I headed up into the Yorkshire Dales last weekend to help celebrate a friend's birthday, with a weekend house-party at Scargill House in Upper Wharfedale, not far from the village of Kettlewell. It's about 25 miles (40 km) NNW of Saltaire. (For more information about the house and the Scargill Movement please click the links.)
After all the brilliant weather we have been having, sadly it reverted to type, with fine drizzle for much of the time. But that didn't stop me walking and taking photos. Upper Wharfedale is a classic U-shaped valley, scoured out by glaciers in the Ice Age. It has been farmed since at least the Bronze Age, and farming and tourism continue to be the main activities in the area. The scenery is dominated by outcrops of Great Scar Limestone (notably at Kilnsey Crag) and the area is popular with walkers, climbers and pot-holers. This whole area is part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
A 'dale' is a river valley. The Yorkshire Dales National Park covers the scenic, rural upper reaches of these rivers: the Ribble; the Aire (Saltaire is in Airedale. The upper reaches of Airedale around Malham are known as Malhamdale); the Wharfe (Ilkley, the town I featured earlier this month, is in Lower Wharfedale and Kettlewell is in Upper Wharfedale); the Nidd; the Ure - whose valley used to be called Yoredale but is now known as Wensleydale, after one of its villages; and the Swale. There are also numerous smaller dales, all of which are very attractive and interesting. The geography and geology of the Yorkshire Dales are a bit complicated to describe at length here, but there is plenty of info and maps on the internet.