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Friday, 20 April 2018

A-Z Challenge 2018 - British Rivers: Ribble

The Ribble has provided a few surprises for me while preparing for the Challenge.

I have always believed it to be a Lancashire river. However I now know that Yorkshire's so called three peaks - Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent in the Pennines - encircle the head of the valley of the River Ribble. What's more it is the only major river in Yorkshire which flows westward.

The Ribble was known in Roman times as Belisama a goddess worshipped in Gaul. Although her presence in Britain is disputed the name means the 'brightest one.'

The 75 mile long Ribble flows through the Yorkshire village of Giggleswick, famous for its school and the town of Settle before passing through Lancashire's Clitheroe, Ribchester and Preston. It enters the Irish Sea on England's west coast between Lytham St Annes and Southport.


River Ribble downstream of Mitton Bridge, Lancashire
For those with an energetic disposition you may want to walk the 73 mile long Ribble Way from its mouth to the source. You may be more pleased to know that the walk is split into seven 10 mile long stages.

These days I'd rather admire the other West Yorkshire, River Ribble.

River Ribble above Swan Bank, Holmfirth
This must be one of England's shortest rivers - it's only c3 km long.

I enjoy seeing it regularly on TV in the reruns of the old comedy series Last of the Summer Wine.

Photo attributions:
  • River Ribble downsteam of Mitton Bridge: 26 April 2007 ex geograph.org,uk by Alexander P Kapp - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  • River Ribble above Swan Bank: 5 November 2009 ex geograph.org,uk by Humphrey Bolton - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence

Thursday, 19 April 2018

A-Z Challenge 2018 - British Rivers: Quin, Quaggy

After the River Piddle we come to two more quaint names for small English rivers, this time beginning with 'Q'.

The River Quin in Hertfordshire has had the charm of its riverside described, even where the river is little more than a brook as one which  "idles its sluggish life away in lazy liberty, without turning a solitary spindle, or affording even water power enough to grind the corn that grows upon its banks."  (Highways & Byways of Hertfordshire 1910)


River Quin near Braughing
This shot was taken c 300m upstream from where it joins the River Rib. The area is prone to severe flooding and in 1922 a donkey and cart were swept away at Sheep's Lane Ford.

In Braughing itself, a former Roman settlement, another ford crosses the road.

Ford at Braughing
It's hard to imagine floods here!

If you should ever visit the village make sure you try the pork sausages which it is famous for.

The River Quaggy is only 11 miles long and runs through the London Boroughs of Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham. It joins the River Ravensbourne near Lewisham Station.

River Quaggy - London
The river has been extensively re-engineered in Chinbrook Meadows and Sutcliffe Park to create a meandering flood plain. The river may look tame in photos but on occasions it turns nasty - flooding after prolonged rains.

River Quaggy in Manor House Gardens, Lee
The Quaggy name - probably derives from 'quagmire'. Sounds appropriate to me.

Photo attributions:
  • River Quinn near Braughing: 25 November 2007 ex geograph.org.uk by Nigel Cox - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  • Ford at Braughing: 4 May 2013, ex geograph.org.uk by Bikeboy - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  • River Quaggy - London: 24 March 2008 by Paultoff - Free Art Licence - Public Domain
  • River Quaggy in Manor House Gardens, Lee: 15 September 2008 ex geograph.org.uk by Dr Neil Clifton - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence



Wednesday, 18 April 2018

A-Z Challenge 2018 - British Rivers: 'P'

At this stage of the Challenge it's time to mind my Ps and Qs. 

In East Devon when a visit by Queen Victoria was planned the names of some places where changed to '_____puddle', presumably to save her blushes.

In Dorset next to a church at Alton Pancras a small stream has its source.


River Piddle at Alton Pancras
Piddle in Old English simply means 'marsh' of 'fen".

The course of the Piddle takes it south/south east to Wareham where together with the River Frome it exits into Poole Harbour.

Afpuddle  is one of the small villages in East Dorset, situated in the heart of " Hardy's country " and on the banks of the little River Piddle, from which it derives its name.

Afpuddle on the River Piddle
An advert called Paradise for Sale inspired Ogden Nash to write this poem.

Had I the shillings, pounds and pence,
I'd pull up stakes and hie me hence,
I'd buy that small mixed farm in Dorset
Which has an inglenook and faucet--
Kiddles Farm, Piddletrenthide,
In the valley of the River Piddle.
I'd quit these vehement environs
Of diesel fumes and horn and sirens,
This manic, fulminating ruction
Of demolition and construction
For Kiddles Farm, Piddletrenthide,
In the valley of the River Piddle.
yes, quit for quietude seraphic
Con Edison's embrangled traffic,
To sit reflecting that the skylark,
Which once was Shelley's now is my lark,
At Kiddles Farm, Piddletrenthide,
In the valley of the River Piddle.
I'm sure the gods could not but bless
The man who lives at that address,
And revenue agents would wash their hands
And cease to forward their demands
To Kiddle Farm, Piddletrenthide,
In the valley of the River Piddle.
Oh, the fiddles I'd fiddle,
The riddles I'd riddle,
The skittles I'd scatter,
The winks I would tiddle!
Then, hey diddle diddle diddle!
I'll jump from the griddle
And live out my days
To the end from the middle
On Kiddles Farm, Piddletrenthide
In the valley of the River Piddle.
For those of you with a musical bent you may sing along with this at  Ogden Nash Paradise for Sale - Lewin 4

The village of Piddletrenthide is mentioned in the Domesday Book as an estate on the River Piddle assessed at thirty (trent) hides.

If you are a movie buff I'll bet you didn't know that the African Queen was shot in part on the River Piddle when they used the reeds at the river mouth for where Bogart pulled the Queen along.

 The river passes next to the garden of a pub at Piddletrenthide just the place to stop at - no comment needed.


Photo attributions:

  • River Piddle at Alton Pancras: 30 December 2008 ex geograph.org.uk by Nigel Mykura - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  • Afpuddle on the River Piddle: c1903 Newberry Publications, published by Raphael Tuck & Sons - Public Domain
  • Sign for the Piddle Inn: 4 October 2008 ex geograph.org.uk by Trish Steel - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence


Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A-Z Challenge 2018 - British Rivers: 'O' Ouse, Otter

There are several British rivers named Ouse from the Sanskrit word for water. The Great Ouse is the longest at 160 miles but it is the North Yorkshire Ouse with which I am most familiar.

This is a continuation  of the River Ure; the Ure/Ouse combination at 129 miles makes it the sixth longest in the UK. Tributaries include the Aire and the Nidd (earlier Challenge entries). Its catchment areas drain much of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors.


Map of the River Ouse and its catchment area
The Ouse and the River Trent combine to form the Humber Estuary (see A-Z 'H'.)

As the city of York knows to its cost the Ouse is prone to severe flooding. York is a place that we know well but again I have only one decent photo of the river as it flows through the city.

River Ouse in York - 2006
There are many bridges over the river that give great opportunities for photography.

The Ouse from Skeldergate Bridge with the Ouse Bridge in the background.
Shame I haven't taken any.

I have chosen the Somerset/Devon River Otter because of its name. It's only c20 miles long from its source to where it runs into the English Channel at Lyme Bay on the Jurassic Coast.

River Otter near Otterton
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1771-18340 wrote the 'Sonnet to the River Otter'.


Dear native brook! wild streamlet to the West!
How many various-fated years have past,
What happy, and what mournful hours since last
I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Numbering its light leaps! yet so deep imprest
Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
And bedded sand that, veined with various dyes,
Gleamed through thy bright transparence! On my way,
Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled
Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless child!


I wonder if he wrote that today whether he would also sing the praises of the beavers that have reappeared in the river in recent years. The Otter is the only river in England known to have a breeding population of this industrious animal.

Mouth of the River Otter at Budleigh Salterton
The pebble beach and cliffs at Budleigh Salterton are part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Photo attributions:

  • River Ouse - catchment area map: 5 March 2014 ex Ordnance Survey OpenData by Nil j Fanion - CC BY-SA 3.0 licence
  • River Ouse in York from Skeldergate Bridge: 30 September 2007 by Chris Wood - CC BY-SA 3.0 licence
  • River Otter near Otterton: 30 July 2008 by Liz Moon - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  • Mouth of River Otter at Budleigh Salterton: 18 March 2012 by Barry Lewis - CC BY 2.0 licence,

Monday, 16 April 2018

A-Z Challenge 2018 - British Rivers: 'N' Nene, Nidd


I remember the River Nene in Northamptonshire from the days in the late 1950s when I used to play cricket for Peterborough on Sundays. Our route from Stamford took us down the A1 almost to Wansford and then along the A47 to Peterborough almost parallel to the course of the Nene.

Gardens beside the River Nene in Wansford
City Centre River Near Peterborough
The Nene is the 10th longest river in England rising in Northamptonshire. It forms the boundary with that county and Cambridgeshire and runs into the Wash.


River Nidd at Knaresborough, Yorkshire
A path beside the river takes you by a cave which legend says was the birthplace of soothsayer and prophetess Ursula Southheil, aka Mother Shipton. She is reputed to have foretold the Great Fire of London and the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Mother Shipton's Cave
This is the entrance to her 'birthplace'.

The Mother Shipton Park is a major tourist attraction with the cave and a petrifying well where objects are turned to stone by the minerals in the water.

The Dropping Well

View of the River Nidd from above Mother Shipton's Cave
Photo attributions:
  • River Nene in Wansford: 26 August 2013 by Forester2009 - CC BY-SA 3.0 licence
  • City Centre River near Peterborough: June 1988 ex geograph.org.uk by John Goldsmith
  • River Nidd at Knaesborough: 11 February 2004 by CambridgeBayWrather - CC BY-SA 3.0 licence
  • Mother Shipton's Cave: 5 June 2010 by chris - CC BY 3.0 licence
  • The Dropping Well: 6 August 2005 ex geograph.org.uk by Chris Gunns - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  • River Nidd from above Mother Shipton's Cave: 6 August 2005 ex geograph.org.uk by Chris Gunns - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence


Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sunday Stamps II A-Z: 'I" Canada

I know very little about the Indian tribes in North America and even less about those associated with Canada so these stamps were a pleasant surprise.

Canada - 1977
I had to photograph these stamps as I have a scanner problem with my laptop - or rather I am the problem when trying to use them together. Friday the 13th proved a stressful day as far as my desktop was concerned.

For the 'I' related stamps please visit Sunday-stamps-i.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

A-Z Challenge 2018 - British Rivers: 'M' Mersey, Medway

I suppose that the River Mersey is one of England's well known rivers. Certainly Liverpool fans will know it well. In the 1960s many of us sang along to - 



 The 70 mile long Mersey is formed by three tributaries, the Rivers Etherow, Goyt and Tame and runs from Stockport to the sea in Liverpool Bay,


River Mersey
As long ago as the 400s AD which side of a Kent river has determined what you can say about yourself. 

Born north of the River Medway you are a Kentish Man or Maid; born south you become a Man (or Maid) of Kent.

Barges on the River Medway at Allington
In Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene (1590-6),  the main character the flowery lady Florimell languishes in a dungeon, while the old and bearded River Thames gets married to the lovely young River Medway:
a solemne feast was there
To all the Sea-gods and their fruitfull seede,
In honour of the spousalls, which then were
Betwixt the Medway and the Thames agreed.
Long had the Thames (as we in records reed)
Before that day her wooed to his bed;
But the proud Nymph would for no worldly meed,
Nor no entreatie to his loue be led;
Till now at last relenting, she to him was wed.
Map of the principle rivers in Kent.
The Medway runs from Turner's Hill in West Sussex to its mouth on the Thames estuary near Sheerness.
In 1942 the first test of a submarine pipeline was carried out across the Medway in Operation Pluto. Pluto (pipeline under the ocean) played a vital part in the 1944 WWII allied troop invasion of France.
Photo attributions:
  • Video ex YouTube - Gerry and the Pacemakers, Ferry Across the Mersey
  • River Mersey Liverpool: 28 June 2005 by Tagishsimm - CC BY-SA 3.0 licence
  • Barges on the River Medway at Allington: 27 March 2006 by Ian Dunster - CC BY 3.0 licence
  • Map of principle rivers in Kent: 1 June 2007 by Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent - CC BY 3.0 licence