Uphilldowndale

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


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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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Three Wise Men

They didn’t come from the east, more of a south westerly direction.

Cutting and sticking away at Christmas cards in my girl shed the other day, I thought I heard voices, not from above you understand; but from the field below: and low, it came to pass that three wise men had decided that the old slurry tank in the field would make a great bench for a winter picnic lunch. It seems quite fitting, as my girl shed was once a stable.

Just a quick snap, I didn’t want to disturb them, they looked very contented, with their bales of butties and flasks of tea.

Three wise men_

When they were rested, they set forth, following yonder star, and probably in search of a swift half of beer in the next village.

On Christmas eve, I was more in need of a shepherd than a wise man; the grass being greener on our side of the drystone wall, we had unscheduled visitors .

Sheep Christmas Eve_

We are have a quiet and relaxed day, just the four of us and Spud the dog of course, he exhausted himself with his wrapping paper shredding fest, as is traditional.

Spud Christmas day

Have a lovely Christmas, wherever you may be, especially those who don’t have the chance t rest and relax and have to work.

We liked this decoration, spotted in our local hospital, definitely making the most of what comes to hand to raise a little festive cheer.

Seasons Greetings_


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The Problem Solved

I’m always curious to peep into a box of mystery items, I came across this on my travels this week.

A book, published in 1900. The Problem Solved, a practical treatise on artificial incubation and chicken rearing. What a title.

 The problem solved_

A quick scoot around the Internet shows me that that the title reprinted many times, and translated into French. According to the box, this particular copy was found in a empty farm house that was about to be demolished to make way for a quarry.

Hearson’s Patent Champion Incubator or not, Rocky our cockerel, will be pleased to note that he can’t be cut out of the process of rearing chick.  He has been growing new feather of late, just to let the girls know he is in peak form.

new feathers 2

I know I’ve blogged about new feathers before, but it’s a process that never fails to interest me. The way the quill grows first, the tip breaks off and the new feather emerges like a fine paint brush

new feathers 3

Here he’s giving them a bit of a ruffle.  Clever isn’t it?

new feathers 4


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Other Routes are Available

I’m not a fan of the A515, if I can find an alternative route I will.  Especially if it is as photogenic as this,

High Wheeldon_

It’s taken near High Wheeldon 

I was returning from Hartington Wakes Show, which had a lovely atmosphere, and is set in a beautiful location. I even bumped into my geography teacher from secondary school, he was fresh out of university back then, and now he is retired…  don’t know how that happened, it doesn’t seem so long ago that I left school.

Vintage tractors, horses a plenty.

Hartington 6

A sheepdog herding ducks, and ladders for every occasion, not sure how you are supposed to get them home.

Hartington 5

Prize livestock

Hartington show

Of all sizes

Hartington 3

A glowing produce tent (my Chinese lanterns, never even flowered, only just surviving the slugs). 

Hartington 7

I wonder what the farms of the future will look like for these young competitors

Hartington show 3


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Hope Show

I was out and about at Hope Show yesterday, an agricultural show in the glorious Hope Valley.  The weather could have been finer,  but people weren’t going to let a little rain dampen their day.

Hope show

After all, it is a day off from the usual chores.

Tractor Hope show

It’s always great to see young people being so proud of their livestock.

Young handlers Hope show

working really hard to show them at their best,

Young handler 2  Hope show

It takes team work.

My little pony Hope show

A winner  eats it all.

Winner eats it all  Hope show

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