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


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.


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)


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…


Beacon of Light Part II

A few more images from my tripod-less trip up the hill to the lighting of the Diamond Jubilee Beacon on Monday night.

All resemblance to the Wicker Man is purely coincidental. Honest.

The community gathers at dusk

Gathering -1

The ‘special’ people arrive

Gathering 1-1

Some were there only in spirit

Gathering 5-1

From the distant city, a signal

Gathering 4-1

It is time.

Gathering 8-1

They have spoken

Gathering 6-1

It is done

Beacon 2-1

The next gathering will be at the pub.

Thanks to the local mountain rescue team for hauling the beacon up the hill and generally  taking charge of the situation!


The Bare Bones of Winter

The snow has gone, for now, these images were taken as it took its leave.

Winter fields 2-1

The houses at the foot of the shot  above must get no sun all winter… we have often thought how lucky we were to end up with a house on sunny side of a hill,  mind it was more through good luck than good management; buying as we did, at the height of summer it was something that never entered our busy little heads.

At this time of year its a landscape that is lean and emaciated or textural and fine boned, depending on your point of view.

Winter fields -1

Note the ugly white industrial building, bottom left of shot. When the snow is on the ground  it is at least it camouflaged, the other 50 weeks of the year it stick out like a sore thumb. Planners please note.


Land Lines

I took Tom over to Bamford today, I was hoping for a bit of photo time on the way back, but the weather wasn’t very inspiring. But I’ve had my eye on the this spot for a blog post for a while and I doubt I’ll ever be there when the ‘light is right’ So here they are.

Walls sheep buttercups-1

I just like the geometry (or lack of it ) from the drystone walls and the colours, from different of grazing and pasture management.

Both shots are taken just outside Castleton, at the foot of the Winnats Pass

Looking down on the village from surrounding hills, you can see a distinctive pattern of narrow fields near the village. Dry-stone walls trace curving lines that preserve part of Castleton’s medieval open field. Different families had rights to share use of the field between them. Over time, this changed so that parts of the field came to be for the sole use of individual farms. Then the walls and hedgerows were built.

Fields and walls-1

Eagle eyed readers will note a snake of petrol blue smoke, just above the sky line, that will be from Hope cement works, somewhere I’ve photographed before


Hope’s Rainbow

A heavy hail shower this afternoon gave way to a rainbow, in the village of Hope,

Hope's Rainbow-1

if there is a pot of gold at the foot of this rainbow, I could use it, I foresee expenditure ahead.

I went to Hope to collect Tom  from one of his mountain biking forays, oh boy, how muddy can a boy get? But by the time we got home the sun was out  and the air was still, extra large rain drops hung around, on the scots pine

rain drop scots pine-1

and the washing line

rain drop washing line-1

It’s been a frustrating sort of day, I planed to decorate the bathroom, I knew I wasn’t going to get very far, what with ferrying the boys around, but what I hadn’t expected or budgeted on (in time or money) was the fact that the Dulux emulsion paint, that we’ve only had a few months has gone ‘off’ it has separated and has the consistency of gruel. I can only think it is a combination  the very cold weather and the new fangled ‘low carbon footprint’ formula.* It was stored in the barn, we’ve stored paint in there for the last 19 years without a problem. Of course Dulux have covered their back by posting ‘protect from frost’ on the label. I used to enjoy decorating, I found it satisfying, but its lost its gloss of late, the new formula ‘satin wood’ paint lack substance and staying power I might as well use a tube of acrylic paint from my craft box. I’m all for environmentally friendlier products, but they ain’t got it right yet.

In other breaking and expensive news, I’ve lost a dental crown. Bleughhhhh.

* I’m especially narked because I’d purposely bought larger cans of fewer colours, so as to be less wasteful.


Flocking to Skipton

Now then, where were we, I seem to remember leaving off somewhere near the North Yorkshire market town of Skipton

A town that owes a lot to sheep ( this is the tiled doorstep of a shop in Sheep Street).

Sheep Street Skipton-1

Sheep  are everywhere at the moment; this one is part of a community art event, ‘Flock to Skipton’ it’s entitled ‘flowers for ewe’ and there are another 24 dotted around the town (but is you want to run with the flock, you’ll have to be quick, I think they are off to market on the 14th on November (oh look, it says here it has been extended ‘until 19th of December’

Flowers For You-1

Skipton  has a thriving market (and there aren’t many of those left around the country these days) You can buy proper, traditional stuff,

Hats, my dad would have stopped  at this stall ( or more likely, sent my mum).

Flat caps for sale-1

And for the ladies, a nightie for every night of the week.

Nighties for sale-1

Tom on the other hand headed for here, he liked the bikes, I liked the building.

Here be Tom-1

We mustn’t leave the canal out of the scene setting


(I mustn’t forget to tell you that I saw a Kingfisher, by the river in the centre of Skipton, it was flashed past far too fast for a photo opportunity though.)

Skipton is a town that still manages to retain some character, the only teenagers I found lurking in dark alleyways were my own

Teenagers lurking in dark alley!-1

Here are some more sheep.

This is my favourite, Baa bones

Skelley Sheep 2-1

(although, I thought its horns should also have been painted in white.)

Skelley Sheep-1

Joe liked this one, because it looked like something he grew in a petri dish at school.

Joe likes this one -1

and this was always going to be a hit with overseas visitors

Loving Skipton-1

In case you get lost, this is for you.

Ewe are here-1


A View on Time

There were plenty of old buildings to catch my eye on our holiday, you know the sort of thing I’m drawn to, workaday, vernacular farms and homesteads that have changed only a little over the centuries or that wear their histories on their faces.I may struggle to convince you of the fact that  I struggled to capture them with the camera, they just whizzed by it seemed.

Window 1-1

I mean, canal boat holidays are supposed to be slow languid sort of affairs aren’t they? But somehow we always seemed to be on a mission!

Window 2-1

The plus side of that is that we got as far west as the Foulridge Tunnel and as far east as Saltair and I have the photos to prove it!  The fact is I could have spent longer mooching around such places.

These windows all come from buildings that had date stones over the door from the 1690’s

Window 4-1

All is not what it seems

Window 5-1


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