Tag Archives: dipper

A Rare Visit to Gibson Mill

Tree tops 3

It is a rare thing indeed for us to purposefully visit Hardcastle Crags in summer.  Almost as rare (apart from holidays), we set off at 1 p.m. on a mid-July Sunday to catch Gibson Mill’s opening hours.

River rock art 2We took the most direct route via Hangingroyd Lane and the riverside path.  New rock art stood in the centre of Hebden Water, where the banks were adorned with green and white flourishes.

At the bottom of the steps up to Midgehole Road, loud barking caused me to jump out of my skin.   A large dog leapt up from behind tall grasses.

Phil let out an involuntary shout.  Two women appeared, along with a smaller dog causing more commotion.  The women apologised, saying it was a rescue dog responding to our fear.  That sounded reasonable, except I hadn’t even seen the mutt, so how could I be fearful in advance?  Later, Phil felt sorry for shouting at a rescue dog but I said (not for the first time) that dog owners should control their charges when they are likely to come into contact with other walkers.

Gibson Mill interior 3On Midgehole Road, signs declared the Crags car park full.  We weaved between parked cars and clumps of irritatingly slow people to the main gate.  Staying on the top track, we walked speedily to Gibson Mill.  We immediately entered the building and climbed to the top floor to be met by the sight of a Victorian-era kitchen.  An iron range arrayed with a selection of contemporaneous cooking vessels stood against the back wall. To the right, a shallow Belfast sink perched on brick legs.  Around the cracked windowsill, peeling whitewash revealed fading yellow paint.

Through a door on the left we found a larger room with tungsten bulbs suspended from a high ceiling.  The ample space was occupied by Yan Wang-Preston’s ‘Forest’ exhibition, the main object of our visit.  I had expected arty photos of trees.  It turned out to be a project documenting the uprooting of mature trees in China and transplanting them to concrete cities where of course they die.  Utter madness!  Why can’t they grow new trees?

Gibson Mill window viewDownstairs, we made our way to the café for freshly-made sandwiches and tea.  We chose a table on the terrace and got a different view of the mill pond.

From the upper floor, I had noticed small splashes hitting the water’s surface.  What had looked like raindrops, I now realised, were being made by small fish.

After eating, we went out front to finish our drinks.  On the surrounding tables, yet more barking dogs threatened to cause alarm but thankfully, they were kept at bay.  I spotted an acquaintance sitting nearby with a friend.  We exchanged greetings before they entered the mill to peruse the exhibition.

Rock with shadowsWe took the slower, but less populous and pleasanter riverside route back to the main entrance.  Tall pines stretched into the summer sky, the canopy giving respite from the muggy afternoon heat.  Impossibly large stones punctuated the paths and stream, some sporting strange holes.  Foliage made attractive greyscale patterns on eroding surfaces.  At the almost-dry weir, dippers dived among square paving rendered visible by the low water level.

As we rested on a nearby bench, I heard something drop to the ground.  At first, we could see nothing.  Then Phil realised it was his phone.  The screen had cracked (For the third time.  Luckily, he has since discovered he can buy the parts to fix it himself).

Behind bars 2On reaching the end of the crags, we continued on the riverside as much as possible, staying on the left-hand side towards town, foraging a few raspberries from sporadic bushes.

We paused briefly on Victoria Road where a tractor seemed imprisoned.  Headlights gleamed wide-eyed behind an iron gate fastened with rusty iron chains.  Polished blue paintwork reflected blue sky.  Getting ready for the local show, no doubt.

 

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti4JrYWA4b2_1LeHp3w

Weir 6

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A Detour to May’s

Colden Clough dipper in the stream

On the first Saturday in April 2016, we set off on the familiar walk up Colden Clough with Marisa.  A fine drizzle fell on us but we remained optimistic that the weather would improve.  Stopping as usual at Lumb Mill, we watched a dipper in the river.

 

We then climbed  to the garlic fields and picked young leaves.  While resting on the nearby flat rock, two very lively dogs ran up.  I became quite anxious at their barking and jumping at us. We spotted an old couple a few yards off walking slowly and carefully, and guessed they were the owners.  I shouted at them to call the dogs off but their efforts were ineffectual.  When they eventually reached us, they said the dogs were harmless.  I retorted that wasn’t the point.

We waitedColden Clough dingly dell 2 for them to get passed us before proceeding. We took time to observe the altered paths and small streams sine the Boxing Day floods, and admired pixie-land glades on the way.

 

On approaching Hebble hole, we saw the couple with the dogs on the other side of the stream.  The larger dog started barking and made to swim across to us.  I became even more agitated and again shouted at the couple to call them off.

They put the dogs on leads but repeated that they were harmless.  I said they should be more aware of the effect their actions had on other people.  As they came back over the clapper bridge we waited for them to pass once more. I said “thank you” in a pointed way, but I am not sure it sunk in.

Smithy Lane footlessWe then climbed the steep, tiny steps up to Hudson Lane and along Smithy Lane, passed the school where a figure of a child with a missing foot made me laugh.  We turned left onto Fold Lane at the sign for May’s farm shop.

It seemed a longer route than I had imagined and I started to become fatigued.  But it proved a pleasant diversion.

Colden Clough dingly dell 2

We passed through the actual village of Colden, with ramshackle farm buildings and rusting machinery.  Despite another barking dog, I managed to keep my cool.  The lane wound through the village then upwards.  At a sort of T junction, we turned right up a grassy track and looked across the valley at views of Stoodley Pike and Emley Moor in the distance.

Mays robin 2At May’s farm shop, we were amazed by the extensive range on offer – anything you could ever need!  We bought wonderful, inexpensive pies, cakes and hot drinks.  Taking them outside, we sat on a bench looking towards Heptonstall enjoying our repast.  The hot cheese pie was fantastic and went well with the good strong cup of tea.  As we ate our cakes, a robin bobbed by and Marisa fed it some crumbs to allow us time to capture the cute bird on camera.

Feeling refreshed, we continued walking towards Heptonstall.  At Popples Common, we veered off to be away from the road.  We found amusement in a nearby field where a very small kunekune pig stood in front of a huge one (‘daddy’ I thought).  At Slack, we spotted a goat happily munching grass at the kerbside.  We kept on Heptonstall Road straight through the village and said goodbye to Marisa.

Slack kunekune 1It had stayed grey and overcast most of the day but then the sun came out.  Phil and I decided to have a drink in the Fox and Goose beer garden to enjoy it.  Yet another dog sniffed round my rucksack but not in a threatening way.  I told the owners I had been plagued by dogs all day and they sympathised, telling me he was only after food.  “Yes, I know,” I replied, “but he will only find wild garlic leaves in there”.

More photos at: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=2DF4BDD5DCD70A39!113492&authkey=!AEOItMDrg7Eb-6k&ithint=folder%2cjpg