Friday, January 29, 2010


Today was the most beautiful day. I got up just after 8 am and sat looking out of the window at the blue sky. When I went to bed last night it was throwing the rain down at the ground and I thought that my idea of taking the Lunatic Spaniel for a long walk along the Longdendale Trail was just blown out of the water. Then today, it was just so perfect that I had to go walking out into the countryside. I was out by 9.30. The picture above is taken about 2.5 miles along the Longdendale Trail, just as you descend to the dam that cuts across between the Valehouse and Rhodeswood Reservoirs. The picture above shows the bottom end of Rhodeswood. I took this picture at about 10.45 am and Jasper, the Lunatic Spaniel is actually tied to the signpost that you can just see in the bottom right of the picture.

Here is a picture of Jasper, on his own, just so you can see him. 

You'll notice that despite the sun that was shining so nicely today, the rain that we have been having lately, following the deep snow we had not so very long ago, have left the paths as very muddy. Jasper loves this. You can see that his "feathers" and feet are more black than white which is very much how he likes it. As he lies here at my feet as I write he is back to his pristine whiteness. I used to wonder where all the mud went to, until Pat pointed out that it falls off him and into the carpet. Ah well, that's what vacuum cleaners are for, I guess.

The Longdendale Trail follows the route of the old railway that used to run from Manchester to Sheffield by way of the Woodhead Tunnel. That tunnel closed in the 1960's after a fire destroyed the integrity of the tunnel and the railway line beyond Hadfield began to fall into disrepair. We came to live here in 1983 and the railway line was fenced off and totally unused. I cannot remember when they transformed it into a walking trail, sometime in the 90's I think, but I'm not sure. However, it is a wonderful place, even though it still bears all the hall marks of a railway line! It is long and, on the whole, very straight. Still, that makes it good for walking along. It has been reforested in parts which makes it very comfy on a hot day in summer, when we get them that is. However, on a cold day the wind whistles along the trail, steered by the embankments of the old railway line. It was very, very cold at times today, but warm when the sun was shining.

Today I walked along the trail for 2.5 miles and then turned off to return to Hadfield along a road that runs on the other side of Valehouse Reservoir. The picture above shows the route just before we turned off. So I guess we did about 5 miles in total today and, with stops for photographs and chasing rabbits (I took the photos and jasper chased the rabbits, though the rabbits are a good deal better at running away from him than he is from chasing them. Still we both had a lot of fun.

I must admit that I am really enjoying these extended walks with Jasper. He enjoys them as well and is spending a lot of time sleeping today, so I guess that is a good sign. 

The walks also give me an excellent opportunity to listen to my talking books. I love reading and talking books let me read and have a good walk at the same time. I get my books from Audible and I always choose the full versions. I often have the same book playing while I walk that I am reading at home and since the readings are word for word I can synchronise between the two amazingly well. At the moment I am listening to a book called "A Talent for War" by an American Science Fiction author called Jack McDevitt. It's a book that I chose on spec, as I liked the write up that Audible gave it. I am ever so glad that I did as it is a very good book, well written and well read. It is set some 9,000 years in the future, but like all good SciFi it really talks about the world as it is, and people who cannot get along with other people. But it won't suit everyone. Jane Austen it is not, though I love Jane Austen too. 

Anyway, that brings me back to the present. I need to finish this so that I can log onto Audible and download some more books for when I finish this one. These longer walks mean that I am finishing books ever so much faster than I was doing. I used to listen to them on the way to work, but now that I don't go to work ..... Anyway, I'll leave you with one last photograph, this one looking back down the Longdendale Valley, along the length of Valehouse Reservoir.

See you soon.

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