22 December 2013

Tree

Only deranged people like me walk here. There are no paths on this wide expanse of open moorland - just tussocky grasses, clumps of heather, sphagnum mosses and the single birch tree you can see above. There's no other tree within half a mile of it. It's not a place where trees are meant to root themselves.

Beneath this deceptive moorland carpet, the earth is squelchy as rainwater accumulates before seeping along hidden rivulets to Burbage Brook. And in its turn that babbling stream winds its way for three miles to Grindleford where it joins the River Derwent which in its turn travels past Chatsworth House and through Matlock to Derby. And beyond that great Midlands city, it merges with the River Trent at Long Eaton. And then that larger, more important river - the Trent - loops through Nottingham heading northwards - passing the Lincolnshire hamlet of Gunthorpe where Shirley's family farmed for three generations. And thence under The Humber Bridge to The North Sea.

That thin, scarred and battered birch tree has been  bent into the shape you see by winds predominantly from the west. I have often noticed it when driving out of Sheffield - up the road to Ringinglow which then winds over this desolate moorland towards the Hope Valley. But today I stopped, laced my boots and then stumbled away from the road, through the winter heather, rough clumps of grass and spongy waterlogged earth to take these pictures before this short and chilly December day drew to a close. Yes...I'm as mad as a box of frogs.

21 comments:

  1. I love silver birch trees. If you think you are mad, I feel so sorry for that tree, if I lived nearby I'd buy some birch saplings, lug them out there and plant them!

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    1. Trouble is Hippo, the waterlogging and the acidity of the soil would greatly reduce the success rate here. It also sounds like the kind of thing that members of the ACP might do! (Arboreal Communist Party)!

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  2. Hippo, that's such a super idea! YP, I love your description of the water movement. Reminds me of Paul Gallico's 'Snowflake'. Ever read it?

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  3. PS. it was the first book I ever got out of the library - ie the first book I chose for myself and read all by myself. I'll never forget the thrill.

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    1. No I have never read it Katherine. I will now look out for it. It was first published in December 1952.

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  4. Burbage is a wonderful if wet place to walk.

    A typo here. The river Derwent flows through Chatsworth and Baslow. It is the Wye that flows through Bakewell.

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    1. Thank you for the correction Adrian - much appreciated.

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  5. Did you take your box of tinsel and baubles to decorate it? That would have been really kool Yorky.

    P.S. I am with Hippo ~ I would be planting some more.

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    1. You know Carol - I woke up this morning thinking just the same thing! In fact I imagined myself lugging a car battery over to the tree with fairy lights!

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  6. Welcome to the club of deranged people who love wide open spaces void of other people.
    Your pictures and description makes me want to go there for a longish hike, have the wind blow my mind clear of accumulated clutter and walk myself tired (which doesn't happen so easily).
    You mention Hope Valley. Is there a village named Hope Cross there?

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    1. Librarian - Hope Cross is a stone guidepost on the moors above the village of Hope. I included a picture of it in this blogpost from July 2012:-
      http://beefgravy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/rambling.html

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    2. Yes, I think we are talking about the same Hope, YP. One of my uncles is part of the people who have rebuilt and are running Crookstone Barn, 3 miles up the hills from Hope. (See http://www.crookstoneadventuretrust.org.uk/index.htm if you are interested.) My sister and I have spent a memorable weekend there in 2010. This is my favourite photo from that weekend, taken on the way up: http://s524.photobucket.com/user/MeksPics/media/England/England205.jpg.html

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  7. Decorate that tree, YP, and I bet it would make the Hull Times or that lesser known media organisation, Sky News.

    "Who decorated the tree?" mystery.

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    1. I like the idea Hippo but the tree is quite far from the road. Passers by would need to have falcon-like eyesight to notice my baubles!

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  8. So it came past me. I'm about three miles from Long Eaton and the Trent marks the boundaries around this neck of the woods. I drive over it every day on my way to work.
    Thank you for these views from 'upstream'.

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    1. You could say - my dear Lady AJ - that it is on spongy upland bogs like that that The Trent begins. BTW my in-laws used to employ an interesting verb - to "trent" something (e.g. garden rubbish) - meant to chuck it in the river!

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  9. I found your blog thanks to Carol from Australia.
    I loved your post about the little birch tree, great spot with a wonderful view
    greetings from Ireland

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  10. Carol and Hippo are right. Decorate it - you will know if no-one else does.
    And thank you for the beautiful photo. It looks like somewhere I would love to wander.

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  11. Think Casper David Friedrich. I had one of his trees on my office wall for years. You are by no means alone in wishing to be on the remote moors. Come to (should strictly be go to because I am in my New Zealand life at the moment) the Isle of Lewis and you will find plenty of it and freedom to roam undisturbed.

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  12. We have found a wonderful new invention - the battery operated LED Christmas tree lights. just the thing for your lonely little tree. Perhaps next year ?? That will give us time to buy some at the Boxing Day sales !!

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