Saturday, 31 October 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Damp, misty and drizzle in the morning followed by afternoon breezy and bright. All day, whatever the conditions, the trees were alive with visiting thrushes, redwings, fieldfares or both. The constant movement suggests a high level of excitement and stimulation and one wonders how they manage to sustain it after such a long journey.
The grazier has applied himself eventually into the task of moving his cattle into the pasture land. This follows some words of 'encouragement' from frustrated attenders at SWT's advisory group meeting on Monday. Many of those people who have strong reservations about cattle have been avoiding the site and missing out on some beautiful autumn days on Blacka. The quite amazingly feeble excuse from SWT for not getting this done earlier needed to be heard to be believed. Apparently the grazier had been up every day but the cattle were never in the right place. A likely story indeed. As it happens at least one of the cows remains outside the pastures looking distinctly surly.When this question of cattle grazing was being argued about some years ago the opponents complained that it was turning the place into agricultural land. This was met with loud dismissive cries from the conservation mafia and their supporters. Since then we have had four strand barbed wire, wooden fences, trashed paths, large metal stock hurdles left in prominent places and Single Farm Payment being generously dispensed. What next? These people talk as if they have no concept of wild land being free from industrial exploitation. Farming has its own agenda and its obvious that SWT is unwilling or unable to manage the grazier.
Monday, 19 October 2009
Sunday, 18 October 2009
It should be emphasised again and again that the experience of seeing animals in the wild on Blacka and elsewhere is completely different to seeing them in the park of a stately home. The deer on Blacka are truly wild and easily frightened off. They keep largely hidden by day and you can search for weeks without seeing one. Usually they are off into the woods as soon as they spot you. This brings with it a treasurable sense of being in a genuinely wild place. There is a world here that is beyond the control and concerns of man and you tread more carefully, knowing as you do that you are in the realm where wild animals have set up their home. I do not sense this on a grouse moor, nor on a place where heather is managed by wildlife trusts for ground nesting birds nor where scrapes are specially dug for waders. That is bird-gardening and the occupation of our wildlife bureaucracies. The vegetation where this hind was seen is a glorious birch and scrub area transformed by the early morning autumn sun. Let us hope it is not destroyed by the birch bashers of SWT in a week's time. If the SSSI designations of Natural England had existed in the 1930s when this land was given to the public by J G Graves there would be none of this natural beauty here. It would be all boring heather with never a tree to be seen.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Photo below taken Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Monday, 12 October 2009
Lowland sheep are usually another story, getting much better treatment. But if there's one sheep in the hills that I do have a soft spot for it's the Herdwick more often found in the Lake District. Currently the farmer who grazes the sheep on the pasture land of Blacka has introduced a number of Herdwick sheep and lambs amongst the more common Derbyshire blackfaced animals. The Herdwicks are amusing to watch over a period of time. The ewes are white faced with a grey coat while the lambs start very dark almost black all over; over the weeks their faces turn white starting around the eyes with white spectacles. They also have a more attractive character than the others, less likely to complain and stamp feet but still curious.
Over all a more welcome addition. If we must have sheep let's have less of them but let them be Herdwicks.
The pure white fungi pushing up through the grass at this time have always been a puzzle to me being a very poor scholar of mycological matters. Could they be the Ivory Waxcap or could they be the Ivory Clitocybe? If your mind is on breakfast much could depend on the judgement made as the former is classed as edible while the Clitocybe produces very nasty reactions sometimes fatal. My choice this morning is a poached egg.
Saturday, 10 October 2009
One character showing no desire to move on is our persistent robin, singing for his breakfast at 9 a.m. in the contrast of deep shade and bright morning sun.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Where to start? They clutter up the site with their laminated notices. The notices themselves are really stuff more likely to be seen in an office but they haven’t the imagination to see that. The content of the notices also appals. What has the smiling child got to do with the invitation to come along and wantonly destroy trees? Is this part of the same mindset that recruits a marketing manager? These are people who care nothing for the site and its natural beauty only for their jobs in offices 7 miles away.
“Come along” they say “and help protect internationally rare heathland.... etc”. This is nonsense and they know it. Does anyone with half a brain left fall for this? How do you protect something by destruction of natural beauty? Without vigorous protests these vandals will continue to encourage people to think that ‘scrub bashing’ is actually a good thing! In such a way dictators tell their peoples that ‘War is Peace’ and ‘Ignorance is Strength’.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
It also claims that similar two and three storey buildings are in the vicinity which themselves justified Fairthorn. This is nonsense. The statement made in the letter which is obviously accurate is that each development will be 'considered on its merits'. This means that officers will make their own minds up without being tied to previously agreed policies.
Monday, 5 October 2009
This is where the water plunges down dramatically to Blacka Dyke after a heavy downpour. A long spell of dry weather reduces it to a mere trickle as it is today. Some would not try to cross the top when the torrents are flowing but show more bravery at quieter times.
The oak stem here growing near the fall has been chewed or scraped in recent weeks and I would normally be in no doubt this is the work of deer. Another of the annoyances of the presence of cattle is that it is harder to be sure of what is attributable to them and what to deer.
Before the cattle arrived it was easy to see the deer tracks through the bracken - they make their own and usually prefer them to man made paths; now the cattle do the opposite, preferring tracks ready made by man or deer. This means everything becomes a cattle track. It would take a better observer than I am to separate the effect of deer and cattle on the vegetation.