The mild weather continued into late February. On the last Sunday, we took one of our familiar circular walks, starting out along Oldgate, over the packhorse bridge, up Bridge Gate and across Commercial Street onto the historic cobbled route towards Birchcliffe. At the top of the steps, we proceeded upwards on School Street to the start of Common Bank Wood.
We could hear a dog barking from within a house when a woman with a dog came past. She thought we were spooked by her hound, put it on a lead and walked ahead which was considerate. However, the dog kept stopping to sniff interesting things! We made the most of being held back on the narrow path to examine the interesting shapes and shadows.
Sycamore bark reflected filtered sunlight. Shadows of tree trunks fell on the ground still littered with autumnal leaves. A flawless blue sky framed tightly-packed twisty branches.
At the top, the bridge over the stream looked more precarious than ever but fortunately the water level was low thus not difficult to navigate. Up the path between the fields, a jay (aka pink crow!) flitted from tree top to post. We crept along to try and capture it on camera but we had more luck with the magpies and jackdaws.
Opposite the residential area of Dod Naze, low-hanging catkins swayed gently in the breeze. We paused briefly on the corner where a smattering of spring flowers grew behind the bench before turning up onto Rowland Lane. Mist topping the uplands created eerie scenes with the church towers of Heptonstall emerging ethereally from a grey landscape.
At the end of the lane, we waited for a group of walkers accompanied by a dog with stick to pass by then curved round sharp left down Sandy Gate. Buds adorned small trees and shrubs, some appearing like miniature flowers.
Part-way down, Phil had problems with his camera and I had a bit of tummy ache so we took a breather on the low wall. A passing driver shouted through his open window at us as he raced up the hill, which made me jump. Both feeling irritated, I decided to remove myself from the situation and marched off. I had calmed down somewhat as he caught up with me.
Among the low springtime growth, I easily located the path descending into Nutclough and spotted a dead shrew under a tree– fluffy on the top, mouldy on the bottom! As we crossed the stone bridge, fading afternoon sun glinted on the water’s surface making silvery patterns. The air became noticeably cooler as we followed the well-trodden route through the clough. Feeling disinclined to traverse to the ‘islands’, we rested instead on the top bench before a brisk walk homewards via Keighley Road. Removing my boots to rest on the sofa, I reflected that I did not feel as tired as I would have a few weeks ago. Although not a massive walk, it would usually be more than enough for me.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti5xgZ-49clE15sZOIg