Uphilldowndale

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


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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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Pipe Dream

We went to Wales last weekend, after Mr Uphilldowndale had gallantly dug a route out of the rather localised dump of snow that arrived with us on Friday.

He wanted to take part in the Pipe Dream fell race at Dalgarrog .  Here are the pipes, running up there looks more like a nightmare than a dream to me, but fellrunners think differently than the rest, we know that .  The pipes are part of a hydro electricity scheme, they were originaly built to supply an aluminium plant*

Pipe Dream 2

 

We took the van and parked up at The Mynydd Climbing Club hut at the head of the Crafnant valley, and enjoyed a very pleasant evening in the company of some of the Pennine Fell Runners.

Blaen y nant_

The next day, Mr Uphilldowndale went out on his bike, I had a nice mooch around with my camera, the club ‘hut’ is the white building on the left.

MTB

 

 Crafnant valley

I found a friendly sheep

Crafnant

I think if you came back a little later in the spring, you’ll find the slopes covered with blue bells.

Bluebell bulbs_

As ever in Wales, gorgeous lichens and moss

moss and lichen wales_

I found some fungi, well I think that’s what they are, I’ve asked a man who knows, I’ll report back.

 

Fungi 3Fungi 1

* The site of the aluminium plant is now home to Surf Snowdonia, the photo is as dull as dishwater

Surf Snowdonia_

The video is far more exciting (sorry Gerry, you’ll need to go to the library).


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Thirty days wild. June 13th

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_13

 

We were at Loweswater village hall, for Daz’s memorial race, Mr Uphilldowndale was out on the hill marshalling runners, 24 miles of very uphill and very downhill.  I had an abundance of wildlife to watch, this little pied wagtail, spent as much time watching me as I did watching it. I couldn’t quite get it in focus, but never mind, who am I to come between a bird and its brood, there were chicks to be fed and I was getting in the way.

Wagtail 2

It seemed to favour the remains of a dung heap and I was captivated by its ability to keep catching bugs without letting goof the ones it already had in its beak, oh yes, and sing.

Wagtail_

 

I think its nest was somewhere in here, the  walls and roof of a shed with handsome slates for its roof

wagtail nest

I could hear a cuckoo in the woodland nearby, cuckoo will parasitize wagtails nest.

wagtail_-2

Daz’s Dad was disappointed not to hear the cuckoo with me, as he say’s for him,  it is what truly registers the presence of  the British summer.


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Darren Holloway Memorial Race 2014

Yesterday Mr  Uphilldowndale (Mr Uhdd) and I were up in the Lake District, at  Loweswater for the Darren Holloway memorial  fell race, run in memory of our friend, Darren,  ‘Daz H’. There are handsome trophies for the first male and first female runner.

 

Darren Holloway Race_

‘Dig in’ is just the sort of encouragement Daz would have shouted to others on to be the best they can. We’ve mentioned before how much Daz encouraged all in their running.

Race HQ was at Loweswater village hall

 

Loweswater village Hall

( I think the robin had heard about the wonderful cakes).

 

Amanda and Heathers cup cakes_

Darren’s wife Amanda, with two  members of his Ilkeston Running club, Darren’s ‘home’ club, Darren, also ran with Pennine Fell Runners club.

amanda

 

It was of course an emotional day, but the was much laughter, Darren’s aunt and mum with the trophies

Dig in_

Whilst Mr Uhdd was out on the the hill marshalling part of the race,

Darren Holloway Memorial race

I took the camera for a  contemplative walk.

Loweswater-2

We were able to round the day off by visiting my friend and former colleague in her new home, just a few miles away, she and and her family had only moved in the day before (and all their worldly goods had yet to arrive) so we really did ‘first foot’ them. We didn’t have coal, but we did take cake.


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Visiting Time

We are off to Wales to see Tom tomorrow. It is rare for us to venture out on the roads on a bank holiday weekend, but Tom hasn’t been home over the Easter holidays as he’s been to Greece climbing, and we are keen to see him (Spud the dog is coming too).

I’ve a heap of photos I’ve not published from our last visit (I hasten to add Tom is living in student accommodation at Bangor, not as this photo might suggest a cave).

Tom Wales_

He took us to Dinorwic slate quarries,  the second largest slate quarry in the world, where part of Clash of the Titans  was filmed, it is certainly has an other worldly feel about it.

Tom Wales 2

The scale of the place is mind blowing.

Tom taught me, his techiphobe mother to take a panorama shot on my phone.

Look, see.

20140307_152057

Of course we had to make a visit to Pete’s Eats’ as students are always hungry and keen for parents to buy them food.

 

I’m sad and shocked to report another of Mr Uphilldowndale’s running/cycling  friends has landed in hospital, following an incident with a heard of cows; very nasty indeed. (And  I’m afraid to report ‘G’ remains  still very poorly in hospital).


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Sending…

On Saturday one of Mr Uphilldowndale’s running buddies (I’ll  not publish his name, I’ll just call him ‘G’) was seriously injured when he was in a road traffic collision whilst out on his bike. We’re all sending  our thought’s, love, good wishes, prayers or what ever we have to give, to G, his family and those who care for him. Worrying times and we feel impotent, we wish we could do more.

 

I came across G a while back here.

Change in the  weather 4-1 

 

We were both on our  way to work, he had stopped to admire the view,  whilst I more likely, had stopped to catch my breath. We chatted, he was in reflective mood. I told how  him how Mr Uhdd was frustrated at not being race fit and was niggled by minor injuries. G offered this advice. ‘Tell him to eat more pies, he thinks he need to keep his weight down but he doesn’t, he need to eat more pies; I know I’ve done it myself.’

 

So I’m sending pies, or at least the metaphorical health giving properties of pies, its all I can do.

 

Heather x


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How Time Flies

I’ve been busy decorating, I’ve set myself a bit of a deadline, I’ve invited the neighbours round for a bit of a do, its in a good cause.   The British Heart Foundation is a charity close to our  own hearts, especially in memory of Daz H.

The invites have gone out.

ramp up the red

But it does mean there is no time for dawdling, but more haste can mean less speed: this is an old house, no wall is true, no plaster smooth, (I did succumb to a little plaster envy the other day) exposed  oak beams may brim with ancient character but they  are a fiddle to decorate around. Here is one on the landing.

oak beam

And this is my favourite beam, in the lounge, I love its rough and ready, vernacular style and wonder why a load bearing beam was placed over a window opening?

forked oak beam_

 

One day we’ll find out how old they are.

 

I was so busy at the weekend,I forgot about the The Big Garden Bird Watch.

Take a look at these birdy videos, mesmerising I really want to get to see a murmeration of starlings.


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Saying Goodbye To Daz

We met in the Autumn sunshine to say our farewells to Daz H,  Darren Holloway.

Hundreds of family and friends packed into the service, I’d stitched 43 club coloured ribbons for his club mates to wear, it wasn’t enough we were some short.

It was a service  that flowed with fond memories of his life and loves, and captured him so well. Many, many tears were shed. This is my favourite photo of Daz, I think it is an  iconic image of  him: Daz  in full flight.

Daz-2011 (1)

Photo by Andy Holden.

Here are the words that were read at the service, written by a fell running friend Mr 1470, they too capture the essence of Daz.

"Some news just hits you like a bolt from the blue, so unexpected, so bizarre in its nature that it fails to register in your cerebral cortex. It seems like a dream, and you fully expect to wake next morning to find the earth back on its true axis.
After that initial hit, the news creeps insidiously into every pore of your being, overwhelming you with a sadness that just floors you, unable to articulate your feelings and leaving you alone with your thoughts and memories.
On this grey, cold Highland morning, as the mist parts and the hillside across the loch becomes visible, I can’t help but see him descending, as graceful as a gazelle on his favourite rocky, bouldery terrain, lost in a world of concentration, his face contorted with effort, his eyes locked in an almost thousand yard stare, his knee and elbow bloodied from some earlier fall.
He’s gaining now on his rivals (and friends!) and nothing will distract him from his desire to reel them in. I shout encouragement….”go on Darren!”….but there’s not a flicker, he’s immersed in his gladiatorial battle.
As the ground flattens out, he strains every sinew to hold position as the finish line approaches. He crosses the line, totally spent, not an ounce of energy left, having given 100% (as he did to everything in life).
And then, just as suddenly, his demeanour changes and he’s all smiles and handshakes and offering words of congratulations to those around him. But it’s not for him to slink off towards the cafe or the pub with the rest of the front runners. Cup of water in hand, he walks back up the last part of the course, cheering, greeting and offering encouragement to those of us who can only dream of the level of performance which he delivers time and time again.
The word “legend” is much overused these days. He deserves that title, for his mastery of the fells, for his ability to make everyone feel special with well chosen words, for his deep understanding and appreciation of the ethos, history and legacy of the sports he loved, for the total enthusiasm with which he led his life. I only hope he knew just how much people thought of him.
The world is a sadder place for the passing of such people. My world is a sadder place this morning. He showed me true friendship, kindness, support and inspiration. To say I admired and respected him would be a massive understatement. My thoughts are especially with those whom he loved and who loved him. It must be so hard to take in….."

And this was the music


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Head and Heart

The shock and sadness at Daz’s death remains, of course it does. The dark skies this brings to us all are chased with the light of remembering brighter days with Daz.

This is Wasdale, the sort of landscape where Daz was in his element,

Snowbow

the original post is here.

We now know that Daz died from a rare heart condition, Left Ventricular Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy, the same condition that struck  footballer Fabrice Muamba earlier this year. It is  a rare condition, there is more information here, on a website for a foundation set up in memory of  John Taylor, a fell runner and international athlete who also died of cardiomyopathy in 2002. There is something very difficult about understanding this condition, we can read and  understand the science, yes, but not the emotions it raises, it just flies in the face of all we are told about exercise  ‘keeping a healthy heart’. I think fell runners in particular will have difficulty with that. 

I notice on the John Taylor  foundation page, that one of the external links is to CRY, Cardiac Risk in the Young. Some years ago I heard Paddy Jelen, talking about the death of her daughter, she did so very movingly and passionately in her quest to raise awareness of her daughters rare and often misdiagnosed heart condition, Long QT3. At first I hesitated to post the links here, thinking we’d really all read enough ‘sad stuff’ on the Internet in the last few days, but thought better of it. If Paddy can talk about it, I’d be a wuss not to post it.

Go read, please.

(Spud the dog will be back to his regular Sunday postings, some Sunday soon.)