A stroll around Gibraltar No. 22 : Douglas Path (Upper Rock Nature Reserve)

On Monday morning, before we were hit with the bad weather we’d been warned about, I took one last chance to go for a walk in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. It’s been a month since I have been able to do the Med Steps, so thought I would break myself in gently with a walk up the western side of the Rock using the roads to reach the summit. After reaching the top of the Med Steps (above) I decided that rather than to rush back down, as I usually do, I would go for a wander.

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of investment in the Upper Rock and certain parts have been cleared and new paths and attractions created for tourists and locals alike (one notable addition in recent times has been the Windsor Suspension Bridge). As you come down from the summit of the Med Steps, there is a ramp up to the right, which for months has been barricaded off with screens as work was being carried out. On Monday, I noticed that these screens had gone and went for an explore.

The path led upwards and in a northerly direction back towards the top of the Rock. As the gaps between the trees and bushes grew larger, I was given a great view down to the town area and harbour ahead.

As I turned a slight bend in the path, there in front of me (admittedly shrouded in cloud) was the northern summit of the Rock.

The path lead down some steps amongst a number of old disused military buildings (you can see inside the one above later on). How tempting does it look to go down down these steps and find out what lies beyond?

The first building I came to afforded great views across the Western side of the Rock, along with some rather intriguing looking hooks cemented into the ceiling! I’m assuming that they were for holding cabling or equipment at some point in the past…

Opposite this small building lay a network of other rooms and corridors, which were sunk into the ground and set into the Rock itself.

This room below is in the building you first see as you arrive at this place, there are two seagulls sitting on the roof of it in the photos earlier on.

It was such an atmospheric place to be. It almost felt forbidden to be there, or like I was the first person to go into these buildings for years and years (that’s clearly not the case but it felt like it!). I believe that these rooms were used for charts and telephone communication. The ones with lookout positions were clearly used to keep an eye on what was going on outside. If these walls could talk….

It was only when I entered the room above that I realised I had passed under the top of the Rock and was peering through these openings to the other side – towards the Mediterranean Sea! This place is one of the few positions in the Upper Rock which affords spectacular views out to both the east and the west.

It reminded me a lot of when I visited the Devil’s Gap Battery on a similarly accidental basis a while ago. We go about our daily business in the streets and buildings below and forget about the rich military heritage Gibraltar has up above our heads.

I was unable to continue any further north along this path, as it was gated off, but it gave a great vantage point to look northwards.

What an interesting place. I shall have to do a bit of investigating to find out more about it. I have been in Gibraltar now for about eight and half years, and it never ceases to amaze me when I stumble across something new.

As I headed back down the Douglas Path (below) to pick up the road back down to my home, I passed a tourist notice board with some information about this area: the path runs along the top ridge of the Rock and connects a series of military installations. To the south are O’Hara’s, Lord Airey’s and Breakneck Batteries (what a name!), as well as Douglas Cave.

I couldn’t do a post about the Upper Rock without featuring one of furry neighbours could I? Cue obligatory ape shot:

I’ve saved the most interesting fact until last (well it’s interesting if you like James Bond films). Douglas Path featured in the opening sequence of the 1987 James Bond film ‘The Living Daylights’. In his first role as 007, Timothy Dalton parachuted onto the Rock before zooming down the nature reserve’s rather vertiginous roads on the roof of a hijacked Land Rover and crashing through a wall towards the sea – Douglas Path was one of those roads!

That little nugget of information may help you in a pub quiz one day – you never know!! You’re very welcome. 😉

2017 Weekly photo challenge (week 9) Seed

Hmm, seed. This week’s photo challenge is a tough one, and one which I thought would be rather uninspiring. Would I photograph a packet of seeds or a loaf of seeded bread? I was really scratching my head on this one until I took a walk up the Med Steps to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar last week and I saw these feathery beauties.

They are all over the Upper Rock Nature Reserve at the moment. They are the seed heads (or are developing into seed heads) from a climbing plant which has wound it’s way around everything in it’s path.

I tried to figure out what it was, the seed heads almost look like feathery flowers in their own right, but I was pretty sure they must have had another flower before this developed. I set about trying to find a plant which still had the flowers attached. And found one….

But that didn’t look quite right, the leaves were different once I looked closer. Then on my way down the western side of the Rock, I spotted just three tiny creamy coloured flowers attached to the same stems which had the feathery seed heads on them. Could this be them?

I have done a brief Google search and I’m pretty sure it’s the seed head for the ‘wild clematis vine’, but don’t quote me on it! The leaves certainly look very clematis-y to my mind, and those creamy flowers look like clematis too… If you know for sure and can put me out of my misery, please let me know! 😊

I’m linking with Nana Cathy and the appropriately named Wild Daffodil for this weekly photo challenge throughout 2017.

Sunday Sevens #66 15.01.16

Hello there, I hope your week has been good. It’s been good to get back into a routine here as school started again in Gibraltar on Monday, although just as normality was restored I was struck down with a bad cold. The photos for this week are rather underwhelming as a result and were mainly taken at home! Here goes…

Barbary partridge

The photo credit for this one goes to Mr Postcard. He went for a walk up the Med Steps on Sunday last week (I didn’t have the oomph) and on his walk he saw a Barbary Partridge. These partridges are native to Gibraltar and were reintroduced on the Upper Rock recently. You quite often see them but so far I have failed to capture one with my camera because as soon as you realise you have seen one it’s vanished into the undergrowth. Hats off to Mr Postcard for managing to be quick enough to snap this shy creature.

Orchids at golden hour

There has been very little crafting going on this week, I did make it to my first dressmaking class of the year on Tuesday but as I’m pattern drawing at the moment for my next project there aren’t any pretty pictures of fabric to share yet. Will these orchids do? They looked so pretty in the golden light just as the sun was going down.

Morning Moonlight


As I opened the front door to see Eldest off to school one morning, I was struck by the bright full moon in the sky. This was less than an hour before daylight came but it looked magical as the moonlight lit up the water of the Bay.

Pink sky in the morning 

Another moonlight in the morning photo, this time it was on Friday when I saw the pretty pink sky at sunrise. We don’t get to see the sunrise as such as we face west but you still get the gorgeous colours lighting up the sky.

Poorly bunny


I haven’t mentioned before now, but our rescue bunny, Snowflake, has been rather poorly of late. In fact at New Year we were worried we might lose her. It turned out that she had mange. Perhaps she had it when we found her, perhaps she caught it from our newest addition, Diamond (although he shows no signs) we don’t know.

While she was laid low with the mange, an X-ray revealed that she had a chest infection, plus she had an eye infection. I spent the past week giving her children’s banana flavoured antibiotics and administering eye drops and sinus massages (I kid you not) to try and get her well again.

Here she is at the vets (again) on Friday morning. She was just about to have her final mange injection. I’m pleased to say that she has completely recovered from her chest infection and eye infection and the final signs of mange should disappear in the next few weeks.

The amazing climbing bunny

 

Diamond, on the other hand has shown no signs of ill health, in fact he’s positively bouncing. It turns out he’s quite a handful. On Friday I put him into his ‘run’ in the hall to give him a bit more space. It’s made out of an old fire guard and is attached to Snowflake’s run (an old play pen). I never in my wildest dreams thought he’d be able to get out – I was wrong. 

He was discovered wandering around the lounge. He must have climbed up out of the run, went for a wander in the hall (there were poos and straw marking his route) and then went for a run about in the lounge. I’m just relieved he decided to give the wide open front door a miss.

I thought that as Snowflake is having a bit of time post injection in her cage, I’d move him into her run (it’s taller and has chicken wire around it so it’ll be harder to climb out). Wrong again. When I went to check on him later, he’d climbed out of that and back into his original run. 

He now has a lid on it, rather fetchingly made out of old oven shelves and washing line… not the most attractive thing but until we think of an alternative it will have to do… honestly he’s worse than a toddler!!

Crochet

 

By the end of the week I was feeling well enough to pick up a crochet hook again and managed to finish a project I’d been working on since before Christmas. This meant I was free to get on with something new. I’ve been looking forward to getting started on this, and it’s taking shape quickly – one of the joys of amigurumi I guess. 

The lovely book I am using for the pattern was a Christmas gift from my ‘little’ brother and I have got the perfect opportunity to make a little creature. I’m being a bit mysterious aren’t I? All will be revealed soon….

 

That’s all from Sunday Sevens this week, not the most inspiring one I know. Hopefully I’ll be back to full form next week and I’ll be able to tell you about more interesting things! Until then, I hope you have a good week and thanks for stopping by.

 

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins

Sunday Sevens #50 25.9.16

My week began admiring a sand sculpture on Sandy Bay Beach and ended back in my childhood bedroom exhausted from the excitement of visiting Yarndale for the first time…

Sandy Bay sand sculpture 

On Sunday we took a detour down to Sandy Bay beach to admire a new sand sculpture which had been created to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer. 

We arrived once the work was completed and shortly before Miss Gibraltar 2016 and her Princesses emerged from their make-up tent for a photo shoot. 

The sculpture was of the Nautilus and giant squid from the Jules Verne story; 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. It was really quite something and admired by the beach goers.

Med Steps the return


On Mondays morning I felt guilty seeing all the keen fit mums in Lycra on the school run. I had been planning to return home to laundry, vacuuming and general boring stuff and thought sod it, I’ll get my trainers out… It was the perfect morning, cool and overcast. I hadn’t been up the Med Steps since early June, so I seized the moment and did it. 

I was very pleased with myself, I completed the climb only 15 minutes or so slower than my fastest time during Med Steps 5 training. I think it was rather unfair though that extra steps were added and the gradient made steeper over the summer holidays 😉 (if only that were the case!).

Sunsets


September is definitely the month for sunsets in these parts and we’ve had some belters this week. I got a phone call on Tuesday evening from Mr Postcard to look out of the window to see the pink and purple sky (I was already out on the balcony taking a photo when he called!).

Dressmaking


My dressmaking course continued this week with more pattern making and cutting ready for our first sample top. Fabric has been bought and sewing should begin next week.

Comedy in a cave

This week the comedian, Mark Steel, brought his BBC Radio 4 show to Gibraltar. Each episode he does a show in a different town after spending a few days there learning the history and soaking up the atmosphere and character of the place.

He recorded his show in St Michael’s Cave in the heart of the Rock of Gibraltar to an audience of local residents and many stalactites. 

It was the first time Mr Postcard and I had been able to attend an event in the cave plus it was something we were very interested in so we jumped at the chance to go along. The show was really well researched and at times, hysterically funny.

If you want to listen to the show, Mark Steel’s in town (Gibraltar edition) is being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 12th October.

The Rock at night 


I had never been on the Upper Rock after dark until Thursday, when we were watching Mark Steel’s show being recorded. It was absolutely beautiful to see the town lit up below us. 

Being so high up gave us a great vantage point to see the street lights in Morrocco across the Strait of Gibraltar. The height also meant we’d escaped light pollution we experience down where we live to be able to see a clear sky of twinkling stars – it was really special.

Yarndale


Wow, what can I say about Yarndale? Well it was all I’d hoped it would be and more. I’m still a little overwhelmed by it all after spending the last three years admiring it from afar. 

A late flight from Gibraltar on Friday and an early start yesterday to get across the Pennines mean I’m still a bit tired even after a lie in this morning. 

So much happened yesterday and I met some really lovely people too. There was Yarnbombing of a scale and quality which astounded me and so much yarn in so many colours and types that they boggle the mind.

When I get back home to Gibraltar I’ll be posting loads of pictures and promise to tell you all about it.

Here’s another (larger) photo of Shaun the sheep knitting on a Thirsk Yarnbombers yarn bombed bollard for you to enjoy – isn’t he amazing?


Sunday sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog.