Yesterday, my car had to go to the garage in Les Haudères for it’s regular service, so I had some time to kill before picking it up later in the day. Rather than walk back home, I decided to check out the Ferpècle valley, to see how the snow was getting on. And, although there was quite a bit, knee deep even, from the small reservoir to the valley itself, a lot had disappeared. But it will be a while yet, before I can venture too far above 2,000m (6,500 ft).
There are clear signs though that more flowers and creatures are emerging from their winter hibernation. I couldn’t identify picture 22 though, so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
In an attempt to catch up and get up to date, I’ve decided to group all my other holiday photos together. (I say my, but I’ve included 2 of Jude’s as well – suitably credited to her). As you will see we had some nice weather (unlike the rest of the UK at the time I understand) and we had yet another fabulous boat ride to the Farne Islands, where thousands of seabirds were nesting.
My apologies for all the bird pictures, but I know there are some keen birders out there following my posts. If any of them/you can identify the little brown birds in pics 2 and 28 then I’d be very grateful. I have my suspicions about the first but no idea about the second.
Judith and I spent the last week of our UK holiday in Northumberland. On our way down from Scotland, we dropped off Jo & Aaron at Edinburgh airport to continue their European holiday (in Berlin and Nice and then who knows where…)
We were quite fortunate with the weather and our first day out was to take a shortish walk along the coast from our base in Alnmouth to the next village north, called Boulmer (pronounced Boomer for some reason. How people ever learn English I’ll never know. It’s hard enough coping with the various accents without pronouncing things differently to how they look. Or maybe people just couldn’t spell properly in the old days!)
Anyway, it was a beautiful walk, with plenty of things to photograph along the way. 😊
For our last full day in the NW of Scotland, we drove around Loch Carron to Plockton and treated Jo, Aaron and Jude’s friend, Kate, to a boat ride on one of Calum’s famous* Seal Trips (where you are guaranteed to see seals, or your money back!) I have covered this village before, but I see that it was almost 3 years ago now, so I think it’s worth another post. Especially as, this time, Aaron and I went for a short walk to the viewpoint at An Fhrith Aird, where there is an exceptional view of where Loch Carron meets the Inner Sound between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland. (See map at the end of the picture gallery).
*As featured on the BBC TV series “Paul Murton’s Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs”.
While Jude caught up with old friends at Kate and Geoff’s Waterside Café, Jo, Aaron and I drove just a few miles up the road to the Lochcarron Weavers to find some MaCrae memorabilia. We’d also been tipped off that just across the way there was a very interesting 10 minute walk up to the abandoned village of Stromemeanach, which was left to fall into ruin in the 19th century in favour of Lochcarron itself.
On the way back, we stopped off to view the ruined Strome Castle, where Jo actually broke into a run (possibly for the first time in 10 to 15 years) after taking some photos of the Highland cow and calf (in pic 11). I only took one picture of her running, but it turned out pretty well, so I had to post it.
Later that day I strolled down to Slumbay Island (though it’s inappropriately named as it’s still connected to the mainland even at high tide), where I captured a couple of shore birds and, as usual when I find myself on a beach, I found a few stones to stack. 😊
I’m normally quite strict in posting things in chronological order and so, at this point, I should be blogging about my daughter’s wedding. However, as things turned out, I didn’t get the chance to take many photographs (and the ones that I did take were quite ordinary). So I (and you) will have to wait until the newly weds return from honeymoon (in Houston, New Orleans and Miami) for me to post some of the best official photos.
So, in the meantime, I’ll get you up to date on the rest of our time in the UK…
You may recall that Judith and I had rented a cottage in Hathersage and on our last day there, before heading up to Scotland with my other daughter, Joanne, and her partner, Aaron, (see post tomorrow), we went for a quiet stroll along the River Derwent. (Regular followers may recall this post nearly 2 weeks ago).
By the time most of you read this I will probably be at my daughter’s wedding. Eventually I will post pictures of said event, if I’m allowed, but for the time being, I’m trying to keep up to date with recent events, otherwise you will all be bombarded with an even longer series of posts when I get back home…
So, on Thursday, while my wife was enjoying herself baking cakes and finishing off her dress for the wedding, I set out to do a loop from Castleton. It started by walking south west up Cave Dale, before striking north west and over Mam Tor (at the dizzy height of 517m / 1,696 ft), to follow the ridge or crest north east over Hollins Hill and Back Tor to Lose Hill, (which is also called Ward’s Piece for some reason) and then returning to Castleton for a well earned refreshment. 🍺
The forecast was for ‘good’ weather, but the sun seemed to take an age to burn off the early morning mist, so the pictures below are a little murky. Being pretty much in the middle of England, the Peak District is easily accessible to many and, as such, the paths can get very eroded. So the powers that be have placed massive paving stones to help alleviate the problem.
P.S. Re pic 10: Don’t worry, I do plan to have a shave and smarten myself up for the wedding. You may not even recognise me! 😊
It’s funny how certain places crop up again in your life. It was only last year that Colin and I started and finished our Inn Way to the Peak District walk in Hathersage and, this week, Jude and I just happen to be staying in a small cottage on the outskirts of the village.
On Tuesday, I had a little time to spare and so decided to do a walk, which didn’t cover the same ground as Colin and I along all the ‘Edges’. My route would take me south along the River Derwent as far as Calver, where I turned west to the ‘plague village’* of Eyam, before heading back across the moor to Hathersage.
Along the way I saw many birds, including 3 nuthatches (not captured on camera unfortunately). But just to forewarn any slightly squeamish readers, I’ve included a series of 3 pictures below of a European Robin taking care, as it were, of a huge worm.
*In 1665 the plague hit the small town of Eyam and, led by the Reverend William Monpesson, the locals agreed to a self-imposed quarantine to stop it spreading. At the top of the hill, I passed a well, where food and medicines were left in exchange for the villager’s money. The coins were subsequently disinfected with vinegar. Figures vary but around 270 villagers died, with anywhere between 83 and 430 surviving.
As previously mentioned, my wife and I are in the UK at the moment and on Monday we went to visit Judith’s parents, Angela and Lawrence. After a delicious lunch, Angela took us on another wonderful walk, this time around the Limeworks Heritage Area at Llanymynech. (I’ve never understood how to pronounce these Welsh names, but I understand the first y is as you might expect, like an ‘ee’ sound, but the second y is more like a u, as in bun. It’s no wonder I’m confused!)
Anyway the village straddles the border between England and Wales and the old Limeworks does the same, such that there is an English Quarry and a Welsh Quarry. As you might expect, the two were fiercely competitive, until a tunnel was made which connected the two and they decided to merge. However, the Limeworks eventually became uneconomic and closed in 1914.
The Offa’s Dyke long distance path also runs alongside.
They say time flies when you’re enjoying yourself, but where does time go? Quite incredibly, it’s 4 years to the day since I entered the blogosphere. It’s been an amazing journey so far and it’s certainly kept me busy during my retirement, which was one of my goals when I first started this site. (My long suffering wife, Jude, will tell you it’s kept me too busy at times, but I do like to put my heart and soul into things!)
I’m not really into the stats, but I’m very grateful for 439 followers (11 of them via email) and especially to those who have been, shall we say, more ‘active’ with comments to let me know that I’ve not been talking to myself (something my mates will tell I’m very good at) and to give me even more motivation and inspiration to continue. I don’t really want to single out any one individual, but Jet Eliot has been with me for all but one month of this journey and I’d like to thank her for sticking with me all this time. She deserves a medal for her fortitude. I would certainly recommend her website to anyone interested in Travel and Wildlife – or anyone who might like reading or writing murder mystery thrillers. Despite being retired, I still really don’t have enough time or, if truth be known, the inclination to read books, but her Golden Gate Graveyard is a humdinger.
So, to today’s pictures… The first two below I took on Monday, the first with Jude’s SLR camera and a zoom lens from about a metre away. The next ‘set’ were during a walk up the track/path at the back of our chalet. I’d seen a small deer casually walking up the road earlier in the day and I hoped to find it, but it had disappeared, as only wild animals can. Then, at the risk of making you all feel a little cold, or glad that you are where you are, some pictures I took this morning after about a foot (30 cm) of snow fell overnight. Enjoy!
Of course, I shall be celebrating this momentous occasion in the usual way this evening. Cheers! 🍺🍺 😋