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5 March, 2005

Walk: Ingleton waterfalls

Occasionally, social events are organised by and for the senior members of Bowland College (i.e. members of University staff affiliated to Bowland, but not the undergraduate students).  Karaoke or bowling don't interest me, but today's event was a walk in the Yorkshire Dales, so I was pleased to go.

The trip was to the Waterfalls Walk at Ingleton, just over the N.Yorks. border. It's a fairly major tourist attraction, following one tributary of the River Greta, the River Twiss, up a steep-sided valley to open moorland, then back down an adjacent tributary, the River Doe, to its confluence with the Twiss and Greta in Ingleton. The potential of the route as a tourist attraction was realised in the nineteenth century, and it has been popular since an 'improvement company' developed paths and bridges, admitting paying visitors from 1885.

It may be worth mentioning that the 'per car' (and all occupants) admission price has been discontinued, and we paid £3.50 per adult. Ordinarily I deeply resent people charging for access to naturally-occuring features (an argument some years ago with the 'owner' of Fairy Glen, Betws-Y-Coed very nearly turned violent – unfortunately I had to concede that my mother's car was on private land, so I withdrew, without paying), but the Ingleton Waterfalls Walk is a special case, as considerable work has been done to establish and maintain high-quality paths through difficult terrain.

I've done the Ingleton Waterfalls Walk twice before, and noticed that confined valleys limit the number of good viewpoints of the waterfalls. Hence, each photographer will tend to reproduce the same images as everyone else!
If I'd been alone, I'd have taken more time to play with composition and shutter speeds, and perhaps left the path to find more novel viewpoints. Much as I enjoyed walking with a group, I did feel a little constrained. Ingleton is just about within cycling range of Lancaster, perhaps a 40-mile (64km) round trip, and the walk itself is only ~4.5 miles (~7.5 km) with 300m (984') of ascent, so I treated this as 'rehearsal' for a day trip of my own some other time.

Another problem was that, though I hadn't realised at the time, the weather was inappropriate for proper waterfalls photography, direct sunlight on white water washing-out long-exposure photos. Hence, I was a little disappointed with the accompanying photos, both in terms of the bland, clichéd composition and limited technical results. I really must go back, preferably on an overcast day after heavy rain, and take some rather more adventurous photos.

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