Uphilldowndale

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


9 Comments

Pipe Dream

We went to Wales last weekend, after Mr Uphilldowndale had gallantly dug a route out of the rather localised dump of snow that arrived with us on Friday.

He wanted to take part in the Pipe Dream fell race at Dalgarrog .  Here are the pipes, running up there looks more like a nightmare than a dream to me, but fellrunners think differently than the rest, we know that .  The pipes are part of a hydro electricity scheme, they were originaly built to supply an aluminium plant*

Pipe Dream 2

 

We took the van and parked up at The Mynydd Climbing Club hut at the head of the Crafnant valley, and enjoyed a very pleasant evening in the company of some of the Pennine Fell Runners.

Blaen y nant_

The next day, Mr Uphilldowndale went out on his bike, I had a nice mooch around with my camera, the club ‘hut’ is the white building on the left.

MTB

 

 Crafnant valley

I found a friendly sheep

Crafnant

I think if you came back a little later in the spring, you’ll find the slopes covered with blue bells.

Bluebell bulbs_

As ever in Wales, gorgeous lichens and moss

moss and lichen wales_

I found some fungi, well I think that’s what they are, I’ve asked a man who knows, I’ll report back.

 

Fungi 3Fungi 1

* The site of the aluminium plant is now home to Surf Snowdonia, the photo is as dull as dishwater

Surf Snowdonia_

The video is far more exciting (sorry Gerry, you’ll need to go to the library).


10 Comments

Framed

I was over in Holmfirth this week, the weather was bright, a little nippy, but I didn’t mind that.

It’s rather a stunning drive from here to there (or a hair-raising one in bad weather). I paused at the summit of Holme Moss  you could see for a long way.

Holmemoss

Kindly they’ve  framed the view, sort of a Yorkshire contemporary, creative, version of the Claude Glass,  splendid.

framing the landscape_

It’s a popular route for cyclists, but not many of the Lycra clad clan were out and about on the  Le Col de Moss when I passed by,

Holmemoss 2

It was once was a different story


4 Comments

Cat on an Ice Cold Wall

We’ve had three days of bright blue skies, what a treat. It’s been cold though. I took a turn around the field this morning, Spud the dog  and Jammy the cat came too.  Jammy  took his preferred route

please carry me 3

along the tops of the walls,   however he was soon complaining of cold snowy  paws and wanted ‘a carry’; he can be quite demanding.

please carry me

Last week we took Jammy and Dodger to the vets, to be micro chipped, for their new cat flap.  Oh my what a din they made!


11 Comments

Swanning around

Whilst out and about on our first excursion in our new campervan, we called in at Hopton Hall, we admired the snowdrops, said hello to the mossy lady. It wasn’t the most pleasant of weather whilst we were there, sleet is never quite as pretty as a light dusting of snow, so we ate cake and drank tea whilst it passed.

We admired the pair of swans on the lake, swans mate for life.

 Swan 1

Overseas readers might like to know that in the UK there is an ancient ritual called ‘swan upping’,  this isn’t it.  This is  a swan feeding.

Swaning around 2

Swan Upping is actually all about an audit of the queens stock of swans and takes place on the river Thames.  Could you ever own a swan? I imagine they please themselves? No, look,  I’m wrong again,

The Queen has a prerogative over all swans in England and Wales. The Swan Keeper also despatches swans all over the world, sent as gifts in the Queens name

They do look regal.

Swaning around 3

It got me wondering, how they keep their necks clean? I mean there is only so far  round that a beak can preen?

Swaning around 4

It all looks very high maintenance to me

Swaning around_

well worth the effort though.


7 Comments

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 597 other followers