A Families Weekend at Ours

I haven’t fallen out of love with blogging, I’ve just been preposterously busy; and then, the further one gets behind, the more daunting the prospect of catching up becomes.

So – hopefully on the road to catching-up – a weekend back in September. What has become one of the many regular fixtures in our calendar – a gaggle of friends dropping in for a weekend in the Arnside/Silverdale AONB. We can just about squeeze them all in, although some have to sleep on the drive in their campervan. Two years ago the weather was rotten. Last year it was superb. This year it was….well, neither one nor the other really.

On the Saturday, when we finally dragged ourselves away from copious cups of tea around the kitchen table, we walked down through Fleagarth Wood to Jenny Brown’s Point and then back via Jack Scout and very possibly the Lots and the Cove.

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Near Jenny Brown’s Cottages there were numerous and varied fossils in the rocks.

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Most impressive (I’m hoping the Andy’s photos do them more justice than mine), but I can’t work out how I’ve walked past them hundreds of times in the 20 years I’ve lived in the area without noticing them before.

As in previous years, we rounded off our Saturday with a very fine sample of dishes from our local Indian take-away. (I’m very fond of the Handi Achar, but the Kursi Chicken was very good too. So much so that it may be my new favourite.)

The weather on Sunday showed much more promise and we were full of hope as we crossed the causeway at Leighton Moss (soon afterward the scene of the BBC’s AutumnWatch).

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But when we stopped for some lunch on the benches on Summer House Hill above Leighton Hall, there was a rather cold wind….

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…and we watched a curious blanket of low cloud enveloping the view and putting a bit of a damper on the day.

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We decided to abandon our plan of an ascent of Warton Crag and instead went to explore Cringlebarrow, Deepdale, Yealand Allotment and the environs of Hawes Water – which, according to some younger members of the party, was much too long a walk even without the addition of Warton Crag.

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Anyway – a very fine weekend. The ankle-biters are firmly of the opinion that we should have two such weekends next year……

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A Families Weekend at Ours

A Walk in the Wolds: Caistor to Market Rasen

After our fortnight in the States, TBH had to go back to work. The kids and I had one more week however, and spent a few days at my Mum and Dad’s home near Lincoln. Given some children to provide him with an excuse, my Dad likes nothing better than a trip to Sundown Adventureland, so whilst he and Mum took the kids for a day of rides on the ’Pirate Flume’ and the Robin Hood Railway etc. I caught a bus to Caistor with a plan to walk a bit of the Viking Way, along the Lincolnshire Wolds, and finish with a bus home from Market Rasen.

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Church of St. John the Baptist at Nettleton.

It’s a while ago now, and I can’t remember the details, but there must have been some of the usual camera muppetry – low batteries or missing memory card – because I didn’t take many photos.

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The valley of Nettleton Beck

From the village of Nettleton, the Viking Way winds up the rather lovely valley of Nettleton Beck. I remember that there was some unexpected bogginess, a herd of white cattle, and another, large, herd, in a mixture of shades and styles with a huge bull amongst them.

Dad was born and raised in nearby Osgodby and this whole area has family associations. Across a couple of fields from the route is Nettleton Top mine where my Grandfather worked as the Store Keeper during the 1940s. Dad tells me that he remembers riding on his father’s handlebars on his way to the mine.

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A Wold’s top track.

The sun was shining, the walking was pleasant and very quiet. The Wolds are only little hills, but little hills amongst pretty flat country, so the views are extensive: power-stations in Yorkshire and, more impressively, Lincoln Cathedral standing proud of the Lincoln Edge. (Another hill in an area renowned for not having any hills.)

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St. Peter’s Church at Normanby le Wold – apparently the highest church in Lincolnshire.

I found a very pleasant spot to eat my pack-up and then dropped down to the village of Walesby. Slightly above Walesby stands the so-called ‘Rambler’s Church’.

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All Saints or the ‘The Rambler’s Church’ at Walesby

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A window, donated by the Grimsby branch of the Rambler’s Association.

After Walesby there’s some unusual farming: first farmed deer, then pedigree Lincoln Longwool sheep at Risby Grange. (Where, if you intend to walk this way, it’s worth knowing that there is an unmanned shop/shed with an honesty box – I can recommend the Elderflower and Gooseberry  ice-cream.) Then there’s an unusual farm, Castle Farm, which looks a bit like…well, a castle.

I dropped down to Tealby for a couple of pints at the King’s Head, a picturesque thatched pub.

From Tealby I left the Viking Way and followed the course of the River Rase into Willingham Woods and hence to Market Rasen. A very satisfying outing.

A Walk in the Wolds: Caistor to Market Rasen

Grand Falls and the Billy Goat Trail

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Apparently, the weather we had whilst we were in the States was unseasonably cool. Living as we do on the 54th parallel, in the North-Wet of England, we’re used to cold rainy summers, so we thought it was hot, hot, hot. With an open-air swimming pool just around the corner, I think the kids would have been happy if we’d never ventured far from our base for the fortnight.

But we did get out to explore the area a little. The wide, watery expanses of the Potomac were a bit of a draw.

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I’m pretty sure that this is a bald eagle flying high over the river…..

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I didn’t really mention birds in the last post, but the bird-watching opportunities were every bit as fantastic as the entomological  and herpetological delights on offer. Once again, I rarely knew what I was seeing, but colourful and striking kingfishers, several humming birds, red-winged blackbirds, goldfinches (quite different from our goldfinches) and the bright pink cardinals which are a symbol of Virginia.

We saw lots of mammals too. As well as the beaver/muskrat at Huntley meadows, lots of deer….

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…. a groundhog, foxes red and grey, but no racoons, which we’d been led to believe are ten-a-penny locally.

One particularly memorable outing took us along the Billy Goat Trail, alongside the Potomac, but a little upstream of where we staying.

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It was bouldering walking through low trees, but little W was determined to do it all himself.

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It wasn’t exactly a wilderness walk – Saturday morning and there were lots of people about, but we saw no end of wildlife, including a snake, lots of large birds of prey by the river, turtles, herons, fish…

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In places the path crossed entirely rocky areas, where the route was marked with splashes of paint.

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There was even one section of scrambling – where an orderly queue had formed to clamber up the rocks.

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It was a superb little outing, but the heat and the exertion had completely taken it out of W….

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But our trip wasn’t over yet, we had a picnic to come. And there was an added bonus nearby….

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…Grand Falls. Not a high waterfall, but wide with an awful lot of water flowing through. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that this photo conveys just how large and spectacular they were. I’ve certainly never seen anything quite like it.

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A final shot of the pool. There’s something very exotic about being able to swim in an unheated outdoor pool in the evening without the need to first lather-up with goose fat.

The first thing S asked me as our plan touched down in Manchester?

“Dad, when can we go to America again?”

Grand Falls and the Billy Goat Trail