16 February 2014

Squelching

No floods in South Yorkshire but even so the ground is pretty sodden. This was one of the tracks I squelched along on Sunday morning:-
I know that Mountain Thyme in Colorado likes to pin down where I have been walking using Google imaging. It was east of Bolsterstone to the north of the Ewden Valley, just below Stocksbridge. I had chosen to walk up on the hill in the vain hope that recent rain might have drained away. No chance. At times I felt like a World War One soldier at Passchendaele. My trusty boots were smothered in milk chocolate coloured mud. Fortunately, German soldiers were not shooting at me from their Teutonic trenches.. 
Above you can see lofty Hollin Edge Farm. Here I spoke with the ruddy faced farmer for a good few minutes. He was a pleasant fellow - born on this farm and he has lived there throughout his fifty hilltop years. He told me that his father had died two years ago and I sensed that his pain was still very raw. I guess that his father taught him everything he knows about hill farming - especially rearing sheep. They must have been very close - living and working together for so long.
 It may look ancient but the cairn above was erected in the 1870's. It is near the village of Bolsterstone and was constructed on top of Walder's Low which is a very ancient mound - the burial place of a Saxon chieftain - probably around 700AD.
Above, a muddy white horse looks for something green to graze upon on Sunny Bank. Beyond, you can see brimful Broomhead Reservoir in the valley. If only we could export some of this water to southern California!

Soon the non-sexual slipping and sliding and squelching was over. Walking down a tarmac track, back to my car, I tried to wash my boots in the clear water that was cascading from the hill above. It was as if the road had become a stream bed.

It had only been a short two hour walk because I needed to get back home. Our friends and neighbours - Jackie and Martin - had invited Shirley and I round to their house for Sunday dinner. Wine, beer, laughter and good home made food. The feast lasted a full five hours - putting a bit of welcome sparkle into the middle of muddy February.

8 comments:

  1. Sounds like a perfect combination of outdoors and indoors activities for me. Well, almost perfect. I must admit I would not have been happy with mud-covered boots, unless they were wellies and I could simply wash the mud off them afterwards.
    My activities were strictly indoors, since we were celebrating RJ's mother's 70th birthday and RJ and I were doing all the serving at table (posh dinner with all the silver and crystal out), clearing, washing up etc. I enjoy this kind of thing but was really knackered by 9.00 pm, as if it had been a normal working day.

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    1. Perhaps if you had served beans on toast, the job would have been less demanding. Hope you have a good week at work Arian.

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  2. Another good wander.
    I often think that the life of a hill farmer is a very lonely existence and with little reward.

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    1. Yes Adrian - I think the same - but there must be pluses too. Close to nature. Peaceful homes. Being your own boss - even if such bonuses don't pay the bills.

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    2. I love that term "hill farmer" ~ you have referred to it previously in your blog post about the female hill farmer who speaks at Shirley's WI. We don't farm hills here in Australia, least I don't think we do? We could do with a few more Ululrus or Olgas ~ but they are technically monoliths not hills.

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  3. If you do find a way to send water to California, spare a thought for me, one overnight shower in a year, that's all we've had...

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    1. I didn't realise it was so dry there Hippo. Perhaps your Filipino carpenters could construct a pipeline.

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  4. 'Tis good to see Bob the muddy white horse wearing his blankie.

    If each of your pictures received 18,858 views, that's still 53 pictures of yours that have been accepted. I imagine it's some much larger number, like 17,643....

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