Autumn Footprints 2014 - The Animals
w/e 12 October 2014
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

The Autumn Footprints Walking Festival in Amber Valley and Erewash was held over sixteen days in the middle of September. During that time I completed fifteen guided walks with various groups on twelve different days and returned home each day with many images of the various landscapes in the area. I also returned with numerous images of animals of which those below are a selection.

Fish - Flying

Those animal images ranged from under water to high in the sky. Small fish swimming against the current were seen swimming against the current in an overflow channel by the Erewash Canal at Langley Mill with bright sunshine reflecting back off the water surface. We spotted several buzzards during the Festival soaring high above but they proved very difficult to photograph especially whilst walking single file along a narrow uneven footpath which were exactly the conditions when I caught this one against a cloudy sky over Dale Moor.
Spread Your Wings

We also saw many birds on the water and these young swans were taking it in turns to spread their wings at Codnor Park Reservoir that we passed on the Codnor Castle walk.
Stoney Lions

After proceeding on that same walk through the deepest darkest depths of Golden Valley along the Cromford Canal, it perhaps shouldn't have been a shock to encounter some ferocious beasts but it still came as something of a surprise to come across these stone-faced lions when we emerged onto Coach Road.
Horses & Ponies

It's a good job the lions were not real or some already skittish equines like those we saw at Holbrrok (centre row left) and Morley (top centre) might have been a problem. Others at Langley Mill and Holbrook (top left and bottom right respectively) were just inquisitive whilst the rest of the horses and ponies at various places from Morley to Dale to Breadsall to Breaston were quite placid.
Sheep & Cattle

Cattle and sheep were also common sights on the walks. Feeding time in the drizzle and mist at Belper was all that the sheep at Belper were concerned about but we gave the cattle at Holbrook a wide berth. Those at Bargate bedding down in anticipation of oncoming rain though, showed far more interest in the passing walkers than the sheep near Broomfield Hall at Morley.
Baa Baa Black Sheep

There were more sheep (and horses) penned at Dale Abbey and one or two of these did lift their heads from their grazing to observe the trail of walkers as we crossed an adjacent field. I am not a hundred per cent sure but suspect that the breed of these sheep could be Black Welsh Mountain which are now widespread throughout the UK even though they originated as the name suggests in Wales. According to the ukagriculture website the rams of the Black Welsh Mountain breed have horns but the females are polled.

A couple of another horned animal - goats - were taking in the sun as we passed Hayes Farm at Morley on another day.

Of course the animals on the walks were not all farm animals and on several days we were accompanied by domestic dogs. On two of the walks this nine year old former guide dog (I think his name was Ellis) was getting used to long walks in the country instead of leading a visually handicapped person along urban streets. At the end of the Belper Coppice walk though he was ready for a sit down.

There was another dog on the Moor of Morley walk and as we crossed the Midshires Way, a friendly ginger cat appeared and rubbed around the legs of many of the walkers. It seemed totally unfazed by the dog and looked slightly disappointed as we all clambered over the stile and continued on our way.

I started this selection of images saying the animals ranged from those under water to others high in the sky and this wooden representation of a reindeer near Whatstandwell with tinsel round its neck and a red nose was sufficient to remind everyone that Christmas will soon be with us and Rudolph will be rousing himself to get fit to take to the skies on December 24th. Who would have thought wandering around Derbyshire in September we would have seen lions and reindeer?
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