Answering The Call

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When you think of a ‘road trip’, echoes of Route 66, travelling across the world or taking a journey to see your favourite team away from home would be examples which probably spring to mind.

Road Trips often evoke spiritual, memorable and emotional moments as the miles clock up – and that certainly was my experience last week.

But it came in an area no more than two hours from my home; hardly a trip spanning timezones.

My latest project – 50 Gems in the Yorkshire Dales – has such a tight deadline that it was all hands to the pump, camera primed and four days in which to capture as much as I could.

Accompanied by a very willing (I think) driver, we headed to the North Western Dales and covered pretty much everything that was to be snapped in a limited time span.

Several stalwarts of the area were captured on camera – often a little quicker than I really wanted – but I was on a clock.

Thing is, the Dales isn’t built for this high paced visits… it encourages you to delve deeper and get more involved.

You have to belong.

On the first day, with the light fading and the drizzle falling, I ran from the car park at Aysgarth (which is around ten miles from Hawes) to the lower falls.

I set up my camera on a second-long exposure and got some lovely milky shots.

The middle falls – a short sprint away – were simply gushing; powerful, magnetic to the eye and hypnotic.

Light giving in to the dusk and evening, I sprinted to the upper falls and framed my shot with the branches of a tree offering a beautiful arc to the sheer magnificence of the waterfalls. Peat emulsified the water creating a latte effect as it twisted and turned underneath.

I stayed there longer than I really needed to and took in the moment. You simply can’t rush scenes like these.

A couple of days later I arrived at The Green Dragon in Hardraw, early in the morning, to get a decent and memorable picture of Hardraw Force which is on its land.

But the pub was closed and with no other way of getting in, it threw my planned day into disarray.

I drove back to Hawes and went through the motions of photographing the village and the Wensleydale Creamery before heading over to Semerwater.

The glacial lake reinvigorated my senses and my camera caught the light sneaking through the clouds and the ripples on its surface.

It really picked me up but I had a nagging pain in the back of my head about not seeing the waterfall and being behind on my project.

And, as it had been raining, I knew it would be in near perfect condition to picture.

Thankfully, back in Hawes, a simple phonecall to the landlord granted access to the Force.

Walking the short way from the pub to the fall, my anticipation rose as the noise of the water grew closer.

The light was fading once again but I managed to get some great shots in front and behind the waterfall as every sinew I owned pricked and awoken.

Such was the force of Hardraw that it was difficult to understand where the waterfall began and I ended. The noise, mist, pace and environment meant we became the same. In a sense I was rewilding.

I didn’t want to leave but it was getting blustery so a track was hastily bid back to the warmth and firelight of the pub. Smiles affixed.

I wrote in my Three Peaks book that the Dales calls you.

I think that day at Hardraw I answered its call and I can’t wait to return.

Below are pics at Aysgarth and Hardraw… untreated, untouched, pure raw files. .. with the main image being Semerwater.

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