Monday, 6 April 2020

Trip to the trig

My target in climbing up onto Baildon Moor was the trig point. I think other countries have similar things. They are triangulation stations, a tool for surveying in the days before aerial photography and electronic positioning aids (GPS) were available. There are over 5000 of them across Britain. A trig point is usually a concrete post with a metal disc in the top into which you can slot a theodolite. The trig point is at an accurately surveyed and documented position and (on a clear day and in theory at least) has at least two other trig points in view, so the whole country is divided into triangles. They are not all on hills of course. One in low-lying Cambridgeshire sits below sea level. They are mostly redundant now, except as a goal for walkers and off road cyclists to aim for. Whilst I was up there, several cyclists passed by and a few dog walkers too, everyone keeping a safe distance from each other, though the wind was enough to blow any germs away! 

The trig point, for me, was simply a little challenge to myself to find the motivation I needed for a good, bracing walk. There are of course, those who take trig-bagging more seriously. There are, apparently, 454 trig pillars in Yorkshire alone, so there are plenty to aim for. 

This point is only 282m above sea level but it still felt a long climb from the bottom of the valley in Saltaire. Exhilarating though, and the views from the smooth plateau up there are quite good. The photo above is looking back the way I came; the one below shows part of the village of Baildon on the other side of the moor.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Going up in the world

A (non-urgent) text arrived on my mobile very early one morning (do people do that to you?) and because the phone beside my bed lit up and vibrated, it woke me up. Boo! It made me a bit grumpy (that and the lockdown situation) so I decided a solitary walk was the only remedy. I walked up to Shipley Glen, where I enjoyed communing with these rather magnificent trees and the ancient rocks.
My walk continued along the heathland of the Glen and then up and up, onto Baildon Moor. It was very muddy!

The higher you go, the more glorious the views. This is looking down to Gilstead and Bingley.

The moorland looks like a fairly natural landscape but in fact it has been shaped by man for centuries. There is evidence of mining in the curious depressions called bell pits. You might take them for bomb craters but I understand they were vertical shafts dug in order to extract coal. When it became too dangerous to continue, because of the risk of collapse, the shaft was filled and another sunk further along the coal seam. The infill has settled over the years, leaving these characteristic circular depressions.You can see one in the foreground in the photo below.

Part way up the hill is the Dobrudden caravan site, enjoying the spectacular views. 

Propped up by the wall of the caravan site, there is this curious stone, with ancient 'cup and ring' markings. Sadly, the marks have now almost eroded away. You can perhaps just make out a few circular hollows. Some years ago, it looked like THIS. These are examples of Bronze Age (2000 - 800 BC) rock art and have been found all over the Baildon, Rombalds and Ilkley moors, though their purpose isn't really clear. They prove that this area was inhabited all those thousands of years ago, though no doubt it all looked a bit different then. 

Saturday, 4 April 2020

The little things

I almost stepped on this bee in my back yard. It was just lying there looking a bit sorry for itself and I wondered what to do. I couldn't see any convenient, open flowers to transfer it to. I remembered reading that you can sometimes revive them with a drop of sugar water (white sugar stirred into water 50/50) so I mixed a little up and dropped some from a teaspoon beside it. Within seconds, its little tongue shot out (I'm sure it's not called a tongue!) and it started to suck up the water. I kept having a look and it was feeding for quite a long time, every now and again waggling its antennae.  Eventually it stopped and sat still again. The next time I looked it had disappeared so I assume it felt revived enough to fly away and resume its journey. I've no idea what type of bee it was. It didn't appear to have any distinctive markings, though it may have had its tail tucked under.

I wasn't going to use this photo on my blog but then I thought that, actually, it represents quite well what is happening in the present situation. Our lives are suddenly so constrained as a result of the viral pandemic. Lacking some of my normal busyness, I find I am noticing and appreciating the small things much more: flowers, wildlife, the way the light falls, a wave from a neighbour, the taste of food, the warmth of the sun. Noticing and grateful.

Friday, 3 April 2020

A den in the woods

What child wouldn't like a den in the woods? I am, however, making a big assumption that this was built by children. It was quite a sophisticated affair and looked like it was constructed by someone who knew exactly what they were doing. It seemed to be built around a small sapling as the central support, with branches stacked up around it. There was plenty of room to sit or lie inside. (I didn't try!)

Meanwhile, around by the river, all was calm and the water level is metres below what it was a few weeks ago. The flooding danger appears to be over for now. We have other things to contend with.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

The village blossoms

Spring blossom is beginning to break out in Saltaire village. There are a few small trees scattered about, despite the tiny gardens. I love this time of year, so much fresh promise. Saltaire is quite an attractive village anyway but the blossom really adds to the prettiness. 
(These photos were taken a week or so ago and no doubt things have moved on again.) 

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Spring in Saltaire

It's that time of year again where my ability to process and post photos on my blog is far outstripped by the pace of change from winter to spring. I took this photo on the 20th March, when the shrubs in the corner of the carpark were just beginning to blossom. The plot is part of the Veg on the Edge initiative, that uses bits of 'spare' land to grow fruit and veg for the local residents to help themselves to. In the intervening time between taking the pic and posting it, nature has blossomed even more. How we need the warmth and the colours of spring, after the dreadful wet winter and the horrors of the current global pandemic.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Wartime spirit?

Another decorated window, from another near neighbour. This one references Vera Lynn's famous wartime song, meant to keep up the spirits of the nation at a difficult time. We do need a bit of that now, I guess. (Now you're singing it, aren't you?)

Monday, 30 March 2020

Stay at home!

As I mentioned the other day, Saltaire residents have adapted our 'Living Advent Calendar' tradition to this new situation. Encouraging artworks are appearing all over the village. Here are a few I saw on a short walk the other day. There are plenty of rainbows, a sign universally recognised as one of hope.

I loved this one, drawn in a childish hand: Everything will go OK!  We all need to believe and hang on to that, don't we?

And here's a rainbow in a heart - you can't get much more positive than that.

One of my neighbours vows 'No Surrrender' to this awful virus.

My best wishes to everyone, wherever you are. 
Thanks and prayers too for our health workers, emergency services, all our key workers in food distribution and everyone trying to make this awful situation a little better.

Stay at home (if you can), stay safe and well, stay positive!

Sunday, 29 March 2020

See saw?

I spotted this gravestone in Bingley Cemetery. I know I shouldn't laugh... but I did. Humour is so important in these precarious times. I don't know what Marjorie's maiden name was but maybe she should have retained it?
Now I've got the nursery rhyme in my head!

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Bingley Cemetery

One of my friends mentioned how peaceful and attractive the main cemetery in Bingley is. I'd never been before but I decided I'd have a walk there and it was lovely. I've said before how much I enjoy exploring graveyards, probably because I grew up next door to one. I loved playing there and watching the wildlife that lived there. I don't find them macabre places at all, and Bingley's is especially beautiful. It is set on a hillside on the edge of town. I was fortunate to visit when the winter heathers were in bloom, as someone has filled many of the older graves with plants and they looked wonderful.

There are a number of war graves. The one below is that of Thomas Whitley, an 18 year old RAF cadet from Cottingley Bridge, who was killed in action just three months before the end of the First World War.

There is plenty of Victorian statuary, several angels (see yesterday) and some rather impressive monuments like the soaring, slender one below. 

 If I was to have a grave (which I won't), I'd be very happy to have it filled with daffodils.

Sadly, Bingley Cemetery is also known as the place where the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, once worked as a grave digger. He claimed it was here that he first heard the voices that told him to go and kill prostitutes. Tragically he went on to murder at least 13 women in Yorkshire and attempted to murder another seven. It was a terrible period (late 1970s) in the history of this part of the world. I was a student in Bradford at the time and used to get very scared walking home on my own after dark.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Entertaining angels

'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.'
Hebrews 13: 1-2

I found all these on a recent wander around Bingley Cemetery, a beautiful and peaceful place. I love the character in the angels' faces.

I especially like the one above, she looks like a super hero.

We may not be able to 'entertain strangers' face to face right now, but there are still ways of extending hospitality and encouragement. Let us all be angels - and sunshine!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Lockdown, Day 3

Yesterday was Day 3 of this strange new world of lockdown due to coronavirus. Our government decreed on Monday that people MUST stay at home. We are allowed to:
- go outside to exercise once per day, so long as we keep a 2 metre distance from others;
- make infrequent shopping trips for essential supplies;
- take care of medical needs and of those who are vulnerable;
- travel to and from work if essential, though most people have been encouraged to work from home where possible.

My own careful isolation has been going on for about a week longer, apart from a trip to the supermarket and a trip to the hairdresser last week. (Glad I did that! The hair salons have all had to close now.) I'm feeling fit, well and quite cheerful most of the time. The novelty is interesting so far. I recognise that I'm in a very fortunate position compared with perhaps the majority of people and I am grateful.

So yesterday I went out for my allowed walk. It doesn't say anything about not being allowed to take a camera, or how far or how long you can walk for! Saltaire was quiet and largely traffic free and it all felt quite weird. The few people about were all careful to keep their distance from each other. Most public places are closed, including children's playgrounds - sad to see them all lying unused. Roberts Park itself is open but there were few people there. There was a police helicopter hovering around, maybe keeping a check on how well the measures were being observed. We were all being good!

As you know if you regularly read this blog, Saltaire has had the tradition for many years of decorating windows in Advent, the month leading to Christmas. Now people are starting to decorate their windows to keep everyone's spirits up in this unusual and unsettling time, as we battle to keep our health service functioning and to save lives at risk from this deadly virus. They are posting one window each day on Facebook - see HERE.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Golden trumpets

At least Spring isn't cancelled. I noticed the recent sunshine has opened up the daffodil buds on the lawn in front of Saltaire's URC church. Rather annoyingly, they all face the church so if you want a photo with the church in the background, all you can see is the backs of their heads! (Oh, I'm so demanding!)  I suppose it must be to do with the sun's trajectory during the day. I'd rather believe the trumpets are sounding a fanfare, joining in with the church congregation. Not that there is one at the moment. A combination of the ceiling collapsing and the coronavirus pandemic has effectively closed the church doors for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Signs of the times

A sign of the times in one of Saltaire's shops, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. It is very sad that businesses are having to close; hopefully some will survive and re-open when they can. Many are trying to innovate to keep going. Some of the restaurants are now doing take-aways and deliveries. I took this photo on a short walk I did, simply to get some exercise, in the late afternoon. There weren't many people about. The sun was low and there were some golden reflections in the shop windows.

Another day, on the outskirts of Shipley, I saw this sign at the gates to a factory. The company, Carnaud Metalbox, manufactures machinery for the production of beverage, food and aerosol cans. It looks like they are continuing to work, though obviously with some stringent checks on anyone entering.

Both these photos were taken before the announcement on Monday night that we in the UK are on pretty much total lockdown, so these measures may also be changed now. We are only allowed out to shop for food (as infrequently as possible) and once a day for exercise. Some people are still allowed to go to work in vital roles, obviously. I'll bet there will still be people who try to get round the rules. As for my photography, I'm sure I can take a few quick phone snaps when I'm walking for exercise but it's all going to be a bit boring and parochial for a while, I'm afraid.