Saturday 30 April 2011

Damascus Crack with the buttress finish

Back to The Roaches, and of course, the reason I was there was that I was once again being taxi; this time to take Ben to join his brother and friends for a spot of climbing.

Damascus Crack is a single pitch climb, graded VS (Very Severe; harder than the bands of Difficult, but less hard than Extreme). The guide book describes the route as 12m, but the alternate, buttress finish adds a bit to that height.

Mark led this one with Ben on belay waiting to second.

Once at the top, Mark set up the belay and it was Ben's turn to climb.

Nicely done :)

Friday 29 April 2011

Scavenger Hunt - April

It's that time of the month again so here are my scavenged items.

Number 1: A church; specifically, St Oswald's church in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. 

Number 2: A cross photographed in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels, Church Broughton, Derbyshire.

Number 3: Eggs. In this case, hen's eggs with one particularly nicely speckled one.

Number 4: A different kind of cross. The cross of St George, to celebrate St George's Day on 23rd April.

Number 5: Also on 23rd April, was Shakespeare's birthday. Also on 23rd April, was Shakespeare's death day! Trust him to do it in style! Below is the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. It isn't quite on the site of the original, but it's as close as was possible in heavily urbanised London.

Number 6: A sculpture. I've posted this one before. It is the sculpture of the angel in the gardens at Harlow Carr in Yorkshire.

Number 7 takes us over the Pennines and slightly further north to Cumbria and the fish and chip shop in Keswick; the Old Keswickian. The shop name is interesting; no comment on the fish. (Reflected in its windows, is the Moot Hall in Keswick's market place)

Number 8 is breakfast, but not mine. A crumbled Shredded Wheat mixed with a handful of seeds. "Come and get it!"

Number 9 is something yellow and we're back near Church Broughton for a field full of oilseed rape. There is lots of this stuff around at the moment. It is an ingredient in the manufacture of margarine and cooking oils. I quite like the strong, sweet, heady smell, but its murder on hayfever sufferers!

Number 10 is a set of keys. I decided to go for the obvious and photograph door keys, but not my own ones. These are being beautifully modelled by a friend.

Number 11 was taken really late in the month because we haven't had any rain. (This is not a complaint!) Eventually, I started looking for alternative interpretations. I didn't really think you'd be interested in a photo pf my shower head, so you have a picture of the shower of Kerria blossom which has been sprinkling my garden with yellow petals for the last few days.

And finally, number 12 shows the camera which I used to shoot all of the above.

To see other interpretations of the photos required to be scavenged this month, click here.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Pastoral scenes and a rather odd signpost

Around the foot of The Roaches are some delightful scenes of agricultural England. How much our countryside would change if it were not for farms and farming!

 This little guy was cautiously curious from the safety of being behind a dry stone wall.

Mum was a bit less certain and called her baby home!

With the combination of pasture, rocks and moorland, it is not surprising that many many people come here to enjoy outdoor activities; walkers and climbers being the predominant groups. The area is criss-crossed with footpaths and access land. Footpath signs tend to show a walker striding out, but I wasn't quite so sure about this one...

Wednesday 27 April 2011


My personal challenge for this round of Miss Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday is to post about a location within the borders of my own county of Derbyshire, UK, for each letter of the alphabet.

Each time, X will mark the spot.

B is for Brailsford.


Mainly, I think of Brailsford as a place to travel through, as the A52 runs right through the middle of the village and, when I'm here, I'm normally on my way to somewhere else. So, I decided it was time to stop and have a better look!

 Main road or no, it's not unusual to get stuck behind a tractor, with or without a load.

The village institute provides a meeting place for local community groups, such as the WI and the Parent and Toddler Group. As a child, I remember that Dad was always particularly careful to observe the 30mph speed limit through Brailsford, as it had a bit of a reputation and the local Bobbies used to hide behind the village institute hedge with their speed radar gun!

Next door to the Institute is a small commercial craft centre which includes a saddler, iron worker, art gallery and furniture maker. 

The houses in the village are mostly brick built. Seven miles down the road is the market town of Ashbourne, beyond which the character of the villages changes to being mainly limestone built. Many of the gardens in Brailsford are beautifully kept and I love the detail above the windows.

Brailsford has its own school, tucked away down a narrow entry. From the front, it is not a particularly attractive building, but around the back it has a nicely laid out playground and access to the field next door.

Notice the log built train :)

A short distance away from the main road, a small modern housing estate has been built...

...including a new Medical Centre.

Further out again is the church, which is actually about half a mile from the village. Built in the 11th and 12th centuries, with later additions, the church is dedicated to All Saints and is shared with the nearby, but much smaller, village of Ednaston, which may explain its slightly 'out of the way' location. The probability is that it was built on the site of an earlier Saxon church which had been constructed on the border of the lands of two Saxon lords; Earl Waltheof, who held two carucates of taxable land in Brailsford and Toki, who held three such carucates in Ednaston.

Apparently, there is a really good example of a Saxon cross in the churchyard, but I missed it! DRAT! I'm gonna have to go back.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Roaches peepholes

I really enjoy looking out at the countryside through the little cracks and gaps between the rocks.

Monday 25 April 2011

Prehistoric monsters in the Staffordshire Peak

It's really noticeable how The Roaches suddenly explode out of the landscape. One minute, the scene is all pastoral; green fields, trees, sheep, cows... and the next, there they are; these great crags of gritstone rising starkly against the skyline like the scaly hide of some prehistoric monster.

I've posted about The Roaches before, so I won't bore you with lots of repeated information, but I was up there yesterday and the afternoon turned out glorious, so I took loads of photos.

The new growth is so bright that is almost looks artificially green.

The Roaches is made up of two tiers of rock, between which is a small plateau of pine wood.

Looking south, Tittesworth Reservoir can be seen...

...while, to the north is the mass of Wildboarclough and, I think, the small shape of the Cat and Fiddle pub, just visible on the skyline to the right of the photo (though I'm quite prepared to be corrected on that one).

PS: I've been doubly corrected about the pub, once by my dad and also by Louise from Ramblings of a Roachling. The pub is The Mermaid, not the Cat and Fiddle; except it's recently been converted into holiday cottages and so isn't a pub now at all. Thank you both!

Louise also points out that the heather in my last photo is part black and part green. This is where there was a two square mile fire a couple of weeks ago. It is thought to have been started by a cigarette!! (I did hear about the fire at the time, but confess I had forgotten that it was so close to the Roaches.)

Sunday 24 April 2011

Easter Day

'He is not here; he has risen' - Matt 28 v6

Happy Easter!

Saturday 23 April 2011


The disciples must have felt like all of theirs had been dashed; forever destroyed by the ugly brutality of the cross.

Friday 22 April 2011

Good Friday

Thursday 21 April 2011

Alport Heights

My personal challenge for this round of Miss Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday is to post about a location within the borders of my own county of Derbyshire, UK, for each letter of the alphabet.

Each time, X will mark the spot.

Today, A is for Alport Heights.


The approach is up narrow country lanes; single track with passing places...

...but it's worth it when you get to the top.

The western slope of Alport Heights was acquired by the National Trust in 1930, one of the first properties to be bought by them in Derbyshire. The hill is the first significant high point north of Derby and is topped by a line of seven radio masts, which make it a distinctive landmark for some miles around. The slopes are mainly covered in gorse bushes, which make it particularly rewarding at this time of year. Today was hazy, but on a clear day it is possible to see as far as the Malvern Hills in Shropshire.

Once a sandstone quarry, this 6 metre pillar of gritstone was left standing proud.

Once, Mark climbed it and scared me to death. Today, I watched quite comfortably while Ben climbed it. It's amazing what a bit of experience will do.

A lovely spot to stop and soak up the warm spring sunshine.