Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The niggling Mid-February grey days

Wed. !5th Feb 2011.
         Yesterday was another grey cheerless day with a nagging blustery wind, it's what I call an in-between seasons sort of day, What do we do on this sort of day ? well I think up a quick idea and we go for it. This not only gets us out of the house but I hope it keeps our fitness level up. Yesterday to get out of the wind we headed for the shelter of the  Hardcastle Crags valley, a damp, mossy, shady, slippery place which at this time of year can look rather dreary because of the lack of sun. In spring and summer the valley floor is mostly covered in Mosses, Sedges, Ferns Lichens and large flushes of Golden Saxifrage. The valley is also famous for the large ant hills built by the Northern Hairy Wood Ant.
This valley is about 3 miles long  cutting deep into high farm land just below the moors of the South Pennines.
      Through my eyes there wasn't a lot to see, but on the upper south facing slopes of the valley the first frustratingly slow signs of string were just beginning to show.

                                  A mossy damp slippery world

The main river flowing through the valley is very peaty and acidic but it does hold small Brown Trout which in November tend to run up and spawn in the sweeter side steams were the water source is less acidic

                The side stream where the trout spawn

                   Golden Saxifrage showing signs of flowering

Gibsons Mill once a cotton mill in the 18th & 19th century, now a cafe and education centre run by the National Trust

          The shoots of Bluebells and the leafy rosette of Pink Purslane

 Perhaps Pink Purslane isn't a well known flower. In May 2009 we found drifts of it growing in the woodlands in Dumfriesshire  Southwest Scotland

Finally we like to stand on this rock and survey the woodland in the valley


  1. I'm so impressed you two get outdoors in all kinds of weather. Say, do bluebells and pink purslane bloom at the same time?

  2. Just the sort of place my husband and i would have liked to have gone to yesterday as it grey, wet and with a cold wind down here too. Can't wait for some sunny days.. they seem very few and far between so far this year.

  3. Fantastic photos David! I love all the mosses and they look lovely clinging to the tree trunks. Although the weather isn't all that great, it's still nice to see the first signs of Spring... the saxifrage in bud and the tips of bluebells poking through the soil. The last photo is a stunner..... what a vantage point!