May 5 2019 – Settle, North Yorkshire.
Settle is a small farming community in the Ribble Valley, it used to be a mill town, using the river to connect the mill to the bigger towns and further down the rivers and canals to Manchester and Liverpool. Tourism is the big earner here now, and there is very little cheap accommodation, though there are a number of pubs serving good food at, almost, London prices. It is very attractive and my first thoughts are ‘I like it’.
I am here for Photosketch, a day long photography walk, chat and learning session with two fabulous photographers; Al Brydon and Fleur Olby. The photo walk is on bank holiday Monday, though I am here three days early so I can have a day looking around the area, and visit my daughter in the Lake District, which was the subject of my last post. Photosketch will be the subject of a near future post.
I arrived in Settle late on a Friday afternoon, parking my car in a pay and display car park for the weekend; and constantly forgetting to feed the meter. Austerity cut backs in the council means that no one checks my car for unpaid parking; feeding the ongoing austerity I guess. I did pay when I remembered. I am staying a small Air B n B, the owner is friendly and has loads of maps and suggestions for walks and things to see. She is an ardent advocate for the area.
I have bought both Canon cameras for this trip, the big heavy 5d and the smaller, jacket-pocket sized G16. Grabbing the 5d I head out for a walk to stretch legs tired after being in the car for most of the day, and to have a nose around some of Settle and neighbouring Giggleswick.
Giggleswick is even smaller than Settle and on the opposing side of the river. There was a nice little section of white water and I planned to come back here one night with the tripod and take some moving water shots, something I very much enjoyed though have not done in over 10 years, there is not a lot of white water in London.
Giggleswick is famous for its school chapel, and possibly for its mildly humorous name. Giggleswick School is a public (which means private in this strange country) school established in 1499, though it moved to its current location in Victorian times. A local landowner gifted the chapel to the new school, and construction commenced in 1867.
The chapel is a magnificent building, on the top of a small incline at the back of the school, it is on private land and there a number of signs reminding me of this. I sort of skirted them and finding a gap in a hedge up a lane sneaked on to the land to take a couple of photos. I would have loved to have gone inside.
Back in Settle I had dinner in one of the pubs. It was Ok, the food was good, but it was the least welcoming of the pubs I visited. I am guessing it is the most ‘local’ of the pubs, and I could imagine how some residents hated the fact that everywhere was packed with noisy visitors all the time.
On Saturday morning I took a slow drive to Ambleside to see my daughter. The first hour of the drive I spent in the hills overlooking Settle, trying to find some of the interesting sights and sites. I started looking for Winskill Stones, a series of limestone rocks that looked quite interesting photographically. I didn’t find them J But I did take a photo of my car with Pen-Y-Ghent in the background. Pen-Y-Ghent is one of three fells in this area that make up a well known day walk.
Driving to Ribblehead Viaduct, a slight detour on the way to Ambleside I passed what seemed like hundreds of those day walkers as well as a good number of mountain bikers; with caving, rock climbing and kayaking, this really is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, and busy all year round.
Construction on Ribblehead Viaduct began in 1869 and it took five years and a hundred lives to complete. It is part of the Leeds to Carlisle railway and is still used today. It is a glorious construction, and very heavily photographed. I wanted to add to its photographic history, but did not add anything new or interesting to that photographic history.
The rest of Saturday was spent with my daughter.
When I booked this trip I had planned on spending Sunday looking around Settle, visiting some of the ample number of places of interest in the immediate area. However, in the interim I had found a really good job to apply for. Sunday was mostly spent at the dining table in the B n B writing a civil service job application. Not the easiest thing to do if you want to do it well. As I am writing this almost three months later I can say I didn’t get that job, but I did get another one. More on that another day.
Before settling in to write I took a walking tour of Settle, visiting all the bits I didn’t go to on Friday night. It did not take a long time to complete. It is a nice village, sized perfectly for a Sunday morning walk.
Most of Settle and its cross river neighbour, Giggleswick, has been built from local stone. There is not a huge amount of colour in the buildings, nor variation in style. These towns were built a long time ago and no-one really wants to expand them. I really like it. Clean lines, standard colouring, simple design and local stone, lovely. This is my B and B.
Not so sure on the Daily Mail though, I suspect those who drink in the pub I went to on Friday appreciate the hate Mail more than I.
There is a small loop walk through the town part of which runs up one of the original village streets to the farm land that makes up the bulk of the dales.
There is a path through a small section of forest that leads to the top of one of the small craggs, I don’t think it has a name, it was under a hundred metres high, but the view over Settle was great, and looking up the hill there was adventure to be had.
Back down through the grey stone of the town I stopped for coffee and a snack, and then a look around the small and interesting museum before walking back to the B and B, and five hours of constructing a job application.
236 miles to London!