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

Black as a Bag


It has poured with rain today, not like in Cumbria you understand; just miserable, I had to head down to the south of the county this afternoon, it was so dark and dismal when I came out of the house that the security lights on the barn came on, it was 12:45. November eh? Lovely.

The rain made for unpleasant driving conditions with lots of standing water and heavy spray kicked up by HGV’s. On my return journey I came along the A515, Ashbourne to Buxton road, it’s a road with a reputation, not only is it a stretch of road that has a high number of accidents, it has a high number ghastly accidents. The Romans built the road long and straight, but I don’t imagine they did much in the way of speed or overtaking, with pack horses and the odd chariot. Now it is a fast road (in spite of the speed restrictions) and needs treating with respect. I’d just safely overtaken a Landrover pulling a trailer load of sheep, when out of the rain and the darkness, came a black blob, a  blob that was blacker and harder than the wraparound black I was driving through. It took me a second or two to realise it was a tractor, a tractor with a massive bale of silage ( that unhelpfully was shrouded in black plastic) stuck on the huge spikes that stick out of the front of tractors for such a purpose. The bale totally obscured the one 15w light that the tractors driver seemed to think was sufficient lighting for the task. It flashed through my mind, what if, what if that tractor had been a few hundred yards up the road, when I was overtaking, I’d have hit it head on. I flashed my lights.

In my rear view mirror, the strobes of flashing of headlights from the following cars told me they were thinking just the same thing. Not that it bears  thinking about; here look at something sunny and not black, and remember summer.


Crop 1


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

10 thoughts on “Black as a Bag

  1. Deep sigh!

    What a measured post considering!


  2. I’m glad you are okay and thanks for the sunny remembrance of summer days.

  3. Good grief. I’m glad you are safely home blogging and not impaled on the forks. There is no end to the ways people can be idiots. I, um, have some experience of this on both sides, so to speak.

  4. What a scary experience, you were lucky there. It is a bad road, I do the stretch from Ashford to Buxton occasionally and don’t enjoy it very much. Everyone is thrashing along at excessive speeds and they are missing some lovely scenery along the way.

  5. Some people seem no have no idea of how to drive properly, let alone in such dire conditions!
    I’ve seen similar incidents that have left me almost shaking with fright. Take care! xx

  6. We drove along the Roman road just outside Great Yarmouth in the summer. And that was almost as hairy. People were reaching motorway speeds. In the dark. With no hard shoulder. There are lots of farmers in Norfolk, but thankfully I never saw anyone as stupid as this one.

    Thanks for the picture of summer. I want to be there now! This wet, windy, cold climate is all my puppy has ever known. Every time she been out in the garden it has been the same. It doesn’t stop her, however. She is more than happy to run through the sodden lawn and huge puddles. Won’t she be amazed when summer comes next year though? If it does, of course. We are still waiting for summer 2009 here.

  7. What an awful experience,- and what a luck that you are safe, though of course chocked.
    In Denmark, we have an increasing problem with “ghost-drivers”, people who enter the highway in the wrong direction, and drive in the wrong side, against other cars. It is often older people, or tired and confused persons who do this.

  8. Be careful Uphill
    Yes its black at the moment. The worse time of year for me and it amazes me how this weather brings on my gloom.
    Its horrid
    These last few days have been a real test

    Now yes that bit of road is tricky
    I spent three years up and down it courting Mrs Laidbackfellrunner at catering college at Buxton and I know every single inch of the road.
    The part in the middle thats very twisty has seen lots of bad accidents. You get tractors but one of the main hazards is when people get frustrated behind the lime lorries.
    Sam Longsdon and Lomas run 24hrs a day / 7 days a week from Tunstead/ Dowlow works etc. Oh I forgot Longsdons have finished.
    Anyway the cars get behind them and after a while blast by and then you get accidents.
    When you drive up to 50,000 miles a year you just learn to sit back, listen to Radio 4 or Talk Sport and go with the flow.

  9. we fed our young fella in a sheep field off that road once. he was about 8 months old and being bottle fed. we were on a house swop holiday with her maamship and the prof. needless to say we had set out on a day out without any bottles. we are clever like that. so we went into buxton and bought bottles, sterilising fluid, distilled water, cartons of baby milk and whatever else we needed. we spent a happy hour steriilsing and sorting out the bottle and then tried to get our boy to have a try. no chance – we were surrounded by sheep who had gathered to watch us sterilising the bottle on the car bonnet. no way was the bottle any competition for a bunch of baa-ing sheep!

  10. Pingback: Other Routes are Available | Uphilldowndale

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