Posts Tagged ‘Swaledale’

Moving on up


Hello! It’s a bit dusty round here, with a few cobwebs – hang on whilst I have a chean up. Right, that’s better, let’s get on.

So I’m still here (I seem to be saying that a lot lately…) but I’ve not been doing much in the way of crafty stuff and the urge to write seems to have left me. I have been getting on with other stuff though, which is doing me good – I think I got myself into a rut of knitting and sewing, which was good in some ways, but I needed to jolt myself back into achieving other things as well.

So I’ve been gardening, which is going quite well, the garden is looking better than it has for years, waking up my ebay bookshop, and reading more than I had been doing. I’ve also treated myself to a new camera – my old Panasonic had dust in the lens, and it was annoying me, so I decided to make the jump up to a DSLR and bought a Nikon D3200. I’ve been pointing it at things and pressing the button for a few months, with impressive results, but I did feel that I perhaps wasn’t getting the most out of it…! I did buy a book, but I only read the first few pages and now I can’t even find it. Oops.

So when I passed a temporary photography exhibition near my work with amazing photos of the local landscape in the window I stood and stared for a while,  but nearly chickened out of going in as there wasn’t anyone else in, but then I saw a leaflet saying that he also did courses, so I went in and had a chat to the photographer, Chris Ceaser (do have a look at his website, there are some fantastic shots on there).

I had a birthday coming up, so my parents offered to pay for a one day course, and last Saturday I spent the day with him and one other chap in the Yorkshire Dales around Hawes, learning about composition and how to set up the camera for best results, as well as using filters to balance the sky and land.


We started off at this interesting barn just outside Hawes, with a winding river behind it. Click on photos to enlarge if you want to.



Then we moved onto West Burton falls, which I think was my favourite location of the day.


I loved the effect that a long exposure had on the water.


Next up was a barn in a field of buttercups (they were everywhere, it was very cheerful).



Playing with composition was interesting, and using a tripod made it easier to think about it instead of just pointing and pressing the button which has been my technique until now.


Next we drove over the Buttertubs pass into Swaledale, land of sheep and field barns (you may remember a trip I made up there a couple of years ago). I photographed this barn then too.


Our final stop was Gunnerside, which I haven’t visited before but is a classic valley bottom with barns and stone walls.



I’ve intrigued to know who built this wall and why they put a kink in it!


We were waiting for the sunset, but despite it being a glorious day from a having a day out point of view, the lack of clouds wasn’t brilliant for photography, especially at sunset, there were no spectacular pink skies, it just went dark.

We ended up with fish and chips on a bench in Hawes at 9pm at night which finished the day off perfectly, and got home just after 11pm – the latest I’ve been out for ages (how sad is that!)

Overall I had a great day, Chris was great company and very patient, and I really felt like I’d learnt something. The eight hours we were taking photos went in a flash, I kept being amazed at how late it was. I’ve ordered a tripod of my own now, hopefully it’ll be here later today so I might have a trip out tomorrow. Just hope I don’t feel too silly setting it up on my own – it was fine when there were a few of us – but I don’t really have anyone to go out with, so I’ll just have to get on with it!

And one last thing to mention – Chris is taking over the shop in York where he had his temporary exhibition on a permanent basis for his gallery, do if you’re visiting York this summer do pop in, it’s on Micklegate at the end towards the bar, next to the Post Office. He’s hoping to be open in a couple of weeks. He has lots of stunning framed photos and also sells mounted prints and cards.

Right, that’s enough for now. Maybe I’ll summon up the energy for a crafty round up next, but don’t hold your breath, I might be too busy gardening!


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I’m still on holiday from work this week, and yesterday I had a day out in the Yorkshire Dales. Pretty much on impulse I drove up to Richmond, through Swaledale and then I dropped down to Hawes and drove back through Wensleydale. I had a glorious day – the weather was lovely (the sun did go behind clouds from time to time, but that just made the landscape look dramatic), and it wasn’t busy.


I was surprised (in a nice way!) to find this stall on Richmond indoor market. It’s a craft market, held on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and the lady had some lovely handknitted shawls hung up, and a nice selection of reasonably priced quality yarns, as well as cheaper/novelty ones ‘for the ladies who come in on the buses’, as she put it! Well worth a visit if you’re in the area. She has a Folksy shop called Woolmouse.


From Richmond I took the A6108 and then the B6270 along Swaledale, and oh, what a perfect road it is. I’ve not been that way before, and it just seemed like the distillation of all that the Yorkshire Dales has to offer. The road winds through the valley bottom, crossing and recrossing the River Swale as roads do in that part of the world, and occasionally passing through small villages, so close to the houses that you could lean out of the car and tap on the windows as you drive past.


I stopped in Reeth, a slightly larger village, which clings to the hillside round a large green.


There’s a lovely shop there called Fatsheep, which sells handmade things, all made in the Dales.


It’s all quite, quite different from Norfolk.


The drystone walls form a random patchwork on the hills.


And in the valley bottoms.


It seems like every field has its own field barn, I must have seen hundreds.

I stopped briefly in Muker, to visit the Swaledale Woollens, thinking they might have interesting local yarn, but it was mostly handknitted garments (lovely and reasonably priced, but not what I was after), there was a bit of yarn, and a price list for more, but I didn’t buy any.


Just before Thwaite I turned left over the Buttertubs Pass, which doesn’t seem to have a road number, but it’s signposted to Hawes just before the village. I was on a mission to revisit the Buttertubs, which are limestone rock formations that resulted in circular holes in the ground, but somehow I managed to miss the completely – either there wasn’t a sign, or I was too busy watching the road, which is a bit hairy in places, not to mention having a fair few sheep wandering around it.


I think they are actual Swaledale sheep – if they’re not they’re very similar.

At the other end of the pass I dropped down into Hawes and had a wander round there, it’s a bigger town (by comparison with the villages!) and does seem a bit like the place that time forgot, with some great old-fashioned shops.

I drove back through Wensleydale, on the A684 and A6108, but didn’t stop for photos as I was in a rush to get back to go to spinning group, but if I’d had more time I’d have stopped at Aysgarth (for the falls), Leyburn, Masham and Jervaulx Abbey, which is an idyllic place – it’s privately owned, with an honesty box at the gate, and it’s not unusual to find you’ve got the place to yourself. Here’s a couple of photos I took a few years ago.



All in all, it was a lovely day, and all the better for being pretty much spontaneous. It’s a drive I’d definitely recommend to anyone in the area, and there are even more places to go I’ve not mentioned.

And the day wasn’t over then! Spinning group is at Grace and Jacob, where I treated myself to these goodies –


A locally made felted corsage for my denim jacket, a felted card by the same lady which seemed very appropriate, and a skein of hand-dyed laceweight BFL and silk which I just couldn’t resist.

Today has Minnie’s annual trip to the vets to have the matts in her fur shaved off. She hates being brushed, and will bite me with very little provocation when I try, so once a year they sedate her, shave her, and charge me £75 for the privilege. I suppose it beats being bitten.


She’s more bothered by the fact that I won’t let her out (it’s raining, she can stay in for today) than by the fact that half her fur has gone. She does look funny though ;)

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