Comfortable Silences

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Speckled Wood Butterfly.

A mid-October Sunday and another day which brightened up into a cracker after a most unpromising start. B must have been playing at home and I’d been for a wander along the Lune from Underley Park under dark skies and beside a river which, if not quite in spate, was swollen, fast flowing and looking as if it would present a stern challenge to canoeists.

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In the afternoon, I walked around the coast as far as White Creek and from there up to Heathwaite without, unusually, ever going up to the top of the Knott.

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I enjoyed watching this flock of birds heading north rather faster than I was. I suspect that they were Oystercatchers, but it was hard to tell.

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I was interested to see, now that we were definitely into Autumn, what I could still find flowering. Some things weren’t particularly unexpected….

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Devil’s-bit Scabious.

I was pleased to see some butterflies too: quite a few Speckled Woods, a large White and this…

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Small Copper Butterfly.

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Betony is another late-flowering plant, so not out of place in October. But…

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…this Burnett Rose was a bit unexpected.

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Oystercatchers – unmistakably this time.

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The view from Park Point.

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Holly is normally a spring flowering plant, so these flowers go down as surprise of the day.

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This is one of the two short tunnels of White Creek Mine. The colour of the rock here suggests that this is another haematite mine – an iron oxide ore mainly used in the manufacture of paint apparently.

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Two views south along the coast from Heathwaite.

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It was a fairly clear day – was that Blackpool Tower I could make out down the coast?

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Yep!

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The (becoming) obligatory Ingleborough zoom.

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I thought this pair of crows looked like old friends, comfortable with each others silence…

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‘Did you…..?’

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‘Oh, no? Okay. Think I’ll grab a snooze.’

 

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Comfortable Silences

Northern Sky

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Early October, (am I catching up?) and an early, pre-rugby outing to watch the sun rise over Ingleborough.

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And to admire the fungi in Eaves Wood.

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As I’ve noted before, by dropping down the hill a little, I can experience the illusion of multiple sun rises.

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At the circle of beeches the light was lovely…

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…and the ground sprinkled with small white toadstools.

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Long before I began to piece together some knowledge about other local flora and fauna, I tried to get to grips with fungi, mainly for culinary purposes; if I could identify the species of toadstool then I could safely find the ones which are safe and good to eat.

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I even went on a foraging course and learned to take spore prints.

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But Britain has thousands of species and I find them almost impossible to distinguish between, so these days I generally settle for taking photos and buying my mushrooms from the supermarket.

On the other hand, I know where I stand with deer, and this pair…

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…are unmistakably Roe Deer.

 

Northern Sky

Brighter Later

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The first Saturday in October began overcast and rather autumnal, but brightened up whilst I was out for the first of my strolls that day, a circuit via Clark’s Lot, Hollins Lane, Heald Brow, Jenny Brown’s Point, Jack Scout and Woodwell.

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Rosehips and blue tits.

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The Forest of Bowland hills and Carnforth Salt-marsh from Heald Brow.

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Quicksand Pool and the chimney at Jenny Brown’s.

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Traveller’s Joy.

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Grange-over-Sands, blue skies and the Coniston Fells from Jack Scout.

The remaining photos could be from that same trip, but may well be from my second walk of the day, a familiar turn around the Cove and the Lots, because both routes finished along the same bit of track close to home. The fence around the vicarage grounds is liberally festooned with ivy and, on that day, the ivy was absolutely overrun with insects, particularly wasps, but also various flies, hoverflies and ladybirds.

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Flesh-fly.

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Greenbottle.

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A hoverfly – Scaeva Pyrastri. Very handsome with it’s curving white markings, not really shown to best advantage here, sadly.

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Some flower-heads were very busy!

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Bluebottle.

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Wasps.

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Drone fly.

I should probably celebrate the fact that I’m so easily engrossed by flies which are generally considered to be pests gathered on a plant which many would regard as a persist weed. Sometimes, however, the habit of gawping can have it’s downsides: a couple of weeks later, whilst I was similarly occupied, a wasp got trapped between my glasses and my face and stung me just below the eye for its troubles. On this occasion though, prolonged staring helped me to spot this…

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I think that this might be the pupal stage of a ladybird, although I’m not at all confident about that, and if I am right, I still don’t know which of the many varieties of ladybird this might be.


 

Brighter Later

Distant Showers

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The tail-end of September and the Sunday of the weekend visit from the Surfnslide crew. The morning was a busy time for us and then we had a house full for lunch, but in the afternoon some of us got out for a wander across the Lots, up Stankelt Road to the Green, through Burtonwell Woods and across Lambert’s Meadow to The Row and finally through Eaves Wood to Castlebarrow, from where all of these photos of big clouds over the bay and Humphrey Head must have been taken.

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The weather was very changeable. In the photo above you can clearly see the two blocks of Heysham Nuclear Power Plant. But here…

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…they’ve disappeared in a rain shower.

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Quite pleasant to watch from a dry vantage point.

Distant Showers

Do You Remember?

Eaves Wood – Middlebarrow Quarry – Black Dyke – Redhills Wood – Arnside Knott – Hollins Farm – Holgates – Cove Road

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On Arnside Knott.

The end of September, and a momentous weekend for the surfnslide crew as they dropped off their first born at university for his first term. Since he’s studying at Lancaster, they could at least drop in on us for the weekend while they were in the area. On the Saturday afternoon, we managed to squeeze in, around our various other commitments, a wander up the Knott.

By Black Dyke, which follows the railway line, we passed a couple of middle-aged camera wielding chaps who had the unmistakable air of trainspotters. I don’t know how long they had been waiting already, but they must have been patient types, because we were enjoying the view from the Knott….

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…by the time that the train they were surely waiting for went across the viaduct…

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It must have been relatively late that we were on the Knott, and the light was gorgeous…

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I’ve taken so many photos of fungi this autumn; sadly, most of them have been rather disappointing, not quite in focus. This one is a bit sharper…

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…and, for once, it’s something which is easy to identify, almost the quintessential toadstool in fact: Fly Agaric.

I don’t know what these are…

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…but I like the patterns the splitting caps have made.

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Crepescular Rays.

I really must endeavour to catch up with the blog, because I can’t for the life of me recall what we ate that evening, whether or not we ordered a curry, as we often do, but I do vaguely remember playing some games and that TJF, who seems to have a knack for these things, was on the winning team for most, if not all, of them.

Now, altogether…

Ba de ya, say that you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day
There was a
Ba de ya, say that you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shiny days

Do You Remember?

Walk Interrupted

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Silverdale from Castlebarrow.

A Friday evening saunter, in September, up to Castlebarrow for the view.

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Ingleborough and Trowbarrow Quarry from Eaves Wood, another extreme zoom.

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More fungi.

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Evening light in the woods.

And then down to the Cove, a little too early for the sunset.

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Evening light at the Cove.

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Shelduck.

But then my onward progress across the Lots was stalled because I’d forgotten that there was a dance performance taking place there. I was told that I could, discretely, continue, but after talking to one of the staff there, who was huddled by a wall, I decided to turn back anyway.

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Another Cove sunset.

With the happy consequence that I was at the Cove for the sunset after all.

Walk Interrupted

Thermophilous

Hagg Wood – The Row – Jubilee Wood – Waterslack Wood – Middlebarrow Quarry – Black Dyke – Red Hills Wood – Arnside Knott – Heathwaite – Far Arnside.

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A Red Admiral. The ivy was thronged with other insects too – particularly wasps, but bees and hoverflies and several Red Admirals to boot.

A sunny Sunday in September and a walk which just about encapsulates the obsessions which fuel this blog: butterflies, fungi, and robins; an ascent of Arnside Knott; views of the bay, the Cumbrian Fells and of Ingleborough; some detective work to identify a plant; clouds; some backlit leaves; and a novel botanical term thrown in for good measure.

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Once again there was lots of fungi to see that day – this photo will stand in for the many I took.

I managed to get out for numerous walks that day; B had played rugby against Vale of Lune that morning, a team which features many of his school friends, and whilst they were warming up, and again when they were changing and eating, I squeezed in a couple of little wanders on what was a very bright, but initially quite chilly, morning.

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This bridge on the edge of Middlebarrow Wood is looking decidedly worst for wear.

Later, I was out again on a glorious autumn afternoon and, as has become my habit, I headed for the Knott.

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Arnside Knott.

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Middlebarrow Wood and a distant Arnside Tower.

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The Kent viaduct and the Eastern Fells. It was a clear day – you can just about pick out Skiddaw in the northern lakes if you know what you are looking for.

I’m pretty sure that this was the day when I exchanged pleasantries with a chap near the top of the Knott. We admired the view and he told me that he recognised me from numerous Silverdale Coffee mornings and then advised me to lose some weight. Naturally, I told him, in no uncertain terms, to mind his own business, before eviscerating him with a rusty spoon.

No I didn’t. But I was tempted.

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The Kent and the Coniston Fells.

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You’re never far from a bench on a walk in this area, particularly on the Knott.

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Looking south, the Bowland Fells and the bay.

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Bramble leaves.

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Bracken.

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Another view south, taken by another bench.

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Ingleborough, taken at the full extent of the zoom.

From Heathwaite I took a path which I thought would curl around to Hollins Farm, but instead it took me to a gate and then steeply downhill to meet the coast path near the caravan park at Far Arnside. Another new path for me – it seems amazing that there could be still paths so close to home which I don’t know, given how I’ve criss-crossed the area so obsessively over many years. This one is a delight and opens up new possibilities for walks taking in the Knott. I’ve been back already.

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Robin in full song.

There’s a time, at the tail end of summer, when the birds stop singing. It’s always cheering to hear their voices return to the local woods.

Some Buddleia bushes at Far Arnside were even busier with Red Admirals than the ivy had been close to the start of the walk.

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With the Red Admirals was a close cousin of theirs…

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…a Painted Lady.

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Far Arnside coast.

The plant growing abundantly here is Rock Samphire, which is apparently “thermophilous, growing well and increasing in numbers with warmer summers”. (Source.) Knowing that, and given the summer we had, it’s not surprising to see so much of it growing here.

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These purplish globes are the seed pods.

Rock Samphire was once a popular vegetable, more popular in fact than the unrelated, and now very trendy, Marsh Samphire. I’ve tried it and found it a bit strong, but maybe I should give it another go, steamed and served with lashings of butter perhaps? Or, maybe without quite so much butter?

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From Far Arnside I walked back on the mud of the bay. The sun disappeared behind a cloud; I didn’t much appreciate the shade, but I was very taken by the light.

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Another Robin.

Currently, there’s a gale howling beyond the window and it’s been raining most of the day. Looking back at these photos of a sunny day has been a real tonic. Perhaps that’s what I should have told the old gent on the Knott: “Leave me alone, it’s not my fault: I’m thermophilous, I thrive and grow well in warm summers”. It would have been a new excuse at least.

Thermophilous

Lacy’s Caves and Long Meg

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A Saturday afternoon and we decided to dragoon the boys into coming out for a walk with us. In honesty, I can’t remember how we arrived at the decision to repeat a walk along the River Eden, taking in Little Salkeld Watermill, Lacy’s Caves and the Long Meg and her Daughters stone circle, but it was a good choice.

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We began with lunch in the cafe at the mill, which was delicious, then set off towards the river. There was a paper notice tacked to the signpost indicating that some part of the footpath had been damaged by flooding and then closed, but the notice looked quite old, so we decided to ignore it.

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TBH and I have done this walk three times now, and each time we’ve seen lots of Buzzards in this first part of the walk. Closer to hand, there were flowers and insects to admire and a tree heavily laden with rather tart apples.

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Small White Butterfly on some sort of Hawk’s-beard, possibly Rough Hawk’s-beard.

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Tachina Fera.

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Forest Bug.

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More fungi.

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Earthballs.

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A weir on the Eden. Force Mill opposite.

We did eventually see some signs of flood damage, but that had nothing to do with what happened next. I’m not sure how, but I lost my footing and fell down the steep bank towards the river. Little S was first to react, grabbing hold of my ankle as I slid down the slope, which, frankly, could have ended badly for him,  but between us we managed to halt my fall. I was a bit bruised and grazed, my camera took a whack, and I think we were all  slightly shaken, but ultimately, no harm was done.

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The view of the River Eden from Lacy’s Caves.

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Lacy’s Caves.

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These are not natural caves, but were hewn from the rock by order of the local landowner Colonel Samuel Lacy. There are several connected ‘rooms’. One of them still has some planks in it and some metal brackets fastened to the wall, as if there had been a bench or a bed here. Apparently, Lacy may have paid someone to live in the caves as a ‘hermit’, which was a fashionable thing to do for a time. There are more pictures of the caves here, from our last family visit, made at a time when Little S genuinely was still little.

The boys may be practically grown up now, but they weren’t above a game of hide and seek in the caves, which, I’ll admit, was pretty hilarious.

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I remember these wooden posts from last time too. This is one from a series erected around the Eden Valley area and designed by artist Pip Hall. They’re textured so that rubbings can be taken.

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Mixed flock of Jackdaws and Rooks.

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More fungi.

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One of Long Meg’s daughters.

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More daughters with Cross Fell in the cloud and the radar station on Great Dun Fell behind.

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The uncountable daughters.

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The Long Meg stone circle is amazing and, on the evidence of three visits, almost guaranteed to be virtually deserted.

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Long Meg.

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And again.

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There’s some more detail and folklore regarding the stone circle in my previous post about a visit, here.

We first learned about this route from a leaflet published by Discover Eden. It was available as a PDF online, but these days you have to buy it. One word of warning – the leaflet gives a longer version of this walk, including a visit to Addingham Church, as 4½ miles, but my phone app gave 6 miles for our truncated version. No wonder our original round took us 6 hours when we had a toddler with us.

Lacy’s Caves and Long Meg

Until the Razor Cuts

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These photos come from two short, late strolls to the Cove and across the Lots with TBH, back in mid-September. On both occasions we set off as the sun was setting, on days when the weather had been poor and, not learning my lesson the first time, I neglected to take my camera on both evenings, so had to settle for using my phone to take pictures.

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Farewell to the sun.

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Rain on Humphrey Head.

When Mark E. Smith passed away earlier this year, somehow I never got around to mentioning the great pleasure he and The Fall had given me over the years. (Every Fall fan has their own personal favourite album, mine is ‘Slates, Slags etc’, perhaps not an obvious one). This week, sadly, Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks has passed too.

I can’t pick out a favourite Buzzcocks track – I listened to the ‘Spiral Scratch’ e.p.,  their first two albums and the ‘Singles: Going Steady’ compilation endlessly for many years. Not so much recently, which, listening back to them again now, is obviously my loss. They say that you know that you are getting old, when police officers seem young, but a more telling measure must be when the singers you admired in your formative years start to shuffle off to the great gig in the sky.

Until the Razor Cuts

A Windhover and Toadstools on the Knott

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Arnside Tower Farm, Middlewood, Warton Crag, the Bowland Fells and Morecambe Bay looking south from Arnside Knott.

A Sunday afternoon, back from B’s weekend rugby fix, and I’m off to climb the Knott again. This has become something of a habit and whilst there are lots of other options locally, I often find it difficult to see past an ascent of the Knott which has so much to offer when time is short.

When I lived in Arnside, I used to like to tell my classes that there are twenty routes to the top of the Knott and the same twenty possibilities on the way down and ask them how many different combinations I could choose between in my post-work up and down leg-stretcher. It tickled me that there were more than enough options to give a different choice for every day of the year. They were often, quite rightly, sceptical about my assertion that there were twenty different paths to the top, but in truth, whilst it’s hard to count them, because the paths frequently bifurcate and intertwine, more like a web than a simple radiating spoke pattern, I suspect there may be more than twenty.

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Recently, I’ve discovered a couple of paths which are new to me. On this particular afternoon, I found a well-worn path which initially skirted the bottom edge of the steep scree slope on the south side of the hill before curling up and around the edge of the loose ground in the trees which bordered it’s eastern edge.

Whilst admiring the view from the top of the slope, my attention was caught by unfamiliar bird calls. Descending again slightly, I spotted a Kestrel in the trees below…

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Sadly, Kestrels, which used to be commonplace, are becoming much rarer than they were and I was very glad to have this opportunity to photograph one. Even this blurred shot…

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…of the bird in flight shows details on the tail which I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

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I think I’d been spotted!

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Opportunities like this don’t come along very often. The only other half decent shots of a Kestrel I can recall posting are here, of a female bird, high in a tree near Hawes Water. This bird, with its grey head and tail and spots rather than bars, is unmistakably male.

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The Kent viaduct and the hills of the Lake District.

As I’ve mentioned before, it seems to have been a bumper year for toadstools, and I whiled away a happy hour seeking them out on the Knott and taking photos of a wide variety of sizes, colours and forms, some of which are below…

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I think that this…

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…is a Flesh-fly, Sarcophaga carnaria or one of its many, apparently virtually indistinguishable, relatives. I took the photo because I was  bit non-plussed by just how large the fly was. Perhaps it’s related the Jeff Goldblum.

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This is a Hawkbit. Possibly Rough Hawkbit, but you need to examine the hairs on the leaves with a hand lens to be sure, and I don’t have a hand lens, so I’m not confident. I like them anyway, whatever they’re called.

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Robin’s Pincushion Gall.

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Speckled Wood Butterfly.

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Arnside Tower.

 

A Windhover and Toadstools on the Knott