Been out and about locally quite a bit recently, putting various items of kit through their paces. And I’ve taken the liberty of to devising several routes which all took me past Stainforth Foss in Ribblesdale, where the salmon have been returning to spawn further up the valley.
The sight of the salmon leaping the foss is one of the most magnificent I’ve experienced since Steph and I moved to the Dales last year.
Plenty of other folk gathered at the falls last Sunday and the collective “ooohs” and “aaahs” reminded me of a crowd at a firework display though the sight of the salmon casting themselves against the tremendous force of the water was far more special than mere gunpowder and lights.
During the week I pretty much had the place to myself. The Atlantic salmon spends most of its life usually around six years at sea before returning to the river in which it was hatched to spawn and die.
Adult males can reach a length of about a metre and a half (5ft in old money) but I suspect if I saw a salmon that big in the Ribble I wouldn’t sleep easy in my bed.
The biggest examples I’ve seen at the foss were probably two foot long at the most. Maybe three after a couple of pints in the Craven Heifer, four after a session at the Helwith Bridge.
The fact that we have them on the Ribble is a sign of the river’s purity and I feel privileged to be able to pop down and see them any time I wish at this time of year. I took my camera down one afternoon and tried to capture a few of the fish flinging themselves upstream.
One or two of the better efforts are posted here but I’m afraid that without a big fat expensive lens and a tripod, in poor light, they’re not the best salmon pics you’re ever going to see.
And the salmon’s leap is so fast that it’s virtually impossible to capture using the amateurish techniques I employed: for each picture here, I’ve got some great pics of frothing water and nothing else!