28 March 2010

Creatures of the Dark Peak

Whilst rambling among the peaks of the District we came across some interesting animals, some of which we have never seen before.  On the higher parts of the walk we were in the Heather moorlands of the Dark Peak.  Heather Moorlands are cold, bleak and treeless.  They are also the perfect or only environment where Grouse live.  Grouse are highly sought after game birds that look like chicken but can fly like quails.  We saw and heard Red Grouse.  There were boys and girls and they all seemed quite frisky, it is spring i suppose.

We also came across Mountain Hares.  Corinne said that she had seen an enormous multicoloured rabbit.  We eventually all saw the huge white and brown rabbit and thought it must have been an escaped giant pet rabbit.  Later in the walk we found a wildlife board and found the creature to be a Mountain Hare – Very cool. 


Very young rabbit  - Oryctolagus cuniculus


Red Grouse Male, surrounded by Heather.


Well camouflaged Male grouse disappearing into the Heather


Lone grouse on the Horizon


Male Grouse in a burnt region of Heather.  The Heather moorlands are managed to encourage Grouse and this involves controlled burning of the Heather to encourage new growth, green pick etc.





The Mountain Hare – Lepus timidus


The Dark Peak

This weekend we drove up to the Peak district, about 200 miles north of us to see Danny, Emma, Bryn and Xerxes.  We inspected the newly renovated flat which looks fantastic, especially the library. 

On Saturday we went for a ramble near Ladybower reservoir.  The hike was supposedly on 4-5 miles but it was hilly in places and cold and windy and so I am certain it was more, or felt like it.  Bryn the mutt also ran off at one point and changed the walk significantly by running downhill after some rogue sheep.

The Area was beautiful, we saw some great animals and wildlife and it is always great to be outside and away from suburbia.

The walk conveniently ended at the Ladybower Inn where we enjoyed a cold bevvie outside in the sun.  We then casually made our way to a few more drink houses ending with dinner at the ‘The Cheshire Cheese Inn’ in the little village of Hope. 

Once home we retired to the library, lit the fire and discussed existentialism over a brandy and a cigar.

The weekend was splendiferous and we hope to repeat another walk with the Pettets later in Summer when the Heather is flowering.


We started at the car park in the bottom of the pic and walked north to Ashopton, up to whinstone Lee Tor, onwards to the Hurkling Stones and The Wheel Stones.  Then we wlked back down the valley via the Cotthroat bridge to the Ladybower Inn.


Group photo with Ladybower reservoir in the background.  This picture was taken whilst on an early diversion in the walk, we missed the first turn on the path.  The map then changed hands.


Striving for the summit


A great view of the reservoir, the mutt and the people.



Some big rocks with people in front of them


Walking down the hill after we had captured the errant mutt after he chased some sheep a long, long way.


Corinne on a big pointy rock

12 March 2010

Still life


I had the day off today so I practiced a little with the camera doing still life shots.  These Sea Urchins shells are from Ithaca in Greece and are very interesting, complex little structures.




Focal colour with black and white edges


Excess exposure and contrast


The Beach in Ithaca where i dived down to the sea bed and found the dead shells of the the urchins – perfect


2 March 2010

Valentines on the Murray

While we were visiting Liv and Downy it was valentines day.  As the most romantic day of the year we thought it sensible to have some cava then some sparkling wine and then plod down to Thompsons Beach on the Murray and have some fine food.

We hung out in the back yard and then walked down through the red gums and Corellas down to ‘The Beach’ Cafe, about 50m from the Murray river.

The weather was great, good company, good food, a couple of cold beers for the walk - perfect



Starting the bubbly in the garden


Gorgeous, rugged Australian men making there way to the food


A woman decides to follow the men to see if they will leave her any scraps after the hunt


Red gum forest along the murray


The view from ‘The Beach’


A strange photo of us beside the cobram sign, walking home through town