Cromford Mill Pond

On a sunny afternoon like this, it is easy to appreciate the expression ‘Calm as a mill pond’

The village of Cromford, in Derbyshire is often described as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and modern factory system. In 1771, Richard Arkwright built the world’s first successful water-powered cotton mill. The water from this pond and ran through tunnels under the road, now the A6, in order to reach the mill. The mill is now part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. We got as far as the entrance ready to visit but then, because of current precautions and restrictions, thought better of it and came away. May return and blog about it in better times!

High Peak Trail

Our walk along part of the High Peak Trail started at Middleton Top Countryside Centre, Middleton by Wirksworth.

Next to the centre is the steam engine house built in 1829 to haul wagons up the Middleton incline which at this point is 1:8. Many years ago we made the mistake of starting our walk at the bottom of the incline. Older and wiser now?

This couple are about to walk down the descent to Cromford
Looking down from the top of the incline

The 17 mile long High Peak Trail takes the line of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway between Parsley Hey and Cromford and was one of the first railways in the world. The railway was opened in 1831 and was mainly designed to carry minerals and goods between Cromford Canal and the Peak Forest Canal, with connections to the Manchester area.

Most of the trail we walked today was level and it was easy to imagine the railway track. The tunnel was also a big clue! Part of the walk was through cuttings between the rocks but other parts were open and elevated.

At the furthest point we walked to, many of the trees had already lost their autumn leaves and will remain wintery skeletons until the new leaves appear in spring. Although the trees will be dormant over winter, the wind turbines will continue to turn and contribute to the national grid.

I have seen wind farms from a distance many times but this was probably the closest I have been to one. There was something quite mesmerising about them and incidentally, fairly quiet and not a dead bird in sight.

As you know I often include a quote which I think is appropriate for a post or photograph so I couldn’t resist this one on the subject of wind turbines by none other than Donald Trump. “I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. They’re noisy. They kill the birds. You want to see a bird graveyard? Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen in your life.”

Bridge over the river Wye

Resting, relaxing and recharging our batteries with a break in Derbyshire. We are not too far from home but what a wonderful place to be in autumn. This ‘postcard’ is of the small charming bridge over the river Wye at Rowsley, shortly before it flows into the river Derwent.

The Derbyshire river Wye should not be confused with the Welsh, Hereford, Gloucestershire Wye. Its source is west of Buxton and at just 22 miles in length it is one of the major tributaries of the river Derwent which flows into the river Trent and ultimately into the Humber and North Sea.

I researched (ok I Googled) bridge quotes and to my surprise many of the results were by Turkish playwright, novelist and thinker Mehmet Murat ildan. I have to admit I hadn’t heard of him but he is clearly a bridge lover and certainly came up with the goods for bridge quotes. So many in fact, and all appropriate for this photograph, that I couldn’t decide which one to use, so here are six of them. You can be the judge.

“If watching a bridge is much more exciting than crossing that bridge, then you can be sure that it is a very beautiful bridge!”

“The easiest way to leave this world without leaving this world is to stand in the middle of a bridge and watch the surroundings!”

“You have to cross many bridges and you have to walk many paths in your life! But what is more important than this is to know which bridges you should not cross and which paths you must not walk!”

“If you are good at building bridges, you will never fall into the abyss!”

“If you do not build bridges, precipices become your fate!”

“With stones, you can build walls to separate people or build bridges to unite them! Do the second thing in the name of ethics and honour, for the glory of love and goodness!”

Brassed off

Yes, feeling brassed off*. This weekend we should have been making our pilgrimage to the iconic Royal Albert Hall, London, for the National Brass Band Championships. Alas this is yet another event understandably cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions. This would have been my twentieth visit to the main event, attracting an audience of over 4000, and other fringe activities in London over the weekend.

The competition has been held there since 1945, and is one of the most prestigious events in the Brass Band calendar. I first attended in 1968 and was immediately impressed by the size and atmosphere of the fascinating building. The acoustics are unusual and the hall has a noticeable echo. Various attempts have been made to improve acoustics over the years as can be seen in the acoustic diffusing discs hung from the roof and lit purple and blue.

Twenty championship bands, representing all the regions of Great Britain, compete for the title and magnificent trophy. The day starts with a draw for order of play when band hope to avoid the number one spot and be first on. Three adjudicators sit in an enclosed box so they can hear but not see which band is playing. 2018 was a special year for us when Foden’s, a band very close to our hearts, were crowned winners for the fourteenth time in their history.

Foden’s Band

Maybe, just maybe, we will be there on 9th October 2021.

*For my overseas followers, ‘brassed off’ is a British expression meaning fed up or disgruntled. It is also the title of a feel-good film which tells the story of the fictitious Grimley Colliery Band facing closure but overcoming various difficulties and obstacles to go on and win the championships.