Andy has taken up fly-fishing in the last few months. I wasn’t really into the idea until he told me that fisherers (technical term) can hire a boat at Ladybower Fisheries and see all the quiet bits that normal, non-fishing folk can’t usually get to. Part of my Sketchbook Skool homework is to document my week in sketches so, when he said he was spending a day out on the reservoir, I figured it was as good an opportunity as any to get out of the house, even if it was forecast to chuck it down with rain all afternoon. So I tagged along and, guess what? It was a flippin’ glorious day.
Once I was confident that I wasn’t about to fall in and drown, I was hypnotised by the shimmery shoopy shapes and swirls as they sploshed and sloshed against the boat:
Then I drew, and Andy fished, until sundown.
Sadly the fish were asleep and the Trout Count remained at zero, so we didn’t have fish for our tea (perhaps not so sadly for the trout), but it didn’t matter.
The upland landscape of the Peak District National Park, with its dramatic grey tors, purple heathers and windswept greens, provides endless inspiration for me. When I’m not physically out there, breathing in its therapeutic air, I’m constantly revisiting it, often though the colours I surround myself with.
I try to suppress the melodrama that is often occurring in my head but, when I am walking and I am stepping out of people’s way, and when they are walking straight on and not acknowledging me as if I’m not even there, I think “I’ll haunt this place one day” and sometimes I feel so invisible that it seems like I’m haunting it already (but not necessarily in a bad way).
I must have walked on Burbage moor a thousand times but I don’t think I’ve been on Stanage edge for years, which is pretty terrible considering how often I drive past it and subconsciously take in its outline. It was forecast to be a nice afternoon so I decided to remedy that. (Click on the panorama below to view larger!)
I walked along the edge and took in views of most of the walks I did last week, including the Great Ridge and Dennis Knoll which you might be able to make out on my sketch above. I don’t think either the sketch or my iPhone photos do justice to how beautiful it was out there today – there was a breathtaking view from the trig point as the sun came out which I failed to capture, but I’m glad I was there to see it!
Sketch done, I walked back along the edge, down from the trig point and across the road to Higger Tor before heading back through the blossoming heather to Burbage bridge.
Friday’s jaunt took me to the summit of Mam Tor (don’t be too impressed, it’s only about a 15 minute walk from the car park) and eastwards along the Great Ridge to the top of what I’m guessing is Barker Bank. If you look very carefully at the panorama photo and squint, you can just about see the spot where we were for the Sketchcrawl at Edale last weekend in the far distance. No?
Anyway, it was a blazing hot afternoon so I sensibly took plenty of water. Right? Wrong.
I forgot to take any water. So not only was I gagging for a drink the whole time but I couldn’t use much paint. Luckily I had a bit of emergency water in my water brush so I used soluble crayon for my sketches.
And so ends of my week off! I hope you enjoyed following me. I’m going to try to keep up the walking & sketching as much as I can, but this is where the posting every day stops :)
Yesterday I had lightly pencilled in a trip to the seaside to have an ice-cream with Sal off of littleblackheart. I dithered and dithered for several hours right up until the point where if I had set off right then, it would have been time to leave again by the time I got there. I’m so annoyed with myself. I am hopeful that she will let me reschedule our seaside friend-date for a future time when I intend to be 100% more brave.
Instead I went to the nearest thing we have to the sea, a reservoir: Ladybower. First I went for a hike up the hill to look at the view. It was stunning and peaceful for about 3-4 minutes until a bunch of other people arrived and decided to sit right next to me. It was the best spot for miles around, clearly. Look at all those lovely tors.
A couple of dodgy sketches bagged, I headed back down the hill for what I thought would be another 2 hour walk, but I took and accidental shortcut which only took 30 minutes. Oops. I did spot some heather in bloom, a couple of baby grouse and a bunny though, so all’s well that ends well?
I finished the afternoon by having a nice sit down by the water and imagining that it was Cleethorpes and that I had an ice cream and a friend.
On the way home from Eyam yesterday I stopped for a quick walk at Longshaw Estate. Longshaw Lodge was originally the hunting lodge for the Dukes of Rutland. I won’t give the game away, but it features in ‘The Secret Rooms’ by Catherine Bailey, which is a good read if you are interested in fancy houses and historical mysteries.
Brontë fans: if you fancy staying a few days at Longshaw you can rent the old gamekeepers cottage, White Edge Lodge which is a landmark in the area and was used in the 2011 (Fassbender) version of Jane Eyre.
Duke’s Seat is a lovely outcrop of rocks that is popular with swallows and sheep. It is also the perfect spot to sit and sketch the view :)
Next up: I don’t go to Cleethorpes