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*My apologies, this blog was written several days after the event as I’m frantically trying to catch up with recording the lockdown*

It’s said the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We had a few of those today but they went out of the window almost as soon as the day broke! I’d intended to get some work done, scanning old slides, then catch-up on some DIY whilst Dawn had plans to carry on with her redecoration of the front room and the porch. The weather was ideal as it was warn but overcast.

In the end, none of that happened. I don’t know if it’s lockdown fatigue or ennui but the pair of us ended up sleeping late. Even when we got up the day never seemed to get into gear and before we knew it most of it had flown. In an effort to salvage something from the day we finally got our arses into gear and went for a walk around the valley. Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions we’re still not venturing far. Partially because we don’t want to get caught up in crowds and partially because – what’s the need when we live in such a scenic part of the country? We have some lovely views right on our own doorstep!

Our walk took us down to the valley floor and across the river Calder at Copley, below the Lloyds data centre where a new housing estate and road bridge has been built in the past 5 years. It’s not a place I’d want to live as it’s hemmed in by the river on one side and the canal on the other, with the risk of flooding that brings, but many people don’t seem bothered and the properties have all sold. Once across the river we passed under the railway lines and headed out into open country along Hollas Lane. Purely by accident we’d timed our trip perfectly with the weather as the clouds that had blocked the sun for most of the day finally broke, giving us a gorgeous spell of clear blue sky. Leaving Hollas Lane we followed footpaths across the fields which took us along a sunken, stone lined trail which is a perfect green tunnel.


Breaking out into the sunlight on the other side we’d great views back across the valley to ‘our side’ and the height we’d gained gave us a commanding view of the Copley railway viaduct. It was so nice to be out that we stopped in field for 20 minutes just to admire the views and allow me to get a couple of pictures like this.


A pair of Northern Class 195s cross the Copley viaduct with a Leeds – Manchester service. As you can see from the tree canopy, Spring has well and truly arrived in the Calder Valley!

It was such a peaceful spot I almost wished we’d have brought a picnic with us rather than just the Nakd bars which we munched on as we enjoyed the sunshine and the silence. The roads are still quiet around here, which allows for blissful moments like this.

Moving on uphill we crossed another couple of fields to reach North Dean Road, which is more of a track than a proper road as vehicle access is extremely limited. We followed it down through the woods to reach the new pedestrian bridge across the Calder to Copley, which replaces a older stone bridge that was washed away in the floods on Boxing Day 2015. On the way we passed masses of pungent wild Garlic which was in flower, carpeting the woods. Luckily I’d brought the camera with just one lens – a 105mm Micro, which is ideal for pictures like this.


Once across the Calder we headed home through Copley village and re-crossed the canal and railway to head up towards Skircoat Green. On the way I couldn’t resist stopping to grab a shot of this Ceanothus bush which was a mass of blue flowers and industrious bees.


There may not be very many opportunities to add to my archive of railway images, but I have to admit I’m enjoying the opportunity to shoot other stuff instead as I don’t normally have the time except when I’m travelling abroad.

We headed home through our local woodland (Scarr Woods) some of which you can see behind the train in the earlier picture. Despite their proximity to Halifax and the fact there’s so many properties scattered around their edges we hardly saw a soul. One or two couples like us and the odd family, but there was no danger of proximity or difficulties with social distancing.

Back at home we sat in the garden and soaked up the last of the evening sun whilst I enjoyed a beer and Dawn a glass of Tesco’s non-alcoholic fizz. It was the perfect end to our stroll and what had felt like a wasted day.

I did redeem myself later in the evening by spending an hour editing a few slide scans and setting up a batch for Monday but the both of us thought that the occasional day at less than full tilt was allowed, so we crawked into bed and had an early night, grateful for the fact that – if we want to – we can!

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