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A visual winter’s hymn to God’s Own County

PIC: Bruce Rollinson
PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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With its watery sunlight and brooding swells of ominous clouds racing across a frigid winter landscape, this beautifully framed photograph has all the markings of an Ashley Jackson painting.

Those of you with a forensic knowledge of the Yorkshire landscape will recognise this view looking across from Barden Moor towards Addingham Moorside.

Barden Moor is an area of upland between Skipton and Barden in Lower Wharfedale. It covers about 25 square miles from Embsay in the south to Burnsall in the north, and from Rylstone in the west to Bolton Abbey in the east, and takes in such features as Cracoe Fell and Thorpe Fell.

It’s a heather-clad world with majestic vistas over Wharfedale to the towering gritstone bastion of Simon’s Seat.

The moor itself has been providing sustenance for many centuries. Its rich sea of heather was harvested for a number of uses including thatching, bedding and besom (broom) making. The last besom maker, John Lister, was still working at nearby Howgill in the 1930s.

Running from north to south, Wharfedale is one of the Yorkshire Dales’ longest and most beautiful valleys. It’s also one of the best known thanks, in part, to its relatively easy access to Leeds and Harrogate.

It is home to some of the most popular places on the Dales’ tourist trail, including Kettlewell, Grassington, Ilkley and Otley, as well as Hubberholme, famous for its church which is the resting place of J B Priestley.

Wharfedale is often divided into what is arbitrarily known as “Upper Wharfedale” and “Lower Wharfedale” and stretches into both West and North Yorkshire. It offers some of the best walks anywhere in the North of England.

The recent freezing temperatures have been replaced (no doubt temporarily) by warmer, milder air, and pictures like this are a reminder that while we may still be in midwinter’s gelid, icy clutches, there’s nothing remotely bleak about the views.

Technical details: Nikon D4, 80-200mm Nikkor, 250th sec @f9, 250 asa.