Sunday, 1 May 2016

Still perfect after all these years

Do you remember 'the perfect tree' that grows in Saltaire along Caroline Street? It's a type of rowan. It has white blossom in spring, then red berries and its leaves turn a wonderful colour in autumn. I love it, especially because it has a perfect story-book tree shape. I've taken several photos of it over the years but none before at this stage of its cycle, when the leaves are just appearing like little pale green baubles all along its twigs.
Click the 'perfect tree' label below, to see it in its other costumes.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Salts Spring 3

The trees are coming into leaf in the grounds of Saltaire's United Reformed Church but you can still enjoy a good view of the stable block. As summer progresses, these cottages become more hidden behind the canopy of trees. It looks as though the ornate chimney might belong to the houses but in fact it is the huge tower of the New Mill, behind and lower down Victoria Road. As I've mentioned in the past, the stables belong to the early days of Saltaire when most transport was by horse and cart and so there needed to be somewhere for horses to be sheltered and fed.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Salts Spring 2

Another glimpse of the wonderful south elevation of Salts Mill, this time viewed from Caroline Street, across the allotments. It is wonderful to see the blossom appearing and the fresh spring green flushing through gardens and countryside. It is still very cold (we had recent hail and snow) and some hard frosts are making things suffer; the camellias seem mostly ruined already. But there is a bit more warmth in the weak sunshine and a promise in the air some days, so very welcome.

Seems Blogger has decided to change our blog backgrounds from a gentle gradation to solid blocks. I do not like. :(

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Salts Spring

I haven't shown a 'full frontal' photo of Salts Mill for a while. It stands there solidly, its south frontage little changed since it was first built over 160 years ago. In contrast, the adjacent allotments change with the seasons: flowers are now bursting out and the fresh bright green of spring is creeping through the shrubs and hedges.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Birch trees

Trees in Strid Wood at Bolton Abbey. The woodland is very ancient and full of sessile oaks but there are a few areas of younger trees like these birches. I think birches are very photogenic and I liked the darker trunk next to the light one. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Strid

The River Wharfe winds its languid way through the Bolton Abbey estate, a broad and shallow river with a few areas of scree and rock outcrop where it tumbles into gentle waterfalls and rapids. There is, however, one unusual natural feature known as The Strid. Here the channel narrows dramatically, from about forty feet wide to just four feet, forcing the water through at great pressure, churning through the rocks and twisting through a series of bends. The noise is deafening. No-one knows just how deep the channel is, as the force of the current makes it impossible to fathom and there are probably subterranean channels under the rock too. It has drawn many visitors, since Victorian times when a railway was established to bring day trippers to Bolton Abbey from the nearby cities. Some of those visitors are tempted to try to leap the gorge. A few have succeeded but, of those who failed, none have survived and in some cases their bodies have never been found. The most recent fatalities were in 1998 when a couple on honeymoon were swept away in a flash flood. There are inevitably many folk tales linked to the area. A spectral white horse is said to rise from the river to claim its victims.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Barden Bridge

I had a day out with some friends recently, walking alongside the River Wharfe on the Bolton Abbey estate. It was the 60th birthday of one of my friends so we had a picnic, complete with prosecco, resulting in quite a merry meander back! Thankfully the rain held off, although it was a rather dull and cloudy day. We had planned to hike up Simon's Seat, a rocky outcrop that overlooks the estate. What we had not realised is that, for some strange reason, dogs (even on leads) are banned from that walk. As we had two with us, that made it a no-go area. It seemed rather an unnecessary restriction but it is private land belonging to the Duke of Devonshire and (like Sir Titus Salt in Saltaire) the gentry seem to like 'rules'. So we walked along the riverside path from the Cavendish Pavilion tearoom to Barden Bridge (shown above) and back.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A miscellany

A few more random shots taken around Saltaire during this year's World Heritage Weekend. There was busking on the barge. A good festival always needs a bit of music...

In Roberts Park, some lovely Border Collies almost seduced me into thinking I could do with a dog! They were from the Freedom of Spirit Trust (FOSTBC) in Bingley, which rescues and rehomes Border Collies. (I know the dog at the back isn't a Border Collie!)

And finally, the opportunity to indulge in some genteel croquet, one of the pastimes that was apparently promised when Saltaire's park was first planned, though it seems doubtful whether it actually took place. However, one of the park's top lawns seemed ideal for this game. It is harder than it looks, judging by rate of failure to get the ball through the hoops... at least during the time I was watching.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Archery Tag

Here's a novelty - 'Archery Tag'.  As part of the World Heritage Festival's Leisure theme, there were various activities on offer. On Thompson's Field, beside the tramway, people were enthusiastically trying out this relatively new game, played a bit like Paintball but using light bows and foam-tipped arrows. The idea is to try and eliminate the opposing team by hitting their target or even their players! While I was watching, they were mostly trying to get used to their bows and arrows and there was not much on-target hitting going on! It did look fun though, and an easy way to have a go at something different.

Friday, 22 April 2016

The Glen Tramway

The only remaining attraction from those Victorian pleasure grounds is the Shipley Glen Cable Tramway, a funicular (cable railway) with two carriages that takes people up and down the steep hillside from Saltaire to Shipley Glen.

It was lovely to see people flocking to use it. It is maintained and run on a shoestring by volunteers. It unfortunately suffered badly in the devastating rainfall on Boxing Day, when the valley was flooded and water cascading down the hill washed away a lot of the track and meant extensive repair work has had to be undertaken to restore and make it safe to use again.

The staff were dressed in Victorian costume, entering into the Festival spirit. I would have liked a ride to the top but I had woken with a migraine and wasn't feeling anything like my usual self, so it was a short visit just to take a few photos.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Festival time!

There were lots of people about in Saltaire last weekend... What's going on?...

The educational barge 'The Kennett' is moored on the canal. That usually indicates a festival - and, yes, the year has properly kicked off now, with the first of the big annual festivals. It was World Heritage Weekend, celebrating this beautiful and historic community's World Heritage Site status. The theme this year was 'Leisure' and you could join a guided walk through Saltaire and up to Shipley Glen, exploring the wonderful stories of how Saltaire's park and the countryside around used to be (still is!) a magnet for people seeking to escape the crowded city. There are still traces (if you know where to look) of the Victorian pleasure grounds that used to draw crowds to the amusements and fairground rides.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Bird Cage

I can't remember if I've posted a photo of this before. The oldest part, on the right, is an elaborate metal 'kissing gate' known as The Bird Cage (for obvious reasons). It dates back to 1872, when it formed part of the development of the Milner Field estate, a large house that was built by Titus Salt Junior but which was demolished in the 1950s. Kissing gates are designed to let people through but prevent livestock escaping.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Up hill and down dale

Walking through Trench Woods at the bottom of Shipley Glen, there is a very different view depending on whether you look up... to the rocky millstone grit outcrops and twisted trees on the hillside - 

or down... to the stream known as Load Pit Beck. This is (I believe) named after the Late Bronze Age lode pits or 'bloomeries' found in the area, where axe heads were cast. There is a small mill dam, built in 1911 to supply clean water for the Salts Mill dye works. Then the stream flows out and forms this attractive little pool and waterfall, a popular spot for local families to picnic and children to paddle. Look carefully and you might be able to spot a Golden Retriever wading into the pool.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Salts in the sunshine

Some days when I am coming home from work, the late afternoon sunshine just catches Salts Mill, leaving the foreground in shadow. It gives rather a magical effect. It's one of those scenes that I feel I could embellish a bit, so I am going to continue to play around with it. You may see it again in a slightly different guise.