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


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 …


Christmas at Kew

We returned to  the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew last week, you might remember we have a special family connection to Kew.  We attended the preview night of their Christmas at Kew event.

We had a lovely, colourful time.

Kew Christmas Lights_

The candle lights were a big hit with the grown ups, we loved the smell; they had a touch of the pagan about them (the Wicker Man was mentioned) , my photos don’t do them justice, they seemed to go on into infinity, and that was beyond my skills.

Kew lights 4

Grown ups and youngsters liked the curtain of light, very tactile.

Kew lights 3

and great fun even if the photos were a bit hit and miss!

Kew lights_

Mr Uphilldowndale had a go at finding his inner child, I couldn’t keep up (nor would I want too, I can feel nauseous on the Pendoino trains*)


The palm house is my favourite, from every direction, it makes such a fabulous canvas for the lights.

palm house Paxton

The palm house was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, I think he’d have been impressed by the theatre of it all. 

* The train is forgiven, we can leave Euston station in London and be turning the key in the front door  just over two hours later.


Turning water into snow

We zipped over to Bangor in Wales to visit Tom yesterday. Spud  the dog came too, of course. 

Tom is the epitome of the hungry student, so we took him for a suitably large fry-up at Pete’s Eats in Llanberis, before  a stroll by the lake it was a damper day than the weather forecast would have us believe.

Tom told us the autumn colours have been very vibrant, and even after a spell of stormy weather, there are leaves still to be found, there is a bit of of a chocolate lime vibe going on here.  .

Wet wales_

Of course you can’t get such lush moss without a water laden climate

Wet wales 2

Or reflections without pools

Wet wales 3

So we don’t mind the rain too much, that said it was less fun on the M56 on the way home during the rush hour.

Today the temperature has dropped like a stone, it has been so wet and gloomy the chickens retreated to their run by about two thirty.  Tonight we expect the first snowflakes of the season. Watch this space.


Glorious Week

My what exceptional warm and sunny weather we have had this week. I’ve been zipping about all over the place.

Here is a quick snap of Cressbrook Dale, I’m shamed to say I’ve never walked it. 

Cressbrook dale_

And the view back towards Wardolw Mires,  with some nice limestone features in the foreground

Wardlow Mires_

Wardlow Mires is home to a quirky pub called the Three Stags Head, its many a year since I’ve drunk there, but the reviews would suggest, all its charms are still intact ( just don’t ask for a gin and tonic, you’ll be shown the door. Its a real ale sort of place).

Last week I ate cake, this week I baked cake. We had a lovely time this morning with a belated Macmillan Coffee morning, here at home. Spud the dog had four hours of people willing to throw a ball for him. He was ecstatic.  He is now exhausted.



Tour of Britain

Stage Six. Far from the maddening crowd; less atmospheric than  watching in the villages I suspect, but an  impressive cavalcade non the less.

I made my way up above the road know locally as Long Hill, for a birds eye view. It was blustery but warm and fine, which was just as well as in my haste I’d left my boots at home, and I’d had to tip toe across the fields in girly shoes from where I’d parked my car.

Tour of Britain. The wrong shoes

I watched a bit of traditional hay making while I waited (you can see we were a select bunch of spectators)

Tour of Britain  Hay making_

Some beautiful clouds skit by

Nice clouds_

I mused on how the road has changed over the centuries, you can still see the old road, snaking its way up through the centre of this image.  A steep and difficult climb for horses and stagecoaches.  That was superseded by the first toll road in 1780 built by John Metcalf of Knaresbourgh Yorkshire, known as Blind Jack

Long Hill 2

The road now sweeps along with the contours of the valley.

Long Hill_

At last they came,

Tour of Britain 3

and went

Tour of Britain Long Hill 4

in a flash!

Tour of Britain 4

It’s a spot I must return too, another day, there are grand views in all directions.

Tour of Britain Long Hill 6


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