Off up into the peak district today, bright and early, never occurred to me that
it might be a bank holiday. It started well enough, it was far too cold for the casual
visitor to be out and about but it suited us.
Later on the weather would catch us out as it so often does. Having begun the day
regretting the absence of extra layers in the biting wind whipping across the moor,
we ended up embarrassed to be so overdressed amongst hoards of tourists sporting
shorts and tee shirts once we had made it to the valley floor. By the time we had
got back to the car, we were frazzled and very tired.
The grouse were there in numbers, issuing good advice which we ignored. “Goback,
Goback, Goback.” If only we had listened. Lots of ring ousels as well which is a
bird I had never seen before and that was nice. But what to photograph?
I blagged Laurence’s ND filters again and a lens that they would fit, so it was long
exposures for me and short focal lengths. Loz was alright, with 400mm to play with
and a lot of obliging birds about, but I struggled a bit. Few trees you see.
I only managed two pictures that appealed in miles of walking over fairly rugged
terrain in weather that became hot too quickly for my liking. Nevertheless, when
I got back home and put the results of my efforts up on the screen, it was trees
that featured in my very first and ultimately favourite picture of the trip.
I don’t think I am becoming a black and white obsessive, but I have to admit to the
appeal of a fairly monochrome palette. Dawn is good for that.
We were both struck by the resilience of the endless miles of dry stone walls in
that part of the world. No matter how inhospitable the climate or the terrain, in
the distant past, people had lugged and manhandled millions of tons of rocks around
the hills and arranged them, without mortar in such a way that maybe a hundred years
or more later, they are still serving the purpose for which they were intended. As
Laurence pointed out those hardy craftsman may be long gone, but their efforts remain
for all to see.
Hence the second picture; a solid, enduring section of stone wall and just a suggestion,
maybe a memorial in the echoes of the men that built it. Pompous drivel I am sure,
but it means something to me.