Wednesday, 30 November 2011

In search of Autumn

This year has been a really strange one, weather-wise. It's been far too warm, and it seems to have taken nature by surprise! Nothing seems to know what to do. Flowers are blooming when they shouldn't, birds are laying eggs (a clutch of 7 ducklings appeared last week), and the leaves don't know what colour to be! We went 'in search of autumn' to see if we could capture the colours. We had mixed success.
This is where we started from, Ashford in the Water. The trees behind 

Ashford church. 

So, with the warm, autumn sun on our shoulders, we set off.

The iconic sheepwash bridge at Ashford, second only to Bakewell bridge.

Soon, we were pulling up Great Shacklow woods. Autumnal, but not that carpet of leaves we were looking for?

.....not in THAT position, I haven't!  

The skies were clearing now, and the visibility was - well, infinity! 

A splash of brown among the green.

Looking North, from above Taddington. Hard to believe, in all this serenity, that the busy A6 road was in the valley to our right. It was SO peaceful here.

As we passed through Taddington village, we saw this terrible accident!
She was a throwback to the recent Halloween witch competition.

This is what I would describe as the perfect sky. Those huge cumulus clouds always do it for me.

Daisies, clinging on the very last of the good weather. Looking a bit bedraggled now, though.

 We left Taddington and took in the hard climb to the top of the nature reserve above Millers dale. There was a recently refurbished house on the very top, just behind us here. remote, I know - but WHAT a view!

The wall patterns here are great, with the light JUST right to highlight them. Like a huge, finished jigsaw puzzle in front of us.

Looking over Water-cum-Jolly dale and Cressbrook.

The magnificent hostel building at Tideswell dale, set in an autumn sea of colour'

We lost all the height that we won during the day to cross the river at Litton mill.

These lovely red leaves caught my eye.

We called to see a friend in Cressbrook village, and were AMAZED to see these flowers in the garden. Nature really HAD been tricked!

We stayed FAR too long and, although we were offered a (declined) lift, we needed to press on, as evening was drawing in. We crossed the weir to climb back up to the old railway line.

Bottoms up - cheers!

As expected, we had talked for too long and ended up finishing the walk in the dark. With the moon so small, its light was no help, but we couldn't fault it for trying!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Thanks to you ALL!

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog - today was a milestone - I passed ten THOUSAND views! Click on the picture for a larger view.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Matlock, and the dizzy heights.

We decided on a more local walk today. It had been a good while since we'd been around the Matlocks, so we parked up in the town and set off. Of course, we were drawn to the grounds of High Tor. You used to have to pay to walk over here, but now it is free (so it should be). The skeleton of Riber Castle was to our left. Never a fortification, just a very grand private dwelling. You can read more here;

In front of us - High Tor and the gash of the beginnings Matlock Bath. 
Looking down from High Tor. From here it is a vertical drop to the river below. 
 This is the start of a path called 'giddy edge' - can you guess why? For the giddy amongst you, there's an easy option over the top, but this was always going to be our path :-)
The path gets thinner - and giddier!
Yes, that IS a vertical drop to the left! 
We saw LOTS of berries about, some say a sure sign of a hard winter to come. These looked like a lovely red necklace. 
 Close study of the berry.
After Giddy edge, we dropped down the High Tor grounds, and spotted this gorge in the rocks. The sign said; 'no public access', so we climbed the fence to explore further! 
WHAT a little gem this is. I imagine it's only stupid health and safety that prevents this being exploited. If this was in France, it would be made into SUCH an attraction. Sue said she was sure the local kids knew every inch of this place (I would if I was a kid living nearby). It was a little wonderland, and we really enjoyed following it as it twisted and turned. We've no idea how it got there, if it was natural, or what. 
In some places it was a tight squeeze - all the more exciting. 
After a very enjoyable half hour exploring, we emerged and made our way to the grounds exit. Here, you see the cable car station. The cars go up to the heights of Abraham, an easy option if you don't fancy the hard climb.. 
 We decided to walk up there - this is a fine view of Matlock Bath from the road above. The roads (and paths) are quite vertiginous here, almost to the point of impassable, but people live up here - God knows what they did when we had all that snow last year.
I saw this really unusual inclusion in a gable end. It looks like a crying boy 

Matlock Bath to Ember farm, 600 feet in half a mile! This is Sue, pulling up the incline. Photo's NEVER do it justice, this was one damn hard climb!

T'owd man of Bonsall. Wikipedia says this about 'him';
There is a tiny carving in Wirksworth Church, taken from Bonsall Church during a restoration project and never returned, of a miner with his pick and "kibble" or basket. The carving is known as "t'Owd Man of Bonsall." 

They also have this stunning map, almost a work of art, displayed near the cross. 
 The detail in it is beautiful. We spent quite a while examining it all over. It was obvious a LOT of time and attention to detail had gone into making this.
After eating our lunch in the sunshine, we left Bonsall by a leafy track. 
 Soon, though, we were out in the open fields in greatly improving weather.
Looking over the Wensleydale valley to the hamlet of Oker from Jughole wood. 
Fungi was starting to show now - shame there were no field mushrooms yet. 
 As we dropped into Snitterton, we saw that the owners of the hall were having an underground pool built. You have to be VERY serious about your morning dip to want to spend THIS much money to get it!!
The bull ring at Snitterton. They used to tie bulls up to these and have them 'baited' by dogs. You can read more about this practice here; 
 We saw no bulls today - but we DID encounter a very friendly hen. I keep some seed in my rucksack for just such occasions. The hen seemed very happy with this idea.
Oker hamlet. We crossed the fields, before turning right and following the river back into the centre of Matlock, and a welcome coffee.