Owler Tor stands a mere stone’s throw from Surprise View carpark. Unlike its namesake Over Owler Tor which sits up on the hillside in the opposite direction, Owler Tor is accessed by simply crossing the road, passing through a wooden gate, and then walking to the nearby boulders.
On nice days and, especially, weekends it’s difficult to get a photograph that doesnt have at least one person in the frame. The main part of the tor is easily climbed and there are generally groups of people taking in the view and grabbing selfies from the summit. There were a few people around when I made the shot featured here today, but patience, timing, and that old standby – the awkward photographer’s stance – allowed me to keep them out of the frame.
Climbing Owler Tor An irresistable draw For its visitors
Millstone Edge, up above the lower Hope Valley in the Peak District is a location where quarrying for gritstone used to take place, withe the main ourput being the production of millstones. There are numerous signs of this former industry to be found, perhaps most notably in the number of abandoned millstones that litter the hillsides in this whole area of the National Park. Indeed, the emblem of the Peak District National Park is a millstone.
There are other indications of the former industrial activity to be found – there are still holes drilled into rock faces for the placement of never-used explosive charges, and also a number of building remains such as the stone shack featured in today’s blog post.
Quarrying for gritstone at Millstone Edge came to a close in the late 1930s.
Signs of industry Littering the stony crags Above the valley
While out in the Peak District the other week I took a brief wander into the birch trees close to Surprise View to look for potential photos. There are countless pictures to be had, but it’s not always easy to eke them out. I didn’t stay in the arera long and made just three or four photos including the two here today.
The first is of a bird-box affixed to one of the trees. There are a number of these boxes throughout the place, but this one has been damaged somehow – whether by human, animal, or natural forces I do not know. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper now though.
While I was making the photo of the bird-box I could hear the trees creaking in the wind around me, but it was only when I looked up that I noticed the soun was coming from a tree I was stood beneath. It’s trunk was broken partway up and a significant section of the upper part of the tree was swinging in the breeze. I don’t think it was at imminent risk of breaking free and landing on my head but I moved out of the way nontheless.
A broken tree trunk Swinging and creaking above I’m glad it stayed put
Just beside the car-park a wooden signpost points the way to the Surprise View scenic viewpoint at Millstone Edge. The signpost is weathered and host to mossy lichen. The view from the edge is pretty nice, looking down upon the Hope Valley / Derwent Valley area stretching away towards the Great Ridge and the Edale Valley to the north-west, and down towards Grindleford and beyond in the other direction. It can also be extremely windy, with strong gusts being pushed up the valley sides and onto unwitting sightseers (it nearly blew my wooly hat off on the day I made this photo!).
Looking for a view? Well head this way my good man I have a surprise!
A came across this place while wandering in the Peak District last week. I’ve passed close by before and never realised it was there but, now that I do, I think I’ll pay it further visits. While I’m pretty happy with how this photo turned out, I think that – with the right conditions – there might be much better images to be had. The autumn should be very nice here, I think.
Tumbledown structure Hidden in the old oak woods A nice place to find
With the easing of the lockdown in England it has meant the ability to travel a little further afield for photography has returned, so I’ve taken a couple of trips out into the Peak District – the closest bit, nothing too crazy! On both occasions I set out quite early and the car-park I’ve used has been almost empty, but has been busy when I’ve returned a few hours later. There are lots of places to venture from the car-park though, so it’s easy to keep plenty of distance from other people.
It’s nice to go somewhere different to make photos again and I’ve a big list of destinations for when the rules ease further from next week. It’s quite easy to get caught up in the act of taking pictures now the opportunity is back, so on today’s hike I made sure to take time to take things in through my senses without a viewfinder acting as a window to everything.
Countryside hiking Feeling fresh air on my skin It is wonderful
I walked past the trig point again a few weeks ago. It’s still surrounded by small stone tributes as it was last time I walked by almost a year ago. The weather was murky and misty on this occasion, contrasting with the bright sunshine seen in the earlier photos.
Today marked further relaxation of England’s lockdown rules. The main changes are that up to six people can now meet outdoors (including in private gardens), and also that organised outdoor sport is now permitted, including such things as tennis courts, golf courses, and outdoor swimming pools. I have little interest in any of those sporty things, but have taken the fact that people are allowed to drive to visit golf courses and the like as a good enough reason to venture a little further afield for my photography. I walk for miles usually, so that’ll count as sport to me. 🙂
So, this morning, after seeing one of the boys off to school I got my stuff together and headed out to the nearest bit of the Peak District. There were just a handful of other vehicles in the car park when I arrived, and I set off for a looping walk up to Over Owler Tor, then back down through Bolehills, before finally skirting the top edge of the woodland in Padley Gorge before returning to the car via Owler Tor (which, confusingly, is not the same place as Over Owler Tor).
When I got back to the car park it was absolutely rammed with cars. It would seem that the new found freedoms bestowed upon us were being taken advantage of. I was somewhat surprised considering that it was a work day, but maybe other people had the same idea as myself and took a day off.
It was a nice feeling to go somewhere different, and I’m looking forward to further outings (especially from 12 April, when we’re allowed further right to travel – as long as the infection rate doesn’t start to rise anyway).
I’ll post the photos from today when I get them developed. As usual there will be my usual time-lag in this regard, so maybe next week sometime. 🙂
Freedom at long last Well, partial freedom at least Better than nothing