Friday 30 September 2011

One way system

Standing 212' tall, towering over Irongate, this is Derby Cathedral.

But, wait a moment. What's that at the top?

Window cleaners?

Every second year, Derby Mountain Rescue Team hold their Cathedral Abseil fundraiser. Being a purely voluntary organisation, they rely on such events to keep alive the vital service they provide and so, each time they run the abseil, around 100 crazy people climb the seemingly endless spiral staircase to the top of the tower and...

Think of it as a one way system!

Here comes a crazy person on the quick route down.

Getting closer!

Oh, hello Ben!

And you seem to be being followed!

Around £14,500 has been pledged in sponsorship! Half to the DMRT and half to the Cathedral Chapter which supports projects connected with the work of the cathedral among the people of Derby.

Good fun!

Thursday 29 September 2011

Cross 'O'Th Hands

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.Look for the letter, to see where I am.

A little bit of inventiveness needed for today...

X is for Cross 'O'Th Hands (X of the Hands).


The place we are visiting today is quite small; just a collection of farms and houses and a chapel.

The  setting is pastoral, the hills gently rolling, but the overall altitude is raised in relation to the surrounding countryside and there are good viewpoints outside the village in both directions.

It's rather unusual name was taken from the long gone public house which is believed to have been used for bare knuckle fist fighting.

The houses are brick built and vary in age.

The Methodist Chapel was built in 1903; its original designated being a Primitive Methodist Chapel.

It is still open and holds a service every Sunday evening.

It's lovely to see the red telephone boxes still around. In the cities, most of these have been replaced by their more modern, dull grey counterparts.

And, at the very top of the village, is the main road which runs between Ashbourne and Belper.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

How can you tell it's autumn?

How can you tell it's autumn?

By the golden leaves drifting gently to the ground and rustling underfoot?

By the clusters of bright berries on the holly or the rose hips ripening to red?

By the storehouses full of fruits and grains; the hay bales in the barn?

By the chill in the early morning or the darkening of the sky after tea?

By Orion the Hunter striding across the night sky once again?


Or is it by what you discover lurking in your bath?

And in the darkest grottiest corners beneath the sink?

It must be getting cold outside!

Monday 26 September 2011

Grab a day on gritstone

Before he headed back off to Uni, Mark was desperate to squeeze in one more day of climbing on gritstone so, his final Wednesday, we loaded all of his gear in the car and headed off to Stanage. The sun was shining and all was well - until Chesterfield, when the clouds began to gather. After that, the further north we travelled, the more the clouds were gathering until at around Calver...

We didn't even bother walking up to the edge. From the car, you could see the wetness of the rock. The rain was streaming down persistently and the sky was grey from horizon to horizon!

What to do..?

I didn't fancy a day watching him bouldering at the indoor wall in Sheffield, so we decided to return home in a loop past The Roaches in the hope that the weather down there may be reasonable.

And guess what..!

It was a glorious afternoon!

Mark found a couple of easy peasy routes for me to follow him up and top roped an E2 barefoot (with me on belay) after which I settled down with my flask of coffee, while he got out his toothbrush...

...and cleaned his boulder.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Purple heather

Early autumn - the time when the hills come alive with the flowering of the heather, like the spreading of a rich purple cloak.

Where shining purple heather stretches far across the moor,
and the lapwing's cry above me takes the place of traffic roar.
And peace comes drifting gently, there's no place I'd rather be
than this land of hills and valleys, from the Pennines to the sea.

 'A Symphony for Yorkshire'  Doreen Brigham

Thursday 22 September 2011

It wer' a bit wet in Willington

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.Look for the letter, to see where I am.

W is for Willington.

'Willington' comes from the Old English tun (homestead or farm) among the willows. It is a village of around 2,700 people, situated on the banks of both the River Trent and the Trent and Mersey Canal, approximately 5 miles outside Derby.

The Green Man is one of 3 pubs in the village, all between the centre and the canal.

The centre of the village has a double mini roundabout which was causing quite a backlog of traffic while I was there. Around the roundabouts are a florist,

post office

and Co-operative Supermarket.

This road runs away from the roundabouts, south towards the bridge over the Trent between Willington and Repton. The railway bridge is both low and narrow; not a problem for cars, but a bit of a pain for larger vehicles which need to drive in the centre of the road to avoid hitting the edges of the arch.

Also alongside the roundabouts is the raised railway station.

From here, you can catch trains to Birmingham, Stoke on Trent, Crewe, Nottingham and Derby.

The village clock marks the time.

Yet another railway bridge heads out on the Derby road, along which is the modern Baptist Church...

...and the Chinese takeaway.

In Derbyshire, we call this a jitty, meaning a footpath between two streets. This particular one leads down the side of the village school.

Willington Community Primary School is a smart looking building (in spite of the flat roof; I'm suspicious of flat roofs) which has around 200 children on roll, aged between the ages of 5 and 11.

Just down the road is the Village Community Hall which, if I'm honest, looks functional, rather than interesting or attractive. Useful though!

Heading back past the centre, it's only a matter of a few strides to the canal. Look carefully and you can see the raindrops rippling the surface of the water!

Here, there are temporary moorings for narrow boats, mostly looking pretty forlorn on this soggy September afternoon.

The post sets out the regulations for the moorings. I'm sure you can figure out the rules for this location (though I think the dog poop sign is aimed more at local dog walkers than boaters!).

Not surprisingly, the picnic benches in the beer garden behind The Dragon are deserted. On a balmy summer evening, this is a popular spot for a beverage.

Nipping round roadside, this is what the front of the pub looks like. It's had a bit of a makeover since Dad and I last stopped off here a couple of years ago. I have to say that it needed it. We were virtually the only ones in the place at the time!

Almost next door is Willington's third pub...

...the delicatessen and a house sandwiched between the two drinking places. Lovely to have the canal behind, but I suspect it can get a bit noisy in the evenings!

And finally, for those who want longer term moorings than are on offer behind the pubs, there is the new Mercia Marina, where, for £107.30/metre of length per annum (excluding VAT), you can hire one of the 524 berths and park your boat. It's cheaper than renting a house and, if you get fed up of the views of the cooling towers of the now decommissioned Willington Power Station, you can always cast off and head out under the bridge to journey the Inland Waterways of Britain.

By the way, did you spot that this photo was taken on a different day? It doesn't rain here all of the time :)