Posted by: digibirder | January 24, 2009

January…

I don’t much like January. I think it’s due to it being the start of the post-Christmas lull before we head uphill into Spring. I much prefer it when March arrives and we have birds arriving and flowers blooming and things being altogether brighter.

What about Christmas? Well, we didn’t do much at all. We don’t actually take part in it in the way others do, as I mentioned in my previous post, but we did even less this year than we normally do. In fact we barely left the house. Watching TV seemed to be the main activity. There were a few decent programmes on, I suppose.

We did go out on New Year’s Day, though. We normally go walking on New Year’s Day, and our trip to the Yorkshire Dales did start out with that intention. However, when we arrived it was quite cold and frosty, but with a damp feeling in the air, making it very unpleasant, so we had a drive round instead.

We started with lunch at the King’s Head in Kettlewell. They were still in a state following the previous evening’s New Year’s Eve festivities, having only gone to bed at 4am, but we had a lovely lamb hotpot with crusty bread. We had a wander around the village, which didn’t take too long, then drove over to Leyburn, where stopped for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake in just about the only place in town open.

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King's Head, Kettlewell

A heavy frost

A heavy frost

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

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This was actually frost, not snow, although there had been a slight snowfall in places.

Not to be outdone, we went out again on the Saturday and this time managed to get a walk done. Again we went into the Dales, this time to the area around Settle. We parked in Stainforth, but then discovered that Keith had picked up the wrong set of maps, so we had to drive back into Settle to buy the appropriate one for our planned walk!

En route we stopped at the Watershed Mill café and had a warming soup for lunch, before continuing alongside the river Ribble back to the car. It was still quite cold, but not as icy as before, and certainly not as frosty.

It wasn’t a very long walk so we had time to call in at the Rohan shop in Long Preston to take advantage of the sale, both of us purchasing some new trousers. We have been buying Rohan gear almost since they started. It’s versatile and comfortable, whether you’re walking, birdwatching or travelling. Over the years, they’ve moved on from the basic designs they started with, to produce smart/casual travel clothing.

An old disused mill

An old disused mill with a frozen mill-pond

Icicles

Icicles

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Stainforth Force

Stainforth Force with old packhorse bridge in background

Stainforth Force with old packhorse bridge in background

The packhorse bridge was built in the 1670s to replace a ford

The packhorse bridge was built in the 1670s to replace a ford

Today we decided to have a walk a bit closer to home. It was still a fair drive to get to the start, but only about 45 minutes. We parked in the village of Low Bradfield, north west of Sheffield and walked around Agden Reservoir. Again, not a long walk, about 5 miles, but a bit tortuous at times, due to the boggy conditions underfoot. There were also some quite steep inclines to climb! Needless to say, we took our time at these. And it was windy – a very bitter wind in places. Much better when it was behind us.

We saw a fair bit of birdlife but, in our haste to get out, we had forgotten the binoculars. We did get close to a party of Long-tailed Tits close to the end of the walk, with some Coal Tits nearby. And a little before that, when we stopped for a banana and to top up with water, we saw a bird of prey skim over the field in front of us – possibly a Merlin. Two Green Woodpeckers flew overhead and there were plenty of corvids about. Just a little way into the walk, a couple of Bullfinches landed in a tree in front of us. I almost disregarded them as Chaffinches, but Keith pointed out what they were.

Back at the car, we got rid of the muddy boots and other extra gear and wandered over to the Postcard Café and Stores, where we had a bowl of soup and some crusty bread, a piece of cake and a pot of tea, which was most welcome. Then back home to relax.

Looking back to Low Bradfield

Looking back to Low Bradfield

Windy ridge

Windy ridge

Rocher Head Farm remains

Rocher Head Farm remains

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Remnants of an old carriage

Remnants of an old carriage

A fallen tree near the farm had lots of fungi attached

A fallen tree near the farm had lots of fungi attached

If anyone knows the names of these fungi, please let me know

If anyone knows the names of these fungi, please let me know

Agden Reservoir from near Rocher Farm

Agden Reservoir from near Rocher Farm

Gym update: At last I am noticing some changes. I am not really going for weight loss – just fat loss, but I have lost a couple of pounds. I also had a suspicion that my legs were a bit thinner, and sure enough, I have lost 1cm from my thighs. I have also lost 2cm from my waist and 1cm from my hips. Keith is still enjoying his visits, so I think he’ll join when his gift membership runs out. We will probably go and have a session tomorrow morning. Got to keep motivated!

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Responses

  1. Golly, it looks cold in the first set of photos! Very pretty though.

  2. Those are some beautiful pics! Lovely waterfall! Glad you’ve gotten some relief.


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