Watch Me Now

Far Arnside – Park Point – White Creek – Blackstone Point – New Barns – Arnside – Arnside Moss – Black Dyke – Far Waterslack – Waterslack – The Row – Hagg Wood

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House Sparrow

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Newly-laid hedge by Townsfield.

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Primroses on the bank on Cove Road.

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Hazel Catkins.

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Marsh Tit.

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Daffodils in the woods near Far Arnside.

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Green hellebore in amongst the daffs.

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Grange and Hampsfell.

The tide was well out, the mud unusually firm, so I did something I don’t often do and walked away from the shore on a beeline for Hampsfell on the far side of the Kent, only turning inland again as the sand started to drop towards the river channel.

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Park Point.

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Redshank.

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Arnside Knott from New Barns.

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I had what I am now beginning to think of as my Birding Camera with me and wasn’t using my phone for once. Along the estuary I had some fun photographing a Cormorant which was fishing, a number of Redshanks, a Corvid, probably a Crow, which was tussling with what looked like a plastic bag half-embedded in the far bank of the river, and nearby another Crow vigorously bathing in the shallow margin of the river.

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I know that birds bathe, we have a birdbath sited just beyond the window I’m currently sat beside and I’ve often watched Blackbirds dipping into it, but this seemed a little more out of the ordinary.

The camera helped me to identify a pair of Goosanders which were fishing in the channel…

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Here, the male, on the right, has caught a small flatfish.

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Whitbarrow Scar, the Kent, the viaduct.

On the wall of a small, abandoned quarry close to Arnside I noticed some heather flowering…

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It’s the wrong time of year for our native heathers, but the heathers in our garden are flowering too so I guess this is an interloper.

I’m still feeling the after-affects of the virus which laid me low last week, so I chose to follow the Kent for a while beyond Arnside, and then by cutting back across Arnside Moss and following the field path beside Black Dyke managed to almost completely avoid the need to struggle uphill.

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In the woods near Middlebarrow Quarry a pigeon-sized bird ghosted past my shoulder, swooped low and then banked steeply to land noiselessly on a branch ahead of me. This was no wood pigeon however, a bird incapable of doing anything silently.

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I think that this is another female Sparrowhawk, although, as ever, I stand ready to be corrected.

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Silverdale Moss.

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Trees near Hagg Wood.

This photo…

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…was taken several days before any of the others in this post. We’ve had Roe Deer in the garden again a few times recently. On this occasion there were, briefly, four of them, despite the fact that Roe Der are often reported to be solitary creatures. All males I think. I wanted to include the picture because it shows how furry this buck’s new antlers are. It looks as if he had spotted me. Certainly, just after I took this photo, he bounded over the hedge into our neighbour’s garden.

I’m reading ‘I Put A Spell On You’ by John Burnside at the moment. It’s a very unusual book, which I think I bought solely because of the title and it’s reference to the Screaming Jay Hawkins song, which I’m more familiar with in the versions by Nina Simone and especially Creedence Clearwater Revival. I don’t know, in honesty, quite what to make of the book, but I couldn’t help but mentally underline this passage…

“…it comes to me that, at moments like this, yes, but also in some far off place at the back of my head, I am, in some modest and ineffable way, supremely happy. Or perhaps not happy so much as given to fleeting moments of good fortune, the god-in-the-details sense of being obliged and permitted to inhabit a persistently surprising and mysterious world.”

So perhaps this post’s title should have come from that passage, but instead, having contrived to find a walk almost without any contours, I chose the purloin the title from The Contours big hit.

“Do you love me?
(I can really move)
Do you love me?
(I’m in the groove)
Ah, do you love?
(Do you love me)
Now that I can dance
(Dance)

Watch me now, oh….”

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Watch Me Now

Lately I’ve Let Things Slide.

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Eaves Wood.

Between work, the weather, the lurgy and lethargy, I’ve let my Little and Often resolve crumble away and I haven’t been getting out as often as I was. But now I’m off work for a couple of weeks, and the sun has come out, and in the woods spring is already well under way.

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Ramsons in Fleagarth Wood.

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Gorse at Jack Scout.

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Jack Scout view – The Coniston Fells in the distance. The horizon was tilted like that, honest.

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Wolf House.

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Daffs on Lindeth Road.

This was a short, familiar outing which I made very heavy weather of; apparently, I’m not completely over the lurgy yet. Still: time to do some catching up.

Lately I’ve Let Things Slide.

Beinn Bhreac

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With another forecast for not particularly favourable weather, what to do with our Sunday? Over a lengthy breakfast, various options were tossed out for inspection, mulled over, discussed and ultimately rejected before Beinn Bhreac finally came out on top.

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Beinn Bhreac had the advantages of being a shortish walk, not too high and, for those with a bagging habit, the prospect of a tick, since it’s a Graham, and therefore, I think, also a Marilyn, (I’m pretty sure that the Grahams must be a subset of the Marilyns).

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In the early and late stages of the walk we also had some partial views of Loch Lomond.

The wind was pretty fierce again and this large boulder provided the best shelter we could find and so was the venue for two butty stops, one on the way up and the other on the way down again.

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The highest stage of the walk was quite wild again, although the wind was perhaps just a notch down on what it had been the day before.

Spikes and ice-axe were once more pressed into service, although it transpired that the steep ice-bound rocks which prompted that choice could actually be easily circumvented.

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As we descended, the cloud lifted momentarily giving us a bit of a view back up the hill.

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Years ago, pre-blog, we had a wander around some of the Luss hills on an equivalent weekend to this one. I was decidedly off-colour that day, but was still left with a decidedly favourable opinion of the area, which this walk has done nothing to dispel.

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The Tower Captain and Loch Lomond.

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Maps!

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Beinn Bhreac

Beinn Mhic Mhondaidh

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A frozen over River Orchy.

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A view from the approach walk through the forest.

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Wild weather on the summit.

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Drifted snow and icicles.

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Back in the forest – and a hint of blue sky!

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More ice.

 

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Maps!

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The occasion of this walk was our annual Highland Gathering of old friends. After heavy snowfalls followed by Atlantic gales our party was somewhat smaller than it should have been, with some people not able to make it. On the Saturday, those of us that did manage to get there mostly opted to climb Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh above Glen Orchy which was not too far from where we were staying at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, is a Corbett for those who are bothered by such things, and is not too high given the low cloud and strong winds forecast.

One unanticipated difficulty was that the start of the track was closed, due to tree felling and the building of a replacement bridge over the Orchy, but after a bit of a conflab we decided that with the machinery standing silent on the track, and with the new bridge clearly almost finished, we would ignore the signs and go ahead anyway.

I’m not generally very keen on walks though pine plantations, but have to admit that the lower stages of this route, both up and down, were very pleasant, with some shelter from the wind and occasional views of the surrounding hills. Beyond the trees, the climb was steep. Initially, where there was a thin layer of fresh snow over frozen and icy ground, the going was much too exciting for me, but after we put our spikes on, and swapped a trekking pole for an ice axe, I felt a lot more secure and enjoyed the climb, especially some of the less steep sections of old neve which were in perfect condition.

When we hit the ridge, the wind was making walking quite challenging – I was glad I had goggles and a balaclava so that only the end of my nose was exposed to the the scouring ice and snow which was being blown about. Fortunately, almost as soon as we started to descend, the wind dropped considerably.

Back at the hotel, the beer, the meal and the conversation were all highly enjoyable, but I’m afraid I led the field in the Snoring in the Residents’ Lounge Stakes.

Andy, who booked and organised the weekend (cheers Andy!), has more and better photographs in his post about this walk here.

Beinn Mhic Mhondaidh

Such A Night

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The much reported snow and ice barely made it to this part of the West Coast, although when it did arrive it was oddly localised and, for example, Silverdale got quite a bit more snow than nearby Lancaster. These photos are from a quick walk on the Wednesday. We’d had one very heavy flurry of snow on the Tuesday evening and some more lighter falls thereafter and by Wednesday morning we had quite an accumulation. Not sufficient to keep us at home, sadly. The sun shone for much of the day and although it was cold, much of the snow had thawed by the time I got out for a late circuit around The Cove and The Lots.

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Redshanks.

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Inevitable Cove sunset.

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Ashmeadow House.

Later, I took A to Arnside for a piano lesson and had time for a short, and very chilly, stroll along the promenade and beside the River Kent.

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I should probably explain the convoluted way in which I arrived at the post’s inappropriate title: for the previous post which eventually ended up accompanied by ‘True Love Travels on a Gravel Road’, I also considered ‘Walk On Guilded Splinters’ and although I eventually rejected that choice, I then found myself listening to a few other Dr John songs, including, eventually, ‘Such A Night’….

Such A Night

Walking Blues

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Eaves Wood.

Another BWOO, with a blue sky wander following rugby at Kirkby.

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The Ring O’Beeches.

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Ring O’Beeches pano.

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Arnside Knott.

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Arnside Knott pano.

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Black Dyke.

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Arnside Knott seen across Silverdale Moss. 

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Hawes Water.

This time I was rushing back for a much better reason. I was only at home very briefly before heading out again to see The John Verity Band play at the Silverdale Hotel.

Unlike the rugby, this was well worth curtailing a walk for. They’re back in Silverdale on October the 14th and probably playing somewhere near you sometime soon (if you’re in the UK anyway).

Walking Blues

True Love Travels…

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Shingle beach at Far Arnside.

Suddenly, I’m a behind again. This images are from a fortnight ago; one of those BWOOs (Brief Window of Opportunity) where I found myself with a couple of hours to spare on a sunny Saturday afternoon. At this remove, the images look quite spring-like, and there were plenty of primroses on the bank on Cove Road where they always seem to appear earlier than anywhere else…

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But in truth, the wind was stiff and Siberian, a herald of the snows which would arrive later in the week.

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Buzzard.

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Meathop Fell seen across the Kent Estuary.

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Bullfinch.

I opted for a slight variation on an old favourite – following the coast past Far Anrside and White Creek to New Barns, near to Arnside, but then climbing over the Knott and home again.

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Arnside Knott panoramas (click on photos for larger versions)

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I’m always tempted to photograph the pale shingle at Far Arnside, and this time I did…

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…which set me thinking about the various surfaces I would traverse on my walk.

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Wet sand.

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…with or without shells…

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Harder, drier, ridged sand.

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Leaves and twigs in the woods.

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Mud on the Knott.

This…

…seemed like a suitable musical accompaniment. Apparently, the song was first popularised by Elvis and Percy Sledge also had a hit with it, but it’s this version by Nick Lowe which I know.

I could, and should, have extended the walk but rushed back to watch the Calcutta Cup on the gogglebox. For England Rugby fans true love certainly travels by a gravel road.

 

True Love Travels…