Returns Policy

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“I try not to repeat previous routes.”

Fellow blogger, and almost neighbour Conrad, is of an adventurous bent, a novelty seeker, a risk taker. I only know Conrad online, so I shouldn’t really presume to know, but I imagine that his ‘never go back’ approach is driven by the impulse which once made him a climber and which has seen him set-out on some truly mammoth walks (of which I am very jealous).

I understand this school of thought: there are so many places to visit, even locally, and so little time in which to visit them all: why repeat yourself? But, at the same time, I love the comfort of the familiar: places I’ve visited time and again, in every season, every hour of the day and every kind of weather.

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As Conrad pointed out, in a comment on a recent post, there are advantages to this repetitious beating of the bounds – knowledge accumulates and you begin to know what there is to see, and when and where it can be seen. For example, when I started this blog, just over 10 years ago, I don’t think I’d ever encountered Cinnabar Moth caterpillars; now I expect to find them every summer. Last week they were out in numbers, seemingly stripping every available Ragwort plant in Redhill Pastures on Arnside Knott.

I was there to help again with the Limestone Grassland monitoring project I signed up for last year. The pasture was absolutely parched and it was very difficult to identify the herbs we were looking for. As is my wont, I was crawling around on hands and knees looking for some of the tiny flowers which are important indicator species, when I discovered that both of my forearms were covered in minute specks of pollen. Except the ‘pollen’ was moving. It wasn’t pollen; they were ticks. Hundreds of the them. Since we live in an area where deer are quite common, I’m used to finding the odd tick, but I’ve never seen them in this kind of profusion. It was a bit disconcerting, and I had to excuse myself to go home for a shower.

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This final photo was taken the day before my tick-infestation and is off an altogether happier occasion and another slight return – we went back to High Dam for a swim. This time all five of us went and the sun shone and there were no midges. We were there for a couple of hours and it was very refreshing.

Who knows – we may be back there soon? We’ll certainly return at some point – we like to go back.

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Returns Policy

11 thoughts on “Returns Policy

  1. Wow! you make me sound like some version of Ranulph Fiennes. I reckon it is just my propensity to dramatise some of my adventures on my blog posts. Long may you continue to enlighten and entertain us with your re-visits and splendid photographs

    I was in awe of your recent bivvy on Skiddaw

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Yes, you’re definitely an intrepid explorer. I really enjoyed my Skiddaw bivvy. It might be next summer now, and who knows if that will bring settled weather again, but I’d definitely like to do something like that again.

  2. YES! The relationships you build with one place are life-changing. The different seasons and beautiful bits of nature you come to really care about in a small, but important way. A favorite quote from Charlotte Mason on education is one I return to often for myself and my children, ““The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” ❤

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Absolutely! I love your Charlotte Mason quote and continue to be amazed that, though I work in education and live close to where she spent much of her life, what little I know about her I’ve gleaned since I encountered her on your blog. The quote has set my mind whirring, surely a good thing, and whilst I’ve been mulling it over I’ve remembered three quotes, all of which I’ve used on the blog before at some point, and all of which seem apposite in some way.
      “His mind had no horizons. He was interested in everything.” John Steinbeck writing about his great friend the marine biologist Edward Ricketts.
      “You could spend a lifetime studying a hedgerow or a pond.” Roger Deakin
      “My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for so many years I have walked almost every day, and sometimes for several days together, I have not yet exhausted them. An absolutely new prospect is a great happiness, and I can still get this any afternoon. Two or three hours’ walking will carry me to as strange a country as I expect ever to see. A single farmhouse which I had not seen before is sometimes as good as the dominions of the King of Dahomey. There is in fact a sort of harmony discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles’ radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the threescore years and ten of human life. It will never become quite familiar to you.” from Walking Henry David Thoreau

      1. LOVELY QUOTES! If you get a chance, there’s quite a bit at the Armitt Museum in Ambleside on Charlotte Mason, her grave is there at St. Mary’s, and the school she taught at (Scale Howe/ The Beehive) is part of the University of Cumbria, I believe. 🙂 We enjoyed the Roman ruins and Ambleside Champion Tree trail as well. I visited it all in 2016 and would absolutely love to go back as they have so much archived of her and her students work as well as the P.N.E.U of which she was editor of the newsletter. Very fascinating stuff! 🙂

  3. A really interesting and diverse post and comments to match. I love all those quotes, any of them a fine accompaniment to any walk. That lake looks splendid for a swim. Is the water cold like the rivers are.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      TBH reckoned it was cold. The rest of us thought not. Pleasant and refreshing I would say. Although Little S had to get out when he went a bit blue and eventually I did the same when I got cramp – I’d been in the water for at least an hour at that point however.

  4. Oh, my goodness, so many ticks! My hiking friends would die of fright. I’m glad you return to the ‘familiar’. Each visit is not quite the same and I’m totally in love with your part of the word.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I’ve never seen so many ticks together and I wasn’t best pleased to see them all on my forearms!

  5. I too have similar favourite spots I keep returning to every year. If you enjoy it why not and you always see different things each time. Clegs, ticks and midges are a real menace this year. When I was younger I covered large distances walking but now I’m just as happy looking at things much closer in small areas. And the more you stay still and look closely the better it gets. I can see the attraction of metre square observation procedures that some stick with over years- the world narrowed right down to one placed metre grid in a landscape- especially in summer. Learning a lot from your blog as many different species down your way.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Likewise, the measure of my walks used to be almost solely how far they were. Now, it’s more to do with the sights and sounds.

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