Uphilldowndale

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


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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…

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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

 


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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


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Did someone mention Spring?

Well, it came and went

snowing april_

Cold winds blew

snowing april lamb

Then the sun shone, but it seemed no warmer, although the sight of a curlew always warms the heart.

Curlew_

Then clouds blew by again, I’m fascinated by how different fields ‘hold’ the snow longer than others.

All kinds of weather_

Strangely the life force that is spring growth, has kept moving despite the chill of winds from the artic , you know I’m a sucker for larch trees

larch cones  3

The icy jewels were a very pretty adornment, that kept my rapt attention, for quite some time. 

larch cones  2_

Then it was drawn to my attention to the fact,

larch cones_

that I did promise I’d play ball….

larch cones  and spud


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Theories Welcome.

In a bit of a dash between dental appointments and a Macmillan Cancer Support coffee morning, I squeezed in a couple of photo stops.

Well who could resist? It’s near Wildboarclough, Macclesfield Forest.

Macclesfield to Buxton_

There is a lovely little holiday cottage, just around the corner and a cosy pub.  what could be nicer?  (Doug’s Dad should take note… )

Then, chasing the light, I zipped  off down towards Derbyshire Bridge, the light was too fast for me. But this caught my eye.

I’m not sure how best to explain, the terrain is rough moorland, peat and heather, as you look at the next photo, you can perhaps see (or imagine) how there is a clough, or gully, running from the  ‘10 o’clock’ position towards the centre of the image, where it opens out into a boggy area, full of rushes, I’d expect the rushes to look like the swath of bright green in the centre of the image, 

rushes flat 3

but something has laid them flat, like a thatch, a surge of  water maybe? Or a vortex of wind? its a very exposed place.  It did make me think of crop circles.  Maybe at a certain point in the year, the rushes need a lie down?

rushes flat 4

Come along dear reader, what do you make of it?