Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Winter wonderland

Two weeks ago the Scottish landscape was covered with a beautiful blanket of snow, not only in the mountains but also on lower ground.

View from our house to Scolty Hill 
©Fenfolio 2012

As always, the weather can change rapidly here so you have to take the opportunity when it comes!
My first trip was with the ski mountaineering club and I would meet a few members at Boat of Garten on Saturday night. Normally I drive via Tomintoul and small ski resort The Lecht, but due to heavy snow drifts the road closed down just when I arrived there! The weather forecast looked really good for the next day so I decided to go for an extra two-hour drive to get to my final destination Fraoch Lodge.

The next day we started at Cairngorm car park and skinned up to Lurcher's Crag, continued our way up to Cairn Lochan and then skied down in descent snow to skin up again to the top of Cairngorm itself. The hard physical work of about 4 hours walking uphill (legs burning!) was all forgotten when we skied off-piste back to the car park. Heaven!!

My silhouette with map of Cairngorms in snow  
©Fenfolio 2012

Me in my element!  
©Fenfolio 2012

The group enjoying the splendid views
©Fenfolio 2012

View from Lurcher's Crag
©Fenfolio 2012

Ski touring on Cairngorm plateau
©Fenfolio 2012

Almost there!
©Fenfolio 2012

A few days later I tried out my new Nordic skis along the old railway path in Banchory. It was just in time because in the afternoon the thaw set in and since then the snow has gone completely on lower ground and in the mountains it has set off several avalanches. Let's hope the crispy cold weather will be back soon!

Skiing the Deeside Way
©Fenfolio 2012

Skiing along the river Dee 
©Fenfolio 2012

Friday, 16 November 2012

Limestone Country

This posting about our holiday in the Yorkshire Dales last month is a bit belated (due to so many other things I've been doing the last few weeks such as moving back our furniture in the house, organising and preparing new work for a Christmas Fair) but our experience in this inspirational landscape just has to be shared!

We stayed in a 400-year old cottage near Ingleton owned by our neighbours. The cottage is close to the railway line and station at Ribblehead and surrounded by farmland occupied by hundreds of sheep. To get to the cottage in itself was exciting as we had to open and close 4 and sometimes 5 gates one way! It was pretty basic inside with no telephone or internet connection, a woodburn stove and some electrical heaters, but that was just what we needed after the hectic months of renovating our house.

Winterscales Fold and surrounding

Drawing in watersoluble pen I left in the visitors book

Digital collage I created on Ipad with map of the area and some notes
written down by owners dating back to 1966

After a very frosty night (glad we had our double sleeping bag with us) we took off to explore Ingleborough National Nature Reserve from the pittoresque village Horton in Ribblesdale. The Moughton limestone pavements and the views were fantastic!

Ingleborough Nature Reserve

Walking through fields and along dry stone dykes

Sign along footpath

The navigator

Rolling hills with beautiful dry stone dykes

Lines everywhere

View towards top of Ingleborough and Whernside,
two of the infamous Yorkshire Three Peaks
seen from Moughton limestone pavements

Sketch in black pen by me,
inspired by fellwalker and illustrator Alfred Wainwright

Moughton limestone pavements

Peeking through the dry stone dyke

Beautiful craftmenship

Ingleborough and Whernside

Moughton limestone pavement

Carved in nature

 The weather was still fine the next day so we walked from our cottage to the top of Whernside.

Walking on a limestone path to Whernside

Limestone close-up

Limestone close-up

Limestone close-up

Whernside; one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks

View towards Dentdale

Railway bridge near Ribblehead and Winterscales Farm

Sign and railway bridge near Ribblehead

Railway bridge near Ribblehead

Train coming from Ribblehead going to Dent

Railway bridge near Ribblehead in evening light

"I'm pushing hard, but it doesn't move!!"

 One day it was very windy so we stayed in the cottage and enjoyed reading books and creating art (drawing and ipad/iphone)

Me creating something on the ipad

In the footsteps of Wainwright (Iphone)

Vintage wallpaper (Iphone)

The Midland Railway Company (Iphone)

Limestone pavement (Iphone)

Visiting the many stylish little villages and nice shops was also something our neighbours recommended. We went to Ingleton's great outdoor shop for some walking pants for Jaap, browsed in the many vintage and bookshops in Sedbergh and were taken back in time at Dent Heritage Center.

Railway bridge near Dent

View from Dent village

Striking maple tree

 Just on our doorstep I also found lots of interesting subjects to capture.

Farmer's shed

Farmer's shed

Corrugated roof

Black-headed sheep

Black-headed sheep modelling for me!

Walking on bridleway along railway line
with Ingleborough
in the background

Station building in evening light

Station building in evening light

Photographer in dramatic landscape

The icing on the cake after a stroll

The magnificent Malham Cove, Gordal Scar and Malham Tarn have also been visited.

Path to Gordal Scar

Path to Gordal Scar

The scree on the left was our route going uphill once
we decided not to go via the waterfall (which is possible
but then more likely during summer time)

Gordal Scar with waterfall

Cute young Highland Coos having a snooze

Copper coins pressed in fallen tree trunk by visitors
wishing good fortune

One of the many waterfalls in the area

Path leading to Malham Cove

Interesting bridge!

View from Malham Cove over valley

Malham Cove

Rock climbers at Malham Cove

Fascinating rock formations at Malham Cove

Limestone pavements at Malham Cove

Sketch in black pen by me,
Inspired by illustrator Alfred Wainwright

Sketch drawing by Alfred Wainwright

The best part of our holiday we kept till last: White Scar cave, which was just around the corner from our cottage. The cave was discovered in 1923 by two amateur geologists and is one of the largest know cave chambers in the UK at 90 meters long. The 80 minutes was not long enough to take it all in; stalactites, stalagmites, fossils in all kind of shapes and colours and a fabulous remnant of cracked soil caused by the last ice age. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos in this particular area of the cave, but here are a few snapshots of other sites in the cave to give you an idea how it was down there.

Waterfall in the cave


Sea coral fossil