Looking for a little shade

Most of the UK is experiencing a heatwave at the moment, I hope you’ve somewhere cool and comfortable to be. An old house with thick stone walls, small windows and perched on a hill, is a very fortunate place to be.

This is Chee Dale, a cool deep limestone dale in the White Pak area of the Peak district National Park.

A lovely walk

Stepping stones, to the left, tucked under the overhanging rock, keep your feet dry when water is more plentiful and look at those lovely limestone bedding planes to the right. We like a limestone landscape.

The path can be a bit of a scramble in parts, stout footwear is required, especially when wet, the limestone can be fiendishly slippery.

Communications Hub

We took the camper van out to stretch it’s legs, just a one nighter, not far, just a 30 minute drive into the White Peak, pretty much my old commute in days gone by. We’d made some repairs and alterations to the van since our last ‘big trip’ to Scotland in May, and we wanted to check things worked as intended, the leaky tap is no more, and the new fridge, has a TARDIS like capacity, it’s smaller than the old fridge and yet it can accommodate a four pint bottle of milk AND a bottle of wine in an upright position, no more fridge wrangling! Result.

And if that wasn’t enough van excitement, Mr Uphilldowndale used space gained by the smaller fridge to build a cutlery drawer. ‘Tis a thing of beauty, I’d share a video of me opening and closing it in sheer delight, if I’d fully mastered uploading videos on to this WordPress editor.

We visited the lovely village of Monyash had a delicious and leisurely brunch at The Old Smithy Cafe, a favourite coffee stop of Mr UHDD on his Sunday bike rides, we shared our table and travel tales with a motorbiking couple from the Midlands, before striking out to Chatsworth.

The village can attribute its existence, and its name, to water. Lying underneath the centre of the village is a narrow band of clay deposited during the Ice Age. This resulted in pools of standing water, a highly unusual feature in a limestone area. Over time meres (ponds) were fashioned into the clay by the villagers to provide a constant source of water. At one time the village had five meres and at least twenty wells providing the inhabitants and their livestock, as well as passing drovers, with a plentiful supply of water right up until recent times.

The centre of the village is always where the gossip is, here the now superseded phone box has been repurposed as a mini library, the post box still functions, but you won’t get as many collections these days. (At least this one hasn’t been stolen.) But it is still a place to stop for a chat.

Monyash Derbyshire

Through the stile into the small enclosure is a clue to how this spot must have been a meeting place for hundreds of years, with what we took to be a capped well

I rather liked the view back onto the village green, and much admired the worn stile, which would have kept the local livestock out of the village water source.

We take turning on the tap for fresh water so much for granted. Getting water, must have consumed so much time and energy, especially in this part of the Peak District, where the porous limestone gobbles up rivers and streams. I really shouldn’t complain about a leaky tap.

The scent of the sea.

More from our travels through New Zealand, November 2019

A stroll to Nugget Point,  Catlins Conservation Park,  South Island, the rocks were named by Captain Cook, because of their golden colour,

NZ Nugget point light house 2_

The the drop from the path was precipitous in places, not Mr Uphilldowndales favourite kind of terrain.

NZ Nugget point light house 4

We could look down on dive boats and fur seals wallowing in sun warmed rock pools.

NZ Nugget point divers_

The east coast of South Island, it’s not a sheltered spot.  The wind shorn shrubs, look like they’ve been applied with a palette knife, smeared on to the exposed cliff face.

NZ Nugget point lighthouse cliff

Each shrub finding its own crevice to anchor its roots.

NZ Nugget point shrub root

You’d think the predominant scent of a place like this, would be the tang  of brine and seaweed (but it seems there is more to the scent of the sea than that).

But  to my surprise and delight, the strongest scent was that of flowers, this one seemed to be the most perfumed, but I don’t know what it is.

NZ Nugget point scented flowers

But I’m pretty sure this is a daisy, clinging to the edge of the world. A Catlin costal daisy?

NZ Nuget point_

It is so nice to be looking through the photos of our trip, with their sunshine and colour, whilst storm Dennis rages at the window. 

 

 

 

 

Don’t drink the water

More from our travels through New Zealand,  November 2019

You never know what’s up stream.

NZ Dead Horse Stream_

Every bridge and culvert in New Zealand is named and numbered. And indeed if you’ve that kind of enquiring mind you can read the rational for it, here.

These two were on the road out to Mount Cook, Mount Cook.

birch hill stream NZ 2

I’ve no idea what a worry line is, but it’s worrying me.  You can follow Birch Hill stream up to the snow fields of Jamieson Saddle, but you’d need to know what you were about. 

New Zealand’s roads don’t seem to get a good press,

NZ Rd to Mt Cook Lake Pukaki vista

New Zealand does not score highly in road infrastructure when compared to other developed  nations, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015–
2016.23 The New Zealand road quality is rated as 4.7 out of 7, which places New Zealand in position 43. The perceived comparatively poor quality of our infrastructure may partly be due to our geography and population size.

As the saying goes, New Zealand’s roads are different,  but I thought that report seemed a little harsh, there’s a lot less pot holes in the roads than here in Derbyshire at the moment. And the challenges  that a feisty young  mother nature throws at New Zealand’s road infrastructure, such as earthquakes, floods, landslips, snow and ice must be challenging to say the least.  We shall return to this topic.

 

My little village

I can’t think of it as town, officially it is. But whatever you call it, Whaley Bridge in the High Peak of Derbyshire, is facing is biggest ever crisis. The  dam of the reservoir above the village holding 300m gallons of water, has started to fail.

Toddbrook droneand the town has been evacuated. We are safe, well above the flood zone, and we’ve family, two dogs and a rabbit staying with us.

It’s a fast changing and unprecedented situation.

whaley bridge toddbrook reservoir flood map graphic

More info here

Todbrook 5

A room with a view, Dun Carloway

A Broch cut away
More modern local buildings are a little more modest, but will they still be standing in 2000 years time?.
Dun Carloway 2

 

Hundred Year Stone

We stumbled upon this beautiful sculpture during a visit to the Lake district last weekend.  It’s by Peter Randall-Page, I’ve fallen for his work in the past

Hundred Year Stone_

 

Commissioned by the National Trust in its Centenary Year supported by the National Trust’s Foundation for Art, Northern County Council and National Trust Centres Associations. Sculpture is situated on the shore of Derwent water between Calf Close Bay and Broomhill Point looking across to Brandlehow, near Keswick, The lake District, Cumbria.

I’m indebted to the two German gents, who spent quite some time with google translate, looking up  this art work on their phones, they rather obscured the view, but had they not done so, I wouldn’t have had the added extra of geese flying through the shot. All ways a bonus

Loop Head

Loop Head West Clare, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.  So many beautiful orchids

sm file orchid_

Purple Orchid Ireland 2

Whats not to love?

Heart Ireland_

We were not so keen on the dizzying height of the cliffs, but photographed from a safe distance, you had to admire the geology, its things like this, the folds in this rock, a bedding plane pushed to almost 90 degrees,  that make me feel very small, just a spec in the universe, just passing by, at the whim of forces of untold strength.

rock folds

There was lots of wildlife too

Moth Ireland_

Loop Head, is at the mouth of the  river Shannon.

It’s a popular place to catch sight of dolphins,  the water was heaving with seabirds, and there was a pungent smell of fish,  and those people willing to sit at the edge of the cliff were getting very excited,  we crept a little closer, all the black flecks in this photo are birds either on the water or diving, there was obviousley a large shoal of fish passing through.

loop head.jpg

and the distinctive black shape are of course dolphins. Not very dramatic dolphin photographs, unlike these beauties , I’m leased to say we had  a better chance to see the magical world of dolphins, they’ll get a post all of their own…

The Burren

(Burren) is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him…… and yet their cattle are very fat; for the grass growing in turfs of earth, of two or three foot square, that lie between the rocks, which are of limestone, is very sweet and nourishing. Edmund Ludlow 1651-52

It wasn’t the kind of landscape I’d ever associated with Ireland, apparently it is a glaciated karst landscape, it’s striking, especially as we’d been fully immersed in headlands, seascapes and lighthouses on our journey along Ireland Wild Atlantic Way. This seemed like a different country altogether.

The Burren_

I do like a a nice bit of limestone, it reminds me of home in many ways

The Burren view

And happy school trips to the likes of Malham Cove, on school geography trips. To look at the limestone pavements, the slabs of limestone, divided by clints and grykes . The Burren pavements.jpg

It looks barren, but there was lots of life. The Burren fren limstone.jpg

And the evidence of life forms past, were clear to see, such as this coral

The Burren coral_

This was back in early June, we thought it was hot that day, I don’t imagine there is much in the way of water left in the rather caustic looking ponds, that were humming with dragonfly, none that would keep still to be photographed though.

The Burren ponds.jpg

This land has been used for animal grazing, since Neolithic times, the walls are later.

The Burren drystonewalls

I have to say that a Derbyshire Gritstone sheep, would laugh at such a filigree wall, and then walk straight through it!

But they must have served a purpose, or they wouldn’t be here now.

The Burren wall 2.jpg

 

Spring Day

It has been a glorious Spring day, we’d not be hasty enough to say the worst of the weather is over, oh no, snow as late as April is entirely possible.

But we enjoyed the beauty of the moment,  listening to croaking frogs in the pond, watching  bees feasting in pussy willow.

Happy Bee

Sad news recently reached us, that Tim Green of Village Farm, East Portlemouth South Devon (a village with a special place in the hearts of clan Uphilldowndale) has tragically died in an accident on the farm; we send our condolences to Rebecca, Tim’s family, all at Village Farm and the community of East Portlemouth; sad and difficult times. There is a beautiful tribute to Tim on the Village Farm website. I’m sure his memory and passion will live on at Village Farm.

I suspect few of us give a second thought when we sit down to our meals of the risks faced on a daily basis by the farming community. Working with machinery and livestock will always present dangers, sadly this February has been particularly harrowing