Winskill

Thinking about it now, no person in their right mind would take a short break in Yorkshire in late October, but I did. This was the first of what has become my yearly five-day trip away with the camera. I had last been to the Yorkshire Dales some twenty-five years earlier and to be honest, I never expected to visit again. First of all, it was a very long drive from home and then we have all our animals to care for. They bring us enormous joy, but it has meant that we haven’t had a holiday together in more than two decades.

The photography forum I belonged to at the time was run by a gentleman from Yorkshire and seeing all his stunning black and white images made me long to go back. I even drew up a list of the places I wanted to see, but knowing it was never likely to happen. Then a conversation with my husband on the way to work one day changed things forever. He offered to look after the zoo to enable me to have a short break doing whatever I wanted with my photography. In reality, I guess I still cover for him far more because he now works further from home and I often do the animals alone at the end of the day. I see them as my responsibility, but I had been offered a wonderful opportunity and it was too good to say no.

So I put that list to good use and came up with a few locations to see over a period of two days. It would take the best part of a day to drive up, I had two free days in Wensleydale and then I had arranged to meet an old friend who had moved to the Yorkshire coast the previous year. I would then have an even longer drive back on the last day.

That first trip was far less organised than the strict timetable I follow these days. I didn’t have SatNav back then and I did very little homework other than to scribble the locations on a bit of paper. Winskill was on that list and in fact, it was at the top for the very first morning. I was staying in Hawes for the first three nights and setting out at first light, I headed south to Settle. I knew the turning to Winskill was just before the town, but no matter how hard I looked, there were no helpful signs. I must have driven up and down through Langcliffe several times before picking a turning at random. As luck would have it, it was the right one and I was soon crossing over a cattle grid and making my way up a steep and winding ascent to the 74 acre reserve.

It was windy up there as I battled to open the car door. No wonder every leaf had been stripped from this lone tree. I braced myself against a dry stone wall and waited for the light to change. Image captured, I headed back to the car. I was finding it hard to keep my feet and anyway, I had other locations to fit in before the end of the day.

I must now take a break from my blog to do the homework for my next trip. I will be visiting North Wales for the very first time. In October.

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