Friday, 20 January 2012

Jack Frost nipping at our ears...........

....and we were glad of it too, it meant that the muddy fields and paths were put into stasis by the low temperatures. We LOVE low temp's, so we set off to Great Longstone, where the walk started.

These fish seemed quite happy under the ice in a trough outside one of the village cottages.

This impressive line of troughs was ice free, though. Probably because the water was running all the time.

The wall surrounding the churchyard was a bit of a shock - it was in a TERRIBLE state. It really needs some care and attention..........

Ah, I might have known. In the Peak District, we have an organisation that is supposed to look after the area. They do a lot of good work, there's no denying that, but they also have a very hard core of 'little Hitlers' who make it their job to really antagonise residents. You see some of the most appalling freaks of building (look at Bakewell's agricultural centre for one) where the Peak Park have given the all clear, then you get something simple like this. WHY do they have to make things so hard (and expensive) - it's a graveyard WALL, not some rich mans palace that will be flouting the planning rules! (Rant over)

The first signs of spring, as usual - SNOWDROPS! It does the heart good to see the first bunches pushing their way through the cold, hard ground.

Amazingly, we also saw this bunch of Primula (looking a bit more bedraggled than the snowdrops - probably due to the frost having nipped them too).

We turned into the fields, and headed forward towards our goal - Longstone edge.

In no time at all, we were on the lower slopes and looking back at the frozen landscape.

Looking over the cold, hard frosty land.
In all this frost though, the ever-present Gorse had flowers for us. You know what they say - kissin's out of fashion, when Gorse is out of flower.

Disappointingly though, this pretty flower has no real scent to it.

As we reached the top of the edge, we saw this 'spaceship'. Was it one of those underground houses we'd seen on 'Grand Designs'??? No, it turned out to be just a reservoir when we investigated it.

The huge scar of workings on High Rake. Actually, this wasn't too bad. You could only see it when you were on top of it. They are old workings that have recently been re-visited.

Looking across to Curbar edge.
In Calver village, we came across this strange set of 'covered' troughs. The only information I could glean about them was they might have been to supply water to the miners in a local mine many years ago. I'm still trying to find out more about them.

Curbar gap & the edges, from just below Bank wood.

Looking back to Curbar edge.

The beautiful, ethereal scene from Bank wood. Not the clearest of days, but a treat to the eyes, all the same.
Sue walking though Bank wood.

Although drab, with no leaves on the trees at this time of the year, the sunshine picked out the moss on the walls to great effect.

The difference between an old working, and a new one. 

We walked into the village of Hassop. The most imposing building (that can be seen) there is Hassop church. You can read more about it here;

Always a sucker for a lone tree, I went into the fields to capture this one.

As we made our way back to Great Longstone, the winter sun began to set in a most spectacular fashion. No matter HOW many times I witness this phenomenon, it always humbles me. Sue and I feel SO privileged to be able to see this throughout the year, in all seasons, and we never take it for granted!

A beautiful end to another perfect day.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wham, bam........

 .......thank you.....for Bamford edge! Lots of recent rain meant that the fields were VERY muddy. Solution? Take to the edges. It's been a while since we were on our favourite edge, so that's where we made tracks for on Tuesday. We parked at the roadside (seeing as the once free car park at Newholme is now pay and display - it always happens), and drank in the first iconic view of the Ladybower viaduct. Somewhere this side of it once stood the village of Ashopton, now deeply submerged in the cold, acidic waters of the reservoir. To read about Ashopton, click here;
We started on our way up. Since the 'open access' laws were passed, this edge, and many, many other beautiful and wild places, have been accessible to all. Thank goodness for that law - places as lovely and unproductive as this should not be private. We were doing the edge 'backwards' today. In the past, we'd always done it South to North, as the wayfinding wasn't easy. Now that people are starting to come here more, paths are marked and being walked. 

 As we made our way up towards Bamford edge, the views over the reservoir, across the open countryside to Kinder Scout and beyond opened up more. The two prominent knolls in the foreground are Crook hill.
Sue makes her way among the browns of the bracken, along an obvious path, with Win Hill poking up in front. You can also see Lose hill as well on the right. 
NOW the view was good! The weather wasn't perfect, but it felt REALLY good to be out and high. 
The Wheel stones on Derwent edge, just peeping over the horizon. 
To our delight, we heard Buzzard calling overhead, and watched as two pair cavorted and soared in the sky above us.

The reservoir was full to overflowing - literally! By the time we got back from our walk and took a stroll across the top of the dam, this overflow would have stopped. I was SURE I had seen it going over when we were up here, and it was only when I checked the photo that I saw I was right. 
 Time to pause and reflect on what was around us.
Sue, silhouetted against the cloudy sky. 
 The sharp top of Bamford edge.
The wind, frost and rain can create some weird effects. 
 Looking south along the edge.
 The only blot on this fantastic landscape - Hope cement works.
The Ladybower dam, with Win hill behind. The dam was strengthened in the 90's, you can read about it here; 
 Old mill stones left over and abandoned up on the edge.
Looking south to Froggatt and Cubar edges. 
 Bizarrely, we saw this mat at a stile - I know the fields are a bit muddy, but REALLY!!!!
We next had to cross the river Derwent by some stepping stones. No problem - there they are - just a little bit of water coming over them........... 
 Just hitch up the trouser bottoms, and we'd be ok, I reckon?
 "Now just hang on", said Sue - "let me check the map. I'm NOT going over those no matter WHAT you say......"
 We decided that it was a BIT too deep to go on, so we quickly re-wrote the walk and continued along the road. We then joined the bed of a disused railway that once served for the construction of the Ladybower dam. The view to our right of the edge we'd been on earlier was good. On a clear evening, the sunset lights this edge up flaming red. Sadly, tonight was not one of those nights.
Early signs of spring - the first catkins we've seen. 
As I said, we walked across the dam for one last look over the reservoir in the dying rays of the day, then it was back home. This was the view over the water from the middle of the dam towards Derwent edge.