Uphilldowndale

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


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Gale Mill

Dark and Satanic*, or Warm and Welcoming?

I can’t quite make my mind up. This is  the wonderfully restored and  preserved, Gale Mill in the Yorkshire Dales;  it was late  afternoon in November  and the light was fading.

Gayle Mill 2

There had been heavy rain the day before, and the river was thundering by.  The roads were awash.

Rivers were not to be messed with.

Langstrothdale

And then there was the snow, we’d chosen quite a high route to get to Gale and Hawes, but traveling in the campervan, we decided discretion was the better part of valour, turned around and took the low route instead!

20161117_134144

In the end the snow didn’t become a problem, but the local highways department were in a state of preparedness…

Gayle 2

I was glad we were in the campervan and not camping!

Not camping_

I’m also glad we spent money on  a diesel heater for the van,  rather than spending the money on a van in any other colour than white, which comes at a premium. We were snug as bugs.

snow van 2

* Dark and satanic mills, might not be what I always thought they were!


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School of Magic

Amongst the many events of summer;  Tom graduated…. 

Grad bears

Tom’s graduation was a lovely day, we can’t quite believe how quickly three years have passed, its all been rather angst free for Mr Uphilldowndale and I.

Bangor University is in a lovely part of the world, the older buildings do have a Hogwarts look about them. Tom has found a it a magical place to study climb’ surf and ride!

Bangor uni_

He has plans to go traveling, New Zealand and Canada are high on his list. For the moment he is closer to home, we’re not sure where though, just some where, in our camper van


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Unidentified Emotions

As a friend put it on Friday, in the wake of the EU referendum results ‘I’m experiencing emotions I can’t name, I certainly haven’t felt them before’.

Politics isn’t something I’d normally mention here, but the referendum and  decision  for the UK to leave the EU is to big to walk on by.  I’m gutted. Horrified. Sad and bitterly disappointed for my boys. A few of those unidentifiable emotions my friend mentioned are swilling around in the mix too.

A conversation I overheard, seemed to me, to capture the fact that many folk hadn’t got a handle on the chain of events voting ‘leave’ would set in motion.

First women. ‘My son says Nando’s are leaving the UK because of Brexit

Second women. ‘Oh my god, you’d think it was the end of the world, all we did was put a cross in a box on a bit of paper!’

I wasn’t sure if to laugh or cry, so I  just stood in front of the newspaper stand in crushing bewilderment.

Mr Uphilldowndale and I were set to go to Loweswater, in Cumbria on Friday, in preparation  for Daz’s Memorial  fell race.  We didn’t like going and leaving Joe home alone, he’d been up all night watching the results come in and was as down as we were; but Spud the dog stayed at home to keep him company, as ironically Tom is away, in Europe, working (we cast a proxy vote on his behalf).

 

We stopped by at Dodds Wood and climbed up to the viewing point to see the osprey’s  this  and a walk in the woods did us good and soothed our souls a little.

What now

The next day I had chance to contemplate the hills and some of the many emotional events of the last few weeks, and some of those emotions spilt out. The sheep was my confidante .

Don't ask me. I didn't vote._

What more can I say.

Tek Care


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Puffin, nothin’

I’ve been away from the the blog for a wee while. Nothin’ has been posted.

I’d had high hopes of posting a  wildlife post  each day of June  like I did last year as part of  ‘Thirty Days Wild’  but I didn’t get off to a very good start!

However we’ve been lucky enough to spend a few days in Northumberland and visit the Inner Farne Island, it was fabulous, so much wildlife it felt like 30 days wild, condensed into a few hours . I’ve blog fodder for the rest of the month.

Let’s start with the puffins. I’ve always wanted to see Puffin’s, who wouldn’t?

Puffin proud_

You just can’t but smile at the sight of them. I’ve wanted to get a close look at them for a long time,

Puffin_

I visited Iceland back in the 1980’s (at the time everyone thought I was a little mad) and I only saw one puffin, so this was a puffin fest! I have to admit I was a bit excited.

Puffin excited_

So many Puffins

Three Puffins_

Their swimming style is not dissimilar to mine, not a very effective stroke (on the water at least)

Puffin swim splash 2

it’s a miracle they get airborne, when they do, their flying is distinctive.

Puffin flying_

They feed on sand eels, the supply of sand eels is crucial to a successful breeding season, however like all good fishermen’s tales, the ones that get away are the biggest…

Puffin 'this big'


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Fluffy Clouds

We got more blue sky and fluffy clouds today than the weather forecasters led us to expect. Not very warm though.

The trees are on the brink of bursting into leaf, but we are there yet.

fluffy blue sky_

Yesterday was the Queens 90th birthday, our neighbours got a nice new flag to mark the occasion.

McDW  Flag_

It’s a while since I posted, we’ve been a bit under the weather, Mr Uphilldowndale and I, a strange little virus that seemed to be able to drain every last drop of energy and leave behind achy joints and lethargy. We are on the mend now, but it scuppered our planned trip away in the van last weekend. 


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Swanning around

Whilst out and about on our first excursion in our new campervan, we called in at Hopton Hall, we admired the snowdrops, said hello to the mossy lady. It wasn’t the most pleasant of weather whilst we were there, sleet is never quite as pretty as a light dusting of snow, so we ate cake and drank tea whilst it passed.

We admired the pair of swans on the lake, swans mate for life.

 Swan 1

Overseas readers might like to know that in the UK there is an ancient ritual called ‘swan upping’,  this isn’t it.  This is  a swan feeding.

Swaning around 2

Swan Upping is actually all about an audit of the queens stock of swans and takes place on the river Thames.  Could you ever own a swan? I imagine they please themselves? No, look,  I’m wrong again,

The Queen has a prerogative over all swans in England and Wales. The Swan Keeper also despatches swans all over the world, sent as gifts in the Queens name

They do look regal.

Swaning around 3

It got me wondering, how they keep their necks clean? I mean there is only so far  round that a beak can preen?

Swaning around 4

It all looks very high maintenance to me

Swaning around_

well worth the effort though.