Settle Waterfalls Walk, Yorkshire Dales

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As Good Friday promised to be the finest day of the Easter weekend – at least weatherwise – we took ourselves, some chocolate and a camera to Stainforth in the Yorkshire Dales, in whose locale are two dramatic yet well-known waterfalls. I have visited both – Catrigg Force and Stainforth Force – on many occasions, but this time I promised myself I would publish a blog on the same day, rather than many months, and several seasons later, as has become de rigueur for my watery exploits.

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The air on the moors felt fresh and soft-edged, a treat for the lungs after so many more months spent in the city. Morsels of snowfall hung on to the highest top, Ingleborough Hill, whose summit scraped the base of the grey cloud.

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Camera in hand, I climbed and slithered my way across greasy rock to the snow-white spumes of Catrigg Force. Hidden springs welled beneath the cliffs, and stray sprays dropped gannet-like into the plunge pool. Hart’s-tongue ferns dribbled green from clefts in the surrounding rocks. I sat astride a fallen tree trunk, edged along it a bit, then dropped down to the shallow stream bed, landing on my back in a puddle.

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In wet trousers, we walked back downhill to Stainforth Force, into which topless TV adventurer Bear Grylls recently back-flipped for our education and entertainment. Whatever the weather, the pool is always tumultuous, and its falls torrential and terrifying. I can’t imagine jumping in here under any circumstances, though I have seen it done, most notably by an elderly looking woman one cold March day, though admittedly she used a ladder to climb in and out again into a towel.

So we simply sat awhile on the Ribble’s bank, among the limestone, enjoying the sunshine and eating more chocolate. On balance, it was certainly a better than usual Friday.

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