Once a Quarry……

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Padley Gorge, Grindleford, Derbyshire

When  walking round our county of Derbyshire, you are always walking through our industrial history.  Here at Padley Gorge, in what is now a Nature Reserve, surrounded by high Beech Trees, spralling Oak and spindly Silver Birch, it is hard to visualise that this was once a busy quarry.

Millstone Grit was rough cut on site, a major center for mill wheels and grinding stones. Often called an open air factory, it must have been a place of endless activity.  Then dramatically the market collapsed, as progress and an improved method of manufacture was developed.   But even then the Gorge was restless,  quarrying was resumed for Gritstone Blocks used in the construction of the nearby Derwent Reservoir Dams.

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Most signs of the Quarry workings have vanished beneath the undergrowth. Today its a tranquil gorge, in spring is full of birds, the woodlands providing acres of great nesting sites.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

19th December

(C) David Oakes 2020

A Frosty Canal Walk…. just right for a November Morning

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Shardlow on the Trent & Mersey Canal, Derbyshire

Nearly the end of November and winter appears to have arrived.  Mist and frost to welcome in the morning…  but also a sun determined to burn the mist away quickly.  An ideal day for a walk along the canal.  The Trent & Mersey Canal, as the name suggests links the River Trent on the Derbyshire Nottingham border, here in middle England, with the River Mersey and the Industrial North West.  From Shardlow to the Mersey it is some 93 miles. It was once a major highway for goods, now it is a leisure waterway and part of the National Canal network.  Today though it was quiet.  CV19 restrictions have temporarily left the waters still….never seen them so calm.  But on with the walk, join us on a stroll from Shardlow Basin to Derwent Mouth.

The start (or end depending upon direction of travel) is at Derwent Mouth.  It is a wide expanse of water.  Here the Derbyshire River Derwent, that has flowed down from high in the Peak District, ends it journey, entering the River Trent as it heads eastward to the North Sea. It is also here that the Trent & Mersey Canal has its junction with the two rivers.  A series of Locks are used to maintain the water levels in the Canal and to enable it to rise above the river flood plain. 

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There is a bridge that straddles the River Trent.  A sweeping Metal contraption.  It is called ‘Long Horse Bridge‘.  The clue is in the name…..  the barges, that used to ply their trade along the canal, were for many years Horse Drawn.  Todays bridge is a new addition, the original (and in my view) and much more attractive Long Horse Bridge, was lost some years ago in floods. 

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A real bonus day, not sure what tomorrow or indeed the weekend has in store for us weather wise…..  so I hope you enjoyed this weather bonus.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

26th November

(C) David Oakes 2020

The Sun came out… eventually (better late than never)

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Darley Mill Complex and Weir on the River Derwent, Derby

As they say…. “Better Late than Never“.   It was very late afternoon before the cloud broke, rolled back,  allowing the sun that had been in hiding all day, to break through.  It was low, and just like a searchlight, its penetrating beam lit up Darley Mills.  The receding clouds still dark added some drama to the evening.   The Mill complex has been recently restored and now home to a wide variety of businesses.  It is all part of the World Heritage Derwent Valley Site.

Not a bad finish to what had, until the very end, been a rather drab day

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Maybe tomorrow will be so much better… we will have to wait and see

No matter what tomorrow brings….

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

25th November

(C) David Oakes 2020

Moody Monday……. The End of an Era

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The Cromarty Firth, Scotland

North Sea Oil was king…….  for decades it has fed an economy, creating much needed employment in a part of the UK  a region where it was much needed.

Here on the Cromarty Firth, Oil Riggs have been constructed, refurbished and maintained.  Seeing so many Riggs at anchor in the Firth was a heartening sign of a strong economy. 

Sadly the number have dwindled, economics make the industry very fragile.  Many of these Riggs, once a testament to engineering skills, are now heading for the scrap yard.  

It is an inevitable sign of the times, some say progress…. but looking across the Firth, I have a nostalgic wave of sadness at the passing of these giants.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

23rd November

(C) David Oakes 2020

 

Moody Monday….. On the Cut!

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Cromford Canal, Derbyshire

Moody and all quiet along the cut.  Why cut?  well these canals were hand made, dug out by hard labour and a spade, “cut” through the countryside.

Cromford Canal was given a license to be dug by Act of Parliament in 1789.  It was to be a vital commercial link between Sir Richard Arkwright’s Mill complex at Cromford with the wider canal network across England. Sadly that link has been lost many years ago.  So for the time being this section of the Cromford Canal is isolated and tranquil, a haven for wildlife.  Some hope that one day that network link will be restored and waterways traffic resumed.

Cromford is of course the home of the Industrial Revolution and Arkwright was instrumental in its development.  Apart from the canal, Arkwright was in part responsible for the creation of the High Peak Railway.  The wharf building above was not just a canal feature but also one of the very first Railway warehouses on a Railway network. The High Peak Railway was again a major industrial construction achievement, a railway built through and across terrain that even todays engineers would bulk at.

A Moody location but once the key to progress in transport.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

16th November

(C) David Oakes 2020