New Adventures: A Look Back At 2015, Part 3

One day in 2014, whilst looking through photos scanned from my old films,  I had found a photo of Malham Cove. It was a photo I’d taken when I’d last been to the Yorkshire Dales, 20 years earlier!

After that I’d started looking at holiday cottages and found a nice looking one in Langcliffe on the side of the Ribble. But it was a long time since I’d been on holiday and I’d never been on my own – I deliberated, kept putting it off, and then it was 2015.

Then when I returned from Norfolk I had a different feeling, all my previous apprehensions were gone! I also still wanted to go back to Yorkshire, so almost as soon as I was back home I had booked the holiday cottage on the side of the Ribble.

So at the end of September I was off to Yorkshire!


The end of September brought with it the holiday that I’d booked back in July. So, full of excitement and one 4 hour drive later, I was in the Dales! Home for the week was cottage in a small cluster of houses just outside Langcliffe, on the bank of the Ribble. A lovely place and being on the river bank meant I got to see my first dipper (and later in the week, a harlequin duck) from the back door!

One of the things I really wanted to do whilst here was try out a new ND filter doing long exposures of a waterfall, so on the Sunday I went for a walk from the cottage up the Ribble to Stainforth Force.

Sunday night into Monday morning was a super moon and lunar eclipse. I saw the super moon in the evening, but as I was planning an early start the next morning I didn’t get up at 3am to see the eclipse. Having seen other photos of the eclipse, some from the same area, I wish I had. In hindsight it would have been nice to get a solar and lunar eclipse in the same year too, but never mind – it’s too late now!

On the Monday I headed off over the border into Lancashire to RSPB Leighton Moss. Situated in the Arnside and Silverdale AONB, Leighton Moss was another place I wanted to visit and the former home of BBC Autumnwatch. I saw marsh harriers here again, a much better view of them than previously in Norfolk, and encountered a very tame and inquisitive pheasant. As I hadn’t been there before the friendly staff at the entrance told me I had to go up the Sky Tower, so I did. I absolutely recommend this to anyone else heading there: the view from the top is fantastic.

Leighton Moss is in two parts, in addition to the main reserve there is another much smaller coastal section looking out over Morcambe Bay. There are a couple of bird hides here, one of which is the Eric Morcambe Hide.

Tuesday started off quite grey with low cloud and fog, so I decided to head over to Wharfedale for a wander round Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Grass Wood.

Over the years since I’d last been to the Dales I had forgotten how open the roads are, it makes it very easy to stop and photograph the view when you see one you like. I did this a few times whilst driving around.

By Tuesday afternoon the cloud had cleared so I decided to mark off another place on my list and pay a visit to the impressive Ribblehead viaduct.

Wednesday started off with low cloud and fog again, a consequence of warm days and cold nights. I decided to head out of the Dales and pay a visit RHS Garden Harlow Carr. This would be my first visit to an RHS garden, having become a member earlier in the month. Harlow Carr is much bigger than I expected with so much to see and walk round: lots of different parts from woodland and cottage gardens to orchards and large lawns with huge, colourful flower beds. I spent the whole day here and took a LOT of photos!

Glorious weather on Thursday made it the day when I made my return trip to Malham Cove. Standing at the bottom and looking up the huge limestone cliff was still as impressive as I remembered it and, having climbed the 400 odd steps, the view from the limestone pavement at the top is amazing. There is also a fascinating array of life in the grykes (the gaps) that run through the pavement.

Staying around Malham on Thursday afternoon, I went to National Trust Malham Tarn: a large lake further up the valley from Malham Cove. There is a nice walk around the edge of the lake from the carpark to Tarn Moss nature reserve and a bird hide I stopped off in along the way although there wasn’t much to see. At Tarn Moss there is a long boardwalk over the peat bog with a nice wooded area near the start which was full of birds. Great to just stand in the quiet shade listening to them singing.

An interesting fact about the streams around Malham: Contrary to what would seem logical, the stream that flows out of Malham Tarn at Tarn Foot and subsequently disappears into Water Sinks at the top of the dry valley, isn’t the same stream that flows out at the bottom of Malham Cove.

Experiments with different coloured dyes have instead shown that the stream disappearing at Water Sinks actually re-emerges south of Malham at Aire Head Springs. Whereas the stream flowing from the bottom of the Cove comes from a different stream that goes into the ground at Smelt Mill Sink, slightly west of Malham Tarn near the remains of an old smelt mill.

Strange but true!

For the final day of the holiday, I decided to head over to Nidderdale and pay a visit to National Trust Brimham Rocks and National Trust Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden.

Brimham Rocks is quite a small place but well worth a visit. The balancing rocks are quite astonishing and you wonder how some of them even remain standing!

Later in the morning I headed off to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden and spent the rest of the day there. A foggy start in the valley made for an eerie view, the ruins of the abbey looming out of the fog. The weather soon cleared and warmed up though and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the gardens and ruins, also taking in the house and old mill. I finished the day with a walk down to the deer park where I spotted a lone fallow deer stag in the shade of one of the trees.

I got back to the cottage as it was starting to get dark and watched the sun set over the Ribble.

And so that was that, my first ever solo holiday was over and I had throughly enjoyed it. I didn’t manage to go everywhere or see everything that I planned to, but you have to leave something for next time!


At the start of November it was time for BBC Autumnwatch and a new social media campaign for the show in the form of #MyPatch. The weather wasn’t great so on the first dry day I decided to pay an autumn visit to two of my local nature reserves. In the morning I headed back to Summer Leys.

Then in the afternoon I headed off to Titchmarsh.

Both places were looking great with the autumn colours now in full swing.

The End…

So that was 2015, I had planned to get out on a few more weekends but as everyone else from the UK will know, the weather turned pretty bad toward the end of the year!

If you’ve read all the way to the end, thank you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos. Rest assured, future posts will definitely not be this long!

If you’ve got time please take a look at the Flickr albums for the places I’ve been as there are a lot more photos beyond those I have included here.

Links to stuff mentioned here:

BBC Springwatch/Autumnwatch/Winterwatch on Twitter

Local Flickr albums:

Yorkshire Flickr albums:

Local places visited:

Yorkshire Places Visited:

One Comment Add yours

  1. louise says:

    I think this has to be my favourite of your three posts!

    I have family who live in the Ribble Valley and I love the Yorkshire Dales! I’ve not explored any of the RSPB reserves around there though I always mean to. I’ve not been to Harlow Court either as it never appealed to me before but your photos are so beautiful I might just put it on the list for one day when I’m in the area.

    I always enjoy a walk at Malham. I wish I could have gone a few weeks ago when there was water falling
    over the cove for the first time in licing memory. It’s a great walk from Malham up to the tarn via Janet’s Foss waterfall. I’ve never explored Tarn Moss though so that’s something else to do one day.

    I visited Brimham Rocks for the first time last year and would love to revisit!

    I think we all probably plan to do more and get out more at weekends than we actually manage to achieve. I get to
    the end of the year disappointed at how many places I didn’t visit or how many things I didn’t do but when you look back, you see that you did actually do quite a lot!

    I have really enjoyed these posts and the fantastic photos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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