Cloudy mornings just before the clocks go back can be dreary at 7.30 am. So it's a welcome diversion to meet a deer family group. The heads of mother and young are just visible to the right of the stag.
On a glorious Sunday morning there were many people about even at 9 am. So it was a good idea to be on Blacka Moor by 7.15 and to see the sun rise in all its majesty.
I was rewarded with a sight rarely seen here or perhaps elsewhere. A red deer "family". A stag with a hind and also a youngster. The latter is not clear in the above picture, more easily in the second and better still in the third when they are moving off.
There is a Grisette and a Tawny Grisette. Both are in the Amanita family. Despite this some claim they are edible. The Amanita family contains some members which are deadly poisonous so the usual advice is to avoid them for fear of making a mistake. This one is under a beech tree.
The top end of Meg and Jin Hollow, one of the wilder parts of Blacka Moor, fairly untouched by management schemes and left to go its own way. An item on the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning was extolling the virtues of wildness; the message is slowly getting through.
Meg and Jin were local children back over a hundred years ago who got lost in a blizzard in this area.
First frosts can bring a dramatic change to the appearance of a familiar area.
BB slipped over clumsily this morning and should be more careful. It comes of suddenly seeing an early morning stag on the hill just ahead and grasping for the camera while trying to hurry forward. Frost probably played little part in this, but it could be a factor in a future accident here (below) where SWT's eccentric bridge is surely a hazard.
Early mornings are the best time to sample the autumn colours. Much of Blacka is east facing so gets little sight of the setting sun, leaving the only option to get out of bed if you want to see the place at its best.
The gate above was wide open first thing this morning. That's naughty because sheep could have escaped. The silly 'No Smoking' poster has gone.
This one remains closed even though September has long gone - the supposed end of cattle grazing for the year. I've not seen the cattle for a week now but assume they are still around from the notices on gates. Though SWT are quite capable of taking them off and then failing to chain back the gates; they have a love of being opaque and mysterious. The story was that the gates would be chained open when cattle were not on site.
If you are over five feet tall you should proceed with some caution along the path from Devil's Elbow towards Shorts Lane. The new sign erected by the all-competent SWT (joke) seems designed to injure anyone above two thirds average height.
There are a number of these new signs scattered around Blacka. First impression is - appropriate for a kindergarten, and the height would be well suited for that purpose.
At its best Blacka can produce the perfect experience. If this is condensed into just half a minute of surprise and delight then that's even more to be cherished.
Coming along the path from the hollow to Lenny Hill is one of those places where this can happen. The path winds in a satisfying way, part overgrown capturing what warmth there is. Today it was still, the autumn colours were dominant and the quietness was special in a way that you knew had been undisturbed for more than an hour.
As we slowly walked a family of pheasants hurried along in front, dad honked into the air a few yards away and suddenly a solitary fawn dashed across in a series of springs.
This issue needs more public debate and more intelligent and well informed public debate. There are too many people with no interest in the countryside just waiting for an opportunity to make lots of money out of this.
Natural England is advising the government that the green belt is outmoded and past its sell by date. See this link
We all know what this means - open season for development. Blacka Blogger has had reason to doubt the judgement of Natural England - English Nature as was. The character who leads them was interviewed unconvincingly on the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning. His headquarters is in Sheffield.
Once people start questioning established things like this the powerful lobbies move in sensing a weakness. Of course this fellow really wants lots of new projects for the conservation industry - jobs for the biodiversity wallahs, and probably would not be happy for the green belt to be concreted over. But it's playing with fire to suggest that we can do without such an important concept that took decades to get established.
It's hard to see why people persist witha strategy which is not just failing to work but is actually making things worse.
The barrier on the path (below) did not stop the path being used. It just meant that another track was made going round it, causing further erosion. Chief culprits were of course the cattle and the occasional motorbike and then people who saw that this obviously could not be taken seriously. But SWT could easily have made the barrier wider and chose not to (assuming they come here with eyes open) or should have taken the barrier down when they realised it was a mistake.
Ultimately there's no substitute for actually thinking.
Blacka Blogger makes no claim to be a fungi expert. Far from it. Not even a particularly well-informed amateur. But the picture on the new poster is definitely NOT a waxcap. It is in fact a Fly Agaric. And to let people even guess that it is could lead to problems.
Waxcaps belong to the Hygrocybe family many of which are edible, whereas the Fly Agaric belongs to the Amanita family, definitely not recommended for eating, and containing several deadly poisonous species.
Anyway the advice must be never to eat anything unless the identification is a hundred per cent sure.
It's odd how special lighting effects, more often found in mornings and in conjunction with mist, exaggerate the size of certain features of the landscape.
Many times you can look out from here to the east and be hardly aware of the cooling towers of the old power station at Tinsley. They won't be around that much longer anyway if the news is to be believed.
The path here is closed in one one side by a bank surmounted by tall bracken and on the other by a ditch and various bramble and bracken vegetation. Not exactly the ideal place in the mist to come across a herd of highland cattle hurtling towards you at some speed.
The camera could not be accessed in time to record the event as we were too busy shouting abuse and encouragement.