Picture Post: The changing summer skies above Swaledale

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson
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IF you ever stop and wonder why Yorkshire is dubbed “God’s Own County”, then you only need to take a look at photographs like this.

The stunning scene, which captures streaks of sunlight breaking through a cluster of gathering storm clouds, is a joy to behold.

It is taken near Reeth, in Swaledale, deep in the heart of Yorkshire Dales country.

A natural amphitheatre surrounded by spectacular scenery and sweeping panoramic views, Reeth was championed by Ella Pontefract, one of the Dales’ best loved authors, who described it as “a little country in itself”.

She isn’t the only person who has sung its praises over the years. Reeth has been popularised in fiction, too. It is the birthplace of novelist Ruby Ferguson, a favourite of the late Queen Mother, whose books drew inspiration from the lush wild flower meadows and the stunning heather concealed between the hills.

Reeth is perhaps best known for its extensive contribution to England’s lead industry (in its heyday it was producing over 10 per cent of the country’s lead), which gave rise to its claim as the capital of Swaledale.

Today, Reeth’s moors provide more leisurely pursuits such as pony trekking. This being Yorkshire there’s also no shortage of impressive and challenging hill walks, while biking trails offer something for those who like a bit more of an adrenaline rush.

There is an abundance of wildlife here, too, including large numbers of curlew, lapwing, oystercatcher and hare, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the rare black grouse.

The arts and craft people who live and work in Swaledale and Wensleydale draw inspiration from the riverside villages, tumbling waterfalls, sweeping fells and bountiful moorland.

If you want cloudless blue skies and endless scorching days this summer then you should go to Majorca or the Greek islands.

But if you want to cast your eyes on a verdant landscape wreathed in an ever-shifting light that stirs your very soul, then I suggest you head to Swaledale.

Technical details: Fuji x20 500th @f8 400ISO. TJ100835.