grass.

A short break to gather my breath & I was back on the trail so to speak, except there wasnt one it was break your own through the heather, The amount of Curlew, Lapwings & Oyster catchers was astonishing, I estimate well over 100 of each type I saw on the moors on my crossing back over.

Goal Three

To find & pay my respects at  the remains / cairn  of a WW2 Halifax Bomber crash where all crew perished. I knew it was in the rough area of the crags I had passed on the south eastern side of the moor. The crags were easy to find but I cannot say the same for the small cairn in all the deep heather that was covering the area.

I sat down on top of a large slab of stone to take a breath where I found this small lichen and only found out after I carried out an internet search today that its called Cladonia Cristatella otherwise known as British Soldier Lichen! 

Two rest stops & two things in common with my surroundings, coincidence or what ?

After a further search of the area I stumbled across the small cairn & recognised it from the photographs I had seen online when I was researching the area.

Old parts of the Halifax Bomber JB926 gathered around the cairn

This is all that remains at the crash site where a complete bomber crew lost their lives on the night of  23/24th November 1943. For the full story of why it crashed please read the link.

After a moment of silence to pay my respects to these brave men I headed back down the moor in the direction of the car, tired but very relieved that I had achieved all the goals I had set out to do, especially the last one which Im glad that I found the energy to complete. RESPECT to these Men, NEVER FORGET.


  1. Hi George
    That final goal was worth the effort - we must never forget the sacrifices these brave people made to ensure the freedom we all enjoy today. We are so fortunate not have had experience the trauma's crews such as these (and their families!) had to go through on a routine basis.
    On a lighter note, those falls and plunge pools look superb!

    1. Thanks Alistair, well worth the effort. Not out fishing as Im carrying an injury at present & cant take the risk of making it worse so photography for the next couple of weeks only, we will meet up at some point!

  2. Excellent story and pictures as usual George. My abiding memory from lots of Wensleydale holidays as a kid were visiting Hardraw Force and Mill Gill Force. Looking at your photos would I be right in thinking that there's a few brownies in those pools?



    1. I dont think there is many to be honest as these dry up in the summer months so unless they lie in pools of water which dont dry up then its very possible. I was watching but never seen any signs, the fisherman never leaves me when I out walking...lol
      Kind regards

  3. George. Great photos, what lens are you using?

    1. Thanks Neil,
      my everyday walking around lens currently is a Sigma 18-200mm, purely because of the versatility of it, suits all my needs.

    2. I have the exactly the same lens for most of my photography only on a older Cannon body.

  4. Top posting George, I couldn't do it with my knees. Good work though. Best wishes, John

    1. Cheers John, Trust me my knees were still hurting a week later...lol


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