Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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On Edge

Tom has been to Derbyshire this weekend, with his university mountaineering club, he was too close to home, for us not to pop over with Spud the dog to say hello*, first of all we had to find him, it was busy on Stanage Edge (we’ve been here before)

 

Stanage_

 

Spud found him

 

Spud

 

A beautiful crisp day, the visibility could not have been sharper

 

Stanage 2

 

Bouldering is the done thing.

 

Stanage 3

 

We came across this rather fun gate, I couldn’t move the sun, or the gate, so I’m afraid you’ll have to take the photo as it is; loving the shadows.

 

cow gate

 

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* We asked Tom’s permission first, we didn’t gate crash…


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Teaser

Today, I could almost imagine what a Summers day might be like. 

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Whilst things are starting to ‘colour up’ around here, it is happening very slowly, everywhere is incredibly dry. We’ve not had any ‘April showers’ of note, as the farmer put it the other day, ‘Its not rained properly since it snowed, and all the snow ended up in the lanes not the fields.’ He chain harrowed the field the other day, it was biscuit dry and the tractor was trailed by clouds of dust.

I don’t think it would take much to start a moorland fire.

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We’ve taken delivery of an SLR camera at work this week, a NikonD3100, I’ve brought it home for ‘field trials’ the photos here are taken with it.


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Land of Snow and Ice

A selvedge of snow still remains, banked up against the drystone walls, it lies in dips and gullies (or ‘gips’ as I used to call them as a child, no point wasting words when you can blend).

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There are lanes  that are still full to the brim, some with cars still entombed! Our lane was cleared  of snow this afternoon, by man in a JCB digger.

Tom has returned home from a geography study trip to Iceland*, it has been warmer there all the time he’s been away than it has here. How silly is that.  On his return he said how ‘green’ everything looks at home, but this is only in comparison to Iceland, not ‘as it should be’, at this time of year, in this part of of the world. It is dire for livestock.

Here are Joe and Spud on our walk on Sunday

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Mr Uphilldowndale wanted to show me some mine workings that have ‘opened up’ recently: as a child I used to play no more than a stones throw from here.

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My Mum has said for over fifty years that she is convinced the loud crash she and a friend heard one summers evening could only have been to do with the old  mine workings, of which there are many around and about, both coal and lead.  It’s not really what you want at the bottom of the garden.

Making them safe is the remit of The Coal Authority.

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* I’ve been envious of Tom, I went to Iceland in the early 1980’s with my friend Bob’s-mum; it seemed a bit off beat for a holiday destination back then. I loved it, however unlike Tom, I didn’t get to swim in The Blue Lagoon, or see the Aurora Borealis… sigh.


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The Village

The Village starts tonight on BBC1 at 9pm.

Image for The Village

I’m sure you will enjoy the scenery, it is going to look more than a little familiar to regular readers of this blog. Enjoy.

The drama sets out in 1914, here is the Uphilldowndale homestead in around 19006-1910

Home sweet home-2

I’d planned a longer post with a few links to ‘The Village’ landscape, but  that will have to wait. I’ve not been so well for the last few days, all those antibiotics came at a price, Joe tried to cheer me up, ‘At least it is better than the tooth ache Mum’. I certainly hope the reaction doesn’t last as long as the tooth ache.


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A Walk in the Park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park to be precise. I walked further than I expected, but it wasn’t a problem, the day was bright and crisp.

I was bewitched by an ‘intervention’ by David Nash.

Seventy One Steps

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Made from oak that is charred and oiled they follow the lie of the land. The steps are set into 30 tons of coal, they will weather and erode into the landscape.  Climbing them, they felt were quite magical. They are no ordinary steps.

I thought the woods at the top of the steps were rather magical too.

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I loved the gnarled roots. I’m sure I heard somewhere that 90% of a trees roots are in the top two feet of the soil?

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Duncan obviously like it here, once upon a time.

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Hare Today

The snow keeps coming and going, this morning we woke to delicate confection,  a butter cream topping of snow upon a squelchy sponge of a soggy muddy field (I despair of keeping the mud out of the house) the light was  diffused and sort of floury for want of a better word, I rather liked it.

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Spud the dog, Jammy and Dodger the kitten-cats  all came with me for my turn around the field, but I’ll save the resulting mayhem for tomorrow.

Floury light 2-1

We’ve more snow forecast for tomorrow, how much remains to be seen.  Here earlier drifts lie under today’s ‘top dressing’.

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I was just about to go back indoors to toast my cold toes when I spotted a brown hare in the next field.

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I do like hares, but I never get very close. Maybe I need a longer lens…

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He lolloped over by the sheep, before exiting over the ridge.

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Derbyshire Harrier has some lovely shots of mountain hares, over on his Flickr page


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Winter Walk

Nothing finer than a  winter walk for  the restoration of equilibrium, Mr Uphilldowndale and I were both in need the other afternoon. We went down by the river, always a good move.

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Up through the woods and across the fields.

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Spud had a high old time, you can just see him here, heading off  towards a rather handsome wall, that’s topped with snow.

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At the moment freezing rain is hammering against the windows and the rising wind has been piling snow back into the lanes this afternoon. The forecast is for the weather to get warmer over the weekend and for the snow to melt; we’ll be glad to see the back of it for a while I think. The weather conditions have led to tragedy.

We walked back past the church, not a bat or a bear in sight.

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I saw some photos of ‘ zombie snowmen’ in the press this week, I had to admire the skill in their making, their location was described as a disused graveyard in Bristol,  it led me to wonder, how can  graveyard be disused? Its not like a factory is it? Isn’t always going to be ‘in use’ by its residents?


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Barn and Spire

A quintessentially British landscape.

Barn and Spire -1 

If church buildings are your thing, pop over and have a look at some more of Derbyshire’s finest  religious buildings (and of course, there is this blogs ‘novelty contribution’ to Derbyshire’s church heritage ).

Or if fields are more your fare, pop over and look at Noel’s training blog, and the further adventures of moles in the meadows (we are fond of moles on this blog).

(I think the church spire is in the village of Butterton)


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All Mixed Up

I’m still here, there, and everywhere; wearing, as a colleague is fond of telling me ‘more hats than  they’ve got at John Lewis’.

This afternoon I drove to the village of Waterhouses  in Staffordshire, to collect Joe, he’d spent the weekend helping a Cub  Scout pack have a high old time at Orchard Farm. Mr Uphilldowndale took Joe there on Friday evening, through thick fog, not a pleasant journey. This was whilst I was at a rather  feisty public meeting, wearing one of my many hats, that wasn’t particularly pleasant either.

Waterhouses is set in the midst of beautiful countryside, but it was the nearby Cauldon Cement works that I wanted to photograph.

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But there was no time to stay and play,  as Joe needed to get home and get his homework done before his ‘weekend high’ slumped into Sunday night angst.

I’m looking forward to reclaiming some ‘me time’ to loiter around with the camera, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion its not going to be before New Year. So for the time being, ‘happy snaps’ it will have to be.

Joe was particular taken with the silos at the cement works,

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he said when they were out in a nearby field, they could hear the echo’s of their shouts (of which I’m sure there were many) echoing around the inside of the silos.

We’ve discussed cement works before…


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Seaside Rock

How quickly our seaside holiday is becoming a distant memory. How quickly the real world piles in to the vacated mind.

How heavy it has rained today! Just as well I have some holiday snaps to look back at.

On the coast path there were some fine lumps of rock (you know I’m fond of them) ancient gate posts, long since disused girded with hand forged iron.

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The remnants of old walls

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The bizarre weather we’ve had in UK this summer seems at least to have pleased the costal flowers, or just made them flower later than usual. I can’t ever recall  ever seeing quite so many as this year.

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The insect world seemed appreciative

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Just delightful really, *sigh*

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