Archive | December, 2013

Start to Growing Season

27 Dec

Boxing Day is the traditional date for sowing onions but as I was not at home I kicked my growing season off to a start by sowing Bedford Champion onions and putting them in my airing cupboard this morning (26th December).  They should germinate in about 7 days then I will move them to a light warm room until large enough to transplant into larger pots.

I then went outside and planted my Garlic. This year I am trying the variety; Albigensian Wight. These were purchased the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm.

Boxing Day

27 Dec

I began the day in Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire. I was hoping to catch up with Hawfinch as they usually frequent the grounds around the chapel, but today I was out of luck. It was literally freezing while I waited, scanning the tree tops and listening for thier calls.

Several Nuthatch were active calling and flying from tree to tree, as were a number of Goldcrest.  Stock Dove and Woodpigeon braved the frosty start and were singing.

 

From here I drove to the village of Lound and walked around a section of the Idle Valley Nature Reserve. the whole complex covers a huge area and is mainly disused gravel pits with alot of willow scrub and a small section of woodland.

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View from Neatholme Lane looking North towards Blaco Hill Farm

Waterfowl were well represented with Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Goldeneye, Canada and Greylag Goose on all the pits. Large numbers of Coot were also present.  Beyond the River Idle on Hayton Common there were about 80 Mute Swans with a small group of Whooper Swan.  It was very pleasing to see a flock of 30 Lesser Redpoll in Linghurst Wood.

Castleton December 7 2013

23 Dec

Left East Anglia early for a day around Castleton in the Peak District.  We were picked up by other members of our walking club (Norfolk Hillwalking Club) from Swaffham at 07:00.   The weather was OK as we drove across the fens towards the Friendly Farmer cafe which was to be our breakfast stop.  After a hearty breakfast we set off on the final leg of our journey, this time I was at the helm of the minibus.

At just after 10:30 we pulled up in the car park at the rear of the visitor centre in Castleton. There were 9 of us in total and we split in to two groups each doing a slightly different walk.  My plan was to leave Castleton on the Hope road then turn behind Lose Hill Hall and walk up to the top of Lose Hill. From here I planned to walk along the ridge to Hollins Cross, then MamTor.

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Looking back towards Lose Hill

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A lonesome Pine

The weather forecast was quite respectable for the day, not to cold, fine but windy. If we were really luck we might even see the sun!  There were a lot of people walking the ridge and some, judging by their footwear had just jumped off of one of the many coaches in the car park below.  We stopped for lunch just before reaching the top of Mam Tor. I knew it would be our best chance of shelter from the wind.  Lunch stop was a wise decision. S we approached the top of Mam Tor the wind was so strong people were holding on to each other to keep upright. This reminded me of a similar day a few years earlier in the very same place. It was a far cry from our last visit in August when we introduced our Granddaughter to hills.  Being a Norfolk girl she had never seen a decent hill before.  She was well impressed with the vistas from Mam Torr.

After leaving Mam Tor we made our way over the road heading towards the Limestone Way. From here I was walking towards Cave Dale past Peverill Castle and back in  to Castleton

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Walking towards Cavedale

Cave Dale is a small but very pretty dale leading towards the rear of Peverill Castle. As its name suggests there are some small caves which can be sen as you walk through.

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Cave Dale

A short walk of just over 8 miles, but it did allow time for a cup of tea in Castleton and a wander through the visitor centre.