Bloody weather forecasts!
Initially it was forecast to be cloudy and rainy all weekend and so I didn't make any plans to go walking. However, yesterday turned out to be quite nice and so I did a few jobs in the garden. When I checked last night the BBC forecast was still predicting rain for today, but that wasn't the case when I looked as soon as I got online at 07:30 this morning - another fine day now, but not as nice as yesterday.
Well, it was too late to catch the early train to Sheffield, so a local walk would have to do.
The quickest way for me to get to the bus station is to walk through the Frenchgate Shopping Centre, which at about 09:10 on a Sunday morning is just about deserted...apart from a couple of coffee shops.
As the bus approached Hiigh Melton I could see several cars parked on the roadside verge and about a dozen people who looked like marshals wearing hi-viz jackets gathering around a table. I got of the bus and walked along the main street of the village hoping to get some photographs of the action...and of the buildings in the village as well.
Here's a row of beautiful cottages.
I hung around for the start of the cycle race; I think the marshals were waiting to give the bus enough time to reach the bottom of the hill and turn off the main road and go to Harlington, before starting the race. Preceding the first two cyclists (and I only saw two cyclists as I watched for a minute or two) were a couple of motorcycles and then three or four cars. I took some photographs, but they weren't very good at all.
There's a well-defined bridleway that leads to Melton Wood, which was quite busy with dog-walkers, cyclists, and horse-riders. I spotted my first blooming primrose of the year, unfortunately too difficult to reach to capture with my camera.
Although I've walked through this wood a good few times I spotted something today I'd not seen before; a tree that had been pinned back, or pollarded in a special way so that new growth suitable for making walking sticks would be produced. I think there's a man in the village who carves walking sticks, so maybe this is where he sources his raw material from; it looked as though the wood for four new sticks had been recently cut.
It wasn't long until I was out of the wood and traversing some recently-ploughed fields; this is where my new hiking pole came in handy. I took it along with me today mainly to get used to carrying it in my rucksack, but I though I might end up using it. The route of the path that had been flattened down by people using it was very narrow, and the pole helped me with my balance.
I passed very close to the wind turbines at Marr; so close that I could hear the whirring noise that they make - I was even convinced that I could detect the slight change in air pressure that their rotation causes. That was probably just my Asperger's syndrome kicking in though - I can sense all sorts of things that other people can't.
The day was so grey that I've converted the next two pictures, of the turbines and the church at Marr, to black and white; I think they look better.
There's a boring stretch of road just past Marr, and then a byway down to another road, where I passed underneath the A1(M) motorway before climbing up to the highest point of Brodsworth Country Park, taking the steepest route so that I could practise my technique with my hiking pole. On the summit there's a toposcope, and extensive views...but not today, the visibility was quite poor.
There was a bit of colour in this area though; a lot of gorse in flower.
I took the long way down from the summit and walked along the path that leads to Highfields Community Woodlands and the park.
Here's a photograph of the lake in sepia.
I then crossed the road and caught the bus back into town; I didn't have long to wait, and it's only a short journey.