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.

 

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A Windhover and Toadstools on the Knott

10 thoughts on “A Windhover and Toadstools on the Knott

  1. Your many routes up the Knott reminds me of a book I read a while ago: The Seven Millennium Problems by Keith Devlin. A prize was offered for solving any of the seven outstanding mathematical problems. One of them : The Pv vs NP Problem, concerns finding the most efficient way of travelling between a number of destinations. I guess you have probably heard about this, but just in case…

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Are you thinking of the Travelling Salesman Problem? Still unsolved I think. The P versus NP problem is related to the complexity of algorithms to solve problems and verify answers. Travelling Salesman is part of A-level maths and the new syllabus just touches on the efficiency of algorithms but doesn’t extend to P vs NP.

  2. Going round the coast from either Arnside or Silverdale and then climbing the Knott is a favourite route – not difficult but with some great views. A visit overdue I think, perhaps if we get a nice day over the Christmas holidays.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      It’s a great walk, and there are some good places to eat in Arnside to add to the pleasure. I hope we get lots of good days over Christmas, and if we do I shall definitely be doing that walk at least once!

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