Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Not quite back

But not far off it.

Im very much hoping to get my backside back on the bank-side this weekend with a rod in my hand & not a camera, well not a DSLR anyway.

The last few weeks with an aggravated old injury has been a nightmare and being able to get  onto the banks but not fish has made it even worse but my photography skills have drastically improved!

Im hoping that this weekend will be the first weekend back on the river welding a rod around and hopefully getting amongst the fish again.

In the meantime a few pictures from the last few weekends with the camera.

In preparation for getting back out with the dry fly before all is lost, I had to top up my dry fly floatant bottles and found it cheaper by far to buy direct from a UK source so at half a kilo of fly floatant delivered next day delivery how many bottles will I get from that. :)

Hope to see some old friends on the bank again soon. fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Walking in the Footsteps

Im currently nursing an injury which I didn't want to agitate by fishing so instead I decided to go walking to a place I always said I would visit so no excuses, a 0430hrs alarm I was up and away on Sunday. 
The reason for such an early rise was that I wanted the place to myself as its a popular walk and to take my time & get some good photographs.

Arriving in Gunnerside, I got the walking boots on and headed for the hills.

This was the place I was heading for, Blakethwaite Dams, 3.5 miles up in the Yorkshire Dales with a elevation just under 1400ft from the car park.

Over 200 years old and built to control the water for the Lead mining industry below, it has stood the test of time well.

This was the first view I got of the dams, one of which has now been destroyed but the 2nd one is still standing strong as you can see from the two opening pictures.

Heading up the Gill to the Dams you weave your way through a thriving but very dangerous industry from the past, Lead Mining. A lot of building still preserved today to give a very small-insight to the work that went on all those years ago, a tough job in a tough place with very tough conditions to endure.

The view from the smelt mill down the Gill towards the Bunting Mine

The view back to the smelt mill looking up towards the dams

Today a part of the history of the area and mixed in amongst our industrial past is small snippets of elegant beauty such as these waterfalls.

Heading down the Gill to the Bunting Mine.

The 8 mile round about walk contained lots of interesting photographs, too many to put into one post but if you are ever in this neck of the woods and have a few hours to spare then I highly recommend visiting Gunnerside Gill.

And with views like this is does the soul good.

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.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Waterfall Bonanza

Last weekend we were washed out again on the rivers with storm Miguel hitting the Dales and precipitating so much the rivers were up over 1.5m.

Not one for staying in I opted to head further up the Dales with camera in hand and one thing that would look good would be the waterfalls.

A quick map recce found that there were a large amount of waterfalls located around the village of Keld high up in Swaledale, so setting off at 0630hrs I headed off with camera & walking boots.

The views up in swaledale are worldwide renowned for the amount of stone barns that the dale has.

Just a small sample of the barns from the roadside and every barn has a story to it which is kept alive by the local tourist information's which I find fascinating how they used to live when life was so much less complicated than today.

Parking the car and paying my £2 in an honesty box for all day safe parking I slipped on my walking boots, rucksack over my shoulder and off I headed on my pre planned route, the first waterfall being Kisdon Force.

( Taking lots of photographs, I will keep the shots on here to single ones of the entire falls )

Just as I had expected in full force and moving some amount of water through it per second.

Photographs done, kit packed away I headed back along the Pennine way for my next port of call, another waterfall called East Gill, not as large as it was located on one of the feeder burns supplying the main river but just as pretty.

At this point I still had not seen a single soul, I had all this to myself without any other person bothering me.

Onward & upwards now to a place I have been meaning to visit for many years as the panoramic views are spectacular as I have seen many photographs from others and always vowed I would get up there one day myself, and I wasnt disappointed.

The view on the way up was quite spectacular in itself, I simply cant comprehend how these folk built these stone farms & mile upon mile of dry stone walls all those years ago, what a hard and simple life it must have been.

The walk up was well worth the wait as Im sure you will agree.

Crackpot hall looking down Swaledale with the river Swale down below.  With the clouds & light changing constantly I sat there for over an hour absorbing the different moods that mother nature was throwing at me.

It was still onward & upwards to Swinner Gill an old lead mine high above here for my next waterfall.

The views behind me as I climbed higher just as spectacular.

The Swinner Gill waterfall being in 2 parts, the upper part.

And the bottom part.

Im always amazed at how hard our predecessors worked to make ends meat and this far up an old lead mine workings, how hard must it have been up here in all weathers scraping out a meagre living, lead was first extracted up here in the 1740s, and between 1751 - 1756, 370 tonnes had been removed by hand and processed, & our generation think we have it hard! 

The view up to the mine

The buildings around the mine site.

Leaving the hills I descended back down towards the Swale and the numerous waterfalls in the area.

Currack Force

Wain Wath

Rainby Force

Hoggarth's Leap

And finally the smallest of them all but nevertheless just as pretty.

It might not have the thrills of catching a wild trout or grayling on fly but it gave me just as much thrills and spills in the magnificent views, and the short final walk back to the car for a sit down and a chill before the drive home was just as good as the rest of the day.