Friday, 20 May 2011

Farnley Tyas Walk

In an attempt to get a bit fitter we've been trying to get out for a few more walks.  Normally I go out on my own or with my daughters dog but my wife has decided to come with me a bit more often.  She bought a pack of cards from the AA called 30 Walks in West Yorkshire from the book club at school and we're going to try to do as many as we can.  The walks are quite varied ranging from 3 to 10 miles and each card has a map on one side and directions on the other, which are quite detailed. The cards also give the distance, minimum time, ratings for gradient and difficulty, a suggested OS map and lots of other useful information.  The cards are made of sturdy card with a plastic coating and a plastic envelope is supplied for carrying the cards on the walks.  The AA have similar cards for many areas of the country and I think they're very good to give some ideas to get out walking.

Most of the walks seem to start and end at or near a pub, which is always a good thing.  The Todmorden walk from the previous post was from one of the cards and so is this one.  Farnley Tyas is about 3 or 4 miles from home and my wife used to live between Almondbury and the village for the first 15 years of her life so it's an area we know reasonably well. The walk is 4.5 miles with a medium gradient and difficulty and expected to take two and a half hours.

We started the walk next to the playing fields and then headed down a track next to the woods, through a field down onto a little road.  After a few yards we left the road on another path into some more woods and this is where we went a bit wrong.  Had we read the instructions we would probably have stayed on the right track but we ended up spending quite a time in the woods instead of taking the correct route through some fields.  Anyhow from the map we were fairly sure where we were so carried on knowing we could pick up the proper route later.


There were lots of bluebells in the woods and the weather was very sunny so there was patches of light coming through the trees.  I took this close up of a bluebell near to the path and got down low so that the bluebells in the light and shade in the background were in the frame.



In the middle of the woods we came across this pond that belongs to a local angling club.  It looked like it could have been an old mill pond, I don't know of a mill that was close to here, but there may have been.  Alternatively it could have been an old local reservoir, possibly serving Honley village at the bottom of the hill. The angling club had constructed platforms around the water for the anglers using what appeared to be bits of scaffolding. At one end of the pond was a security camera looking over the water so I wonder if they have problems with poachers.  As we walked around the pond we saw millions of tadpoles and also some very big fish just under the surface of the water.


Past the pond the path dropped down to this little stream.  The weather has been dry for ages so there wasn't much water in the stream.


More bluebells all through the woods between these very closely packed trees.


As we climbed up the hill there was a bit of a clearing that looked beautiful with this rich blue carpet.


At the top of the hill we came out onto the road between Farnley Tyas and Castle Hill and were a few hundred yards from our intended path.  There was another path which appeared to be going the right direction but we decided to walk along the road and pick up our intended path.  As it happened the other path did join our a little way along but you never can tell sometimes.  From the path we had a nice view of Victoria Tower on Castle Hill looking quite magnificent in the sunshine.


We'd brought a picnic with us and considered making another detour to sit up by the tower to eat our food but we couldn't find a path going in the right direction so we didn't bother.  Further down the path I took this next photo looking across the valley back towards Farnley Tyas.  You might just be able to see the church steeple poking up in from of the trees on the horizon.


Next to the path was this little bush with white and red flowers which looked very pretty.  I love the way the background is out of focus but you can still make out the trees and the fields going into the distance. Since I exported this photo for the blog I have re-cropped it to square to take out the fence post on the left and the twigs coming in from the right.  I think it's a great improvement because those two bits are quite distracting.


We joined the road for a little while and then started heading downwards through some fields.  At the edge of the field was this amazing looking dead tree.  I took this photo with Victoria Tower in the background because I thought it was a nice contract between the straight lines of the tower and the curly branched of the tree.  I think the photo is too busy though with all the other buildings in the middle ground but I couldn't figure out a way of avoiding them.


At the bottom of the hill we were back into woods again.  Here we are very close to where my wife spent her childhood.  She always calls these wood Mollica Woods but when we look on the map they are actually called Mollie Carr Woods.  I like this photo because there's a lot of light and shade and again more bluebells going up the hill in the background.


At the edge of the woods we finally had our picnic on a grass bank next to a little stream. I think this all brought back a lot of memories to my wife as she often played here with her brothers and sisters.  She is one of seven children and I think they must have had a lot of happy times here.  Behind where we were sat was a big field with this beautiful tree in the middle.


Along the path were these lovely white flowers in the grass.


We had few more yards on the road and then started heading up a path back towards Farnley Tyas on the last leg of out walk.  Part way along the path were some houses and a little grassed drive with this green dumper truck.  It just looked interesting to me so I took the photo.  In the background is Castle Hill again and there's a line of smoke rising up from the bank in front of the tower.


As we walked further up the path the smoke was getting thicker so I popped my long telephoto lens on to take some photos.


At one point the whole of the tower was hidden by the smoke and we could see the flames engulfing one of the smaller trees on the banking.  It had been one of the driest Aprils on record and the news was full of stories about fires on the moorland areas, particularly in the North West.  A few spectators were stood on the banking and you might just be able to make out the top of a fire engine in the bottom right of the picture.


After a little while the firemen got the blaze under control and we continued our walk back to the car at Farnley Tyas.  Had we gone up to Castle Hill for our picnic we might have had a much better view of the action and maybe got a few fireman shots into the bargain.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Packhorse Path near Todmorden

I don't often talk about equipment on this blog but I started having problems with one of my lenses not focussing properly.  It's the lens that I use the most and which is on my camera probably over 80% of the time.  It has broken before when the zoom stuck and I blogged about it back in July 2009 and because it was only a few weeks before going on my annual holiday I hurriedly bought another copy. I was used to this lens and I couldn't justify getting a higher quality lens.  About a year later that lens also went the same way as the first which I wasn't too happy about but then I found when I searched the internet that this was a common problem with this particular lens.  I also found a website which showed ho to fix it.  Basically the fault was a screw inside the lens which had come loose and it required taking the whole thing apart and putting it back in.  I was feeling very brave at the time so I followed the instructions, fixed both lenses and took the advice to put a bit of super glue on the screw to stop it coming back out.  Since then I've used one of the fixed lenses and kept the other one as a spare which I am having too use now.  If you're interested the lens is the Canon 17-85 IS USM which Amazon are currently selling at £350, so not a cheap lens.  I think it's an awesome lens when it's working but I'm not happy that it doesn't appear to have a particularly good build quality.  I wouldn't buy another one so if this spare one breaks down too I will have to consider my options.

Anyway I guess you have figured out that this was the lens on my camera when we went to Todmorden to do the packhorse pathway walk.  Starting on the Todmorden to Littleborough road near Walsden we started by crossing the canal and then heading up the steep hill.  The stone on the canal bank says Lancashire on one side and Yorkshire on the other so we were doing a cross-county walk today.


It was a very hot day so the going was quite hard on this stretch of the walk.  As we neared the top there was this little stream running alongside the path.


Our destination at the top of the hill was a series of reservoirs and this photo shows what appears to be two long thin reservoirs with a wall across the middle.  In the distance is a long line of electricity pylons stretching along the top of the moors.


Heading away from the pylons there was another, bigger reservoir (Warlands) which unusually had the control tower towards the middle of the wall.  Normally these towers are in one corner of the reservoir.


At the far end of the reservoir was what looked like a quarry wall so I wondered if they had used the store from here to build all of the reservoirs in the area.  I made this into a panoramic because the top and bottom of the full image was a bit boring.  At full size you can see that this photo is not very well focussed because my lens was playing up quite badly by now and just got worse as we went along.  Most of the photos after this point were well out of focus when I got them home and the last few I focussed manually so I had something to take home.


Out in the distance there was a big tower on the top of the hill which looked very similar to the one at Pots and Pans near Greenfield.  It was getting quite cloudy now and it was still very warm but there was a bit of a cold breeze at times.


We started walking downhill and reached Gaddings Dam which was quite pretty and at the far end there were some people swimming.


I went down to the waters edge and took this low angle shot across the water.  You might just be able to spot the tower on the horizon that was in the earlier shot.


At the far end of Gaddings dam was this wonderful stone staircase which looks to be going up to the sky from this angle.


From the dam we started to head back down towards out starting point and on the way we passed this very strange looking rock formation.


The last stretch of the walk was back along the canal to the lock where we had started.  We had walked around 6 miles and was ready for our lunch and so we headed to a nearby pub.


Not much narrative today (apart from the rant about my lens), it's getting late.  Next time another walk about but nearer to home and not as far, and with a lens that focussed properly.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Early Morning Missed

Sorry, really bad pun. It should have been "Early Morning Mist" but I've had trouble getting out of bed early enough.  It was quite misty when I first got up and I was wanting to get some sun rising over the water pictures.  On the drive to the reservoir the sun was glowing a wonderful orange colour through the mist and I almost stopped at one point to get a few quick shots, but I didn't.  In the few minutes that it took me to get to the reservoir the mist had all but gone and the sun was shining brightly.  It was about half past six and the sun was quite a way above the horizon, it's hard to get up early enough for sunrise photos at this time of the year.


Anyhow I stuck around for half an hour or so and fired off a few shots before going home for breakfast. In this first photo I am trying to capture the reflection of the slightly pink clouds in the water and what is left of the mist in the distance.  On the right edge are a couple of anglers setting up for the days fishing although I'm sure they aren't supposed to start before 7am so I hope the water bailiff doesn't catch them. 



There didn't seem to be much wildlife about either this morning, maybe it was a bit chilly.  In the fields next to the reservoir there was a couple of hares running about but they were too far off to get a reasonable shot of them.  In the water was this solitary crested grebe making its way towards the dam wall.


I was making my way back towards my car and I was pleased to see the sun shining brightly on these bushes next to the water.  In the distance the mist seemed to be coming in again but it didn't look as though it would stay for long.


As I reached the car park I looked back to the reservoir and saw the windmills reflecting in the water.  There was very little wind and all of the windmills were still.  I considered driving around to the windmills and taking a few shots of them in the early morning sun but I was in desperate need of a drink as I didn't have anything with me and I had set off from home without having anything.


Over the Easter holiday period I've been out and about quite a bit but I've been pretty bad with sorting out my photos so hopefully I'll catch up and make a few more posts in the next week or so.  We've had some excellent weather recently but it's the Holmfirth Folk Festival over the weekend and the weather forecast isn't looking too good at the moment.  I hope it not too bad for the people to get out on the streets and maybe I'll get chance to get some photos.