18 December 2013

Pennines

Self-portrait above Harden Clough
The weather forecast for Tuesday came true. Bright and beautiful. I drove northwards out of Sheffield towards Huddersfield but near the hamlet of Victoria turned west towards the high Pennines and parked at Harden above sparkling reservoirs.

At first it was bitterly cold - my hands whipped by an icy northern wind but relief arrived when I entered the shelter of the pine forest at Ellentree Brow. In this plantation there's an abandoned hamlet called Hades - a great name for a settlement don't you think? Lord knows what former inhabitants did up there on the edge of the moors - probably quarrying stone and in the wintertime it would have been like hell - miles from anywhere. Hades indeed.

Yes it's wild country up there that's for sure. You come across isolated houses and tumbledown farms but it's not somewhere I would want to live. This isn't "escape to the country" with roses growing up the trellis and ducks waddling to the pond as bees hum amidst pink geraniums. Here there are few trees and often the only sounds you will hear are the rushing of wind, the bleating of sheep and a sudden cacophony from fly-away grouse. It's very exposed. Like the bare rocks of ancient quarries. 

But I saw this fellow in a young conifer plantation and snapped him a split second before he flew away:-
A robin on Copthurst Moor
And in the valley these starlings were just watching the world go by:-
Like a bird on a wire - starlings at Hade Edge
You get military jets flying over occasionally, leaving dissipating contrails in the sky:-
Disappearing contrails above "The Bay Horse" at Hade Edge
View from the conifer plantation towards Hade Edge:-
Looking to Hade Edge from the conifer
plantation at  Ellentree Brow 
Returning to my car at two thirty in the afternoon, the light was already fading:
Flight Hill Cottage in the fading December light
When I studied Geography during my A level years, the Pennines were often described as "the backbone of England" but other words that seem to capture the essence of these hills were probably considered too poetic, too un-geographical - words like "hardy", "elemental", "windswept" and yes - "exposed", "wild" and "isolated" too. It takes a certain kind of human being to choose to occupy the very vertebrae of our country's spine.

21 comments:

  1. I'm curious who owns the abandoned farm places? Do the farmers just no longer live on their land? If that was in the U.S., it would be a sign that the property was bought by developers who are just biding their time until they had politicians in their pocket who would let them do as they wished with the property. I hope it's different where you live.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any land or abandoned farms and homes will certainly be owned by someone. These places are usually in hard-to-access situations and developers will have rejected them as being poor bets re. the investment required. It's kind of nice to see them crumbling back into the landscape from which they grew.

      Delete
  2. Living as I have done for nearly 40 years on Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides I understand what it is like living somewhere remote. Nowhere in The Pennines is as far away from a city as Lewis is. However having spent much time in or on The Pennines I can agree that it takes a certain kind of human being to carve out a living in that landscape. Even with modern transport and commuter living there is a sense of remoteness with which most people would not cope. And yet sometimes the romance of the desolation draws one so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GB - I have been to the Inner Hebrides but not to Lewis and its sister islands. Any films I have seen of the Outer Hebrides reveal an apparent desolation, raw beauty, peace and isolation. Though I would love to visit, I could never see myself living somewhere like that. However, my imaginings probably bear little relation to your intimate feelings about Lewis based on forty years of living there. Have you previously blogged about this? Please direct me if you have.

      Delete
    2. I have a blog of my life outwith New Zealand in Scotland. It's Eagleton Notes. You'll find plenty about Lewis there.

      Delete
    3. Just butting in here - GB, I've been following lots of people from Lewis and other islands on twitter recently (don't shout it out, as I know YP doesn't like tweeting or twits ...) - fascinating places, interesting people!

      Delete
  3. PS You have next year's Christmas card in your first photo. Superb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you mean the robin or my shadow?

      Delete
    2. I sometimes wonder about my memory (assuming, that is that I can count up to 2). I meant, of course, the robin. I am a silly billy.

      Delete
  4. I rather fancy the sound of the hamlet Hades!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could be the mayor or an entrepreneur - developing a secret "domtom" business in the woods.

      Delete
  5. You've lost weight YP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just a shadow of my former self Earl John.

      Delete
  6. Hello, this is my first visit to your blog - but definitely not my last! I have seen you commenting on Graham's (GB) blog and your nickname caught my attention. Through family ties, I visit Yorkshire once a year - wishiing I could do that more often - and feel very much at home there. That's more than enough reasons for me to follow your blog from now on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm... I spoke too soon. I can't find a "Follow this blog" button anywhere. Is it hidden among the fish?

      Delete
    2. Librarian - thanks for dropping by and I'm so pleased that you have some Yorkshire links. Do you wear a flatcap and say "ee by gum"? I am not sure what a "follow this blog" button is. Maybe I will investigate and add one. Thanks for the tip. I shall also be visiting your place soon - giving you time to sweep up your blog, hoover the red carpet and make me a nice cup of Yorkshire tea.

      Delete
    3. Flatcaps don't suit me, I'm afraid, but I can say "gizzit" pretty convincingly.
      How do your other readers know when there is a new post on your blog? And how do you know when there are new Posts on those blogs you like to read? Maybe there is a method other than "following".
      I'm a neat freak, so my blog is always ready for visitors :-)

      Delete
    4. Yorky ~ just to help you and the Librarian out ~ on your Blogger Dashboard you will find an ADD button under Reading List. You can add anyone's blog to that reading list and each time they publish it will appear in the list ~ for you to browse or read further.

      My Follow button started returning errors, so I removed it, and can't be bothered trouble shooting it.

      Delete
    5. Thanks, Carol - I shall add this blog through my reading list, then. Had no idea you can "follow" a blog any other way than by the "Follow" button!

      Delete
  7. That is one thin looking shadow YP ~ you need some Christmas Pud! Great photos of the Penines ~ I like the one looking through the trees to the valley.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must be true to my tribe Carol - Yorkshire pud, not Christmas pud! In fact it's the Yorkshire pudding diet that has seen my weight drop so that I am now little more than a walking shadow. In fact I get very nervous when the wind blows these days - in case I am carried away like an autumn leaf.

      Delete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.