Meandering about on Hadrians Wall with amateur photographer Joan Thirlaway
Friday, 4 December 2009
Isn't it funny how people are drawn to certain names? Steel Rigg seems to be one of them, and as a place it draws me.
Most people mistakenly think that the whole of the Crag from the car park down to Hotbank Farm is Steel Rigg, it's actually just the bit near the car park.
I was there in Steel Rigg car park again this morning before sunrise and certainly it's a fine view from Steel Rigg east but I was heading up onto Peel Crags.
The NNPA have put in large stone slabs to help walkers get through the wet area in the dip before the climb up the steep side of Peel Crag.
This morning they were lethal, black ice coated the surfaces and with running water over the top every step was a challenge.
Fortunately the pal I was with was ahead of me and called out a warning to take care.
I got to the top of the crag without mishap and enjoyed the view while I got my breath back, the youngster went on ahead to set his gear up while I stopped to take a photograph of the moon over Winshields Crag.
I had plenty of time to get to Castle Gap, which was this mornings starting point. We had a clear sky ahead of us and at this time of the year we weren't after a sunrise shot but were waiting for the morning light to catch the Wall.
There's something magical about those first few touches of light coming just minutes after the sun appears over the horizon.
I realised that the sun would also be catching the Sycamore Tree ( note the capital letters to give it due reverence )
Leaving the youngster to catch me up later, I headed onto the next 'gap'.
I know this is December but for some reason in my mind I saw the tree with leaves on and of course they've long gone. Never mind as I'd hoped the tree was bathed in light, I spent some time looking for a patch of frost to use in my photo, plenty of it around just non in the right place.
Eventually I had exhausted all the photographic posibilities of Sycamore Gap and my companion had another engagement so, while he hurried back to his car, I meandered along the Hadrian's Wall Path enjoying the views.
I love the Wall and it's stones the amount of work cutting and laying the stones never ceases to amaze me, I'd love a time machine to travel back and watch the construction.
I find myself wondering, did the men sing as they worked.
Even at my slow pace I eventually find myself making the descent and then the climb back up to Steel Rigg, the Hotbank cows - lovely wooly Gallowa's - are on the path, they shake their ears at me and snuffle, rolling their big eyes before getting back to the job of grazing.
On the way home I stop at the Mare and Foal standing stones. Most people would simply think they were abandoned stone gateposts but they're genuine standing stones and with mist in the valley behind them I thought they were worthy of a photograph, which I share with you here.
An amateur photographer living in Gilsland, one of the Hadrian's Wall villages.
All photographs used on my sites are subject to copyright and cannot be used without my written permission.
My Website: www.after-the-rain.co.uk