Our throw-away society

Saturday was a miserable day, so rather than wandering the moors in the murk, myself and one of the other Rangers decided to be environmentally friendly and do a litter pick - what a mistake.

We started in the truck layby on the A628 just down the valley from the Woodhead tunnel entrance, and ended up filling 15 bin bags, plus pallets, plus three lorry tyres. We then moved on to the car park by the Blacks but we only managed to fill five bin bags there. People would have to drive all of about 300m off the road before littering, so I suppose that explains it.

As a result of my endeavours I made some observations, learned some things I would rather not know, and have some questions I'm still puzzling over:

  • Empty beer cans are irresistible to mice, but unfortunately once they get in, they can't get out.
  • Empty beer cans at the right angle collect rainwater.
  • Mice, empty beercans and rainwater make an interesting mix. Tip the can and the fur comes out first, followed by the tiny blue, bloated, decomposing bodies, all topped off by the most revolting stench I have ever experienced.
  • Big Macs must taste better cold. I can find no other explanation for the crop of discarded cartons 25 miles from the nearest McDonalds.
  • There is someone in the UK who is stupid enough to drive to a layby miles from anywhere and then throw their car keys into the undergrowth.
  • A child somewhere in the UK has lost all their schoolwork for the last five years.
  • Mandy from Leeds, does your Mum know what your 'modelling' career actually involves?
  • There are at least half-a dozen women in the UK who have lost some underwear. The same doesn't appear to be true of any of the men.
  • Disposable nappies left exposed to the elements bloat up to about the size of a football.
  • Most people who litter prefer Orange Tango.
  • Coke left exposed to sunlight goes a colour reminiscent of urine - at least I assume that the label on the bottle was correct.
  • Some people are very tidy-minded, they gather up all their litter, put it into a bag, tie it up and then throw it neatly into the countryside.
  • Don't pick up unidentified tied-up plastic bags - somebody may have used them as an impromptu toilet.

How to be an Evil Linux Ubergeek

"Linux gives us the power we need to crush those who oppose us" - check out Everyone looks spiffy with a Tux (requires Flash). I'm sure I've met Steve before (several times ;-)

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Categories : Tech

In the interests of brotherly harmony...


Having put Mark's hedgehog picture up, it only seems fair that I do the same with one of James's pictures (or so he tells me). The artist informs me that this work is entitled 'Butch has found a new juicy bone to gloat over', and the medium is felt-tip pen.

Categories : Personal, Family

Ashop activity

One of the other Rangers asked me if I knew what all the stream logging equipment was in Ashop Clough, alongside the Snake Path, and a little googling revealed the answer.

Nottingham Trent University School of Land-based Studies / School of Property & Construction Postgraduate studentships for MPhil/PhD: Geohazards Research Group

Studentship 1: Effects of blanket peat moorland management strategies upon erosion and suspended sediment transport This project relates to changes in blanket peat moorland management to be implemented by the National Trust in the Peak District, and will run alongside an existing project on discolouration of surface waters. Six sub-catchments of the River Ashop are already instrumented with logging stage recorders and automatic water samplers, together with rainfall, water table and ecological monitoring. Changes to burning and grazing regimes are planned, together with gully blockages to encourage revegetation. It is envisaged that this new studentship will concentrate upon aspects of gully slope stability and the production and transport of sediments derived from the blanket peat, and will involve monitoring and modelling of responses prior to and after changes in moorland management strategies. Nottingham Trent University has a considerable record of research in this area.

Some Dark Peak pictures

The other Rangers I work with have been nagging me to put some more pictures on this website. All of these have been taken within 6 Km of where I live. Click on the images to see a larger version.

Wain Stones

Wain Stones, looking south towards the Kinder plateau, which is on the right-hand side of the skyline, about 6 Km away.

Wain Stones

Looking North from Harrop Moss. The valley in the centre of the photo is Crowden Great Brook and to the left is Crowden Little Brook, about 6 Km away. The edge you can see curving left to right in the centre of the photo is Laddow Rocks, which the route of the Pennine Way follows as it climbs out of Crowden up towards Black Hill.

Shittern Clough

This winter panorama was taken from above Shittern Clough, looking southeast up the valley of Shelf Brook.

From left to right:

The stream in the foreground is Shittern Clough,a corruption of Scriesendclough, which probably means 'stream used as an open sewer' - this area of Glossop is thought to have been a centre of population in the 13th century.

The hill just behind is Lightside, which at one time housed the targets for a rifle range - the firing positions were below and to the right of where the photo was taken from. Next along and in the far distance is Shelf Benches, which was the site of some large quarries which were active into the latter part of the 19th century.

Just right of centre in the centre, running from top to bottom of the picture is Shelf Brook. The lower part (the green fields) is known as Mossy Lea. Along the valley bottom runs Doctor's Gate track, named after Dr. John Talbot, who was vicar of Glossop from 1495 to 1535, eventually climbing up to join the Pennine way at Snake Summit. This is purported to be a Roman road, but is in fact a medieval packhorse route.

The hill with the noticeable plume of smoke on it is Coldharbour Moor, on which Mesolithic and Neolithic flints have been found. To the right of that in the far distance is Glead Hill, and finally the round hill on the far right hand side of the photo is Shire Hill, on which a Bronze Age burial urn was found in 1957.

Most of the moorland around Glossop is managed for grouse shooting, which requires that thenheather is burnt on a regular 15 year cycle to provide fresh growth for the grouse to eat - hence the trails of smoke on the skyline.

Looking east along Mossy Lea, Shire Hill is just out of shot to the right. This is the green valley bottom you can see on the panorama above.

Shittern Clough

Looking south-west over Glossop from near the bottom of Shittern Clough. This was taken a couple of hours after the panorama above, and all the smoke from the heather burning had drifted down over Glossop - very atmospheric! (pun intended ;-)

James Thorn

James's Thorn, looking west over Glossop and to Manchester in the distance. The round hill on the left of the picture is Shire Hill (see above). The scrap metal in front of my kid's feet is all that remains of a Canadian Air Force Avro Lancaster that crashed on May 18th 1945, just days before the squadron went back to Canada. All six crew were killed. Behind and below the viewpoint there is the remains of another crash - a Skytrain. The Dark Peak is littered with aircraft wrecks, the most well-known being the USAF RB-29A 'Over Exposed' that crashed near Higher Shelf Stones, about 1 Km away from this site.

Dog Rock

Above Ferny Hole, looking west towards Yellow Slacks and Dog Rock (the outcrop on the facing hillside in the centre of the photo). Dog Rock was used by the early sports climbers in the UK, and was the scene of some pretty heated battles over access in the 50s and 60s - the local farmer fenced the crag off in an attempt to keep the climbers out, and the local climbers used to go up in the evening, cut the fences and throw the wire, the posts and all the tools off the top of the crag. The farmer then resorted to dynamiting the crag to make it unclimbable, but in fact it ended up improving the climbing! Eventually the whole thing ended up in court.

Before the flood After the flood After the flood

Last summer we had a day of torrential rain which resulted in Shelf Brook bursting its banks, along with most of the other rivers that flow through Glossop. There was extensive damage, some of which is still being repaired. The picture on the left is what it used to look like, the picture on the right was taken the day after the floods. Both these pictures are taken from exactly the same place, the footbridge over Shelf Brook. The picture on the right shows that at its peak the brook had come clean over the bridge, and in fact had pushed it downstream - notice the curve? Paradoxically the bright and sunny picture was taken in the middle of winter, and the wet and miserable ones were in the middle of summer - not an unusual state of affairs for Glossop!

Categories : Peak District


Whitewings plane

Last time I was in the US, I was wandering around Frys looking for something to take home for the kids. I ended picking up a couple of packs of Whitewings paper gliders (http://www.whitewings.com) - 12 different models for about $15.00. It claimed on the box that they are the "World's Best performance Paper Gliders', and I can vouch that they are! They are a combination of a balsa body and paper wings that you glue together with PVA craft glue. I made them ages ago and never got round to flying them, so today we finally had a go, and they are excellent. You get some gauges that you use to set the dihedral and camber of the wings, and to fly them you launch then into the wind using a little rubber-band catapult. They will easily go the length of a football field, and if tuned properly will fly in a wide circle as they drift downwind. The kids loved them. I've not been able to find a stockist in the UK, but I'm sure there must be one.

Top tip: After you build them, spray them with sealer - the type artists use for protecting chalk and charcoal drawings, and they won't get soggy if they land in a puddle :-)

Categories : Personal