Monday, December 26, 2011

In the Winter Sunshine

Last Boxing Day I swam in the sea, doing the Tenby Boxing Day Swim, with snow on the ground and everything very cold. I loved it!

Sadly, not being anywhere near the coast, I couldn't swim in the sea today although this year's swim seems to have gone very well.

So today we went for a walk in the winter sunshine, at Hetchell Woods near Thorner, just outside Leeds. It's not a very well-known walk but delightful, nevertheless. No matter what time of year it is, I do love a sunny path stretching ahead of me.

The path goes through Hetchell Woods and then out the other side, where it runs alongside a field and becomes, after any kind of rain, a track of pure mud.

We knew it would be muddy there - it's always muddy at that spot. It was just like being in our garden at home after the building work!

But we are experts at getting through mud now, so on we squelched. Then you loop back along an old railway line - one of the ones axed by Dr Beeching. But at least it makes a good walk!

After a while you have to climb down a muddy bank to reach a muddy path at the bottom. It's always a bit tricky, this, but today there was the added possibility of the whole thing becoming a mudslide. Those bits of rope were really useful!

Then you go on a winding track past some very old tumbledown cottages which fall down a bit more with every year. I always find myself thinking of the people who might have lived there, in a relatively remote spot when Leeds would have been a day-trip away.

Then the landscape changes: the mud turns to sand and you find yourself walking along some little hillocks.

A disused quarry, says the internet. Disused from before 1950, was the most I could find. Now it's a haven for wildlife and very pretty too. The little hills are fun to climb. Here are our shadows, waving to you.

I don't think anyone knows that much about this place. "Roman?" people mutter when asked. The Communist always called it "Pompey Cali" in a kind of strange Latin. "Why Dad? Why's it called that?" "Because that's what it's called." And, sure enough, there are a few references I can find to "Pompicali" but no explanation.

It was a lovely winter walk: blustery, but sunny and very mild.

And it isn't even January yet: but I felt that Spring is on its way. And I have evidence.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take care - mentioning the 's' word between Christmas and New Year is likely to call back winter with a vengeance.
Sending you compliments of the season - whichever one you think you are in...

8:27 pm  
Anonymous Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Beautiful! Reminds me of Hills and Hollows near here, which is a disused Victorian quarry - similar but by no means the same, since H & H is all small hills and hollows, as the name suggests.

But you piqued my interest, so I did a bit of digging. The name is 'Pompocali' and theories vary, but my favourite is that it is of Roman origin and may be the remains of a fort. Or a quarry. Anyway, there are a couple of interesting sites:

9:31 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Lucy - thank you! I hope I haven't called back winter!
Jay - thank you for the research. I like the Roman theory too - that's the one that's been handed down and that the Communist always thought - I hope it's correct!

10:12 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

To have an invigorating walk on Boxing Day is always good for the constitution after the gluttony of Christmas Day. I took Shirley and Frances on a nice round walk in the Peak District today - so much variety in just three miles.

12:10 am  
Anonymous Shooting Parrots said...

Like Jay, I was intrigued and did some fruitless digging. I think your dad was right -- it's call Pompocali because that's what it's called!

12:45 pm  
Blogger Katherine said...

Gorgeous! And I bet you didn't have to sweat and swig like I did on my walk! Pompocali sounds very intriguing.

7:37 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home