Walk: Underbank Reservoir

Since we moved here last May, we’ve been looking for some nice local dog-walks within a short driving distance. At the end of April this year, we found one. It only took us 11 months!

Underbank Reservoir near Stocksbridge is actually within walking distance, it’s that close. But it’s also a good place to take the dog for a spin that’s a little longer than the walks from our doorstep.

Ground-art for the recent Tour de Yorkshire, designed by local schoolchildren. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There are several places to park, but we chose to park on the old A-road that has recently been replaced, as it’s on our side.

From here we had a cracking view of some ground-art designed by local schoolchildren for the recent Tour de Yorkshire. We thought it was an owl on a bike, but it’s actually a fox on a bike – as the race was finishing in Fox Valley.

Underbank dam wall. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Another good place for us to park would be at the outdoor activity centre on the banks on the reservoir.

You can also choose which way around to walk. From the old A-road, we walked clockwise, starting with the dam wall.

Footbridge at the start of our walk. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There are signs all over the place telling people to keep their dogs on leads … guess who were the only ones to comply …

Once across the dam wall, we turned left to cross the footbridge over the weir, and then turned back on ourselves on the other side of the reservoir.

Bokeh. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It was a dull but dry day, but the sky gave the poet some interest for his photographs. He also had chance to try out his new lens for the bokeh shot above, and he practised his bracketing, for the shot below.

About halfway around the lake, we had a chat with an angler who’s been fishing here for 30+ years. He suggested if we come fishing that we park at the activity centre as the path from there is quite good for the barrow.

Underbank Reservoir. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

As we came out at Midhopestones, at the opposite end to the dam wall, we had to walk along the road for a short while. Then we followed another access path until we reached the official path where it rejoins the disused A-road.

The walk around the perimeter is, according to MapMyWalk, 3.13 miles. It took us an hour-and-a-half, which included stopping for pictures and the chat, and we burned around 400 calories each.

MapMyWalk

Event: The Tour de Yorkshire, 30 April 2017

On Sunday 30 April 2017, the Tour de Yorkshire came through our village. Well, I say village, but we’re actually in between two villages. Both villages had decked themselves out with bunting, banners and bikes, all in blue and yellow.

At the same time, a number of amateur events were taking place with cyclists raising money for charity and having the chance to cycle the route before the professionals came through.

Earlier in the day we took the dog for a walk, and we saw some of those amateurs pass by. “We’re not the main event!” shouted the leader. But they all smiled for the camera anyway.

“We’re not the main event!” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We got back from our walk in good time to grab some refreshment, do some work around the garden, and then give the dog a treat – another walk on the same day, this time to the end of our driveway.

One of the stewards drove ahead of the race to let us know roughly what time they’d be coming through. She also said the first we’d see would be the team cars and motorbikes, and the police making sure the road ahead was clear.

They were due to come by at about 4:15pm and we’d set it to record on the telly before setting out. But they were quite a few minutes later than that – we found out later there had been an accident three villages up and someone was being taken to hospital, but was fine.

Then the advance cavalcade started to come through.

The police came ahead to make sure the road was clear. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We still had a good wait before the leading breakaway group came by. But the helicopter flying overhead gave us a clue when they were on their way.

The chopper hovered above us for quite some time as first the leaders and then the main group came through.

We waved and cheered, in case they caught us on the telly!

The leaders – no 2 grabbing some refreshment. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It seemed an age before the rest of the group started to come along, but it must only have been a matter of minutes. Still the helicopter hovered, still we waved our arms at it.

Then as the peloton passed us, we turned to wave at the motorbikes in the front with the television cameras. The poet had to take the camera off the tripod so he could follow them.

Here comes the main peloton … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

They whooshed by in a matter of seconds … and then they were gone (apart from a lone cyclist coming up the rear, but the camera buffer was already full by now), followed by numerous cars with spare bikes on the roofs.

The “crowds” started to disperse (we didn’t realise so many people lived in the area, although some had come on foot from elsewhere), and we headed home ourselves.

… there they go. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The first thing we did when we got in was skim through the recording on the telly, but just as they were reaching us, the channel skipped to a commercial break.

When they returned, it was just above us where the bikes were headed in that last picture.

So all that waving at the cameras had been for nothing! But we had fun anyway.

Enjoy the pictures!

Walk: TPT Thurgoland

We are very fortunate to be living right next to the Trans Pennine Trail, a national route that runs from coast to coast and up and down a bit.

I’ve been walking the dog up towards where our path joins the trail, but I’ve been turning around at 15 minutes as I’m trying to gradually build up stamina and fitness.

The driveway to the farm upon which is our house, alongside the River Don. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

During the last bank holiday weekend, we finally did a full circuit of the smallest circular section, and we were surprised at how quickly we did it.

We already have a fairly good walk from the farm to the road, but we don’t stay on the road for long. We just cross the River Don and then turn up onto a farm track that’s subsequently crossed by the TPT.

The farm track up to the TPT from our driveway. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

At the top of the track you can see in the picture above, the TPT crosses both ways. We turned left and went behind that farm you can see.

From the TPT we had a very good view of the ground-art recently installed for the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race, which went past the end of our driveway.

Ground-art for the recent Tour de Yorkshire race, which went past the end of our driveway. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There were a few pleasure cyclists on our route, some of whom you can just see (in red) in the picture below. These weren’t taking part in the race.

There were also a few pedestrians, but this was a “busy” day in our neck of the woods.

The Trans Pennine Trail. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

From the viaduct there are some great views, including the one below towards Penistone.

In the far distance you might just be able to see a field filled with cars, to the immediate left of that sticky-up thing. This field is usually green and empty – the cars were here for the cycle race.

Up on the hill you can just see cars parked. These were here for the Tour de Yorkshire. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The picture below is one of my favourites, as you can see our house and, hopefully, the reason we chose to live there. It really is a beautiful, peaceful setting, and it really is some distance from any roads.

That’s our house in the centre of the picture, with the cream walls. We could see this from the viaduct too.

Our house nestled in our valley (centre of pic), from the TPT. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Because it’s an old railway line, there’s a tunnel on this section of the route that we haven’t explored yet, but I think my sister did last year when she was house-sitting for us.

Instead, we left the TPT down a small path that goes downhill towards the river again. From this path there are some good views of the viaduct.

The TPT goes over this viaduct now, but it used to be a railway line. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Then we were beside the river again, at the place where the poet usually gets in to go fluff-chucking (fly-fishing).

Apparently, the River Don is one of the fastest rising and the fastest dropping rivers in Europe. This is why we have flash floods along the driveway and in the surrounding roads.

Isn’t it pretty?

The River Don. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

At the end of our walk we returned across the main field that has a few young cows and two horses in it in this picture below. But until just a week or so ago, it was full of expectant sheep. That’s our house again, with the cream walls. The farm buildings are just below it to the left.

This circular walk is about 1.6 miles long. It took us 50 minutes as the poet kept stopping to take pictures, but I’ve done it since with just the dog, and it’s about 40 – 45 minutes.

Enjoy the pictures!

Heading back home, beside the River Don. That’s our house across the field, with the farmhouse and outbuildings to the left. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Life on the farm: spring madness almost over

On the farm
The lambing madness seems to be over now. Around 50 sheep have had lambs and there are only a couple left in the nursery field. The rest have been moved back to various places on the farm, leaving the nursery field for the orphans.

So far there are only two orphan lambs (they lost one of them), and those are currently in the orchard, in the farm garden or in the paddock at the end of our back garden. When the grass in the nursery field has recovered, or when the last of the flock-sheep go, I think the orphans will be moved to the nursery field.

Cows in the main field.

The young cows were let out a couple of weeks ago and are getting used to being outside.

In the garden
The poet has been very busy in the garden, working hard. He’s turned over three beds in the back garden and trimmed many of the shrubs.

Working hard in the garden.

I honestly don’t know where this is coming from. He’s loving learning new skills and creating new life from scratch. But he never really has been one for gardening.

Trimming shrubs.

He built three raised beds and two planters, and is now working on chicken-wire-covered frames to put over the beds to keep the chickens off the seedlings.

Raised beds, one with chicken frame under construction

Two weeks ago he went around repotting all of the fruit trees and bushes. The apple tree, the grape vine and the blackcurrant bush all look really well. The gooseberry bush looks a little dead, but there are green shoots starting to show now.

Apple tree and grape vine (both past presents from my parents).

This coming bank holiday weekend, we’re hoping the beds will be ready for some outdoor seed-sowing. We have vegetables to sow in the potager and some flowers for the back garden.

Parsley, basil and chives, for the kitchen windowsill.

The seeds I sowed at Easter are starting to show, but the seeds that the poet sowed two weeks before that are doing really well. The cucumbers and cherry tomatoes are doing particularly well, as are the marigolds. And things like the onions and the calabrese are starting to show now too.

Only the basil was doing well for the herbs for the kitchen windowsill, but now the chives and the parsley are catching up.

Chitted potatoes.

Last week I chitted some potatoes. Those are currently on the kitchen windowsill, but we’re hoping they can go out next weekend.

We’re calling our little plot “Ian’s Farm”. He really is loving it and he’s doing the bulk of the work – I’m mainly directing!

“Ian’s Farm”

He’s also been busy in the stable, making racks from which to hang his growing collection of tools.

A place for everything, and everything in its place …

Chickens
The chickens are happy as pigs in muck. Pink is looking a bit scruffy, but the rest of them have really nice feathers now. We’re still getting between five and six eggs per day, so we’re still eating a boiled egg a day.

Can you see Pink’s pink bottom?

Aggie the Agoraphobic has taken to wandering off with farm chicken Madge and yesterday one of the children had to fetch her back to us! Poorly Pauline has made a full recovery and is getting more confident by the day.

Lara Croft: “Take *my* picture, *I’m* gorgeous!”

The Tour de Yorkshire
Another bank holiday weekend on the horizon. We have the Tour de Yorkshire cycling past the end of our drive this year. Three years ago we drove to Holmfirth to see the Tour de France. This year we have a grandstand view without going anywhere.

Let’s hope the weather holds out for them. And for us!