Uphilldowndale

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


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Salted Seasons.

I pulled in the car park at the top of Holme Moss for all ten minuets today and watched four seasons of weather whizz by.

There was hail, sleet and a dash of show

Sleeting Holme Moss_

Emly Moor mast,  briefly sparkled in the sun, it stands at over a thousand feet in height and is a Grade II listed building, it puts the wind turbines in the shade.

Emley Moor_

These dark satanic looking  turbines emerged out of the swirling hail, they brought to mind the film, War of The Worlds, as the seemingly marched across the moors.

Black wind farm 2_

Back over the county boundary from Yorkshire into Derbyshire, I met the gritter lorry climbing the steep hill casting its cargo of salt. That’s a shame I thought, I’d have liked a photo of that,  I rather like the bleached grass, the empty road, the tar black winter heather, the flash of orange; but  there was no where to pull over. 

Then it occurred to me that it would, being a Derbyshire county council lorry, turn at the summit and county boundary, and come back down the hill again,  so I swung into one of the big laybys (designed I suspect for when in heavy snow, the gritter lorry can’t make it up the hill and needs to  turn and retreat).

Got it! 

Gritting_


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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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Maiden Voyage

Mr Uphilldowndale and I took our first trip out in our  recently purchased camper van yesterday. It’s all very exciting.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  However Spud the dog was a little disappointed in the lack of sofas, or at least sofas he was allowed to lie on.

First though we spent the morning trying to figure out what and where we wanted ‘stuff’ in the van. Had we got everything we needed? My friend Mrs Ogg would rightly say it is a lot of faff.  However in the end we threw stuff in and set off. This plan worked at treat. Historically we do tend to over engineer things.  We didn’t travel far,  just down into the soft landscape of the White Peak and camping at the fabulously named Foufinside Farm at Parwich which was just the ticket.

It had been a glorious day, and I suppose I was a wee bit sad to have missed the best of the day with our faffing, we stopped by at Magpie Mine,  near the village of Sheldon, an ancient lead mine that was last worked in the 1950’s. I’d stumbled upon it before a long time ago, in fact  it was a very early post  on this blog.  But in the way proper adventures, you never know what you might find,  and the late afternoon light turned out to be rather fab and flared through an old window, just for me.

Magpie Mine_

Spookily, I first posted about this somewhat eerie place on the 11th Feb 2008 …


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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?


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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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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


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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.

Edale

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

 Stoat 

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.

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