13 June 2018

Virgin

"Virgin territory" - that's how I describe areas where I have not walked or taken pictures for the "Geograph" photo mapping project. These days to reach virgin territory I need to travel far from Sheffield.

And that's how it was on Monday morning. There was a strong possibility of rain showers east, south and north of the city so I headed west. Out across The Peak District towards the High Peak town of Buxton. I aimed to park in the village of Harpur Hill which came into being because of limestone quarrying in the surrounding hills. This utilitarian place sits just north of the national park boundary. Beyond that line almost all quarrying activity is prohibited.

At 11 am my boots were tied and I was off on an eight mile ramble. Up to Countess Cliff Farm and then along a track where I met two men - a father and son who were in the process of shearing a section of their flock. I stopped for a while to talk and they were happy to let me snap a few pictures.

"What's it like in that theer Sheffield then?" asked the younger man as he yanked an uncomplaining ewe into the shearing position. 
They had lived their entire lives up there surrounded by sheep pastures and limestone workings. While I was mustering awkward adolescents in classrooms they were repairing drystone walls and watching the weather - assisting the lambing process while I marked exercise books at two in the morning. Different lives.
Onwards to the now disused Stanley Moor Reservoir and then on to Turncliff and Thirkelow. It seems that I was in fact circling a big government installation - The Health and Safety Executive Campus where there are laboratories and testing sites for all manner of things and events such as train crashes and explosions. 

Then I turned up to the lane that leads to Earl Sterndale. I passed Buxton Raceway - located on the bleak limestone plateau. It's here that speedway meets happen throughout the summer. The stadium is home to The Buxton Hitmen. Their next home fixture is versus Birmingham Brummies on July 8th.
Ticket booth at Buxton Speedway Track
I plodded on towards Hillhead Quarry. There were two parked cars  on the grassy slopes above. Wives of retirement age were sitting in deck chairs chatting while their boyish husbands flew whining model aeroplanes over the landscape.

Then on to Stalker Hill and under a disused railway track on the way back down to Harpur Hill where I stopped at the "News Food and Wine" village store for a pint of milk and a cheese and onion sandwich - all quickly consumed while sitting on a wooden bench outside "Harpur Plaice" fish and chip shop. Clint was waiting patiently for my return.
On our way home I stopped on the outskirts of the delightful peakland village of Chelmorton to take a picture of Chelmorton Low where an England football supporter has arranged the  name of our country in limestone rocks upon the green sward. England play their first game against Tunisia next Monday evening at The Volograd Arena. Come on England! Come on!

28 comments:

  1. Your mention of different lives is a concept that I sometimes find completely mind boggling. It's obvious and simultaneously unthinkable that someone not so far away has done completely different things and been totally unknown.
    Interesting to see them shearing out of doors. It's all done in sheds here

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    1. Aye, I have heard that Australian shepherds like their home comforts.

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  2. You've given me a great idea for the top of my strainers.

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    1. You mean that box bush growing at the top of the gatepost?

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    2. Yes. Generally referred to as 'strainers' because they take the strain for the fence.

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  3. A cheese and onion sandwich?? This is a delicacy that I have never heard of, and I've heard of chip butties and Tayto crisps sandwiches; I've even sampled a deep-fried Mars bar and I've had a martini at the Savoy. In short, I thought I knew British food but lo, I have never laid eyes on a cheese and onion sandwich. I am suddenly obsessed with this item. I have just spent the past 15 minutes googling recipes. Is there a vegan version in the BOSH! cookbook?

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    1. You've never heard of a cheese and onion sandwich? Eee lass, you've never lived. They are almost as good a Philly and gherkin sandwiches.

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    2. Here's my recipe for a cheese and onion sandwich
      a) get two slices of buttered bread
      b) put slices of cheese and slices of onion between slices of bread
      c) eat your sandwich

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  4. I wonder if being sheared feels good to a sheep. Seems like they might like it.

    I love that photo with the England hillside at the end! Great shot!

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    1. I watched while four sheep were sheared and got the impression they were happy to lose their hot fleeces.

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  5. The photo with the cow looking back at you is GREAT - you know how much I usually am all for the abandoned barns and old churches etc., but this somehow "speaks" to me. I also like the one with the path underneath the old railway track very much, and the fence/gate/stone wall.
    Sounds like you had a really good walk there. So glad your knee is not giving you trouble these days.

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    1. I felt so good on Monday. No significant pain. I am pleased that the cow picture really speaks to you and what does it speak? It speaks, "Moooo!"

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  6. So many questions today. Is the shearing man in a hanging harness or does it just appear that way? Is there greenery growing out of the post or is there a tree behind the post? Is the speedway track entirely gravel?

    If we want to spell out words or line a driveway with white rocks, we have to paint them! How lovely to have limestone instead. The pictures today are particularly nice. I especially enjoyed the many rock walls in the last one.

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    1. You are a very inquisitive young lady Jenny! I bet your teachers got sick of you asking questions in class
      a) It wasn't a hanging harness, it was to do with his electric shearing equipment.
      b) re. the gatepost, there was no tree behind. The little "box" bush was growing out of the gatepost with no houses nearby.
      c) In England speedway tracks are normally covered with old cinders from industrial processes. That speedway track has the bleakest situation I have ever seen.

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    2. I never said a word in class unless I was called on. My curiosity has only kicked in since our kids left home and I have time to actually think :)

      Thank you for the answers. It's pretty neat that the bush was growing out of the gatepost!

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  7. a new adventure. You picked up lots of the history. I like the limestone sign. Here I do the same thing in snow.

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    1. You write "ENGLAND" in snow? I bet The Micro Manager follows you with her bullwhip.

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  8. YP, everytime I look at the pics you have taken and read about the day you have had I am so sorry that I don't emulate you and just get out and about more.........wandering about this beautiful country and noticing sights and sounds...how marvellous...I would love to join you some day as I think you are very knowledgeable and would make a great tour guide!

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    1. All it takes is an ordnance survey map, good weather and a comfortable pair of walking boots Libby. I like to walk on my own at my own pace, making my own decisions. A walk in the English countryside is always a delightful adventure. You never know what you will see. My wife might not be happy about me meeting up with mysterious women from The Midlands... but I will ask her all the same.

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  9. I love the last pastoral picture. What a wonderful day you had.

    I had no idea about the racing teams. So I looked it up and found that the Brummies have been a team since the 1940's! How many teams in England and do they compete in other countries?

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    1. You probably now know more about English speedway than I do Donna! My brother Robin has always been a fan of motorcycles and motorsports and he has visited speedway meets many times but I have only been to one speedway track to watch Hull Vikings. It just wasn't my cup of tea and it was far too noisy too!

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  10. You certainly do get around, Yorkie...the Happy Wanderer.

    Your photos are a wonderful record of your hike. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. That is one of the reasons I make posts like this Lee - to record walks I have done so that when I am a decrepit old man sitting in a home for the elderly - I will be able to look back and remember.

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  11. You've mentioned the "Geograph" photo mapping project before I believe. I would love to hear more about this project sometime if you were so inclined. I always enjoy your walks and photos. I especially love the last one with all the rock walls.

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    1. Dear Bonnie - This is the web address - http://www.geograph.org.uk/
      Dip in and you will begin to see many fantastic images from The British Isles.

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  12. I adore the bridge photo

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    1. It has no name so I hereby name that structure The John Gray Memorial Bridge.

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