Friday, June 27, 2014

Peak District Day 1 (Part 2)

Day 1 (Part 1)

Monsal Head and traveling clouds

After breakfast I took the drive south to Monsal Head, a spectacular viewpoint looking down Monsal Dale and up the Wye Valley. Where the river Wye carves its way through a high ridge of limestone, and winds its way through the deep sided, rocky valley.

It’s also home to the Headstone Viaduct, an elegant structure built in 1863 by the former Midland Railway, to cross 40 foot above the Wye River. It is now considered an essential part of the landscape, although there was some opposition to its original construction because of the damage it caused to the surrounding area.

Once a half decent coffee was procured and duly dispatched, I drove further south, on the hunt for the picturesque barns and scenic stone walls that are the bread and butter of the White Peak region.

I found my first prize near Youlgreave or Youlgrave, both spellings are used on local signs and vary depending on whether you get your information from the Highways Department or Ordinance Survey. Either way, it was a very nice barn and tree combo, and well worth stopping for. In fact I said the very same thing to myself as I pulled over to the side of the road.

A rather fetching barn in dramatic black and white
And here it is again, it was that good.

After driving through Hartington I stopped near Alstonfield, to add another barn to my growing collection. This one had an attractive hillock to show off as well, so I was mightily pleased with my find, and allowed myself an appreciative chuckle at my good fortune.

Never underestimate an attractive hillock.

After giving myself a metaphorical pat on the back, I jumped back in the car and carried on my merry way. And just outside Crowdecote I found another roaringly grand view, looking down on a resplendent barn, replete with a duplex of noble trees, and a fine stone wall to boot!

My joy is complete.

I laughed long and loud while I snapped away in the late afternoon sun, as many passing walkers and cyclists slowed down and looked on in astonishment. No doubt wanting to share in my pictorial boon. And who could blame them?

Once I had calmed down enough to get back behind the wheel, I took the road north, eventually arriving back at the campsite to cool off, and get some early dinner in preparation for sunset.

Around 8.00 I once again set off, this time to Baslow Edge, one of the many strapping gritstone edges that are scattered over the Dark Peak. And from whose lofty escarpments I would be viewing the evening show.

An old millstone left behind on the Edge, in the evening sun.
Looking down into the valley as the sun highlights the trees below.

It started off looking like it could be a disappointment, the empty sky had the pure burnished quality of clear-cut sapphire, with not a cloud in sight. But as if on cue, with the horizon beginning the embrace the sun, a delicate gossamer started to form on the skyline, soaking up the twilight colours, and brandishing them with casual ease.

Following are a selection of images taken on Baslow Edge as the sun slowly set.

By 10.30 the sky was still in full blush, a deep red tincture splashed across the horizon like the glow of a million burning embers. I had taken all the shots I wanted, so, alone now, on the edge, I sat down and watched the light slowly fade, before heading back to the car and returning to my canvas abode in a mellow frame of mind.

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