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Sunday, 31 October 2010

Another bridge

Since I noted a week or two ago that I didn't have many photos of bridges I seem to have been snapping nothing but bridges!  This is one of my favourites - Beckfoot Bridge.  It's local to where I used to live in Bingley and it was a much-loved and often enjoyed stroll down to the ford and old stone bridge over Harden Beck.

It is a packhorse bridge, just wide enough for one horse or a pedestrian.  Built in 1723 by two local masons at a cost of £10, it replaced an earlier wooden bridge.  The road is an ancient forest trail that developed into a bridle way and packhorse route from Bingley along the Aire Valley.  Beside it is an old farmhouse that once belonged to the Knights Templar.  When I was there the other day the house was shrouded in scaffolding, having roof repairs, so I didn't take a photo - I'll go back another day.

It's a fairly quiet spot now - but I have seen several cars stranded in the middle of the ford, which is much deeper than it looks.  Some sat-navs apparently direct people along this road and some idiots obviously leave their reasoning faculties at home and drive along, ignoring the signs that say 'Unsuitable for Motors'.  The man who lives in the farmhouse has a pair of thigh-high waders, as it is a fairly regular occurrence that he has to rescue people from the beck!

For more Sunday bridges, please visit Louis La Vache's blog.

May I also say a huge thank you to those people who responded to my 'big ask' yesterday for votes for the Photography Competition I've entered.  What lovely, encouraging people you are.  I'll let you know what happens....  If you missed it, please go back and have a look.

Saturday, 30 October 2010


Phone: 0901151 0417   or No 4 of 100 on the website

I've had some wonderful encouragements in my photography this week - a real bumper week.  I'm not meaning to be boastful really but I'm just so thrilled.

I entered the 'Yorkshire Landscapes' competition run by our local newspaper, the Telegraph and Argus - and two of my images have made it into the last 100 (out of about 1000 entries).  The next stage is a public vote to make a shortlist and then judges will choose the winner.  The prize is an utterly desirable Panasonic DMC-GH1 camera. (I'd love it, oh, I'd love it.)  Plus the best images will be used in a book and the T&A 2011 calendar.

Long-time followers of my blog have seen the two images in question before -  'Early Morning Sunshine on Salts Wharf' above and 'The River Ribble at Stainforth' below.

 Phone: 0901151 0421 or No 8 of 100 on the website

So..... now I need your votes!!

If you would like to vote :-) please access the Telegraph & Argus website, find the pictures (4/100 and 8/100) and enter your name and email address below the images.  Or phone the number given under each photo above (UK landline calls cost no more than 50p) - by November 8th.  Vote for both!  Or vote for number 4 only - the mills - to avoid 'splitting' my vote, as most photographers only have one photo on the list.

As if that wasn't exciting enough, I also won one of the annual competitions (Natural History) at my camera club with my picture of a grey heron - another that I posted on here a while ago. And, someone might want to use one of my photos to advertise a Christmas concert in Saltaire.

As you can guess, I'm smiling from ear to ear and right down inside too! "Oh frabjous day!  Callooh! Callay! She chortled in her joy."

This also earns a spot in James' 'Weekend Reflections' at Newtown Area Photo.  Do visit there to see more lovely images.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Fun Friday

I've noticed some bloggers have a Fun/Phun Friday spot - thinking outside the box and trying something new.  So... I've been having fun with these railings outside Salts Mill.  I have walked past them, down Victoria Road, a million times and never stopped to notice the strong shadows they cast.  Playing a bit and trying a different 'Blending Mode' (Vivid Light) in Photoshop brought out colours that were not noticeable in the original but must have been lurking there.  Not the type of photo I generally post, but 'fun' for a change.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


(Viewing large recommended)
This is my 500th post!  500 - I must be quackers!  But no... it is an unending joy in so many ways.  Going out and taking photos is always fun and sometimes leads me to feeling really blissed out.  (Do you know that feeling?  It's amazement at the beautiful, exciting world we live in; sheer pleasure that I can be out in it and notice its detail - the colours, the shapes, the light and shadow, the history, the humour, the places, the people.)  And then starting to write a post and finding out what I'm going to put - it often takes me by surprise!  And then seeing it all come together (well, at least in my view!) and publishing it.  And then the fun of reading all your wonderful comments - so encouraging, often wise, often witty.  And the equal pleasure of reading all your blogs - the old friends that I know will make me smile, teach me something new,  thrill me with stunning photographs and make me stop and think... and the excitement of discovering new friends too, all with different ways of looking at the world. Quackers?  No, I don't think so.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Beckfoot School

This is the upper school, on the outskirts of Bingley, that my daughter used to attend.  (She was in the same year as Kimberley Walsh, who is now famous as one of the Girls Aloud pop group.)  In those days we lived right opposite the school gates - very convenient.  (Although, as is often the case, living close meant J was frequently late setting off, running across the road with a slice of toast in her hand!)

It's a school with a good reputation and it has steadily expanded.  The original buildings - on the left with the clock tower - must date back to the 1930s, I think.  There have been two or three phases of new building work, and now they are building a entirely new school on what were originally the sports fields.  It is scheduled to open around Easter next year.  I feel slightly guilty that the people who bought our old house have had to contend not only with the building of the Bingley by-pass just down the road but also the new school.  I feel I had a lucky escape at just the right time!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Hanging on..

This lone tree on a ridge above Dowley Gap, silhouetted against the sky, has often caught my eye.  It has a rather pleasing shape and seems to be hanging on to its leaves, when all around are losing theirs.  (A touch of Rudyard Kipling here, perhaps!)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Dowley Gap

Crisp, sunny, cold weather at the weekend enticed me out for a couple of walks along the Leeds- Liverpool Canal towpath - though the sun was playing hide-and-seek behind clouds all the way.  We've had a touch of frost but it has not been frosty enough to bring rich colour into the trees.  It all looks rather anaemic this year.  This bridge, about a mile west of Saltaire, doesn't have a name as far as I know, though it is numbered 206.  It seems to exist for the sole purpose of enabling the horses that used to pull the barges to cross from one side of the canal to the other, because the towpath changes sides at this point.  Just behind the bridge you can see the two-rise lock at Dowley Gap.  It's quite a pretty spot and has the added advantage of being near The Fisherman's pub.  Join me in a drink, anyone?

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Brick mill

This is an unusual building for this area, as it's made from red brick - and has a round chimney.  There is very little built of brick locally - the vast majority of the houses and mills are made from stone, much of it local and a warm honeyed tone.  And most of the mill chimneys have angles - I suppose it's easier to make small bricks into a smooth round chimney.  I don't know much about the history of this mill.  It is only a stone's throw from Saltaire, just along the canal.  I think it is probably newer than the adjacent Salts and Victoria Mills.  No longer a mill, it has been converted into offices.

Another photo that would be good for Weekend Reflections!

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Plenty of puddles everywhere - and just sometimes you find a slice of the world reflected in an interesting way.  Here is Salts Mill's huge chimney and a glimpse of one of the twin towers on the roof.  Note the good solid York stone pavement - that's been around a few years! (They look great but they can be a bit slippery when wet.)  The original stone setts in the roadway were long ago covered in tarmac, though there are some closer to the Mill and in the village that have been preserved.  For newcomers to the blog who would like to see a more usual view of the Mill, see here or click the Salts Mill label below.

For more "Weekend Reflections", go to James's Newtown Area Photo.

Friday, 22 October 2010


As I descended from Ilkley Moor back down into the town, I noticed the backs of these lovely old stone houses had a fascinating mixture of windows.   Given half a chance, I'd love to relocate to Ilkley - but property there commands a hefty price tag, especially these big Victorian and Edwardian properties on the edge of the Moor, which were built when the town was a popular spa.  At the end of this row is the house, now called Hillside, where Charles Darwin stayed in 1859, at the time of the publication of his book 'Origin of the Species'.

He wrote to his son William: "The House is at the foot of a rocky, turfy rather steep half-mountain. It would be nice with fine weather; but now looks dismal. There are nice excursions & fine walks for those that can walk. The Water Cure has done me much good; but I fell down on Sunday morning & sprained my ancle, & have not been able to walk since & this has greatly interfered with the treatment…".

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Climbing The Cow

Well, here's part of The Cow.... looks like rock, I hear you say, not a cow, and you are right of course.  The Cow and Calf rocks are a famous landmark on the edge of Ilkley Moor, overlooking the town.  They have been a draw for tourists ever since Victorian days, when Ilkley developed as a spa town and resort for day-trippers.  Nowadays you almost always see rock-climbers here.  The millstone grit provides an relatively easy surface for beginners to grip.  As it's easy to get to the top of the cliff (by a normal path... you didn't really think I'd climbed it, did you?) the instructors can send down ropes for the trainees to practise ascending and abseiling back down.  For the more familiar view of The Cow and its Calf, please click the Ilkley Moor link above.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Cow and Calf

You might wonder why all these cars are parked here on the edge of Ilkley Moor.   That's a pretty good pub and restaurant further up the road - but that's not what's attracting all these visitors.  It's the Cow and Calf that they've all come to see.  Ah well, enjoy the view from the bench and we'll walk a bit further tomorrow....

And if you want to listen to the famous song (as mentioned in Vicki's comments yesterday) whilst you rest here, then click this link.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Backstone Beck

(Best viewed large)
One of the little becks that flows down off Ilkley Moor.  A 'beck' is another word for a stream, and is commonly used in the north of England.  You can see from the picture how the valley sides climb steeply from the town and then level off into a plateau.  Further up, there are mysterious stones carved with cup-and-ring markings, dating from the Bronze Age, and a 2000-year-old stone circle called the Twelve Apostles.  Sadly, I didn't have time to go as far as that on my walk.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Golden tones

I set off in search of some autumn colour at the weekend and was slightly disappointed on two counts. Firstly, the trees here are generally not yet showing a great deal of colour - certainly not in comparison with some other countries, as seen on various blogs.  Secondly, what looked like a promising day - bright sunshine when I left Saltaire - clouded over and became quite dull.  Undaunted, I had an enjoyable walk up on the moors above Ilkley, past the famous Cow and Calf rocks... of which, more later.

My photo shows Ilkley Tarn, a pretty little lake just above the town.  It's man-made, I think, probably intended as a destination for Victorian ladies visiting the spa to take a gentle walk round.  I can just imagine them in their crinolines.  I don't know how I've managed to miss it in all the trips I've made to Ilkley, but this is the first time I've seen it.  It makes a very pleasant stroll and I shall definitely go there again.  And next time I'll take some bread for the ducks, as they all swam over to inspect me and seemed very insulted that I was empty-handed!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Shipley sundown

Another lovely photo taken by my daughter on her recent canal boat trip through Shipley and Saltaire.  I think she has a good eye for composition - perhaps not surprisingly, since she took a degree in the History of Art at university.  I'm sure that studying great paintings helps to develop one's appreciation of form, colour and composition.  I'd recommend any photographer to spend time browsing art galleries.  I can't think of much I'd rather do, given a few hours to spare - especially in company with J, who can teach me a thing or two about art.

Incidentally you can see a church tower in the picture and that is St Paul's Church, Shipley.

Scott has a beautiful picture too, on Sunset Sunday this week.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Lovely brightly coloured notebooks and sketch pads for sale in the 1853 Gallery in Salts Mill, nicely complementing the turquoise Burmantofts pottery vase.  I'm sure it's not just me... I love empty notebooks!  There's a kind of sensuous pleasure in them.  You can perhaps see why I try to leave my purse at home when I go exploring in the Mill!

STOP PRESS: No-one was exploring very far in Saltaire on Thursday.  Part of the village was evacuated when thieves stole copper gas pipes and caused a massive gas leak.  (How stupid and thoughtless can you get?)  I missed all the excitement as I was at work and by the time I came home the drama was over, but the local paper, The Telegraph & Argus, reported it (see here).

Friday, 15 October 2010

Skywatch - Mackerel sky

The striking chimney of Saltaire's New Mill (see also yesterday's photo) and one of the old lamp-posts (once gas, now electric) outlined against a 'mackerel sky'.  These clouds, properly termed altocumulus or cirrocumulus, are known as a mackerel sky as they resemble the scales of the fish. There is much folklore attached to them, rooted in fact, as they often herald a bout of wet weather on the way in 6 or 8 hours.  I have a particular fondness for them.  My old geography teacher - an inspirational man - once enthusiastically dragged me outside on the way out of the school morning assembly to show me just such a sky and teach me about it.  I've never forgotten that special little lesson.

"Mackerel sky - never long wet, never long dry."

This is a Skywatch Friday entry - for more please click the link.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The New Mill

Another view of one of Saltaire's major buildings, the New Mill - framed by the trees and flowerbeds of Roberts Park.  Completed in 1868, on the other side of the canal from the original Salts Mill, it was built to increase the wool spinning capacity at a time when the business was expanding. This block is now used as administrative offices for the NHS (Health Service). The site was developed further in 1907-09 when another five storey mill was erected behind this one.

Sir Titus Salt again commissioned Lockwood and Mawson, the architects behind the rest of Saltaire, who continued with the then-fashionable Italianate style evident in the rest of the village.  Sir T insisted that the building should be worthy of its prominent position beside the main throughfare, Victoria Road, and opposite Saltaire's beautiful church.  The chimney is particularly memorable, being modelled on the campanile of the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice.

(For different views of the building, please click the New Mill label.)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Dusk, Salts Mill

My lovely daughter came up from London to stay for a few days last week, attending the wedding of one of her best friends.  They met almost 20 years ago, at middle school, and have been firm friends ever since, keeping close even though they went their separate ways to senior school and then uni and V now lives in California.  In traditional fashion, the girls arranged a 'hen do' a couple of days before the wedding.  Thankfully, they didn't all dress like tarts and get drunk!  Instead they had a 'Yorkshire' themed afternoon and evening - complete with flat caps.  (The bride's had a veil attached!)  Part of it involved a trip on a narrowboat along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal through Saltaire, enjoying cakes and champagne as they cruised along.

Being the sweet girl that she is, J took some photos for me..  a boat level view of Saltaire, just as dusk was falling.  I am therefore delighted to present my first guest photographer on SDP - my very talented daughter.  This shot is taken in that narrow stretch of the canal between Salts Mill on the right and the New Mill.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

What a dish!

In some ways it seems a bit incongruous to have this huge dish aerial alongside the Victorian splendour of Salts Mill.  And yet in another sense, it's entirely appropriate.  I'm not sure if it's a working aerial or merely a symbol/logo but it signifies that much of the huge former textile mill now houses the very high-tech company, Pace plc... "a leading technology developer for the global payTV market".  Among other things, they make digital set-top boxes for TVs.

When textile manufacturing collapsed in the UK in the 1980s, Salts Mill almost collapsed with it.  It lay empty and derelict until in 1987 a young businessman, Jonathan Silver, bought it.  He developed it as a gallery and retail space and also brought in new industries.  Sir Titus Salt, the Victorian visionary entrepreneur, founded the Mill and the village and his name lives on in the name Saltaire.  It's easy to forget the huge debt that the area owes to the more recent and younger - but equally visionary - entrepreneur, Jonathan Silver (who sadly died in 1997) and his family, who still manage the Mill today.  (I like to think that, had he lived, he would have also been awarded a knighthood by now - Sir Jonathan Silver sounds good to me.  Though he was in many ways such a maverick that he might not even have accepted it - who knows?)

Monday, 11 October 2010

A touch of autumn

Our weather is very Octoberish, though much warmer than is seasonal.  Mornings of mist, dull dank damp days and an occasional outburst of exuberant blue sky and sunshine.  You can see from this shot the gradual autumnal colour creeping into the trees.  For newcomers to my blog, the building is the huge Salts Mill, opened in 1853 by the Victorian paternalist Sir Titus Salt as a mill to produce fine wool worsted cloth.  He then proceeded to have an entire village - Saltaire - built around it, to house his workers.  Regular readers have seen many views of the building (for more, click the Salts Mill label) but I hope that you don't tire of its industrial grandeur.  I never do, though I see it every day.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

A bridge too far

I was thinking that I've never added a picture to Louis la Vache's 'Sunday Bridges' before - and then thinking that's probably because I don't have that many pictures of bridges - and then thinking that's probably because there aren't many bridges round here... and those that exist are singularly boring and uninspiring.  This footbridge in itself is nothing much.  Kind of standard issue "we need a cheap, functional way of getting from one side of this river/canal/road/ravine to the other" stuff.  There are no doubt many others constructed to an identical design, all over the UK.  This one is called Buck Mill Bridge, crossing the River Aire near Tong Park, Baildon on the path to Buck Woods.  What I did like about it this particular day was the shadows and the way it seems to go on forever.  An 'Alice in Wonderland' kind of bridge!

To see more bridges from around the world, please click here.

Saturday, 9 October 2010


(Please view large by clicking on photo)
Back in Saltaire again....  and though it was gathering up for rain, those are not extra black storm clouds at the very top of the picture - just a dirty window!  I took this from the staircase on the top floor of Salts Mill.   That level is not usually open to the public so maybe they don't clean these windows very often!  Nevertheless I liked the view from right up here.  It's interesting how you get a different sense of a place from higher up.  We are looking out over Victoria Road, towards the railway station on the left.  The building in the centre is the old Dining Hall, where the mill workers used to get their meals (now part of Shipley College).  Behind you can see the church, still shrouded in plastic and metalwork as the canopy repairs continue.  You can also see the edge of Saltaire's residential area on the extreme left.  Those houses are on Albert Terrace and were among the earliest houses in the village to be completed, in 1854.

Friday, 8 October 2010


"I've looked at clouds from both sides now...."  was the line that came into my head when I thought about posting this photo, another shot of the lake at Harewood.  Isn't it interesting how deeply those songs we listened to in our youth become embedded in our brains? I haven't listened to Joni Mitchell for years now, but still the lyrics - from "Both Sides Now" - are there waiting to leap into my consciousness.

"Still somehow it's clouds' illusions I recall; I really don't know clouds at all."

(Hmm, isn't it interesting as well that sometimes what you end up blogging about is a complete surprise - even to you!)

For the song on a video, click here.
For more photos around the Harewood Estate, click the Harewood label below.

For more interesting and varied offerings on the theme of 'Weekend Reflections', please leap over to James's 'Newtown Daily Photo'.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Lake at Harewood

The gardens at Harewood House were originally laid out by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in the mid-18th century.  One of the best known English landscape architects, his skill and vision was sought after by the landed gentry of the time.  He swept away the formal English garden style in favour of huge naturalistic landscapes of sweeping grass, clumps and scatterings of trees and serpentine lakes.  It was a style that became very fashionable and many of his gardens remain today... though if you didn't think about it, you might assume that many of the grand estates that he designed - Harewood, Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle - had always looked like that.  The style fell out of fashion after Brown's death but gained recognition again in the 20th century.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Statue of Orpheus

This magnificent bronze figure on Harewood's Terrace is 'Orpheus' by Astrid Zydower (1930-2005). Added in 1984 when the original statue in this location collapsed, it forms part of a wonderful collection of 20th century art amassed by the present Earl.  Harewood also hosts an ongoing series of exhibitions of contemporary artwork.

Harewood House itself is a Georgian mansion finished in 1771.  Edwin Lascelles, who commissioned it, employed the finest craftsmen in the country - architect Robert Carr, interior designer Robert Adam, furniture maker Thomas Chippendale and garden designer Lancelot (Capability) Brown. (No expense spared!)

The Terrace (also seen on my photo of the House two days ago) was built in the 1840s by Charles Barry (who was the architect of the Houses of Parliament in London).  It is rated one of the most beautiful formal Victorian gardens in England, with fountains, statues and formal flower beds edged with clipped box hedges.  It has lovely views over the surrounding countryside and the lake. (See Paul's blog, Leeds Daily Photo)

As a complete contrast to the stunning bronze above, I also loved this smaller statue in the same garden:

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Harewood Bird Garden

Harewood Bird Garden, in the grounds of Harewood House, is home to over 90 species of exotic and endangered birds, including these colourful Chilean flamingos, busily preening.  It is closely involved in conservation work in the UK and abroad.  One of the success stories has been the re-introduction of Red Kites into lowland Yorkshire.  First released on the Harewood Estate in 1999, there are now more than 300 birds in the area.  They are a wonderful sight soaring around the grounds (see Leeds Daily Photo for a picture of one).

The Bird Garden has a collection of penguins too, and daily feeding time is a sure-fire hit with little children - my daughter used to love going to watch them.  They are such sweet comical little things.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Harewood House

It's time to catch up with some more of my excursions over the summer..... one trip I made was to Harewood House, a stately home situated just north of Leeds.  They call it 'a St Petersburg palace on a Yorkshire hill' and it does have some of that kind of grandeur.  Harewood is the home of the 7th Earl and Countess of Harewood.  The present Earl, George Lascelles, (b.1923) is the Queen's cousin.  The house was built in the mid-18th century by Edwin Lascelles, whose wealth came from sugar plantations and the slave trade, and it has been in the Lascelles family ever since.  Such a significant house has inevitably had a very interesting history.  The present Earl's mother was Princess Mary (1897-1965), great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and daughter of King George V, who married Lord Lascelles and lived here from 1930 until she died.

The house sits in a huge estate which is managed very effectively, marketed as an attractive destination for tourists and family days-out and as a venue for conferences, shows and receptions.  It has beautiful gardens and a long-established Bird Garden (a collection of exotic and threatened species of bird).

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Flames in the sky

The strangest weather conditions on Friday - it was chucking it down with rain all day and then, magically, just before sunset, an unexpected shaft of sunshine appeared.  And the sky suddenly burst gloriously aflame.  I wonder if the people in that aeroplane could see and appreciate it too?  I didn't go far for this photo - just stood on the seat in my backyard, to get a bit of height over next door's bushes.

The rain certainly mucked the Ryder Cup golf tournament up.  I'm not a huge golf fan but the excitement in Wales where it is being hosted was coming over loud and strong.  And then down came the rain, causing the tournament to be suspended for seven hours, and playing havoc with the schedule.

For more 'Sunset Sunday' images, please visit Scott's blog here and follow the links in the comments.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Fruits of labour

However many times I walk up and down Victoria Road in Saltaire, I never get tired of this view of the magnificent frontage of Salts Mill.  It's a monument, not only to its founder Sir Titus Salt's vision but also to the thousands of ordinary men, women and children whose labour in the huge textile mill enabled that vision.  On a smaller scale, I am equally impressed by the labour that has produced the row of leeks in the foreground, all ready for the harvesting.  Normally I try and avoid getting too much of the allotments in my photos of the mill.  This time I decided the whole view made a good picture.  I noticed the patterns the glasshouse made and the colours seemed nicely harmonious.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Weather vane

One of the interesting things about exploring the roof space in Salts Mill (see here) was being up close to the 'twin towers'.  I have shown several photos of these from the ground (see here and here) as they rank as one of my favourite bits of Saltaire.  There is just something about them that I love... it's the symmetry, the colour of the stone against the sky and, above all, how they look different in different lights and weather conditions.  And looking through the rooflights they look different again.  You can see the weather vane in detail from up there.  And this photo is typical of the weather we've been having!  Dull, grey, drizzly, misty - very autumnal.  This is a monochrome photo but the original version didn't have much more colour.