Uphilldowndale

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


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70th Anniversary of the Dambusters

Yesterday was a pretty significant day for the town of Chapel en le Frith in Derbyshire, people gathered in the market place, at the war memorial to witness a remembrance tribute.

Lancaster 70 years 117-1

 

  The local branch of the Royal British Legion had pulled out all the stops

Lancaster 70 years 3-1

The place was packed, not just with local people but those who had travelled from far and wide. You could  just tell some had made a supreme effort to get there.

Lancaster 70 years 6-1

One of the veterans shook me, and many many more, firmly by the hand, ‘Thank you for coming, thank you for coming!’ He kept repeating. I thought we were supposed to be thanking them?

There were civic dignitaries, the young (children from Combs Infants School and Chapel High School)

Lancaster 70 years 8-1

the decorated

Lancaster 70 years 4-1

the media ( a current member of 617 Squadron is interviewed for the BBC)

Lancaster 70 years 9-1

There was even a letter to be read, a letter from the Queen, her representative laid one of many wreaths

Lancaster 70 years 10-1

But there was more to come, at 12:50 hrs,  from the south, over Combs Moss above the nearby village of Combs where Astell lived came the Lancaster Bomber, The City of Lincoln.

Lancaster 70 years 15-1

We watched, as did many more, from the top of nearby Eccles Pike,

Lancaster 70 years 12-1

As the Lancaster made four sweeps above the town (here above the high school).

Lancaster 70 years 18-1

The Dambusters raid has a special place in the hearts and history of this area, not only because of the lost lives of local men,  Flight Lieutenant William Astell DFC and Sergeant Jack Marriott DFM, but because this area was where the men practiced for the mission, using the Derwent Valley, just over the hills,  to perfect the specialist  skills they would need for such an audacious attack.

Lancaster 70 years 16-1

The Lancaster, having paid its respects, banked off over the hills to join the Battle of Britain Flight down the Derwent Valley (spectacular video here)

Lancaster 70 years 19-1

Well done everybody, you did them proud.


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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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Woolly Winter Tales

What I can I tell you, we have snow. Is there any part of the UK that doesn’t have snow? I wonder.

The sheep in the next field seem quite unperturbed

snow covered sheep -1

They are fed daily, which seems to make them happy.

contented sheep -1 

It took a wee while to find a sheep that would look me in the eye, as most had their backs to the wind (and wind chill).

Wind from the east-1

I can vaguely remember a farmer telling me this is how sheep end up stuck in snow drifts, they keep working their way along, keeping the wind behind them, scratting for grass until they run out of field and the snow piles in behind them.

heading out of the wind-1

He also told me in the winter of 1963 that whilst many of his flock perished in snow drifts, some were able to survive by eating their own fleece.

But there are people better qualified to comment of sheep and snow, have a look at herdy’s blog, up in Cumbria.

cold nose sheep-1

We’ve just watched a cracking little programme on BBC2 about the winter of ‘63 (flighty, it is worth watching on iplayer (Winterwatch)


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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.

Cement works -1

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,

silo -1

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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Whatever the Weather

It has been a very odd mix this week, lashing rain, sultry heat, high winds that have dumped a fine layer of sand over the car (and even the lily pads in the pond) goodness know from whence it came.

Yesterday evening I was pottering around the hills south of Buxton, it was warm and rather pleasant. I don’t know who this little bird is (answers on a postcard please) but they were rather sweet and willing to pose briefly.

bird on fence -1 

Tom has been in the Lake District completing the expedition  section of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. I’m much relived  that he is safely off the hill, given the storms and flash flood there have been (he tells me the thunder and lightening they experienced was ‘awesome’ I’m sure we will get the finer detail on his return this afternoon).

I’ve a stack of posts in mind, some of them about quarrying, some about the limestone and gritstone landscape around here.

Limestone -1

For starters, the lay of the land. Quarrying is big,  it’s a big employer, it has a big impact on the landscape, lumps of rock on an industrial scale..

Quarry Derbyshire-1

Half a hill, near Harpur Hill

Quarry Derbyshire 3-1

(and if you are looking for the so called ‘Blue Lagoon’ don’t) go to Iceland please.


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Beyond Limits at Chatsworth House

A Sunny Day and a Dash of Sculpture

The sun did shine yesterday,  I went with Mr Uphilldowndale and Spud the dog* to see the Beyond Limits a ‘selling exhibition’ of contemporary sculpture in the grounds of Chatsworth house, it was luck rather than forethought that meant we turned up on the sunniest day for weeks.

Chatsworth House has a long history of artistically punctuating  it stunning gardens and vistas with works of art.

Chatsworth House Robin-1

So I’ve a heap of photos to share, it will probably take me all week. Readers with tenacity will remember I’ve been to Chatsworth before, a couple of years ago.

Chatsworth house itself is swathed in plastic whilst it has a bit of a wash and brush up.

Chatsworth House -1

It looks like a big job and after having had our house roof redone last year, a job and a bill the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire are welcome to!

I can only think when the covers come off the house is going to bright enough to be seen from three counties away; look see, compare and contrast the cleaned and freshly gilded urns peeping out above the covers, compared to the  lonesome unwashed one

Chatsworth House before and after-1

The Devonshires have always had a capacity vision and budget to think big,  and make the grand gesture, take the avenue of trees in this shot

Family house Deybshire, stunning view to open countryside -1

and here; note the two blocks of green, just below the band of trees on the skyline.

Chatsworth landscape-1

Visibility wasn’t the clearest, but perhaps you can make out the letters ER within the block of trees?

ER Chatsworth -1

The trees were planted to mark Queen Elizabeth’s II  coronation  a grand gesture indeed.

* dogs are allowed in the garden on a lead


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Spud on Sunday Part XXXIV

Take me with you, Please!

Don't leave me-1

Spud  the dog tries to hitch a ride with Tom, who has set off on his Silver Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) award expedition.

I shall protest if you leave me behind

I shall protest if you leave me-1

This part of Derbyshire is freckled with parties of teenagers yomping across the hills on their DofE expeditions. To date all Toms training trips have been on home turf, of which he has a pretty good knowledge, because of the ground he covers on his mountain bike outings; but this time he is off to the Yorkshire Dales, he will have to pay attention to the map.


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Lets Get Outside

Well they would say that, wouldn’t they

Here is a nice view, taken in the Peak District National Park (in which I don’t live, but I’m close enough to see over the border)

farm and view-1

It may be that I’m feeling a little jaded this week (and getting outside might be a suitable pick me up, it usually is)

But when I read the blog of the chief executive of the Peak District National Park, it made me feel just a little more jaded

One of the most exciting developments for the family of national parks this year has been an association with Merrell, the huge Global footwear manufacturer.  Merrell kindly hosted our meetings in their swish offices close to Kings Cross

 

maybe it is the words huge and global, Jim tells us more

Our association with Merrell is one across all 15 UK national parks and was launched earlier this year.  Details are at http://www.merrell.com/UK/en/Nationalparks.  The basis of the partnership is the philosophical and marketing approach summed up in Merrell’s ‘Let’s Get Outside’ slogan – a great message for national parks.  The promotional material in all of Merrell’s 600UK stores and on their website promotes the presence of national parks and our strong sustainability ethos

Merrell would say that Jim, they sell shoes. Are the Peak Park Rangers kitted out in Merrell footwear? Maybe the next thing will be little ‘Merrell markers’ on footpath signs? (Just a thought from the creative department of Uphilldowndale enterprises, not huge and not global) but any road up, whilst you are out and about, be careful you don’t trip over the thin end of the wedge.

Have a look at the National Parks website (beautiful images) maybe the clue to what has needled me, is in the address http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/  it is a government body, not a commercial one.

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