Shelf Moor and Over-exposed Crash Site

Recently I’ve started walking with the Manchester and District (MAD) Walkers, a local 20s and 30s group of The Ramblers.  A few weeks ago I set off on a walk with them from Glossop. 

It was absolutely stunning.  Snowy ground with dark gritstone  and peat glaring  through, giving a dappled landscape.




We climbed the Doctor’s Gate path out of Glossop and then turned left when we met the Pennine Way.  Here, we met an alien landscape of snow covered peat hags.  Dark peat glowed through the snow on the sides of steep troughs in between.


Peat hags are formed when the vegetation that binds together the top surface of a peat moorland disappears, and the peat below is eroded away.  This is a problem for three main reasons.  Firstly, peat stores a great deal of carbon – it is a carbon sink.  When the peat is eroded this carbon is released into the atmosphere.  You already know about carbon, I won’t go on about the problems that this causes.


Secondly, the peat also stores a lot of water.  When it rains on the moors the water is captured in the peat bog and released slowly, allowing rivers a change to take it away.  When the peat is eroded, the bog cannot hold as much water meaning the rainfall hits the rivers a lot quicker.  So peat can help to reduce flooding downstream.


Finally, when peat is eroded it colours the water.  People don’t like to drink brown water, and so water companies spend huge amounts of money removing the peat from the water before it goes through your taps. And of course this cost is passed on to households.


A flat moor is a healthy moor, and there is hope for restoration.  Programs by the Peak District National Park Authority (which you can read about here) and the National Trust (here) are working to restore the peat moorland and protect the vital services it provides.


We carried on, up and down over the peat hags, to a rather sobering sight – the B29 Superfortress ‘Over-exposed’ crash site.


This plane went down on Shelf Moor in 1948 whilst on a routine flight.  Whilst flying in foggy conditions, the crew thought the hill had been cleared and began to descend.  Unfortunately, it hadn’t and the plane crashed near Higher Shelf Stones, killing all 13 crew members.

And so we carried on to the trig point, and the descended back into Glossop.



Laugh, Kookaburra

Keeping up with the blog has failed completely miserably.  I think, now, that I’ll still write the rest of the Canada blog posts, but I’m going to do them in between other things.  Today I want to share some photos with you, that I’m very pleased with.

My cousin runs a business with birds of prey, keeping owls, raptors and even a kookaburra for the purpose of education.  She visits schools, events, runs children’s parties and, along with a local photographer, runs photography days.  I was lucky enough to attend one of these days a couple of weeks ago and can’t believe the difference it made having someone standing by me, teaching me how to set up my camera and set up the shot.

First came Edna, the blue winged kookaburra.


Photographer Tim Doggett had brought a reflection pool, so we stuck Edna on a log and let her pose.  Kookaburras are a type of kingfisher, so she was quite happy sitting by the water.



Edna loved to pose for the camera!  The title of this blog is a bit misleading, blue winged kookaburras don’t laugh in the way laughing kookaburras do.  Edna, however, loves to chatter away to you.


Despite not being the quickest flier, a combination of her relatively small size and clumsy nature meant getting a good photograph of this bird in flight really was challenging.


Kookaburras are native to Northern Australia, living in open woodland and Melaleuca swamps where they eat fish, frogs and small mammals.



And, like most birds of prey, when she was full she just wanted to sit.


Next up we brought out Sparrow the Ashy Faced Owl.  Whilst they look a bit like a grubby barn owl, these owls come from the Caribbean, hence Sparrow being named after Captain Jack!


Their dusty colour hides them well in the dry shrubland they live in.


Like all owls, they have poor eyesight of close objects, and use the fine feathers on their face to identify where their food is.



And finally, Igor the Kestrel.  Named after Igor Sikorsky, credited as the inventor of the modern helicopter, because one thing kestrels are known for is their ability to hover!


He enjoyed stretching his wings in the sunshine and I think the patterns on the underside are just beautiful! I particularly like the heart shapes on the feathers.


A much faster, lighter bird than the others, and much more of a hunter.  Native to Europe and Asia, you’ve probably seen one hovering over verges looking for unfortunately placed mice!


Igor is only a young bird, but isn’t he gorgeous?


Of course there were many, many more photos but there are only so many hours in the day! I’m hoping next time to be able to photograph some more of the birds, particularly the natives as I love the idea that I might see them in the wild.




For more information on the birds and photography days, please visit

All pictures taken using Nikon D3200



I’ve been spending many, many hours sitting inside at the weekends, looking at the sunshine and fields full of tractors and cows, revising agricultural rent reviews and other such matters.  But there comes a time when my brain can only take so much of compulsory purchase compensation, and then the inevitable happens.

Camera Cows

As quick as a flash I’m downstairs, boots laced and camera in hand.  The cattle have become my photography subjects.

It goes something like this.  The cattle are relaxing, chilling out in the field.  Some are lying down, others are eating.  They know where they are and they’re happy and comfortable.  So I walk into the field.


One by one they look up.  ‘Who is this person in our field? She’s not the one who feeds us…’


I crouch down.  These are young, maiden heifers and I’m 5ft10.  Cattle look strange when you take photos from above! This confuses them even more.  There’s a public footpath so walkers passing through are not uncommon, but someone stopped, crouching in the field? That’s unusual.  And so more begin to appear.


And eventually I end up quite surrounded by these lovely girls.  They stand around and look at me, sniff me, snort at me. But, because I’m still crouching down they don’t come very close.  Still unusual.


I stand up to leave and immediately they march forwards. ‘Oh!’ they say. ‘You’re just a person, really!  Well why didn’t you say?!’

And with that they’re all over me.  Licking, rubbing, scratching.  I back away slowly so as not to get chased, and leave them to it, to find their cousins, the beef cattle, for some more entertainment.


The Beauty of Home

It’s reading week, so I’ve come home for a few days.  I spend an awful lot of time in Shropshire and Cheshire, but I can’t come home to Oxfordshire without photographing its beauty.


The wind is back but the rain has held off for about a week now, and we even got a day of brilliant sunshine.


We took advantage of the weather and walked to Segsbury Fort on the Ridgeway National Trail.


I think you’ll agree that the views were amazing, and Oxfordshire is truly beautiful.


Around the garden

Today has been an absolute scorcher – pushing towards 30 degrees with tomorrow set to be even hotter.  To celebrate the fine weather and the last of my time at Chatsworth, we decided this morning to have a barbecue.

Between courses I took a wander around our little garden with my camera.

The side boarder

It’s very wild but I think it’s a thing of beauty.



Personally, the dog rose (below) is my favourite.  It reaches across the back of the garden, through the small oak tree and over the dry stone wall.  DSC_0054

It’s just such a beautiful flower that fills the garden.



Finally – the veg patch.  These raised beds haven’t seen veg in a while but they do have some beautiful flowers in them!  The flowers on the lupin seem to be just starting to come off but it still looks wonderful – and there are a few daisies and other flowers in there too.

Daisy and lupin

Daisy and lupin

And I’ll leave you with this to finish…





Last time I posted I had been at Chatsworth for six weeks. Well, another six weeks later and summer is well and truly over, the nights are drawing in and the park is changing.

Leaves are starting to change colour and there’s often a mist that hangs around all day, but the biggest change I have noticed is in the deer herds. It’s getting towards rutting time and the deer seem to be behaving differently. They are a lot more active in moving around the park and rather than spending the evenings lying under the trees, they will be up and about. While the groups are remaining together, the males tend to be spread out under nearby trees rather than in the main group.

The estate is also inundated with some fine looking pheasant – a credit to the game keeper. There’s regularly several pheasant in the little garden behind my cottage. They come for the seed spilled off the bird feeders, but they also like the area behind the garden which is overgrown with brambles, but opens up onto the park. Perfect pheasant habitat.

The sad news of the death of Her Grace, the Dowager Duchess Deborah Devonshire made the news last week. The Dowager worked a long way into making Chatsworth what it is today, welcoming people to such a wonderful place.

I’ve been working towards my APC and the past few weeks I have been recording the work I am doing against different competencies. I’m really happy with the range of experience I am getting here. My lecturer from Harper Adams came to visit me last week and I told him I don’t think I will ever work in a nicer place. He said ‘No, you probably won’t’.

It’s good to know it’s downhill from here!

Work and play

Despite having finished my exams two weeks ago, I’ve only been at home for three full days since then!

Last week I went out with dad for a bit of surveying – taking levels for a new ramp to be put in.

Reading the levels

Reading the levels

I also went holiday shopping with mum which saw FatFace benefit greatly!

The rest of my time has been spent in Cheshire, or somewhere in between.  Last week’s Friday traffic was appalling and made what is usually an easy three hour drive into five and a half hours of slow moving motorways.  The Friday evening was a friend’s 21st which was a fantastic night – and I did make it just in time!

Of course I had to go and visit my friend Rebecca’s chicks (I posted some pictures in a blog a couple of weeks ago) and they are ADORABLE.

chick 2 chick 1

This week I also went to the Cheshire Show which was a great couple of day. Of course we had to look at all of the various livestock, a few tractors and chat to a seed merchant, but I also managed to get some time to watch the side saddle showing and the showjumping!

On the Wednesday it’s the Young Farmers’ Clubs’ float day, so each YFC in Cheshire (there are ten of them) builds a float on a variation on a theme.  This year’s theme was fairytales so our float was Aladdin.  We all had to dress up as characters from Aladdin, and the floats were judged and then taken into the main ring.

After the winners of the float competition were announced, there was a huge water fight between all of the young farmers’ clubs as each float held huge containers of water.  It was a really hot day so this was great fun!

I’m now unpacking and repacking, and I’m off again on Sunday for a holiday with my family! You can’t say I’m not making the most of my time off before I start work in July!