Uphilldowndale

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


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Salted Seasons.

I pulled in the car park at the top of Holme Moss for all ten minuets today and watched four seasons of weather whizz by.

There was hail, sleet and a dash of show

Sleeting Holme Moss_

Emly Moor mast,  briefly sparkled in the sun, it stands at over a thousand feet in height and is a Grade II listed building, it puts the wind turbines in the shade.

Emley Moor_

These dark satanic looking  turbines emerged out of the swirling hail, they brought to mind the film, War of The Worlds, as the seemingly marched across the moors.

Black wind farm 2_

Back over the county boundary from Yorkshire into Derbyshire, I met the gritter lorry climbing the steep hill casting its cargo of salt. That’s a shame I thought, I’d have liked a photo of that,  I rather like the bleached grass, the empty road, the tar black winter heather, the flash of orange; but  there was no where to pull over. 

Then it occurred to me that it would, being a Derbyshire county council lorry, turn at the summit and county boundary, and come back down the hill again,  so I swung into one of the big laybys (designed I suspect for when in heavy snow, the gritter lorry can’t make it up the hill and needs to  turn and retreat).

Got it! 

Gritting_


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Framed

I was over in Holmfirth this week, the weather was bright, a little nippy, but I didn’t mind that.

It’s rather a stunning drive from here to there (or a hair-raising one in bad weather). I paused at the summit of Holme Moss  you could see for a long way.

Holmemoss

Kindly they’ve  framed the view, sort of a Yorkshire contemporary, creative, version of the Claude Glass,  splendid.

framing the landscape_

It’s a popular route for cyclists, but not many of the Lycra clad clan were out and about on the  Le Col de Moss when I passed by,

Holmemoss 2

It was once was a different story


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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.


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Magpie Mine

Magpie mine, an ancient and historic lead mine, near Sheldon in the Peak District, here having a bit of a winter solstice type moment. 

Magpie Mine sun flare 2

Lead smelting has been going on in Derbyshire for 3500 years  It a fascinating place,  let me give you a tour round, but let’s take care.

 Magpie Mine Notice_

There is something about the place that doesn’t feel quite right, I think it is the lack of accoutrements to the working life that once thrived here. It would have teamed with life,  there would have been noise, smoke, the rattle of harnesses as horses turned the gin wheel. But now It does feel rather eerie.

Magpie Mine buildings  2

You can almost feel the life it once had but not quite. It’s as though there is a life inside and below that we can never know.

Magpie Mine Back lit window_

Something going on behind these locked doors.

Magpie Mine door

As though the shadow of the gallows frame, might start to turn.

Magpie Mine Back Pit Head Shadows_

Mr Uphilldowndale however is less fanciful than me, he wants me to point out to you, how the lower section of  the chimney in this image is out of plumb* and when a later  brick extension to top has been built they’ve built it vertically, he’s forever the engineer.

Magpie Mine Laning Chimney_

We both admired the tunnel flu to this chimney, now partially collapsed

chimney magpie mine_

we admired the view too

Engine shed  magpie mine_

All around the site are the remnants of spoil from the mine, a bing 

 Magpie Mine Gate Spoil Heaps_

Spoil from lead mines, still poses a problem for farmers, and can kill livestock .  You can often see  clusters of trees, usually with walls around them,

spoil trees wall Magpie mine

the trees to cover the spoil with their roots,  and the walls as an added deterrent to livestock

 trees wall Magpie mine

Nature takes its course though and flowers and plants grow here that can tolerate the toxicity of the soil ‘metallophytes’,

plants such as the nationally scarce spring sandwort (known locally as leadwort) and alpine penny cress, and Pyrenean

survy grass and mountain pansy.

sky magpie mine_

 

*Plumb, did you see what I did there? [Middle English, lead, a plumb, from Old French plomb, from Latin plumbum, lead.]

17/2/16 Edit…   Lost and now found, the link that has to go with this post,  Peak District Mines Historical Society


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Maiden Voyage

Mr Uphilldowndale and I took our first trip out in our  recently purchased camper van yesterday. It’s all very exciting.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  However Spud the dog was a little disappointed in the lack of sofas, or at least sofas he was allowed to lie on.

First though we spent the morning trying to figure out what and where we wanted ‘stuff’ in the van. Had we got everything we needed? My friend Mrs Ogg would rightly say it is a lot of faff.  However in the end we threw stuff in and set off. This plan worked at treat. Historically we do tend to over engineer things.  We didn’t travel far,  just down into the soft landscape of the White Peak and camping at the fabulously named Foufinside Farm at Parwich which was just the ticket.

It had been a glorious day, and I suppose I was a wee bit sad to have missed the best of the day with our faffing, we stopped by at Magpie Mine,  near the village of Sheldon, an ancient lead mine that was last worked in the 1950’s. I’d stumbled upon it before a long time ago, in fact  it was a very early post  on this blog.  But in the way proper adventures, you never know what you might find,  and the late afternoon light turned out to be rather fab and flared through an old window, just for me.

Magpie Mine_

Spookily, I first posted about this somewhat eerie place on the 11th Feb 2008 …


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Top Coats

I can’t keep up, I haven’t posted last weekends snowy photo’s and today we are taking our ‘top coats’* off, because it is + 12c

Never mind, I shall force last weeks snowyness upon you.  because it was pretty, and a very welcome change from rain and grey skies.

Does that not look like a happy sheep? Must be its warm woollen coat, you can see its insulating properties.

 sheep header_

I like the patterns in the fields, where the snow has fallen in the tractor tyre tracks, it reminds me of the tracks on an LP, which dates me.

two horses_

*Top coat, not sure if this an old Derbyshire expression, but it is how my father referred to winter weight coats.  He was fond of saying ‘Buxton is always a top coat colder than everywhere else.’ And it is true.

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