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Friday, 31 August 2018

Kilnsey Crag Race 2018

I went to Kilnsey Show again this year. It's on such an attractive site, against the backdrop of Kilnsey Crag and surrounded by the beauty and space of Upper Wharfedale. The weather was good and the show full of interest. Its highlight is the Crag Races in the late afternoon. This year I stood at the bottom of the course, watching the runners leap through the stream and then race up the first steep slope. Look back at my pictures from last year (see HERE) to get an idea of the challenge of this course, one of the hardest fell races that there is, being short (just over 1 mile) and steep (400' almost vertically up and down). These are the senior runners - and this is the easy bit! 

This is the winner hurtling back down the home straight. It was won this year for the second year in a row by Nick Swinburn from Northumberland, in a time of 8 minutes. Last year he ran it in 8 minutes and 3 seconds. The course record is 7:35, dating back to 1982.

Here are some of the other runners. At least they stayed upright; there were quite a few who took a tumble on this steep and slippery grassed slope. For more idea of the fun (!) watch this video of the notorious 'chimney' on the downward run (HERE).

Patrick Wardle, Jim Roberts and Derek Motley (above).

Lucy Needham, Kirstin Bailey, Richard Briscoe, Brett Muir and Michael McLoughlin (below).

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Along the canal

I often take a walk along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath. There's usually something to see and on this day there were several hire boats.

Some stretches of the canal over in Lancashire have been closed this summer because of low water levels in the feeder reservoirs, caused by the drought. From the middle of August (a couple of days after I took these photos) these restrictions also closed all the locks between Bingley and Leeds, including the famous Five Rise Locks. I don't suppose they take such action lightly, given the amount of holiday traffic along the canal. It will have spoiled a lot of people's plans. The towpath is still open but it's not quite the same fun when you know you won't see any boats cruising past.

The lock gates are padlocked and the gates have been 'ashed', the gaps plugged with ash to prevent water leakage.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

New builds

Once upon a time there was a rather prefabricated-looking building on Saltaire Road, more or less opposite Fanny's Ale House. It was at various times a used car showroom, a branch of Bargain Booze, an art gallery, a furniture shop... I forget what else... Did it once sell carpets? Nothing seemed to stay there for long. Recently it was pulled down and this more substantial, architect designed building is being constructed. I think it will be commercial or retail premises rather than residential, though I don't know anything about it. Look out for further reports in the future.

A little further up the road was the site where Shipley fire station used to be (see here). Two fire stations were closed and amalgamated into one new site on Canal Road, nearer to Bradford. The Shipley site was quickly razed (here) and new houses are being built, intended, I think, as much-needed social housing. Again, more later...

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Edward Street Bakery

As a young teenager, I had some memorable holidays in France, staying with my mother's penfriend in a little village in Brittany. One of my fondest abiding memories of those times was being sent out early in the morning to the village bakery, to buy fresh bread for breakfast. It was a chance to practise my halting French, which was always graciously received and responded to, and then I got to carry the fragrant, crisp, freshly baked baguettes back. Served with farmhouse butter and home-made jam, there was little better in my (then rather sheltered) culinary experience.

Fast forward a few decades (!) and you could do the same in Saltaire, at least at weekends. Edward Street Bakery, started by Jeremy Belsten and Lisa Fraser, began in the kitchen of a tiny house on Edward Street (you guessed!) and used to open as a pop-up stall in their yard, advertised by Twitter and Facebook announcements. They quickly established a name for themselves and gathered a faithful clientele, who enjoy the innovative craft breads, pies and pastries they produce. A few years down the line and they have started opening in larger premises at 1 Myrtle Place, in what was at one time a doctor's surgery and then for many years a bookshop. They are also to be found 'popping up' at various events around the area. [Open Fri lunch 10-2, Sat and Sun from 10am until they run out of bread]

Sadly for me, I've had to follow a gluten-free diet for many years and so I can't try their products. They don't have a gluten-free line. Otherwise, I'd be in that queue in the mornings!

Monday, 27 August 2018

The circus comes to town

Bradford City Park hosted a Mela day, a 'South Asian experience to inspire the future and celebrate diversity'. There was music, dancing and a wonderfully colourful Grand Indian Circus. The lady (above) managed to hold all those pots gracefully on her head whilst walking barefoot on the blades of ceremonial swords and on a bed of nails (below). And all done with a beautiful smile. Impressive.

There were acrobats and jugglers, a tightrope walker and a stilt 'horse', as well as music and general fooling around. It was a lot of fun.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Summer in the city

I've a few more holiday photos to share but let's take a break from them to see some pictures from closer to home. 

The heatwave summer we've had provided lots of opportunity for people to enjoy the cooling fountains of the mirror pool in Bradford's City Park. It's like a trip to the seaside for some families, who arrive with towels and picnics to make a day of it. 

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Devon: Coastal detail

Sometimes, capturing the 'essence' of a place is as much about the detail as the wider view. These are a few of the details that I was drawn to as I wandered around Porlock Weir, starting with a hidden heart that reminded me that I am loved.

And 'the one that got away'... or at least, tried to!

Friday, 24 August 2018

Devon: Porlock Weir

We spent a day down at the pretty coastal village of Porlock Weir, a few miles along the coast from Lee Abbey. Our brief was to seek to capture the essence of the place. There has been a port here for over 1000 years, though many of the cottages, some of them still with thatched roofs, date from the 17th century. The harbour is tidal (and again, the tide was out!) and mainly now used for leisure craft. The bay is relatively sheltered and there is a tale told of how, in January 1899, the Lynmouth lifeboat was unable to put out to sea due to a storm. It was hauled by men and 20 horses over the very steep hills to Porlock Weir, where it was successfully launched and rescued 13 sailors.

I found it hard to know whether to concentrate on the shingle beach: all soft blues, greys and pinks, or the more colourful area around the harbour. In the end, I tried to cover both!

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Devon: Quizzes in the Valley of the Rocks

The area on the North Devon coast between Lynton and Lee Abbey is known as The Valley of the Rocks - for obvious reasons. There's an exhilarating walk round the coastal path.

Most of the time I was at Lee Abbey, the valley was full of film vans as they were making a movie, a Games of Thrones type thing, I believe. It is a bit wild and bleak and has often been used in film and TV series as well as providing poets, painters and writers down the years with inspiration. I had a walk there on one of the days when there was a sea fret, so it was very atmospheric.

It is also noted for a herd of feral goats that live there, which some people love and some hate. They are very smelly if you have a close encounter with them! See how many you can spot in the photo below. 

There are, of course, many myths and legends associated with the valley. One is the White Lady. Can you see her in the photo below, standing on Castle Rock, in the swirling mist? 

For a long time, I assumed she was the face I can see in profile on the left below... I can also see a Yorkshire man with a jutting chin and a flat cap, again in profile, on top of the outcrop on the photo below right. What fun you can have with pareidolia!

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Devon: Contemplation

One day, our theme was 'Contemplation'. That's not difficult at Lee Abbey. Around the house and on the estate there are many places to sit and contemplate, often with wonderful views of Lee Bay. There are delightful, meandering walks through the woods and a wealth of wildlife, carefully nurtured by the farming and estate management systems used there. These are some of the images that caught my eye that day:

The vantage point known as Upper Jenny's Leap gives a great view down onto the beach. The spot is supposedly named after a sad young woman, Jennefried, who, in the 1600s, was due to marry but then discovered her lover had married someone else. Legend has it that she wandered the estate all night and in the morning her body was discovered by the water's edge. Happily the people by the water's edge when I looked down were alive and frolicking! I loved the patterns the waves were making.

There's an abundance of wildflowers and thus insects and butterflies. The one below is a common Large White but attractive nevertheless.

On top of a hill overlooking the sea there are three wooden crosses, sometimes used as a focus at Christian festivals, always there as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made and as a prompt to contemplation.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Devon: Lynmouth at night

After sunset one night, a few of us went down to Lynmouth, the nearby resort, to take some night shots. Places appear totally transformed at night, don't they? It was a bit of a muddled scene with all the varied colour temperatures of the lights. The tide was out (again) too so the boats in the harbour were stranded on mud, which made for a less than pleasing aesthetic in my view. Never mind, you can only photograph what's there... It was atmospheric though and pleasant on a summer's evening, so warm that it felt like being in the Med!

Monday, 20 August 2018

Devon: A gentle sunset

Sunsets at Lee Abbey are often stunning, as the sun sets right over Lee Bay. Most nights there'd be lots of people out on the beach, sitting on benches or leaning on the fence on the lane, just watching the show as the sun sank, the sky and sea turning from pretty shades of pink and blue to an ever-deepening gold and red. It lasted each night for about three-quarters of an hour of absolute magic, so peaceful and quiet.