Just a little under two years ago a change of route home from a work assignment took me to Ribblehead and its impressive viaduct (though after Berwick it seemed to have lost some of the ability to astonish). Nevertheless the presence here in the remote reaches of Yorkshire makes it an attractive location for photography. Surely if I timed my visit with the first morning of the year I might find it quiet enough to explore without any risk of stealing someone else’s shot or having mine photobombed?
Of course having already taken refreshment in Richmond I’d lost a little time, and my schedule slipped further when I stopped along the way to deal with the consequences of that pot of tea. Naturally I disguised my activity by focusing a lens up the valley on hearing any approaching engines. All of this prevarication meant that it was nearly lunchtime when I arrived at Ribblehead, and the verges were full of other vehicles.
If I’m honest, the best shots of the viaduct are probably those taken from a distance such as those in my last post, so I wasn’t sure what I would gain from getting closer, but undeterred I joined the stream of walkers making their way across the moorland. Thankfully most of them were intent upon the snowy slopes of Whernside that lay ahead and so I was able to detour off the beaten path and get the structure to myself.
Crossing beneath one of the vast arches I found a path taking me to the level of the railway, in the hope of an interesting shot of parallel rails curving into infinity, but in the end couldn’t get enough height to make this work, and so I looked for somewhere reasonably dry to put down my camera bag and switch lenses with the intent of framing shots differently on my return journey. It was while I was looking around that I noticed a large depression which was almost perfectly circular. Other shapes at odds with the landscape could be seen as I reached the foot of the slope too.
Reading one of the notice boards I learnt that this was more than just a rail crossing. There had been inspection pits and workshops here too, as well as the shanty town where the workers referred to in my last post had lived (and died). A great deal of human activity had been absorbed back into the land, meaning of course that this is a site ripe for some industrial archaeology. Whether that ever happens will of course depend on it being of interest to some university archaeology department, and for the most part they look to more ancient remains. Where are you now Time Team?
In their present state there was nothing to photograph, though perhaps from the air? Or the top of the viaduct? That wasn’t an option as it is still used by trains so I must content myself with the arched bridge for now. It’s not a bad consolation prize.