I felt the need to get out into the sunshine, now it is here, and get some long needed fresh air. Friday night we decided to head to Yorkshire, namely Hardcastle Crags and Gibson Mill. A beautiful place, part of the National Trusts many properties. The dogs had a great time, especially Mazikeen as she had places to swim, and ultimately get dirty rotten filthy by jumping into the becks which were full of silty runoff from the woods.
One of the things that struck me immediately as we started walking to Gibson Mill was the fields of bluebells. Everywhere we looked, it was blue. Once at the mill we wandered along trails and were struck by the overpowering smell of wild garlic, growing everywhere, and I do mean everywhere.
All in all, it was a five-mile walk, some climbing 345 feet in elevation. The sun was shining and as always I was sun-kissed in the end. We went the Weaving Shed Cafe for a coffee and a slice of cake before the last mile walk to the car. The girls were glad of the rest and their lunch and slept most of the way home.
This weekend I decided to go hiking in Cheshire around Delamere Forest. It is a lovely part of the country, and although it is thought to be flat due to all the wetlands and lakes it is far from it. A beautiful day, the sun was blazing and we had temperatures of 16c, which for February is unheard of. Mazikeen proved she really does have the stamina for hiking. She was off the lead all the way, and I would estimate my 8.5 miles were for her about 20 miles as she was back and forth throughout the walk and just kept running the whole two and a half hours. She has a little limp from time to time today, but I think it was from leaping off very high sand dunes yesterday.
Although this is the main route I followed, I did manage to wander off it quite a bit adding more miles to the original walk, I also parked half a mile from the red tracks. Thank god for GPS as I would have got lost very easily.
After the hike, we went for lunch at Vale Royal Abbey Arms in Oakmere. I had 10oz gammon with pineapple, fried egg, chunky chips, mushroom, tomato and onion rings. Washed down with a nice pint of bitter shandy. M had a steak baguette with chips, salad, cheese, slaw and onion rings, washed down with a coke. Needless to say, we ate the lot, and the girls did help, but not as much as they wanted to LOL!
Today we went to Penistone Hill in Yorkshire to do our Bronte walk. The sun was out, and although it is still winter here it was a glorious day with highs of 13c. I parked 1.4 miles away from the Bronte Parsonage and headed towards Bronte Bridge and Falls. I had not been here for just over 21 years, so it was nice to visit it again, although I have been to Haworth many times in the past 10 years.
Wuthering Heights Inn was a lovely pub that we stopped at for lunch. They are dog-friendly which was really nice, they provided us with dog treats, bowls of fresh water and a warm welcome. M had a hot beef and gravy sandwich with thick chips. I decided to have a dirty burger which was a half pounder with cheese, pulled pork and chilli mayo, side of salad with sweet balsamic dressing, fries and onion rings. Needless to say, it was rather delicious and was washed down with a pint of bitter shandy. Mazikee and Harper helped eat the chips.
All in all, it was a lovely day, I am slightly burned from the sun and wind, mostly the wild and windy moor. Alas, we never found Heathcliff or Cathy or managed to get to Top Withens, but will go that way next time. All told I hiked 6.5 miles with the girls. Mazikeen probably did about 12 miles or more as she was off lead and ran about everywhere, leaping into every muddy puddle, stream, and the waterfalls. I kept Harper on her lead as she is a bugger for taking off on her own adventures.
Not too sure where we will hike next Saturday weather permitting that is, but I am looking forward to more adventures.
Today I planted out the tank with 11 plants, treated the water again with biological bacteria that will help stabilise the tank, help the plants utilise light, water, and nutrients from the fertiliser I add each day. This products also helps the breakdown of waste and nitrates. Once this was done I added 10 of my fish to the tank and left it there for a few hours. Again after a few hours added another 10, then finally this evening I transferred the final 10, 30 in total.
List of Fish
2 x synodontis catfish
1 x bala shark
1 x tiger barb
2 x tiger loach
1 x weather loach
2 x angelfish
1 x pleco
1 x blue dolphin
2 x blue gourami
2 x dwarf gourami
2 x kissing gourami
3 x sunset gourami
2 x pearl gourami
3 x cory
1 x silver dollar
2 x golden panchax
2 x rainbow fish
Now that is done, I have turned off the heater, lights and the 2 reef wave makers to the old thanks and on Thursday I will drain it and start the cleaning process in order to get it ready for starting a marine tank. Although I know that the cleaning will take a good few weeks to ensure everything is spotless and free of any residue from the previous set up. Thankfully I have an aqua vacuum which means that side is easy enough, but the buildup of algae especially in the weir will be a tough part to clean. If you have never seen a weir, it is a closed off part of the tank at the back that water flows into before leaving the tank to flow through the sump tank and back up into the main tank. As mentioned I have had to leave the pump and air pump running as I do not fancy the water turning stagnant before I can empty and clean it.
I have 2 electric blue acara’s on order and with luck, I can collect them this weekend. Once they are in I do not think that I will be adding any more to it. Unless I can find something really special. I did fancy a disc fish, but they need a very quiet and peaceful tank. I also found freshwater stingrays, but apart from them starting at £300 and ranging up to £1200, they need very different tank mates, so that is out. I may put a snail or two in the tank as mentioned mine are breeding, so that would be a good relocation move. Although I would rather have my apple snails breed as they get rather big, and would suit the tank.