Too Far?

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Notices like this went up around the village in the early days of the virus. With the twenty-twenty vision which hindsight provides, and in light of the clarification subsequently issued to police forces, it’s easy to see that the notice is not entirely correct. But it’s not my intention to criticise: the Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Watch were simply doing their best to interpret instructions which were clear in their intent but completely lacking in detail. To some extent, we’ve all had to make our own decisions about exactly what constitutes ‘staying at home’, when, in fact, we don’t actually have to stay at home all the time.

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Whelk Eggs.

Apparently, my Dad tells me, one of my second cousins was stopped by the police, only this week, and told that cycling isn’t exercise and that he should go home.

It’s not only the police who have at times been over-zealous however, and there seems to be quite an inclination, in conversation and online, to find fault with other people’s choices. Usually, online at least, swiftly followed by a second wave of condemnation heaped on the whoever dared to criticise and so on.

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The ‘other’ Holgates caravan park at Far Arnside – it looks far bigger from the Bay than it does when you walk through it.

There’s been quite a bit of discussion, in local Faceache forums, about whether it’s acceptable or not to cross Parish Boundaries whilst exercising. Some of it, it’s fair to say, was tongue-in-cheek, but I think it at least echoed the kind of conversations many people have been having.

So, it’s possible that on this walk, and I suppose on a handful of others, I went a little too far?

Initially I walked out into the bay until some dark lines off to my right attracted my attention and I turned in that direction. They turned out to be the far bank of a broad channel…

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Morecambe Bay – the tiny dots on the horizon are Heysham Nuclear Power Plant.

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I turned and followed the edge of the channel back towards the shore north of Far Arnside.

Eventually, I was forced to deviate somewhat in order to cross a meandering side-stream..

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Shelducks and Mallards. Grange-over-Sands promenade behind.

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Closer to shore the channel held a lot more water and was evidently quite deep.

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The bank was crumbling and clearly unstable.

Although the channel eventually ran quite close to the cliffs, it was still possible to keep following it round towards Arnside.

I was a bit nonplussed when I rounded Park Point and saw that the channel simply petered out…

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From this point there’s always a view of part of the Eastern Fells of the Lakes. You’ll struggle to see it in the photo above, but I thought I could pick out some remnants of snow up there. Fortunately, with the magic of the superzoom….

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I could confirm my suspicion.

I keep changing my mind about which hills are visible from Park Point, but my current thinking is that this looks like a view of Fairfield and the western half of the horseshoe.

Just around the point, I was struck by the sudden profusion of shells…

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Cockle shell.

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Mussel shell.

I assume that it’s to do with how the tides flow around the point, perhaps creating eddies or a lull and hence causing shells carried by the currents to be deposited.

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I followed the estuary up towards Arnside.

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Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

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A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.

Not a great photo, I know. They were on the far side of the river. But I’m never entirely confident about the difference between Mergansers and Goosanders, so I’m hoping that, if I make some brief notes here, then the details might stick for future reference. That often seems to work.

The male Merganser, on the right, has a wispy crest, a white neck-band and an orange-brown breast. The female is quite dark, with no clear delineation between the plumage on her head and neck.

Here’s a pair of Goosanders which I watched as they fished just a little further upriver.

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The male doesn’t have the crest, has a white breast and far more white generally. The female has a very obvious dividing line between the colours of her neck and head.

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Lesser Black-backed Gull, who was every bit as interested in the Goosanders as I was. Whilst I’m making notes – the yellow legs distinguish this from  a Great Black-backed Gull.

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Female Goosander.

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Male Goosander.

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Pigeon.

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Scurvy-grass. Packed with vitamin C apparently.

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Train crossing the viaduct – I couldn’t tell whether it had any passengers or not.

In Arnside I stuck to the edge of the estuary, rather than walking along the Prom. I couldn’t avoid a short road-walk and passing through the railway station however and if I transgressed then I suppose this is where, not that I was ever closer than the stipulated two metres away from any residents of Arnside.

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It looked like the old bridge had been closed off for repairs and replaced with a temporary, scaffolding bridge…

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Which was high enough to give a good view along the Kent Estuary…

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I walked along the old rail embankment which borders the estuary here, eventually turning off to cross Arnside Moss and then follow Black Dyke and the railway line back towards Eaves Wood.

In the fields by Black Dyke which were flooded for several weeks in the winter, there was a fair assembly of Shelduck, Lapwings, Canada geese, Greylag geese, and Herons, almost as if all of these waterfowl were loyal to the erstwhile lake even now that it had drained away.

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Hart’s Tongue Fern.

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New leaves emerging.

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Willow catkins – with, I think, a honey bee, thoroughly dusted in yellow pollen.

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Ginger thorax, black abdomen, white tail: a Tree Bumblebee. A species which is a comparatively recent arrival in Britain.

I’d been thinking that it was about time that I saw some Coltsfoot flowering, and sure enough, there it was beneath the willows.

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A different willow catkin, or possibly the same species at an earlier stage – but I’m inclined to the former. Willows are a tad confusing.

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A section of Eaves Wood, where most of the trees had been felled, was resplendent with Primroses, which is, I think, exactly the point – flowers of this sort, which seem to prefer open woodland, violets, primroses etc are important food-plants for various butterflies, some of them rare.

And so, a tune: it has to be Little Richard. A has been practising a dance to ‘Long Tall Sally’ and who can resist that? Or ‘Tutti Frutti’ and it’s opening ‘a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom’, a vocalisation, apparently, of the driving drum beat which Richard wanted for the song. However, I’ve gone for something a bit less obvious, which you might not have heard before, Freedom Blues:

Too Far?

12 thoughts on “Too Far?

  1. Interesting and varied photos as always – I like the observations of water birds.

    As far as the definition of “taking exercise” is concerned I have walked just from home every day since Lockdown except for my walk on Saturday when I drove 1.5 miles to Sandside to start, and as far as I understand the vague instructions that should be OK, and I am sure that all your walks from home are within the guidelines. You refer to “other people’s choices,” the trouble is that if they flout the guidance they are selfishly risking infecting others and also establishing a precedent that others will follow thus breaking down the whole strategy for containment.

    As for the latest pronouncement I quote my reply today on a comment on my own blog from a fellow round the coast backpacker who actually had the C and has now thankfully recovered.:

    “Whether the rules permit or not I am concerned about the possibility of using accommodation and public transport again anytime soon. As I see it even if cases are down to nearly nil there will still be some lurking about out there somewhere and unless I can be vaccinated I can’t see how I can take the risk. You are in a different position being younger and also having been through the C thing and come out the other side hopefully with immunity. I think very careful study of the wording of last night’s announcement needs to be considered. The emphasis in my opinion was on throwing a lifebelt to Business and throwing the rest of us under a bus.”

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Absolutely! I think I agree in every particular.
      The cynicism and muddle are both breath-taking. Opening primary schools, with young children who simply don’t understand the concept of personal space ahead of secondaries where some pupils have public exams next year – its clear that schools are regarded as baby-sitting facilities where children can be corralled whilst their parents can get back to being useful cogs in the money-making machine.
      As to ‘other people’s choices’ the wider point, which got lost somewhere (I finished writing the post rather late last night), is that everybody seems to have an opinion, or a whole plethora of opinions, which they are more than ready to share, but it seems to me that what we actually know with any degree of certainty is very, very little. A small minority have cleared misbehaved and are rightly called to account, but some of the things I’ve seen have, in my opinion, over-stepped the mark.
      Before schools closed I was asked repeatedly, by all sorts of sensible people, when I thought they would close, and now people are asking me when they will re-open. I’m clueless, and I certainly can’t second guess our equally clueless politicians, so it baffles me why anybody asks.

  2. To walk or not to walk, that is the question. Well now its to drive or not to drive. What a mess. I do love a bit of a root around on Faceplant to see what people are saying from their soapboxes. I particularly liked the one which asked for parliament to go back to the House of Commons before asking the public to go back to work and for 5 year olds to go to school. We are not guinea pigs for them. I can’t see an issue with it all, after all groups 5 year olds are renowned for keeping socially distant, not touching things they shouldn’t and not licking things 😉

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I may have to ban myself from F*c*book. I keep engaging in arguments I’m never going to win. Tonight’s was with someone who posted a long winded meme the gist of which was ‘why don’t people shut up, die quietly and leave our perfect politicians alone?’. You may have seen it, it begins by calling out known agitators and insurrectionists, such as Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield, for their ‘moaning’.

      1. Yep saw that one, even Piers Morgan (cannot stand him) seems to be throwing his moans towards the government. There are some brilliant bits on facebook, The Daily Mash is my favourite normally. The mash takes me back to my favourite spoof news website “The Onion”, I loved the stories on there.

        1. beatingthebounds says:

          I like the Daily Mash too. You know that times are very strange when you find yourself thinking that Piers Morgan is talking sense!

  3. Cracking collection of photos there from a great walk – I’m – pining for my Arnside coastal excursion this year. As long as you were distancing I don’t see a problem with extended walks. Exercise is good for you, laziness is not (as I think The Wombles once said). This crisis has opened the door to new round of judgementalism and unfounded opinion spouting. I’ve had my fingers poised over the keyboard many times ready to wade in but always realize that those sorts of people don’t want debate, they want approval and agreement so I keep my opinions to myself, well the family get to hear them but that’s their penance! Whilst the new rules make absolutely no sense at all, a broad understanding of what we face and common sense in managing it, is easier if worrying. Sadly a small minority don’t possess either making it all the more difficult for the resilient and sensible majority.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      It’s pretty clear now, fortunately, that exercise is not limited. I’m not sure the one hour limit or once a day rule made much sense for those of us who live in the sticks. Might be more necessary in more densely populated areas.
      I too really need to bite my lip. I’ve been sucked in a couple of times – it’s the ‘don’t complain, they’re doing their best’ routine which really winds me up. Three wise monkeys. Anyway, just got in from a sunset walk with B, so I’ve chilled out. Made sure to get out three times today, just because I could!

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