No wonder they call it God's Own Country: Amazing photos of Yorkshire

No wonder they call it God’s Own Country: Stunning pictures of Yorkshire, from the mesmerising beauty of Wensleydale’s rolling hills to the lost-in-time magic of York

  • The photographs look like the work of a seasoned pro – but were in fact taken by amateur snapper Alec Scott 
  • Alec took up photography so his care-home-bound sister could explore the landscape through his images
  • Yorkshireman Alec says: ‘Every weekend, if I’m not seeing the grandchildren, I’m out taking photographs’

There are many reasons they call Yorkshire ‘God’s Own Country’.

And photographer Alec Scott, who hails from the county, has captured several of them on camera, from the mesmerising beauty of Wensleydale’s rolling hills to the lost-in-time magic of the streets of ancient York and from the bucolic charm of fishing village Robin Hood’s Bay to the Gothic mystery of Whitby Abbey.

His shots are mesmerising – the work, surely, of a seasoned pro… But no, 62-year-old Alec, who lives alone in Scarborough, is a carpet layer and posts his pictures to an audience of just 900 or so on Instagram (@ascotography).

Here Alec has captured the York Gin shop, in York city centre, which is housed in the distinctive 16th-century Herbert House, mere yards from the medieval magic of the Shambles, a street that’s home to buildings dating back to the 14th century 

A mesmerising, dream-like shot of picturesque Robin Hood’s Bay, a quaint fishing village on the coast of the North York Moors National Park

A stunning picture by Alec of Scarborough Castle, which according to English Heritage was ‘one of the greatest royal fortresses in England’. Fortified buildings have stood on this spot since the late 4th century, but it was Henry II and King John in the 12th century who developed the site


On the left is a bewitching shot of the Shambles in York and on the right, the Minster Gates road and the York branch of the Ogden of Harrogate jewellery shop

He started photography eight years ago for his sister, who had motor neurone disease. Living in a care home, she couldn’t go out to explore the same parts of the country he did.

As Alec summarises: ‘I started photography so that she could see things she didn’t get to see.’

Although he started with a one-lensed camera he bought for ‘£300 or £400’, quickly he realised the world of internet photography was a whole new ball game.

Wensleydale, a valley in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, is undoubtedly one of Britain’s most captivating areas – and its beauty has been captured in a most enticing manner by Alec

The residents of these houses live in the shadow of one of the longest single-span suspension bridges in the world, the magnificent Humber Bridge, which stretches for 1.4 miles (2.2km) across the Humber Estuary between Hessle in East Yorkshire and Barton-upon-Humber in North Lincolnshire 


The haunting image on the left was taken by Alec at the 12th-century St Mary’s Church in Scarborough. On the right is a spellbinding shot of Oliver’s Mount, a road race circuit near the resort town that has been dubbed ‘a miniature TT by the seaside’

This moody shot was taken near Hawes, which with an elevation of 850 feet is one of the highest market towns in England 

He says: ‘Just taking photographs was great, but then I thought “I need to start making them look like what I’ve seen on the internet”.

‘All these people were editing stuff, so I started doing that. And that’s how it happened.

‘Once you get into something, if you enjoy it, you increase not just your portfolio but the stuff that you need to take better photographs.’

The write stuff: Here Alec has done a sterling job of capturing the vintage charm of literary mecca Haworth – home of the Brontë sisters

A beautiful shot of the pretty village of Grassington, which Channel 5 transformed into ‘Darrowby’ for the filming of the remake of All Creatures Great And Small

The splendour of the Yorkshire Dales captured once again by Alec. The amateur photographer reveals that his sister used to be in a care home and that he took up photography as a way of allowing her to explore the countryside

Now Alec has six lenses and a new camera. He used to have two cameras, he says, but he’s currently saving up for a Canon EO5 R5, which costs up to £4,000.

Although his sister died five years ago, Alec continues to take photographs. ‘Because I live on my own, every weekend if I’m not seeing the grandchildren or whatever, I’m out taking photographs,’ he says.

‘I love exploring new places, exploring new ways to take a photograph in a certain way in a certain place at a certain time.’

Alec, who lives alone in Scarborough, is a carpet layer and posts his pictures to an audience of just 900 or so on Instagram. This captivating image takes us back to Haworth

Helmsley is another Yorkshire market town that turns the vintage charm up to 11

The Blue Flag beach and dramatic cliffs at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, a Victorian town that lies between the Heritage Coast of Cleveland and the North York Moors National Park


On the left is a spine-tingling shot of Whitby Abbey. On the right is tranquil Pateley Bridge, home to England’s oldest sweet shop

However, his main forte is editing.

He says: ‘I don’t just take a photograph and think, “that’ll do”. I edit a lot of my photographs, but they’re edited to how I express myself.

‘I’m not here to sell my photos. I just put them up for my benefit. If people like them, that’s great, I’m doing something right. If people don’t like them, that’s fine by me as well.’

A stunning picture of the village of Hackness on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and the surrounding poetic landscape


The stunning image on the left was taken in woodland near the hamlet of Silpho, North Yorkshire. On the right is Richmond, ‘the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales’

The picturesque village of Clapham which lies in the west of the Yorkshire Dales National Park 

Inspired by artists such as the Chinese street photographer Fan Ho, Alec says the key to a good photo is lighting.

He says: ‘If you can use the light to its extreme, you know you’re going to get a decent shot. Light is the camera’s friend.

‘If it’s a bright, sunny day, you can control how much light hits the centre of the camera. If it’s a dull day, you need to work the camera more to get the light to hit the centre as you want it to.

‘The beauty of photography is light, is controlling it.’

As he approaches retirement, Alec hopes to make photography a full-time hobby. Having spent the past eight years practising it, he says there is no better way he can imagine spending the next few years.

He says: ‘I can spend a full week doing it because I enjoy it that much. A photograph is just a moment in time. After eight years, you learn to see what you want to edit. It’s almost like I can paint a picture in my head for later.’

To see more of Alec’s incredible photographs, visit his Instagram page.  

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