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Yorkshire Dales - A walking holiday in limestone countryside

At the beginning of September I spent eight days in the Yorkshire Dales. Absolute heaven!

It was the first holiday with my mum and dad since my teens. They still live in Stratford-upon-Avon, where I grew up. The do love walking but perhaps not as hilly as the Dales! We walked 50 miles and I cycled 55 miles over the week. MY new boots are well and truly broken in!

My last full week off was last September. I’d taken the decision to work through the winter months. Then, in spring and early summer, take lots of breaks for holidays and research. The pandemic scuppered those plans!

Some may say that a trip to do research for my linocut prints isn't a holiday and taking a break. But to me it’s the break from technology and the day to day that I need. I’ve always spent my holidays, camera in hand, exploring new places.

I have lots of photos to inspire me back in the studio and I thought I'd share some with you.

Day 1. Ribblesdale and Littondale cycle ride

We stayed in a cottage in the tiny village of Langcliffe, near Settle. This is a cycle ride from the cottage when I arrived. I cycled over the tops to Malham Tarn, down then up, then down, to Arncliffe. Down Littondale to Halton Gill. Then back over the tops, past Pen-y-ghent to the cottage.

Do you recognise the horizontal lines of limestone on one of the photos from All Creatures Great & Small?

Day 2. Settle, Giggleswick Scar walk

Moody skies. This is the day I missed a turn and we explored Giggleswick Scar more than planned! And what became an 11.5 mile walk. We started from Langcliffe, walked along the river River Ribble, across Giggleswick Scar and onto to Elaine's Tearooms in Feizor for lunch. Then we walked across to Little Stainforth and Stainforth Waterfall, returning down the Ribble Way.

Day 3. Ribblehead and Chapel le Dale walk

A 9 mile flattish walk.

We walked from the Ribblehead Viaduct to Chapel le Dale. One minute we we were eating a picnic in sunshine beneath Whernside, the next completely wet through!

The impressive Ribblehead Viaduct carries the Settle–Carlisle railway across Batty Moss in the Ribble Valley at Ribblehead.

I loved this statue by Charles I’Anson. I’ve not been able to find out huge amounts about his work, other than he worked with Lynn Chadwick in the late 1950s and early 60s. He developed a welding technique which he called 'Direct Sculpture'. The metal was shaped directly rather cast from a mould. If you know any more about his work I'd love to know.

The plaque reads...

‘For years a statue stood on this spot. It was vandalised on Saturday August 27th 1983 and subsequently found in 30 feet of water at the bottom of Hurtle Pot. An enthusiastic team of divers made the recovery and it has been erected again as found. It was the creation of the late Charles I’Anson the well known sculptor and artist. Time will tell if the spirit of the Boggard of Hurtle Pot is now enshrined in the statue.’

The limestone outcrops and trees are covered with mounds of moss. It reminded me of a Japanese moss garden.

Day 5. Settle, Warrendale Knots and Victoria Cave walk

A blanket of low cloud lay across Ribblesdale. A walk from Langcliffe towards Settle. Then following the Dales High Way past Warrendale Knotts and Attermire Scar. Two of my first Yorkshire Dales prints are from a walk I did here with bright blue skies some years back.

Victoria Cave was worth a look. At Lower Winskill farm we walked back towards Langcliffe. I loved the shapes in the fields. The grassy ridges in the fields are Medieval field boundaries.

A 6 mile walk. Historic Villages near Settle is a similar walk from the Where 2 Walk website.

Day 6. Pen-y-ghent walk

A 7 mile walk up one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

Starting in Horton in Ribblesdale we walked up to the summit of Pen-y-ghent via Brackenbotton. Towards the top is quite steep and involves a bit of a scrabble. I’m glad we were going up it rather than down! Loved all the textures of the millstone grit at the top and the panoramic views. I could see the road I’d cycled along a few days before. I’m proud of my mum and dad.

On the way back down on the Pennine Way we took a short detour to Hull Pot . Hull Pot is a collapsed cavern. Hull Pot Beck goes underground before it gets to the rim of the pot and resurfaces again as a waterfall below in the pot itself. The water then disappears again and re-emerges further down.

Continuing along the Pennine Journey footpath which reached a view that had inspired my Ribblesdale linocut print.

We used the Pen-y-ghent Where 2 Walk route as a start point for the walking route.

Day 7. Malham walk

A 9 mile walk through spectacular limestone scenery.

Starting at Malham Tarn we walked along the Pennine Way towards Malham Cove. It was blissfully quiet walking through Comb Scar. The landscape opens out to the limestone pavement on the top of Malham cove and panoramic views.

Descending to the valley floor we walked into the village for a coffee and cake at The Old Barn Café.

From there we walked across to Janet Foss and onto Gordale Scar. The limestone gorge has always been a favorite and camping there once, inspired a early linocut print.

I’ve always been too chicken to scramble up Gordale Scar, so we double backed and walked back to Malham Tarn along the footpath. Looking back the 2,000 year old remains of Celtic field boundaries are clearly visible as grassy ridges. I find that quite amazing.

This was another walk from the Yorkshire Dales - Pathfinder walks guidebook.

Day 8. Wharfedale cycle ride

This was a last quick ride on my way home. I cycled from Grassington to Kettlewell. Then following the river Wharfe, along Wharfedale to Buckden, Hubberholm and Deepdale.

Do you recognise Helen's house from All Creatures Great & Small? The limestone river bank just beyond it, was a perfect spot for a picnic.

Hope you enjoyed seeing photos of our beautiful Yorkshire countryside.


A selection of Yorkshire Dales prints of this area.

See my printmaking page and online shop for details.

You may also like my by blog:

See the prints inspired by the photos.

See how I translated this inspiration into three new Yorkshire Dales linocut prints, Ingleborough, Kettlewell and Littondale as well as a mini series of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.


About the artist

Michelle Hughes is a North Yorkshire landscape artist. Much of her work depicts the Yorkshire landscape and Yorkshire coast, including the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Michelle loves exploring the British countryside by bike or on foot, camera in hand, capturing ideas for her next prints. Back in her garden studio, Michelle creates simple but stylised silhouettes based on her photographs, and hand carves these shapes into lino. She hand prints with an etching press, using oil-based inks to create tonal blocks of colour. Michelle’s original linocut prints are limited editions.

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