Thursday, 28 January 2010

WOT!!! No pictures?

I'm sorry there has been a lack of pictures for a couple of weeks, but it's due to family commitments and a visit to Manchester last Tuesday to see 'Les Miserables'. It is a FANTASTIC production, which I urge anyone to see, if they can. You can see tour information here;

I PROMISE some nice pics from the Roaches in Staffordshire next week. Meanwhile, thanks for your patience, and thanks for visiting.


Friday, 15 January 2010

It's grim 'oop North'!!

We'd done the last two walks from our door, as the roads were a bit 'iffy' to say the least. This week, I decided that we'd travel North a bit, as we'd heard all the stories in the cafe about how Bakewell was like another world, compared to the high ground. I'd seen the Flash village webcam, so knew it was a bit dire up there, but how bad was it in places like, say, the Ladybower reservoirs chain? Again, I knew the snake pass, which runs across the reservoir, was closed, but hey - how bad could it be?

Well - bad enough for all the car parks to be closed! I just dumped the Honda in the gateway, we booted up, and set off into the white, blue yonder. This car has been superb in all the snow, and has tackled some pretty slippery stuff, and never said no yet.
A look over Ladybower returned a white sheet of a scene. I mean, I expected this, but would we be able to follow the 9 mile route up onto Derwent edge? Vis' wasn't good today, with the sky being grey, and a very fine snow falling all the time.

The start of the walk. It had been a struggle to get here, as the snow on the kerbs hadn't been walked, so was deep. It was deep here too, and only one or two other 'daft bugger' footprints.
A winter wonderland again, and we were enjoying it very much. All the problems it creates aside, we just LOVE snow. It makes journeys hard, kills business, disrupts things, but then we don't get it that often (or this much), so we're both philosophical about it, and I think it's good to be able to enjoy it.

We pressed on.

Look Sue, there's enjoying, and there's enjoying!
Stop showing off!

FABULOUS views, said the estate agent speak.
They don't mention this, though.

The poor sheep, we felt so sorry for them. They even LOOKED fed up and hungry!

Everything was covered in this beautiful mantle of white.
I could stand and stare at these trees all day, they're so lovely.

Now we were climbing, and the snow was just too deep to attempt to get up onto Derwent edge. There were NO other footprints either, so others had abandoned the idea too.
I decided to alter the route, and take us halfway above the reservoir, and then drop down to it and do a circle. That should be ok? The way ahead was calf-wrenchingly hard though.
We'd sleep tonight!

Evidence of just HOW hard things were for the sheep.
They had bitten and nibbled every exposed bit of vegetation.
We saw lots of saplings that had been stripped of the tender bark.

Some even resorted to nibbling the branches of low bushes and trees.

Some even started to accost passers-by!!

Again, this was a second path I considered for access to the tops, but one look, and I made my decision.

'Not tonight, Josephine!!'

So, it was 'about turn', and set off back down.

We had a giggle at this farm sign - the sheep on it has a nice white coat.

Residents up here were saying that they were thoroughly sick of it now.
I can understand that, as they get NO help at all with clearance, gritting, etc.

Still, you don't get views like this in the city, do you?

The reservoir HAD frozen over at the top end.
The ice looks brown because of the peaty consistency of the water.

The wildlife was having a hard time too.
We saw rabbits eating from the silage dumps left for the sheep.
This little one ran across our bows, and I was quick enough to get a shot in.

A beautiful scene among the rhododendrons.

Ladybower dam.
How nice does this look?
Full to capacity, and there's PLENTY more to come from all this snow.

We dropped down to the Fairholmes visitors centre. There were a few wardens there, tucked up in their warm office. I think they did a double take when they saw these two mad walkers, sitting outside having a picnic.
There were plenty of would-be guest for our picnic as well. This cheeky one actually took food from my hand, but we weren't quite quick enough to get a picture.
Have you ever hand-fed a bird, especially a wild one?
It's a special pleasure, that something wild has trusted you enough to do that.
You should try it sometime.

However, these 'gate-crashers' were not what I'd call wild.

Desperate, yes - wild, NO!


The view in the evening along Ladybower.
Grim, but somehow beautiful.

I had considered coming up here in the car this morning.
Glad I didn't, as there was nowhere to park - even the road has just been left.

The viaduct. Not much traffic, as this was the start of the closed Snake Pass.

With just a short walk back to the car in the fine, falling snow, we looked up the Snake road.
It doesn't look too bad now, but from here on it rises, and height means more snow.
I wouldn't want to chance it, would you?

Friday, 8 January 2010

Still frozen in - so another walk from the cottage (with snow)

On Tuesday, it wasn't fit to get the car out, but seeing as we have a lot of walking right on our doorstep, we didn't have to! I know, I know - we've ALL had a great dumping of the white stuff, but I thought you might like to see what it's like round here.
Anyway, we filled up the flasks with hot coffee, and set off down to the town. There weren't many people about, and so I could get my pictures in peace. This is the riverside walk - in summer, we like to sit here and 'people watch' while we eat our lunch. It's a lovely, relaxing spot. That's the 'famous' stone bridge at Bakewell.

Looking downriver towards the park
The ducks don't seem bothered by the cold, just the fact there aren't
any people feeding bread to them today!

The gardens were pretty too.
Looking back along the riverbank, not a soul in sight.

Looking upriver from the bridge, that frost looks bloody HARD!

The stone bridge - the jewel in Bakewells' crown.

We began the climb up station road towards the Monsal trail.
This is looking over a snowy Bakewell.

Frozen berry, anyone?

I never can resist a picture of these when the snow sits like this.

The poor sheep rely on the farmer for food.

Whereas the robin has to fend for himself. Sue got these lovely shots of
one. He came really close to her, and we felt guilty that we'd nothing to feed him.
.....are you SURE you've not got any bread in that rucksack?
We walked along the trail for a while, then left it to cross the fields to Great Longstone.

They have a really lovely tree in the centre of the village.

We walked on to Little Longstone, with the photogenic chapel.

Then a few minutes walking later, we arrived at Monsal Head.
This is the usual view of the viaduct.
There is talk that they will be opening up the trail again from
Buxton to Bakewell, in what format though, I'm not sure.
They have lottery money to make the tunnels safe again, so whether it includes walkers, bikers or just trains, I'm uncertain.
It would be a massive boost to tourism though, if they did open them up.
This old sheep had a snow beard.

This old ram didn't!

Pennyunk lane, down to Ashford in the Water.
This lane is always a delight to walk, whatever the season.
In spring, it is adorned with the most fantastic wild flowers and hedgerows.

The bandstand at Ashford.
There was a little nativity scene there, made out of
what looked like sackcloth.

After Ashford, we walked by the Wye again back to Bakewell.
Today, it was a winter wonderland!

Now that's what I CALL a 'snow cone'.

This poor goalie looked frozen to death!
You'd have thought the match would have been called off ;-)

As night fell, we re-entered Bakewell,
and made our way along the lit streets, back to the cottage.
Just time for a couple of nice night shots, before a steaming mug of tea to warm our bones.

Since these picture were taken, we've had about another six inches of snow.

Next stop - a warm armchair and a big mug of tea!
Roll on July!