January 26 ” bleak”

A bleak and bitter end in late January. After dank foggy and cold days comes the bitter cold. But with a good warm coat the cold brings her own delights and we spend a great afternoon in Bradford Dale. We are greeted at the dale head by a flock of Goldfinches with the odd Greenfinch mixed in for good measure. Down the dale the river level is surprisingly and worryingly low . Coots ,moorhens and Mallards are around as usual along with one or two “dabchicks” who seem very happy. I wonder about herons having  seen four near the A6 earlier in the week. Sure enough we come across a beauty near the village. Turning  for the return walk back to Middleton we are entertained by a pair of dippers who are completely unaware of our presence. The crowning moment of the walk is yet to happen. There is movement in the undergrowth at the river’s edge .At first we agree that this is a wren. To our delight this turns out to be a Goldcrest. He is foraging on old thistle heads and dead grass really close to us.My attempts at a photograph come to nothing but a delightful moment. Back home tea and oar biscuits warm us up !

Listening : Sonicbrat “murmerations”

January 19

Five days ant not a sign of the sun! Picnic packed today we decide to walk around the Derwent and Bowden Reservoirs. Yes it is grey and dull but there are herons by the waterside and squirrels looking for food! We meet others who seemed like us undeterred by the encompassing gloom. From nowhere an R.A.F. Hercules swoops over the waters taking  everyone by surprise. He soon disappears and the thick silence returns . Later we explore “Slippery Stones” . A Brilliant day out.

Picnic View.


Listening :William Basinki ” Disintegration Tapes”.



January 17

The Peak District is still becalmed under damp low cloud and a clinging mist .The effect is of a Ghost World . Out on the Monsal Trail walking through the re claimed tunnels is surreal .Outside the light is eerie and strange .With a little imagination you can catch the echoes of the old rail men and tunnellers calling to each other.Quite a special experience to wander in this otherworldly atmosphere.


Listening : The Stone Tapes


Monday 16

The Peaks are shrouded in low cloud and mists . Visibility is very poor and there is not much daylight. Yet even in these murky conditions it’s worth getting the right gear on and experiencing the conditions! We head west and take the Hurdlow trail that takes in part of another bridleway. Everywhere is still.Only an occasional croak from a hidden crow or room breaks the silence. It’s pretty cool and mysterious.The landscape is very early Dr Who  or if a “Hammer” movie had been filmed in the Peak District . Back home the stove gives a welcoming glow along with tea and I am inclineded to listen to Steve Roach “structures from silence”

Listening : Steve Roach “structures from silence”


January 14 kingfishers

Peakland journal in Yorkshire! After a week of horrendous gales ,rain and snow we sojourned in Yorkshire walking along the canal at Saltaire.The day was still and fresh with some warmish sunshine. We met at lovely couple of birdwatchers who pointed out a kingfisher preening himself on a barge on the opposite bank. My phone camera could not get a decent picture. An added bonus and a surprise was to catch another pair of kingfisher s further along ! Three in one day . Result!

Listening : “The Delaware Road”

January 4

A glorious day in the Peaks encouraged us to pack a picnic and head beyond the borders into Cheshire to Wildboarclough to climber up the Cheshire Matterhorn. After finding a car park we undertook the reasonably short walk to the base of the  “mountain” .To be fair it was higher than we thought and quite a hard ascent no doubt down the the fact we lost the path!There were spectacular views from the summit !

Listening : A Year in the Country “fractures”

January 2

The festive season has quietly past and January has arrived bringing winter .Today is crisp and bright .At this time of year the sun rises over Stanton Moor and breakfasts and coffee are illuminated by fantastic light. Often low cloud and mists make for a dramatic and atmospheric light show.We take an afternoon walk in the cold on one of the “Rivendell Round” walks we invented. It is a beautiful day and we are completely taken by surprise by an incredible Starling murmeration that has made its home not 1/2 mile from our front door.The show is not only a surprise but also spectacular in the dying orange light.A great start to the year!

Listening: The Gentle Good “Ruins”