Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Every year the Peaks attract thousands of visitors from all over the world with the vast majority of people arriving in the spring and summer months.
Today I briefly stopped at Nether North Grain which is one of my favourite locations in the area and was disgusted at the spectacle that greeted me...
Now this area is often overlooked by tourists because of the harsh nature of it's steep rugged hills and ravines, but there is a layby here which is a popular stopping point for drivers on the Snake Pass.
I actually only stopped myself today at the layby to see if I could spot the Red Kite I had seen earlier and when I got out of the car I was more than a little unhappy to see the amount of litter that had been left there.
An elderly gentleman from London got out of his camper van and assessed the scene with me. "Makes you ashamed to be British" he said...An old cliche, but non the less very true.
When are people in this country going to learn?
Here we were in the Peak District, a place renowned all over the world for it's beauty...Imagine if a American or French or German tourist had stopped their car here and this was their first point of call?
Not that unlikely, because this layby is the first decent sized one if travelling from Manchester along the Snake.
I think they would have been rather disappointed.
Litter of course is a major threat to wildlife and the environment, but it isn't the only problem on the Snake Pass route...Speed is another.
At the height of the tourist season the road is a magnet for sports cars and motorcycles with boy racers testing their 'skills' on the Snakes infamously dangerous windy bends...
For Gods sake THINK!!!
Especially at this time of the year, when wildlife is more active.
On my way back home and just outside Glossop, there was a rather distressed looking lady standing by her vehicle, hazard lights flashing and a dead Sheep in front of her bonnet.
OK accidents happen and sheep are not the best advocates of the Green Cross Code, but when driving in the countryside too many people just don't seem to take into account the prospect of cattle and wildlife in the road and believe me, there were plenty of jaywalking sheep today...
The Mountain Hare is a species I've been trying to get near to recently and sadly I don't think I'll ever get a closer view than this...
Blackfaced Sheep, Alport Moor, Derbyshire Peak District...Just how I like them...ALIVE!
Friday, 23 April 2010
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Monday, 19 April 2010
Keeping hold of the balloon while it inflated proved hard work and a great effort was put in by all including Dave pictured on the left with one of the crew members.
Alright, maybe I felt just a tiny bit guilty running around taking pictures while everyone else was putting in the graft, but I was given a fantastic licence to roam by the boys from Virgin and I wanted to take full advantage.
Here is a shot of the inside of the balloon while it was inflating...
Now all the time the air is going into the balloon, the basket is on it's side and after a while the first of the passengers are invited to climb aboard while the vessel is in this position.
This is a hot air balloon after all, and the next job is heat all that cold air generated by the fans.
Fans off, burners on...
After a few minutes, the basket is flipped over into it's correct position and the rest of the passengers quickly jump on board.
Guide ropes are released and up she rises...
Sailing away into the evening sky...
It was off to the Red Lion Pub for a meal and a couple of pints of the excellent Black Sheep Bitter for myself and wife Emma courtesy of Jackie and Dave while the flight was in progress and we later received a call from Jackie to say they had landed safely in a farmers field some place or another.
While Emma and I were sampling the fine local offerings, Dave and Jackie were busy packing the balloon away with the crew and the rest of the passengers. It wasn't all hard work for them and as soon everything was packed safely on the trailer, the champagne corks popped.
All in all a great evening and despite saying "you would never get me up in one of those things", I must admit that I did feel slightly envious of the lucky adventurers and after seeing things first hand and at such close quarters, I might be persuaded in the future! I must admit, that it would be nice to get some pictures from a birds eye view and a balloon certainly is a better vessel for this than any other way of flight.
I'd just like to say a special thanks to all the crew on the Virgin Balloon team for giving me this special access and for making everybody including us land lovers feel very welcome and part of the experience.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Finally, I had a walk to a different stretch of the river behind the railway viaduct and noticed a dark cloud was just about to pass over the sun, so I quickly grabbed my spare camera complete with wide lens and captured the moment.
Sunday, 11 April 2010
I noticed that the male and female Grouse were staying very close to each other in all the pairs I saw, which is a sure sign that courtship is well and truly underway.
Friday, 9 April 2010
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Within a few minutes, he was on the ground only a few feet away, feasting without a care in the world and not the slightest bit worried about me pointing the camera at him.
His initial nervousness and mannerisms were identical to that I have observed with Red Squirrels in the past, although the thing that struck me most and perhaps even saddens me a little is how much more trusting this Grey seemed to be compared to his Red cousins...I'm slightly saddened at this because considering both UK species of Squirrel, the Grey is the one that really should be most fearful of man.
Monday, 5 April 2010
Friday, 2 April 2010
There was definitely a very nice feeling of spring on my arrival, with bright sunshine and bird song all around.
You do have to get down to the Vale early to catch the more desirable species and a early start always means good numbers of Cormorant...
Elsewhere on the water, it was business as usual with the normal array of common birds including this rather boisterous Mallard...
Away from the water and a little bit of spring colour was starting to show around the woodland and the hedgerows were very lively with plentiful House Sparrows...
Finally, it is Easter and a time when we should be reflecting on the life of a man that could walk on water, so I thought it was only apt to end with this shot of a Coot...