Uphilldowndale

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


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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


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Wading in

A heron in the field pond, I don’t think I’ve seen one wade in quiet so deep before, not quite up to his neck in it, this is about as deep as it gets (too deep for a chicken we established).

Heron

After a week of windy weather, which played havoc with our Internet connection (the  wind dropped and it seemed to ‘self heal’,  but who knows the real reason) the UK has experienced one of its hottest Easters on record, very pleasant to be out and about in, but a also a little worrying, the ground is so dry, moorland fires have been a problem yet again. Sadly people just don’t seem to understand how easily a fire can start and just how long peat can burn for.

Nature has been dead in  tooth and claw, kestrels are nesting in a dead tree in a neighbouring field, but the jackdaws are mobbing them, I hope they manage to rear their chicks,  and I don’t think the three dead goldfish found in the yard are the herons work, more likely to be the cat’s antics.


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Float your boat

You can’t leave canals out of the history of  the Ironbridge Gorge, for transporting all those delicate and valuable china goods, to hauling the coal to fire the kilns, it was by far the best option, the only other way was pack horses on unmade roads.

Brick bottle kiln coalport

The canal at Coalport was frozen over in part, on the day we visited, the ducks waddled along as best they could, occasionally falling through the ice, or swimming along in the style of an ice breaker

Now I may be the ‘creative’ of the household, but I know cracking engineering  solution when I see it. This is the Hay inclined plane, we have few of those nearer to home, but none as impressive as this, ours were used for hauling trucks full of limestone or coal to or from the canals, here they simply moved the whole boat.

Inclined Plane_

The Hay Inclined Plane is a canal inclined plane with a height of 207 feet that is located on a short stretch of the Shropshire Canal that linked the industrial area of Blists Hill with the River Severn. The inclined plane was in operation from 1792 to 1894 and can be visited as part of the Blists Hill Victorian Town and is also a waypoint on the South Telford Heritage Trail. In operation box-shaped tub boats 20 feet long were taken up and down the plane on twin railway tracks, an empty boat would be loaded into the river at the bottom and a full boat would be loaded into the canal at the top, a rope would connect the two so that gravity would drop the loaded boat down to the river counterbalanced by an empty boat being raised to the canal. At the bottom of the incline the rails went underwater allowing the boats to float free.

I participially like the wiggle in the rails

Inclined Plane 3

 


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Brandon Creek

Brandon Creek, on the Dingle peninsula, part of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. It was a benign little natural harbour the day we visited, but it obviously has history, the weather was such that we never saw the big Atlantic rollers that hit this coast line.

Danger Waves

If the waves don’t get you maybe the bracken will?

There is something very pleasing to the eye about the butterfly sticker on this warning sign, it’s the symmetry I think, but it doesn’t detract from the message.

Butterfly life preserver_.jpg

This was the home of St Brandon the Navigator, allegedly.

He is known as the “navigator” for the legendary journey he made by boat which some have claimed was an account of an early discovery of the North American continent. Unfortunately, like many Celtic “saints”, there is considerable doubt over his true identity, whether his life story is a merger of several lives and legends, or indeed if he existed at all

The clouds hugged the hills

Cottage for sale

The cottage in the photo was for sale, if you fancy a little project, I don’t imagine it has much in the way of services (or a damp proof course for that matter).

DIY challenge_

If you take a closer look at the first photo of the cottage you can see, in the foreground, the muddy, bank? That’s a landslip, the harbour eating its way inland,  so I’m guessing insurance might be an issue, buyers may have to offer up a prayer to St Brandon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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A Reflective Walk

Loweswater-3

I’m not doing very well at posting, after my promise. Not to worry, I’ll get there, it may take a wee while to find my  blogging mojo. I’ve all sorts of adventures stacking up ready, just waiting.

I mentioned whilst the fell race was on, I took a stroll along the shores of Loweswater, en route I stopped to watch the fish, suspended in pools of sunshine, seemingly motionless in the flowing water, it is easier to see the shadow than the fish itself.fish river

I admired a handsome doocot*

doocot 

And look, a fine drystone wall and gateway, becomes something quite magical, by the addition of an over arching span of  Cumbrian slate.

stone arch

I listened to the cows, with their methodical munching and tearing of sward, they may get bad press from time to time, and deservedly so, but I’ve an affection for them.

cattle

In the wood, foxgloves  swayed and cow parsley effervesced in the scattered sunlight.

foxgloves in glade_

At the waters edge, I found a swing.

swing @ loweswater_

I had a go at finding my inner child, but concluded that the child needed to concentrate on having a good time. Play on the swing, or take photographs, it isn’t wise to try and combine the two. I have the bruises to prove it. 

selfie @ loweswater_

*it is 23 years since I lived in Scotland, but some words stay with me in  the Scots dialect, swithering, dreek, and poly-poke are a few of my favourites.


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Winter Walk

Nothing finer than a  winter walk for  the restoration of equilibrium, Mr Uphilldowndale and I were both in need the other afternoon. We went down by the river, always a good move.

Riverside walk-1

Up through the woods and across the fields.

late afternoon walk-1

Spud had a high old time, you can just see him here, heading off  towards a rather handsome wall, that’s topped with snow.

late afternoon walk 1-1

At the moment freezing rain is hammering against the windows and the rising wind has been piling snow back into the lanes this afternoon. The forecast is for the weather to get warmer over the weekend and for the snow to melt; we’ll be glad to see the back of it for a while I think. The weather conditions have led to tragedy.

We walked back past the church, not a bat or a bear in sight.

late afternoon walk church -1

I saw some photos of ‘ zombie snowmen’ in the press this week, I had to admire the skill in their making, their location was described as a disused graveyard in Bristol,  it led me to wonder, how can  graveyard be disused? Its not like a factory is it? Isn’t always going to be ‘in use’ by its residents?


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A Fresh View

Sat in my mental folder marked ‘things to blog about’ is my day at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.

There were plenty of colourful, photogenic boats and much more besides, but as usual it was ‘the stuff round the back’ that caught my eye.   A dilapidated wide beam boat awaiting restoration,

Broad Beam -1

My friend Mrs Ogg thinks it is a watercress barge.

What is it about peeling/fading paint that I find so appealing?

paint fade-1

The reason for my visit was a photography course, I thought after five years it was time I found out what some of the knobs and buttons on my camera do. I think my camera enjoyed have its brain taken out for a walk.

Narrow boat-1

It was good to get away from things for a while, and on that subject; I’ve just spent a sublime half an hour looking at the blog of Steve McCurry, oh my, what a joy his photographs are,  his reasons for blogging are interesting too. I may have to pour myself a glass of wine and drift back for another look.