After enduring a series of heavy deluges the day before (which we overcame in fantastic style if I do say so myself) we thought on Sunday that we may as well make use of all that fallen water. So it was that we found ourselves at Ingleton, home of allegedly the most spectacular waterfall and woodland scenery in the north of England. The whole thing is accessed by a four mile trail first opened in 1885 and, despite the light drizzle which fell for much of our climb up through the valley, it did indeed live up to expectations. Brown, peaty water cascaded through a series of narrow gorges in dramatic style reminding me more than a little of Dolgoch falls in mid-Wales. The weather certainly matched as did the crowds with this being a prime tourist location at the height of school summer holidays.
I didn’t end up coming away with many images of the falls themselves as in truth conditions really weren’t on my side. Grey light filtering through thick vegetation is never really going to produce much quality but hopefully the few I’ve included above give a little sense of what we saw. At one point I even tried to get a little arty by using flowers as a foreground but should probably leave this sort of stuff to the professionals. Speaking of which it seems that at least one has had an unfortunate mishap with their tripod which we saw crushed and battered at the bottom of the falls. Whoops.
It was only as we emerged onto the open hillsides above Ingleton that the sun finally put in an appearance, lighting up a stretch of the River Twiss for a view which was so quintessentially of the Yorkshire Dales it hurt. Here too were our first real bird sightings of the day with a Dipper swimming in amongst the rushing water with a Grey Wagtail a little further upstream.
We ate our lunch on the lower slopes of Twisleton Scar End which offered a grand view back down the valley we’d just climbed whilst a small flock of Swallows flew low over the surrounding fields. There was also a Wheatear along one of the stone walls but it was a Garden Spider which really grabbed my interest. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the positioning of its web amongst a bank of Nettles but the manner in which it had formed a shelter certainly was. By folding over a leaf and sealing it shut with silk the spider had created both a place to hide and something from which to avoid the worst of Yorkshire’s weather. I’ve never seen this species construct anything like this before but presumably that’s just a lack of knowledge on my part rather than anything unusual. Certainly interesting though.
As we set off back to Ingleton along a second series of waterfalls the heavens once again opened and a steady rain fell for the rest of the day. As a result my camera remained mostly unused but we did see some great wildlife including a Roe Deer which ran along the steep valley side after pausing for a moment to check us out. Not bad. Then we found an eclectic mixed flock of birds which included a Spotted Flycatcher, two Nuthatches, an adult Treecreeper feeding one of its young, a male Blackcap, Goldcrest and the usual assortment of Tits. To find all these species literally on the same tree either suggests an extraordinary abundance of wildlife in the woodland here or we really did just stumble across a single flock. To be honest the juries still out on that one as the sound of crashing water pretty much precluded birding along much of the route elsewhere which would have provided an answer.
Another interesting find was the Harvestman above (again species unknown I’m afraid) which I’ve included here less for the main subject and more for the red mites which are hitching a ride. These are parasitic in nature and this is the second individual I’ve seen carrying them. We finished our walk with a Great Spotted Woodpecker sighting over Ingleton village itself as the rain continued to pour. Sacre bleu.