South Pennine Landscapes.
A continuing photo journey around a small area of the South Pennines.
Images from Scammonden reservoir and surrounding area taken with the Canon Ixus 400 digicam, best viewed at 1600x1200 or above screen resolution, smaller screen resolutions will emphasize the heavy jpeg compression required to keep file sizes acceptable for those without broadband communications..
By Ian Walker. UK.
Scammonden reservoir was opened by the Queen in 1971 and holds around 1730 million gallons of water. At its greatest depth it measures 170 feet, is 0.9 miles long and has a dam height of 230 feet. Yorkshire Water look after the reservoir and the area is popular with bird watchers and walkers. On some weekends you can see small sailing boats and there are picnic areas and an activity centre. The name Scammonden is possibly derived from the Norse Skambani's Dale and the small church nestled half way up the hillside at Dean Head is called St. Bartholomew which also has a small hamlet associated with it, it was constructed in 1863 replacing an earlier building built in the 17th century. The sailing club and activity centre is housed in the old vicarage and the valley itself held a substantial population engaged in farming and weaving. Dean Head reservoir which now feeds Scammonden reservoir was constructed much earlier and was originally used to provide water power for a series of mills involved in the textile industry.
In 1995 West Yorkshire suffered from a severe drought resulting in the levels of Scammonden dropping to critical levels. In desperation Yorkshire Water brought in by road water from outside the area using a large fleet of tankers who in convoy could be seen parked at the top of the reservoir dangling their large pipes over the steep bank side trying to stem the ever increasing rate of evaporation, you could walk across the hardened mud base from one side to the other at the southerly part of the reservoir. Scammonden is now part of a much larger network and many old leaking distribution pipes have been replaced so the possibilities of it nearly drying up again in summer is most unlikely.
Late Evening Pictures.
The sun had just crept below the horizon giving the sky an eerie amber glow, buildings high above Scammonden reservoir... an end to a pleasant evening.
The sun setting over farmland close to Scammonden reservoir, I particularly like the delicate shades of orange, pink and light blue.
It was unfortunate that the cows were clustered rather than being separated but I had little time to capture the moment the sun crossed the horizon.
Early Evening Pictures.
Scammonden reservoir looking towards Dean Head reservoir which cannot be seen from this angle, before being flooded the valley held a population involved in farming and weaving. The Church and small hamlet at Dean Head is not directly associated with Dean Head reservoir but is situated out of view on the hillside to the far right of this picture.
Sunlit grasses near the waters edge, the reservoir is to the right and behind, out of picture.
Looking towards the M62 motorway, west is left, the water level is down by several feet. The structure connecting to the bank via a walkway contains an overflow.
Rocks at the waters edge.
I also took this picture in colour but the evening sun made the colours almost too rich, I prefer this monochromatic version which emphasizes the form and structure of the rocks
An old tree stump only visible because the water level is down - a reminder that the valley was once partly wooded before the reservoir was filled.
Originally a colour image I have desaturated the colours in Photoshop to give a hint of colour to the plants and water but leave the old tree stump almost monochrome.
The Stormy Pictures.
The last beams of sunlight scuttle across the hills before rain hits the area, Dean Head reservoir which feeds Scammonden can be just seen towards the centre left of the picture. Click on the picture for a larger version [275Kb]. Being on my bike taking pictures around the Scammonden area I saw a massive storm front coming my way, the Canon although in its protective case and inside my jacket was soaking wet when I got home but suffered no adverse effects after a good drying out.
Looking towards the Church at Dean Head high above the reservoir, the torrential rain came quickly after this shot, notice the cloud base getting lower.
The sun has nearly gone...last few minutes before the deluge, a wide angle shot still looking towards the Church, lower centre, the cloud base is now almost at road level, a few moments later the Church disappeared from view.
Panning my camera further right towards a bridge over the M62 motorway just after the above picture was taken, the sun is still trying to shine through the low cloud.
Overcast and Fog.
Another old tree stump takes on muted tones in early morning fog.
Small conifer plantations can be found around the reservoir, in dull overcast skies the colours become really vibrant.
The full size picture contains excellent detail on the bark and old needles on the ground, click on the image for a slightly larger version [350Kb].
One of the main visitor areas with picnic tables.
A quiet place to contemplate on a foggy day like this....nobody around.
Pools and streams near the footpaths around the reservoir, detail like this would look stunning with a medium format film camera.
On the left a solitary leaf caught under the eddies of a fast flowing stream and on the right showing detail of the gritty colourful rocks .
A gull heads for the waters edge in the coolness of a foggy summer morning.
Wild flowers can be found in abundance around the fields and banks surrounding the reservoir including Spotted Orchids shown centre.
Common butterflies like the Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell can be found feeding on thistles
Comments to the author, Ian Walker, are welcomed.
Published in the July 2004 edition of Micscape.
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