Monday 30 April 2012

Red sky

Red sky at night, shepherd's delight!

I took this on Saturday evening. In theory, that means that Sunday was dry and sunny.

Something went wrong! Sunday was foul! Wet, windy, cold...

It barely stopped raining all day.

I suppose the partially obscuring clouds should have been a clue!

Red sky at night, shepherd's delight as long as there aren't any dirty big obscuring clouds in the equation.

It doesn't quite scan.

Friday 27 April 2012

Wonderful or weird?

From the top of the Robin Hood's Stride, it is possible to see this stone circle. There are around 20 such circles in Derbyshire and the Peak District and it is believed that they were built sometime during the early Bronze age, which would make them around 5,000 years old. 

This particular circle is the Nine Stones Close Circle.  As it's name suggests, it was once a ring of nine stones, forming a circle with a diameter of 45 feet. These are the tallest standing stones in Derbyshire; up to 2.2 metres high.

No one knows exactly why these circles were erected, but it's likely that they had some religious significance, probably connected with the cycle of the seasons and the relative positions of sun and moon at particular times of the year.

Of course, such places grow legends. This circle is also known as the Grey Ladies; the belief being that, at midnight, the stones turn into ladies and dance on the moor.

Another legend tells of a 19th century farm worker who was walking near the stones when he found a clay pipe. As soon as he lit it, his head was filled with the most beautiful aroma. He gradually became aware that the ground around the stones was transparent and he could see down to another world, filled with brightly clothed little people; possibly faeries.

Wonderful or weird? What do you think?

To see what other people have chosen for W, wander over to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Mock Beggar's Hall

Mock Beggar's Hall is the local name for this gritstone outcrop on the edge of Harthill Moor near Winster in Derbyshire and it's easy to see why with the stones standing erect like the remains of a once grand building. Look on the map, however, and the name you will read is Robin Hood's Stride.

Legend has it that Robin Hood himself strode between the two rock towers. If he did, he must have had jolly long legs because the stones are 15 metres apart! A feat even for a legend like Robin!

It's a straightforward scramble up the side (or you can take the easy way on the path round the end), 

but the towers themselves present rather more of a challenge. 

I contented myself with the view from the ridge.

Following the path back down, I noticed this curious hollow in the side of the rock. It looks like it has been eroded by a whirlpool, but I imagine it must be the power of the wind. Odd that it should circle so often in this one spot.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Flat pack phobia


Could the human being cowering in this box possibly be my 6 foot something, just turned twenty, mountain walking, rock climbing son?

What on earth could bring about such a change?




Ah! I'm beginning to understand!

Oh help!

Move over. I think I want to cower in the box too!!


Instead, we packed it all away and waited until the next morning, when we started nice and early! 

And it wasn't quite as bad as it appeared :)

Eventually, I might actually get this seating area finished!

Friday 20 April 2012

Tod walk 12 : Tottering past the town hall in Todmorden

This is the town hall in Todmorden. There's a lot more to it than this, but after 11 miles of ups and downs and more ups and downs, I was ready to take my boots off!

According to the Calderdale Council website, it's a grade one listed building, straddles the river Calder and was once in both Yorkshire and Lancashire.

It was designed by John Gibson of Westminster and completed on April 3rd 1875, after a rather stop start construction process interrupted by, amongst other things, the American Civil War (because of the cotton famine it caused).

The detail in the carvings is rather lovely!

I thoroughly enjoyed this walk with it's varied environments and far distant views. We've done canal and farmland, woods and moorland; up on the tops and descents into the valleys. We even managed to see a bit of gritstone.

 Thanks for coming along to share it.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Tod walk 11 : track, path and ginnel

Downhill all the way (except for the steps up to the car) and, after almost 11 miles, I have to say that I was quite pleased.

We wandered down a typical sandy farm track,

and a walled lane

past another weaver's cottage

and this typical northern pathway.

In Derbyshire, this a jitty. Up here in Yorkshire (and Lancashire) it is known as a ginnel.

What would you call it?

Monday 16 April 2012

Tod walk 10 : Tod-tiki

I've been especially busy for the past week with much taxi-ing of offspring to climbing crags. Finally, I have a few spare minutes to continue with the final stages of our Tod walk.

A little way below the Bride Stones, we were surprised to spot this rather unusual stile post. I knew nothing about this art form, so I had a search on Google and discovered that it is known as Tiki, meaning a wood or stone carving in humanoid form.

There are several sources for the word Tiki. In Maori mythology, he was the first man; on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, he guards the entrance to the underworld; while at Mangaia, he is a woman, the first to die

I rather liked the little fellow. He has such a grumpy face :)

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Tod walk 9 : The Bride Stone and the Groom

Eventually, the top of the hill came into view and we saw the jagged line of the Bride Stone crags.

This is gritstone and, inevitably, there were people climbing. I didn't see any ropes though, just lots of bouldering mats. When I checked with Mark afterwards, he told me that the crags are well known for bouldering because there are a lot of highball problems (routes which are not quite high enough for trad climbing, but are at the top end of what would be recognised as bouldering. - I've never enquired about the origin of the name 'highball' :p )

I love the little peep holes through grit.

The views were marvellous.

Snack stop on top!

The trig point is beginning to crumble a little.

This weathered bit of grit is the rock after which the whole crag is named. Once this was part of a pair of standing stones; the bride stone and the groom stone. In the past, wedding ceremonies happened here. Unfortunately, the top heavy groom stone has toppled from his base and the bride stone is left standing alone.

The groom stone is on the right here, lying behind his base.

Of course, there were the inevitable quips about drunken grooms :)

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Tod walk 8 : Earthmill to Coal Clough

These things seem to be popping up all over the place nowadays

Individual wind turbines, erected to supply environmentally friendly power to a specific building or business.

On a rather larger scale, the 24 Vestas WD34 wind turbines spread out along the moor by Long Causeway are Coal Clough, one of the oldest onshore wind farms to have been built in Britain (1992). Each tower is 98 feet high, plus has a blade length of  55 feet with which it generates up to 24,000 MW-h of electricity per year, enough to supply power to around 6,000 homes in neighbouring Burnley.

We first spotted this farm after our long ascent of Back o'th' Edge and thereafter, it repeatedly came into view as we twisted and turned along the route of our walk.

When I say 'larger scale' I am speaking relatively though. This wind farm is owned by Scottish Power and, in December 2009 they submitted an application to repower Coal Clough. The proposal is to replace the existing 24 turbines with just 8 new ones. However, what is sacrificed in numbers is made up for in size. Each of the 8 new turbines will have a total height of 361 feet; more than three times the total height of the current ones!

Opinion about wind turbines is split, but whatever your personal point of view, it would seem they are here to stay. 

Monday 9 April 2012

Tod walk 7 : Black sheep

The path continued to twist and turn its way through the woodland until suddenly, we were out into open fields.

The windmilling tails would suggest that these two lambs were enjoying their mid afternoon snack!

We were fascinated by the markings; night black fleece with the white blaze being more horse-like than sheep!

I had no idea what they might be, so I Googled and found a photo which led me to this:

The Balwen sheep has a base color of black, brown, or dark grey. It has a white blaze on the face, four distinct white feet, and a half to two-thirds white tail. All males must have horns. Horns are not allowed on females. The Balwen Welsh Mountain Sheep is a small, very hardy breed. They are easy to manage, having very few health problems associated with many of the larger breeds.    Link 

Apparently, they come from the Tywi Valley and the Welsh word Balwen means 'white blaze (which rather makes sense).

I hope they survived this weeks snow!

In 1947, the breed was nearly wiped out. Only one ram remained! No wonder I've not come across them before.

Saturday 7 April 2012

Tod walk 6 : Gateway @ Knots Road

The beginning of the longest climb of our walk, saw us following Knots Road to this well defined footpath, which passed through the gate and took a very gentle route up the hillside.

(At least, it was gentle at first!)

Friday 6 April 2012

Tod walk 5 : The pick and mix of Cornholme

This is Cornholme and we are looking down on it from our lunch stop; tuna mayo sarnies. Very tasty :)

The area of trees in the top left of the photo has the rather attractive name of Obadiah Wood. The main road  is the A646 from Halifax to Burnley, and Todmorden is a mere two miles along it to the right (south-east). We've taken the scenic route :)

The railway line bisecting the village is the same one that crossed over the Rochdale Canal at Skew bridge, right back at the beginning of our walk. Turn left for Lancashire!

The old stone terraces are splattered with colour in the sunshine, personal touches which add that extra bit of character to an already interesting street. The vivid pink back door is especially noticeable! Google maps tell me that this is Brighton Street.

The windows in the smaller building give away it's original purpose. This was a weavers cottage; an occupation requiring the maximum possible light. The loom shop would be on the upper floor with the living space below.

It's sometimes difficult to tell with these diesel multiple units (DMUs), but this train is Yorkshire bound and will probably be in Todmorden within 3 or 4 minutes. Our journey will be somewhat longer as we descend to the valley bottom, cross the railway bridge hidden just round the corner and then climb once more, up towards the Bridestones.

Today, I'm linking to Alphabe-Thursday, hosted by Jenny Matlock, where the letter of the day is T for Todmorden walk.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Tod walk 4 : Up Back o'th' Edge

We skirted the bottom of Gorpley Reservoir dam wall and headed off up a lane past this rather impressive tree house.

Then, after yet another drop to road level, we began our second climb of the day, along Back o'th' Edge  track towards Higher Woodfield Farm on the shoulder of the hill.

These impressive Highland cattle watched our passing with vague interest.

At least, I think they were both watching. It's hard to be sure under all of that hair!

This Small Tortoiseshell butterfly paused on the path to soak up a little sun. Once replenished, he continued on his way.

The Small Tortoiseshell is one of the most common species seen in the UK and, given a spell of warm weather, it can be seen at any time of the year, even mid-winter. More normally, they awake from hibernation near the end of March, after which they can be seen in a wide range of habitats, particularly favouring places where there are nettles.

Unfortunately, the species has declined in recent years, but it is unclear why this is happening.

Once up the track, the view opened out.. Wind farms are becoming increasingly common on our upland areas and their huge blades can often be seen rotating almost hypnotically. Today, though, these ones were completely motionless as there was hardly a breath of wind.

I'll return to this topic in a later post!

Meanwhile, we walked on past some newly renovated farm buildings towards this ruin at Roundfield Farm. Sad to think that this derelict farm house was once a family home. Look carefully and you can still see the brick built fireplace in the upper room.

But the ponies seemed quite content to call it home.