A PHOTOGRAPHY competition inviting people to submit their favourite views of the Yorkshire Dales sparked an overwhelming response - nearly doubling last year's number.

It attracted more than 500 images from local people and visitors who have a love of the high fells and spectacular valleys of this corner of England.

For the fourth year running Yorkshire Cottages teamed up with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) to run the Facebook competition which has brought together a wide variety of images that showcase the region’s unique character and landscape.

Lindsay Wallace, YDMT marketing and communications officer, said: "This year exceeded all our expectations. I think the competition is now getting better known and also its thanks to the promotion work by Yorkshire Cottages.

"We don't have any restrictions on how many photographs people can enter. It meant we had a superb number of pictures and were spoilt for choice. I suppose we may have to consider putting restrictions on next year because it is a big task to go through them all and the quality has been excellent."

Some images, though striking, had to be rejected because they were not identifiably the Yorkshire Dales and that was important because they would be going in a Yorkshire Dales calendar.

There had been so many impressive photographs that the aim was to use some of those that didn't make the calendar on other promotional material, she added..

The result of the competition saw a striking image of a lone sheep in the snow fighting off being crowned the winner. It was an image taken by Les Fitton from Bolton.

He said: “I took that photo on a claggy day on Ingleborough. I first saw this lone tree and then suddenly a sheep appeared and stood there as if posing for the camera. I grabbed by tripod put the camera up and took the picture before it could disappear. I’m gobsmacked to hear that I’ve won!”

The competition was judged by professional photographer Steve Finch from Settle.

Steve said: “With hundreds of fantastic images to choose from, selecting an overall winner was always going to be very difficult!

"This shot stood out for me because it perfectly captures living and working in the Dales in winter ...it’s a good, honest photo."

Before he started his judging, the entries had been pared down to those which were of the appropriate standard and were suitable.

"Some good ones had to be discarded because they had been taken on a camera and were not suitable.

"People need to take note that their photographic entry must be taken by a camera not a phone because the resolution on a phone is not good enough to reproduce on the calendar," he said.

Remco Rog from the Netherlands scooped second place with his unusual image of an erratic at Twistleton Scar.

On hearing the news Remco said: “I am absolutely delighted. It is especially an honour because I am Dutch, but I’ve been coming to the Dales each year for more than 12 years now. Always new things to discover, new hills to climb. It is my second home!”

Other scenes that caught the eye of the judges include the Scots Guardsman steaming across Dent Head viaduct which was captured on camera by Andrew Thrippleton from Pudsey, a paraglider soaring over Ingleborough by Nigel Hunter from Littleborough in Lancashire, and a photo of Winskill by Kristel Laurijssens from Belgium.

These and other favourite images will be brought together in YDMT’s 2017 charity calendar which will celebrate the Yorkshire Dales throughout the seasons.

Yorkshire Cottages, a local holiday cottage specialist, have supported YDMT for many years and have donated more than £16,000 to the charity.

Drew Dunn, director of Yorkshire Cottages, said: “Once again we have been blown away by the quality and variety of the entries, and I’d like to say a huge thank you and congratulations to all the photographers that took part. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s finished calendar.”

Skipton-based design and web agency Fever Digital has designed the calendar free of charge for the fifth year running and it will be on sale from August at ydmt.org/shop.

All money raised will help to support YDMT’s work caring for the landscape, environment, communities and economy of the Yorkshire Dales.