Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Flash geezer!

Tuesday came around again, and we decided to visit the highest village in England - Flash.
The weather man said......well, what did it matter what he said, we were going out, and that was that!
When we pulled up outside the Cat & fiddle pub, there was a weird whistling sound as the wind tried to tear lumps out of the car! We really thought it would be bitter outside as I opened the car door in my shorts and tee shirt, but to our surprise, the wind was, although very strong, about blood heat, so it was really comfortable. The sky looked a bit foreboding, but what the hell. A glance across Wildboarclough, (reputedly where the last wild boar in England was killed, but this is a myth; ),
showed Jodrell Bank in the distance (just). To the eye, easy to see that morning, but I thought you might need the assistance of an arrow - click on the picture for a larger version :-)

The cat and fiddle pub, always arguing with the Tan Hill inn, in Yorkshire, as to which one is the highest. Not a very good picture of it, but the condition were not good for pics.

Here she is, bless her, in her shorts, taking on the moors.
A look back shows just how remote the Cat & Fiddle is.
Perched on the top of the moors, it can be seen for MILES.

Looking ahead, we could see the murky shape of the Roaches.

........and a glance to the right showed the 'Cheshire Matterhorn', or Shutlingsloe, to give it its correct name.

Spoil heaps near the Danebower colliery - evidence of coal mining, now being taken over by the heather.

With us now following the Dane Valley Way, portions of the once boggy path had been slabbed, much to our delight on this VERY boggy day.

Soon we reached the beauty spot of Three Shire heads.
The Dane valley, beautiful but heavy with cloud today.
This is a swimming hole, just downstream from the falls.
Not very big, but what a lovely place to cool off and have a picnic in the summer.

The trees were getting ready for winter, the last of the berries looking tired and past their best.

Later on, as we climbed towards Flash, it began to brighten up.

Sue takes the climb to Flash in her stride.

We were surprised to see a large heard of Alpaca, mixed in with a few sheep.
A bit more climbing brought us to this sign that lets you know where and what Flash is.

Of course, the village pub has its claim too. Not the highest pub in England, but the highest village pub.
It struck us that the picture is sort of 'pirate-ish', or maybe a highwayman? Whoever, or whatever, he is, that gold he's got looks ill-gotten!
We left by a very pleasant lane. Now we were getting peckish, so started to look for a suitable place to take tiffin. That's Shutlingsloe in front again.

Roaches end and Ramshaw rocks. That SKY! Would we get wet soon? We lived in hope that we wouldn't, but of course we had all the gear if it came.
All around, we could now see sheets of rain in the distance. It was almost inevitable that we would get some. At this point, we were about an 2 hours or more from the car.

This is where we chose for lunch, not a bad spot eh?
Those two big lumps are the Reef Knolls in Hollinsclough, the one on the left is called Hollins hill, the sharp one is Chrome hill. We've climbed these many times, but never enough!
Beyond, and to the right, is the upper Dove valley.

We did a bit more climbing on very unclear paths until we reached 'five stones'.
I don't need to explain why it's called that!
On the left horizon, you can just see the Cat & Fiddle pub (no arrows).

Well.....what did you EXPECT???

We dropped down slightly, following the Dane Valley way, and saw the source of the Dane river.
After that, we followed this clear track and made our way back, via Derbyshire bridge, to the pub and a well-earned pint. As we sat in the pub and took our first mouthful - the rain started.

Hot air balloon trip.

This is not a walking posting, as such, but some pics from when I took a hot air balloon flight. A few people have asked me to put some pics up on the blog, so here goes.....
This was the start of it all, in the Hurt Arms pub, at Ambergate.
This is me, holding the ropes. You are expected to help all along the way.
A couple of large 'WHOOSHES' from the gas bottles, and we were away!
That's my brother looking on as I disappear into the ether!
A stormy, dramatic sky. My first thought would normally be; 'I wouldn't want to be up there amongst that lot', but to be honest, it really made the trip and pictures more exciting.
Although it looks like we could have had rain, we didn't. In fact, it was the perfect trip.
Looking down on Belper Mill.
The 'Ladybird', another hot air balloon, but that one carries FAR more people.
We we small - and beautiful!

This phenomenon is known as a 'Brockenspectre'. It's when a shadow is thrown onto clouds below you. I've only seen this once before, when I was on top of the Brecon Beacons, and it was my own shadow. See the rainbow effect around the balloon's image?
What can I say about this picture - my favourite of the whole trip.

Ladybird heads for a landing, with a black sky above.
A haulage yard below us.
After a great, controlled landing, I got my certificate, and that was it!
If you're thinking of going up in a balloon, DO IT!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Shroppie Fly

A day out on the 'Shroppie', the Shropshire Union Canal, to give it its full and grand name!
Sue & I went to meet up with her sisters Angie and Barbara, and their Husbands, Bill and Malcolm. We try to meet up at least twice a year, sometimes slipping an extra one in, usually this time of the year, and ALWAYS at Christmas, so the 'girls' can have their own Christmas party while us lads look on.
As some of the legs today aren't as good as they once were, a flat walk was called for. I don't mind doing a canal, as I quite like them. We all met up at this pub, the Shroppie Fly, and had a quick 'stirrup cup' before setting off on our eight mile walk.
This is the museum next to the pub, a treasure trove of artefacts from the old days of the Shroppie.
Here we go - best foot forward then.

View through the lock.

The sedate and serene towpath in the warm afternoon sunshine.

This boat has sailed its last - it is now fast-moored at the side of this cottage.
This was the ONLY boat were saw on the canal - we were to learn the reason why later on in the pub. The canal had 'sprung a leak' and was in the process of being repaired. All through traffic had been suspended. The pub was losing a hell of a lot of business, they told us.
(Note the sky, see the sheets of rain??)

After seeing that boat, the sky blackened, and we could see sheets of rain heading our way. Incredibly, we reached a bridge (number 80) just in time as the heavens opened and a deluge fell for about 45 minutes, during which time we decided to eat our sandwiches under the bridge, so we didn't even get a spot on ourselves.
I'd like to say what GREAT planning, but it was just dead lucky!

This pretty moth took shelter alongside us while we ate.

After the rains - the gang of six take time for a group shot.

The rain storm left some superb cloud formations in its wake.

As we pressed on through the countryside and small hamlets, we came across this charmingly restored mill. It now makes for a beautiful residence.

Another view of it.
Bill tries his hand at cow-charming (and fails, miserably)
We walked on through the woods.
This is Audlem church

Angie smiles in the face of triffids!

A lovely man-made pond, full of reflections.
Eventually, we arrived back at the pub.
The bar was a canal boat, cut in half - LENGTHWAYS!
Smile please - we then had one of the nicest ever ribeye steaks.
That chef knew his meat alright, and it was cooked to perfection.