You don't get Dippers near me, so once a year I have been going to Dovedale with a friend to have a good walk and also look out for Dippers on the river. Having seen Hazy's thread (and James photos as well), I suggested to my friend that we visit Hartington this year instead. It's only a few miles away from Dovedale, but actually much quieter. Hazel kindly provided me with directions and off we went. I'm not sure whether we did the exact same route as you Hazy but I am sure it will have been very similar. It was the three dales walk - Beresford Dale, Wolfescote Dale and Biggin Dale.
We didn't arrive until 10.30 am and our first stop was the cafe in the Post Office for a latte to fortify us for the walk. Once we set off if wasn't far across the fields to a wooded area and we were just in time to see a Heron land in a tree top.
It wasn't far to the river and we were lucky enough to see a Dipper busy fishing amongst the rocks.
The next Dipper we saw was sat obligingly on a branch (under a very dark tree!) but it was totally unphased by us and another family of five that came along and were watching it. It was clearly aware of us but never moved a muscle!
We eventually came out into more open land, the river still running by the side of the path and we carried on some time enjoying the scenery until we decided it was time to stop for a picnic.
As we were eating, I was telling my friend that Hazy had seen Wall butterflies in this area and wouldn't we be lucky if we found one too, especially as I've never seen this species before. I didn't really think we would see one, especially as it was quite cloudy, but we had hardly got set off walking again before my friend Lynn spotted an orangy- coloured butterfly and I could hardly believe my luck when I saw it was a Wall butterfly resting on..... a wall!
We reached the end of this stretch of path and turned to start on quite a stoney stretch leading up the hill just stopping to say hello to some sheep on the way!
When we reached the top we walked along a path with stone walls on each side and there were lots of the Wall butterflies on the stones or on the dusty pathway.
We then came across a Painted Lady and another Wall butterfly very close to each other on the path.
We were nearly at the end of our walk now - just a short stretch through a field full of cows. Not particularly my thing, but having come more than five miles by now, I wasn't about to turn round and go back, It chose this moment for the heavens to open and as I got my cagoule out of my rucksack, getting ever nearer to the cows, I did remark to my friend that I was glad my cagoule wasn't red. "No, but mine is!" she laughed as she put it on.
Cows safely negotiated, we descended the hill back down to the village just in time to get to the tea shop for another latte before it closed.
No Spotted Flycatchers for us, but then you have to leave something for another time, don't you?
So thanks again, Hazel, we really enjoyed our day out.
Wow, you and your friend had a very nice day out too Christine, would have loved to have seen a Painted Lady but you can't have everything in one day and I am glad to see you got your Dipper and what a beauty it is too, not knowing the walks you might have took the left track when you came to the end on the river we went on the right one because it was easier for me to walk with my bad lungs.
Morning Christine and so pleased you had such a rewarding visit to Derbyshire; the photos are stunning, especially managing to get the Wall Brown and Painted Lady shots which are superb. You certainly took the same route to begin with but then, as Jim says, might have taken the other track to Hartington after the Biggin stretch; we forked round to the right towards Dale Head and Liffs Road before heading up Highfield Lane back into Hartington - avoiding the field of cows ! doesn't matter which route you take as you are almost guaranteed to see nice wildlife. Thanks for the update, it was a lovely read and photos are fantastic. post edit: we also visited the Post Office cafe and where the boys had regular coffee and I had a Latte !!
Morning Hazy and James. Yes, It was a lovely walk, and as you both said we did head off left up the hill at the point you forked right. We didn't have a map with us, so just stuck to the walk directions I had printed out. The path up the hill was a long but gradual slope. However instead of a dirt path it was very rocky all the way up which did make my knees ache a bit by the end! The reward was all the Wall butterflies at the top! Next time, it would be nice to continue along your route to see the difference.
Well done Christine it looks a lovely walk, it's great you got the Dipper and Wall, it's always good to see something that we don't get locally.
Looks like you have an eventful walk Christine! It's awesome that you go to see the Dipper and Wall Butterfly and in numbers too, it's often when I go out without expectations and I see the unexpected which really makes my day.
Thanks Alan - yes it was a lovely walk and a bit cooler yesterday which helped! I'd never even heard of Wall butterfiles until a couple of weeks ago, so when Hazy posted a picture of one, I was on a mission! In the event, we must have seen about ten of them - they seemed to be the most common butterfly at the top of the hills!
Hi WE! I totally agree with you - when you come across something unusual right out of the blue, it gives you a real buzz! Today, I was half expecting the butterflies but it was still exciting to see them for the first time. As for the Dippers, I only seen them when I go into derbyshire, but I love to watch them fishing and it's even better that they don't fly away at the sight of you!
Gorgeous photos Christine, especially the Dipper, and again the Wall butterflies, I hadn't heard of those either. You were brave to walk through the field of cows, I suppose they are usually pretty placid as long as you had no dog with you. I walk alongside a field locally with just a wire netting fence between the cows and the dogs and me, they get used to us but the first time they saw us this year, they came over snorting and very curious, hmmm not sure that fence will hold I thought as we walked quickly past:-)
Actually the "cows" are actually bullocks......she says hastily on re-lthinking!!!!!!
Thank you Gaynor. It was lovely to see the Dippers - it must be two years at least since I saw my last one and they are so co-operative in that they hang around and don't fly away.
It was Hobson's choice with the cows! I wasn't too keen. My friend was brought up on a farm and so was totally fine with it, but I have to admit to feeling a little nervous myself, but having walked five and a half miles of a six mile walk, I didn't feel like turning round and going back the way I came!
Good job you didn't read this then Christine before you went www.bbc.co.uk/.../uk-england-sussex-45155240
Had I read that first Alan, I don't think I would have hesitated in turning round and going back!!