Place Fell

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Looking into Deepdale.

The last day of our Easter holiday (apart, that is for TBH who still had the rest of the week to look forward to). We had arranged a walk with our friends Dr R and her daughter E. Dr R is ticking off the Wainwrights and we needed a route which took in something new, but also gave the potential for meeting some none walking members of the party for tea and cake. I hit upon the idea of climbing Place Fell from Glenridding, descending to Howtown and returning on a Lake Steamer to Glenridding.

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Place Fell summit.

And a very fine walk it was, although it was very cold for our second lunch stop on the summit.

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I was pretty confident that this would be an enjoyable walk; it’s one I’ve done many times before, in particular, when we used to have family get-togethers at Easter in the Youth Hostel down below in Patterdale.

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Skimming Stones.

I’m pretty sure (and I will get around to looking it up eventually) that Place Fell has a fair smattering of Birketts, but I wasn’t too bothered about that today. I did however divert up High Dodd simply because it looked very inviting.

I was pleased I did because the view of Ullswater was excellent from there.

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Scalehow Beck from Low Dodd.

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Cascade on Scalehow Beck.

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This waterfall on Scalehow Beck looks like it is probably very dramatic, but it’s difficult to get a decent view of it from the path: the photo only shows the top of the fall.

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I was surprised to see that this tree, an oak, had come into leaf, because I’ve been watching for that to happen at home, but I was sure that it hadn’t.

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The walk around the shore from Sandwick to Howtown through Hallinhag Wood is delightful. And was enlivened for me by the appearance of a pair of Treecreepers, not a bird I see very often.

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Here in the woods, most of the trees were still bare, so this tree, in full leaf…

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…and a cheerful bright green – I think a Sycamore – really stood out.

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Arthur’s Pike and Bonscale Pike.

We arrived in Howtown with only a few minutes to spare before the 5 o’clock sailing of the Steamer and no time for the planned tea and cake interval there.

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But I think we all enjoyed the pleasure cruise. I know that I did!

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I’ve almost reneged on my promise of some ee cummings before the end of April, but after a trip to Howtown I can’t resist this:

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

Place Fell

Walking and Gawking

Eaves Wood – The Row – Bottom’s Lane – The Green – Stankelt Lane – The Lots – The Cove – Elmslack Lane

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Cherry Blossom.

The forecast was poor, but the rain was meant to stop eventually, late in the afternoon. It didn’t, but then just when it seemed set in for the entire day it suddenly both stopped raining and brightened up, leaving dramatic dark skies to the east, but sunshine overhead.

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Honesty.

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I headed up the Coronation Path (bought in 1953 by the village to give access to Eaves Wood) knowing that I would gain height with a view of those glowering clouds.

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The sun was low filtering through the trees and lighting the new Beech leaves…

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From Castlebarrow, looking over the village, I could see the hills of the Forest of Bowland were still shrouded in a layer of cloud.

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But that it was slightly brighter out over the bay…

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A Robin was serenading me from the top of a Yew tree level with the crag…

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Beech leaves in a rut, Andy Goldsworthy style?

Most of these photos were taken in the early part of the walk. After that the light was generally too poor. When I’d asked TBH to lend me her phone so that I could monitor my mileage, A had very kindly offered me hers instead, but insisted that I use a different App which she assured me was ‘better’ in some unspecified way.

This turned out to mean that the phone, rather disconcertingly, announced aloud, every kilometre, my average speed, split times, distance etc. It took me a bit by surprise the first time, to be spoken to in an American accent whilst I was ostensibly alone in the woods. It was no real surprise, on the other hand, to discover that my speed increases significantly when I stop taking photos.

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After my almost obligatory visit to The Lots and The Cove I walked past a friend’s house and discovered him having a quiet smoke on his front step. Twenty minutes later as we sat chewing the fat over a cup of tea in his kitchen, A’s phone piped up to deliver very disappointing news about my current speed and split time.

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Must try harder obviously!

Walking and Gawking

Very Little and Decidedly Often

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A long time ago, when I could hold these things in my head, or thought I could, I kept a sort of league table of hills ranked by the number of times I’d climbed them. Glyder Fach topped the table, due to the fact that it was one ahead of Glyder Fawr; I usually climbed them together, but had once descended Y Gribin after an ascent via Tryfan. In retrospect however, I must have been excluding, or at least overlooking, the hills of the Peak District many of which were much more familiar to me then than the mountains of Snowdonia or the Lake District. Anyway, I was rather pleased with what seemed to me to be my special connection with this fine mountain and I began to consider it as something of a favourite.

So, in a more modest way, if voting with your feet is any way to judge, then the walk during which I took these photos must be my favourite. It’s a short stroll – clocking-in at just over a mile and a half, I’ve recently discovered – taking in the The Cove and The Lots and, in this simplest version, returning via the centre of the village, usually incorporating a stop to do a bit of grocery shopping.

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Although oft repeated and very familiar, it never loses its lustre, because there’s always something new to see. This, for example, is a Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum). I’m reasonably confident of that because apparently the ginger thorax and white tail is distinctive of this species. I spotted it on a Flowering Currant in a garden on Townsfield (which name, rather confusingly, refers both to a field and to the street alongside it).

“B. hypnorum has a natural distribution in Mainland Europe, through Asia and up to the Arctic Circle. It was first found in the UK in 2001, in Wiltshire; but must have arrived from Mainland Europe. It has spread rapidly and is now present in most of England and much of Wales, where it can be very common in late spring to early summer. In 2013 it reached southern Scotland. Much of it’s rapid spread is probably due to it’s habit of setting up home in Bird Boxes, which abound in the UK.”

Source

This was quite a large bee and I wonder whether it might have been a queen?

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Black-headed gulls?

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Because I’ve been visiting The Cove on an almost daily basis I’ve become very familiar with the Shelduck who are ubiquitous on the edges of the Bay at the moment.

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Very Little and Decidedly Often

Historia Normannis at Lancaster Castle

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Historia Normannis, the twelfth century reenactment group, came to Lancaster Castle for the easter Weekend and we decided to go and have a look see.

We arrived just in time for a potted history of Henry II and his sons. It was necessarily brief, with no mention, for example, of Thomas Becket or of John’s treatment of his nephew Arthur. Still, it gave an entertaining picture of the infighting and back-stabbing ways of the Plantagenet Kings and their Barons. (And of Philip II of France come to that).

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After that little history lesson, we strolled the short distance into the city centre…

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…where the usual Saturday market was in full swing.

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Including musical entertainment…

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There were plenty of stalls serving food, and after making various choices, we plonked ourselves on the steps of the former Town Hall (built 1781-1783), now the City Museum (free and well worth a look).

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Back to the castle then for an exposition on how to dress a twelfth century knight in his armour.

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…which seems to be quite a long-winded affair!

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And which ended with a demonstration of combat in which, it seemed at least, not much quarter was given.

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The stalls on period food, and leather-working…

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…herbs and medicines…

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Were fascinating, but for some reason the boys seemed particularly drawn to the area where the replica weapons, shields and armour were on display…

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The next display was a tournament…

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…in which it once again seemed to me that the combatants were giving each other pretty hefty whacks.

Time to head home, but not before making one more stop at our favourite stall…

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B and his friend E. Captions anyone?

Historia Normannis at Lancaster Castle

Barrow Dock Museum

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We’ve been intending to check out the Dock Museum in Barrow for quite some time and, last week, finally got around to it.

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It’s a small museum, but it has model boats, which are pretty irresistible,

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…and The Furness Hoard, found locally in 2011 and including Viking, Saxon and Arab coins plus fragments of arm-rings and bracelets, not dissimilar in fact from The Silverdale Hoard.

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Having examined the area’s Viking treasures, you may want to dress the part…

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There are also axe-heads and arrowheads of Langdale stone which were apparently brought to the Barrow area for finishing and polishing.

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A big surprise for me, and a great discovery, was this furniture by the late Tim Stead.

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I’ve not been aware of his work before, but shall be looking out for it in the future. He was one of the artists who built the Millennium Clock, now housed by the National Museum of Scotland, and definitely added to my ‘too see’ list.

Whilst the boys hared around the playground in the museum grounds, I took a quick look at the docks themselves.

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Our trip to the museum was intended to be a precursor to a trip to the Wildlife Trust reserve at the southern end of Walney Island, somewhere I’ve long wanted to visit, much like Foulney Island in fact. But, having had my sutures removed early that morning, I now discovered that everything was not quite going to plan, and we spent the next three hours, or thereabouts, sitting around in A&E at Barrow Infirmary waiting to see what was to be done. Not much, it eventually transpired. Patience is the order of the day apparently. Ho-hum.

Barrow Dock Museum

Homework – About Silverdale

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The George Whittaker Memorial Park.

Little S has Easter holiday homework – to produce a leaflet about the village. His interpretation of that brief was to design a kind of promotional pamphlet: ‘Why You Should Come to Silverdale’. He asked me to accompany him around the village to take some photos to include. Obviously, I was more than happy to do that – this is the kind of homework I like to help with. As a preliminary, I asked him to first draw up a list of places he wanted to visit and a sensible route taking them in.

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It was interesting to see the village from his perspective and the places he chose as important.

Incidentally, the ‘Climbing Tree’…

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…wasn’t on his list, but fell conveniently between the Park and the Pepper Pot…

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…both of which were.

S thought it important to include some places where potential visitors might stay, so we called at Holgates Caravan Park…

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I’d decided that I would be on my best behaviour: I had a photographic assignment to fulfil and wouldn’t be wasting time pursuing my own agenda. But then this singing Goldfinch, just by Cove Road, dented my resolve…

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Our next port of call was The Cove where Little S was far more interested in the smelly cave and the opportunities for climbing on the rocks…

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Than in the view…

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Or any birdwatching prospects…

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Shelduck.

Meanwhile, any good intentions I’d harboured had sunk without trace, foundering on the luscious purple of these Violets…

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…and the surprise of Early Purple Orchids on the Lots…

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When a relatively pale and largish bird flew up from the field into a Horse Chestnut, B asked whether it could be a Kestrel. I must admit that the same idea had crossed my mind, but it was soon apparent that we were wrong. It was a Mistle Thrush…

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We were edging towards the tree, trying to get closer in order to get better photographs. When two Jackdaws landed nearby, I assumed that the Thrush would flee, but not a bit of it…

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More accommodation!

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Gibraltar Farm campsite.

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I noticed these flowers in a copse off Hollins Lane, near to the Wolfhouse Gallery. On a larger photograph (click on the photo to view on flickr) this is unmistakably Cardamine Bulbifera  – there are small black bulbils on the stems, which is how the plant spreads. It prefers calcareous soils, and in this region is probably a garden escapee, although it is endemic to the British Isles. It seems to have several common names: Coralroot, Coralroot Bittercress, Coral-wort.

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“There is a Flower, the lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!”

William Wordsworth

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This was a Celandine sort of day, starting dull but brightening up in the afternoon.

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The path up to the Clifftop.

There were other places on Little S’s list, but with the various distractions we were susceptible to, we’d already managed to make a modest walk of less than five miles drag out to around three hours. We decided to make do with what we’d got and head home for some tea.

Homework – About Silverdale

Turnstones on Roa Island

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Male Eider.

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Turnstone (non-breeding plumage).

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Edible Crab.

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Sea Spider.

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Butterfish.

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Broad-clawed Porcelain Crab.

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Chiton (possibly Lepidochitona cinerea).

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Starfish…

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…walking.

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Snot?

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Herring Gull.

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Juvenile Herring Gull (probably).

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Roa Island just keeps on giving and giving. Every visit throws up something new. This time both the wind and the water were perishingly cold and we didn’t find quite the same abundance as usual. Apart, that is, from B, who has an eagle eye for these things. Sea Spiders and Chitons are both new to me. Sea Spiders aren’t actually spiders, but do have an extraordinary resemblance, whilst Chitons are molluscs with eight overlapping plates. A found the Chiton – when she pointed it out in a shallow pool I assumed that what she’d seen was just a fragment of a seashell.

Whilst the others retired to the shelter of the car to eat their packed tea, I wandered back down to the end of the jetty and tried to capture images of flying gulls. Slightly quixotic behaviour, since the light was fading, and the gulls raced past downwind, but they were relatively stately when they flew back upwind so it wasn’t impossible.

Many of the stones we overturned were covered in eggs (or roe) of some kind. The roe, in turn, was often covered in Whelks. I couldn’t decided whether the Whelks were laying eggs or eating them. Several stones also had blobs of creamy white or emerald green…well, we’ve christened it ‘snot’, for want of any more accurate knowledge.

No doubt, we’ll be back again sometime this summer.

Turnstones on Roa Island