Thursday, 23 July 2009

Monsal sunsets

The 'season' is coming to an end now. We get about a six week window where we can drive up to Monsal head and sit and watch the sunsets. We've also gone to Curbar gap one night to watch it. We can JUST make it to Monsal head to catch the last rays now, but the sun is retreating, now the solstice has passed, and sets around nine o'clock.
It usually sets between those trees on the horizon, but as you can see, it's moving to the East more now.

The final rays peep through the small cloud bank.

These colours are lovely to the naked eye, but I've not done too badly to capture as close as I can with a lens.
The limestone tors above Monsal dale also go a deep shade of red.
Not much left now.

THIS cloud certainly has a silver lining tonight.

....and it's goodnight from him.......

While we were watching the sunset, we caught a good look at this kestrel, hovering with something in mind for supper
A crimson glow to say goodnight by.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Hartington lollipop

I've written a few walks for a web based walking site ( ) and every couple of years, I re-walk the walks to check there are no mistakes or new features (like new stiles etc). This one is called the 'Hartington lollipop'. It's a lovely walk, so we were looking forward to it, even though the forecast was very gloomy.
This is Sue, fearlessly passing between cows just after setting off from Hartington.
The sky was FULL of huge thunder clouds, and we just knew it was only a matter of time.
Looking back to Hartington.

The foxglove - I love the way these plants cling to walls, they look so lovely.

Not very warm for flying, so this butterfly was at rest in the grass.

We climbed the hill to Sheen, and this is what we saw as we passed through the stile.

We decided to go into the church to shelter in case it rained, and just to have a look.
It's nice that the church is left open for visitors to take a tour.

Some very fearsome gargoyles were on the ground - there were also others on each corner of the roof, looking down on us.

Oh dear - here it comes...........

We decided to have an early lunch when the rain came. We sat in the porch and watched it clattering on the ground. The thunder boomed and lightning flashed, we were glad not to be out in it.

It only lasted about half an hour, so under a brightening sky, we set off again.

Lots of calves in the fields, this one having a quick suckle from Mum.

Wonder if this is the proud dad??

The sky was still crowded with heavy cloud, and we didn't hold out much hope of staying dry for long.

Then, over the reef knolls, we saw the rain coming, but where to shelter??

Any port in a storm - this old digger wasn't very comfortable to sit under, but at least we stayed dry(ish).
I got this shot of a fine patch of fungi, but as the rain persisted, we decided that we couldn't sit any longer and set off. No more photo's were taken after this, as I put the camera away in my rucksack to keep it dry. The last hour and a half was spent walking in the steady rain. We got back to the car late, but despite the rain, we still enjoyed the walk.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A short walk to Fin Cop

On Tuesday, I went for a short afternoon walk on my own. I decided to go to the top of Fin Cop, above Monsal dale. There is no bona fide footpath there, but as it's uncultivated, and the right to roam act says it's ok(ish), I decided to go.
I left my front door, and headed for Ashford in the Water. It was a sunny day, but it had been threatening rain all morning. I'd put a brolly in my rucksack, just in case!
As I walked along the riverbank at the side of the Buxton road, I spotted these two water birds (coots or moorhens??). She was obviously sitting on a late clutch of eggs.

The path left the road and headed across the meadows.
I love the way the trees are grazed to a flat underside.

I crossed the small stone bridge to Ashford village, and as I looked down, saw this trout hanging around, waiting for passing titbits or flies. He looks about pan-size to me!
The quintessential village cricket pitch at Ashford in the Water.
Nothing happening today, but I bet there's a great deal of 'leather on willow' goes off here at the weekends.

I noticed the bees were very busy on a large bunch of flowers in one of the village gardens.

Some of the houses have such LOVELY names. I wonder who 'Nanny peggy' was?

...and of course, the village church. They have a very good flower festival in this church.

My Mum used to say it was going to rain if the cows were lying down.....(or did she say standing up????)

I joined one of my favourite lanes, Pennyunk lane, and at this time of year it's just a delight to the soul to walk along this sort of lane.
Flowers, bees, birds and oh, the superb views.
Again, the bees were hard at it, collecting pollen while they could.

As I walked, I heard a; 'chat-chat-chat' sound and noticed this Jenny Wren on a post, chiding me.
Her nest must have been close by, as they are normally very secretive and hide away.
It's a nice shot, as I caught her 'mid chat'.
I hid under a tree from a short, squally shower, after which the air came alive with the heavy scent & smell of the flowers, grasses and earth.
Sweet and clean, I gulped lungsful as I walked up the lane.
I don't know the name of this plant, but if you ever see it (it's usually down the middle of tracks, or in farm gateways), rub the yellow head and smell your fingers - it smells like fresh pineapple!!)

A field of rape, with a few poppies thrown in for good measure.

At the top of Pennyunk lane, I left the path and made my way up to Fin Cop.
It's a fabulous viewpoint, and I could see by the track in the grass that others had been to take in the view before me. This is the view of the Monsal viaduct & Monsal head from there.

I spotted this moth resting on the grass.

I was also surprised to see the first raspberries this season - a wake up call to just how fast the summer time was passing.

I enjoyed a good while up on Fin cop before returning to join Pennyunk lane, and drop down to Monsal head.
The sky looks a lot clearer and settled now, but it wasn't to last long.

Looking across towards Bakewell.
You can't see it from here though.

This is the more classic view of the viaduct, and the one most tourists see.
Last night Sue and I came up here to watch the sun set, and it was quite a good one!

This is the Monsal head hotel, looking good now after a coat of paint and some TLC.

I crossed the fields and joined the Monsal trail back to Bakewell.
The bees were also making the most of the thistle flowers here.

Then the rains came! I got as far as Hassop station, now 'The Old Bookshop', before I was sent sheltering from a downpour. It looked set in, so I rang Sue who obligingly came and picked me up in the car.