Huge areas of England are hollow. Hard to believe, looking across mountains capped with snow and heather, lined with dry walls and wandered by idling sheep. But there is so much more beneath.
Britain is, for its size, the most geologically diverse area in the world. We have collapsed volcanoes, cliffs that crumble amongst dinosaur bones, and chalky hills that support an incredible diversity of flowers. Beneath it all, a new and exotic landscape awaits.
The Pennines are England’s backbone, running from Derbyshire up to the Tyne Gap. But like real bones, they are not solid. Water has scarred them, carved them, painted them with ghosts of lost rivers on the ceilings of caves.
Derbyshire has a sparkle about the edges. It is almost the only place in the world where Blue John – a type of fluorite – occurs. Some is still mined and turned into jewellery, but other specimens are left in the rock for visitors to ponder.
It is old, very old. It was here when the abbeys of Yorkshire were full of human life.
It will remain here as water whittles the hills afresh.
A quiet witness, like the snow that is transient in the Dales.