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


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?


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


Out early, and down the dale

I decided to set out to work early this morning, so I could factor a walk into my day.

I met a bunny before I could get the camera out of the bag

Walk to work bunny_

The majority of the cows were still in the milking parlour

Walk to work cow

There some beautiful bees and colourful thistles

Walk to work bees

It was all rather glorious

Walk to work 2

The walls meandered as much as I did

Walk to work walls

a view down  the dale, Chee Dale to be precise

Walk to work Chee Dale_

I’m still after that elusive crisp wagtail shot.

Walk to work wagtail


An afternoon with added value

Yesterday morning, it rained and rained, it was hard to imagine anything much could be salvaged from the day, but I was wrong, about two PM the clouds parted and the sun shone through. I grabbed the camera and shot off to Mam Tor, we’ve been there before. The sun gods turned on the charm.

Top of Winats Pass

and gave me a much needed blast of lumens, to keep the blues away.

The Edale valley.


came complete with a bedraggled looking film crew, something to do with a man on a bike, but more than that I can’t tell you

Edale film crew

Love how the bonfire smoke is flowing off down the valley.

Rushop Edge

The reason for my visit was that I’d been to a presentation about the geology and scenery of the Northern Peak District,hosted by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust; and I wanted to see if I could identify some of the features I’d heard about. However an added bonus was an encounter with a stoat

Stoat 3

He bounded along by a nearby wall (stoats bound, weasels hunker down to the ground)  at times  airborne


it looked in good form, weaving in and out of the tussocky grass

Stoat 4

its coat had a conker gloss

stoat 4-2

In the end it was chased off by a rook, and it slunk away under a fence in to a marshy field (you can just see the stoat by the fence post).

stoat and rook 2

Well that was an unexpected treat.

By the time I worked my way back to the car, the sun was low enough to catch the marsh grasses,

marsh grasses_

and some very large puddles,

marsh grass 3

I’d have been wise to take a change of footwear.


70th Anniversary of the Dambusters

Yesterday was a pretty significant day for the town of Chapel en le Frith in Derbyshire, people gathered in the market place, at the war memorial to witness a remembrance tribute.

Lancaster 70 years 117-1


  The local branch of the Royal British Legion had pulled out all the stops

Lancaster 70 years 3-1

The place was packed, not just with local people but those who had travelled from far and wide. You could  just tell some had made a supreme effort to get there.

Lancaster 70 years 6-1

One of the veterans shook me, and many many more, firmly by the hand, ‘Thank you for coming, thank you for coming!’ He kept repeating. I thought we were supposed to be thanking them?

There were civic dignitaries, the young (children from Combs Infants School and Chapel High School)

Lancaster 70 years 8-1

the decorated

Lancaster 70 years 4-1

the media ( a current member of 617 Squadron is interviewed for the BBC)

Lancaster 70 years 9-1

There was even a letter to be read, a letter from the Queen, her representative laid one of many wreaths

Lancaster 70 years 10-1

But there was more to come, at 12:50 hrs,  from the south, over Combs Moss above the nearby village of Combs where Astell lived came the Lancaster Bomber, The City of Lincoln.

Lancaster 70 years 15-1

We watched, as did many more, from the top of nearby Eccles Pike,

Lancaster 70 years 12-1

As the Lancaster made four sweeps above the town (here above the high school).

Lancaster 70 years 18-1

The Dambusters raid has a special place in the hearts and history of this area, not only because of the lost lives of local men,  Flight Lieutenant William Astell DFC and Sergeant Jack Marriott DFM, but because this area was where the men practiced for the mission, using the Derwent Valley, just over the hills,  to perfect the specialist  skills they would need for such an audacious attack.

Lancaster 70 years 16-1

The Lancaster, having paid its respects, banked off over the hills to join the Battle of Britain Flight down the Derwent Valley (spectacular video here)

Lancaster 70 years 19-1

Well done everybody, you did them proud.


The Village

The Village starts tonight on BBC1 at 9pm.

Image for The Village

I’m sure you will enjoy the scenery, it is going to look more than a little familiar to regular readers of this blog. Enjoy.

The drama sets out in 1914, here is the Uphilldowndale homestead in around 19006-1910

Home sweet home-2

I’d planned a longer post with a few links to ‘The Village’ landscape, but  that will have to wait. I’ve not been so well for the last few days, all those antibiotics came at a price, Joe tried to cheer me up, ‘At least it is better than the tooth ache Mum’. I certainly hope the reaction doesn’t last as long as the tooth ache.


Woolly Winter Tales

What I can I tell you, we have snow. Is there any part of the UK that doesn’t have snow? I wonder.

The sheep in the next field seem quite unperturbed

snow covered sheep -1

They are fed daily, which seems to make them happy.

contented sheep -1 

It took a wee while to find a sheep that would look me in the eye, as most had their backs to the wind (and wind chill).

Wind from the east-1

I can vaguely remember a farmer telling me this is how sheep end up stuck in snow drifts, they keep working their way along, keeping the wind behind them, scratting for grass until they run out of field and the snow piles in behind them.

heading out of the wind-1

He also told me in the winter of 1963 that whilst many of his flock perished in snow drifts, some were able to survive by eating their own fleece.

But there are people better qualified to comment of sheep and snow, have a look at herdy’s blog, up in Cumbria.

cold nose sheep-1

We’ve just watched a cracking little programme on BBC2 about the winter of ‘63 (flighty, it is worth watching on iplayer (Winterwatch)


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