Thursday, 16 January 2014

Copper, Charcoal and Hydro electric

I had one of those spontaneous moments the other day. An opportunity to grab ' me time' and go for a walk.As the day was bright and clear I decided to grasp the  opportunity and go up to Coniston as I was due to pick up my daughter after school in any case.

I’d been meaning to take photos of  the boats on Coniston Water at Water Yeat for months, the water is often so still as you go past. Having time to stop,I  parked the car and walked down to the Lake shore. I soon realised I need new walking shoes,it didn't take long before I had wet socks!

I caught a couple of pictures of the sheep, which are various colours at the moment- when I was young I can’t remember coloured sheep but now we have all hues on the hill sides at this time of year, blue, pink, red and yellow.

The water was still but not as glass like as I’ve seen.Despite it being a grey day and not the best for photos I  took some – it’s still beautiful. There was a scattering of snow on Coniston old Man in the distance- the first I’d seen this year.

Then off I set to Coniston and parked at the bottom of the Coppermines Valley. It’s called that because they used to mine copper up on the mountain and the evidence of the industrial past is still there. That’s what I love about the Lake District,apparently the woods around the Lake were at one time filled with Charcoal burners earning a living- they are mentioned by Arthur Ransome in Swallows and Amazons and the valley, which is now deserted, apart from a Youth Hostel and a few holiday cottages and walkers making their way towards Levers Water and the old Man, would have been a hive of industry. Tourism has replaced industry today.
Mound of mined copper

Mine workings
I passed a steep waterfall with a small dam which bore a sign stating it was Coniston hydro electric dam dam. Not on the scale of Pitlochy but a small local supply of electricity and yet another a lesson in home education how green power can be harnessed from local resources. We are surrounded in the area by windmills too, particularly the Walney windfarm which we can see offshore from our garden- it has changed the landscape considerably. As I walked along the track towards Levers water I was passed by two or three water utility vans making their way up the the central hub of the dam and I wondered whether they were as successful when the track is covered in snow and ice,

I reached the buildings in which the water service industry was based and sat on a rock looking down the valley towards the lake with my flask of coffee thinking that this must be one of the best coffee shops in the world. Then it was time for me to turn back and walk down to my responsibilities in the real world. 

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