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.

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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

I Got The…

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We’re surely overdue some sunset photos from the Cove?

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These photos date back to consecutive Friday and Saturday evenings back in September. The Saturday was notable because A started a paper-round. I joined her in order to learn the route in preparation for the many weekends when she isn’t available, for one reason or another.

The Tower Captain spotted me delivering papers recently and asked whether I was making a bid to be the nation’s oldest paperboy. Cheeky ***!

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I usually pad out these brief posts, from a short familiar walk to the Cove and across the Lots, with some music. Something by Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed seemed appropriate, but, as often happens, I got distracted whilst searching for a song to use and somehow found myself listening again to Labi Siffre’s ‘I Got The…’.

It’s been sampled frequently, most famously for Eminem’s ‘My Name Is’. (Which is exceptionally dull by comparison with the original, in my opinion at least). Interestingly, two of the session musician’s on the recording were Chas and Dave. Labi Siffre has been mentioned on the blog before, when I visited the last resting place of Arthur Ransome and his wife Evgenia, because when Siffre appeared on Radio 4’s ‘Great Lives’ he championed the case for Ransome and his ‘Swallows and Amazons’ books.

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Whitbarrow with JS.

Mill Side – Whitbarrow Scar – Fell Edge – Cowmire Hall – St. Anthony’s Cartmel Fell – Pool Bank – Park Wood – Witherslack Hall – Beck Head – Mill Side.

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This is my friend JS, stood by the summit cairn on Whitbarrow Scar. He’s appeared on the blog a few times before, most recently two years ago, when B and I joined him for an ascent of Haystacks, the last top in his round of the Wainwrights. Thinking about it now, he has to be my oldest friend, I can’t think of anyone else who I’ve kept in touch with since we were knee-high to a grasshopper and started school together.

JS was back in the Lakes for a week’s holiday and, since another parent had kindly offered to pick up B from his rugby camp, I was able to join him for a walk. He was keen to try something new and, after a long drive the day before, wanted something relatively straightforward to ease him into the holiday. A walk on Whitbarrow and through the wonderful Winster valley seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

The weather was a bit mixed, even when I took this photo…

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Fell Edge, looking across the Winster Valley to Cartmell Fell.

…with a bit of blue sky in it, it was actually still raining on us. This was after, rather embarrassingly, we’d wandered around on the plateau looking for one or other of the descent routes, my ‘local knowledge’ proving to be a bit less impressive than I had hoped.

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Cowmire Hall, a late Sixteenth Century Tower House. Yet another of the Winster valley’s listed buildings.

I didn’t take many photos, partly, perhaps, because of the weather, but mainly because I was much too busy catching up with JS. We talked about family, finance, mutual friends, board games, introversion – and the book on that subject ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain which JS had read and was very eloquently recommending – wild-camping, our respective ailments, walking, facebook and it’s pros and cons, the tremendous fungi we kept spotting and almost certainly a whole host of other things, whilst also, no doubt, revisiting some shared memories of days long past.

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I didn’t even take any photos of St. Anthony’s Church, where we huddled in the porch for a late lunch. (You can see pictures from a visit this spring here.)

I’m happy to report, after the gloomy news from my last visit, that ‘The Hiker’s Rest’ self-service cafe near Beck Head is once again open for business. I had my stove with me, but was very happy to stop for a comfortable brew. Even more so when we discovered that the previous entry in the visitor’s book was by members of Fleckney Walking Club, Fleckney being a village almost two hundred miles from Beck Head, but only a couple down the road from Kibworth where JS and I grew up.

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Whitbarrow with JS.

How Barrow and Ellerside from Cartmel

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Looking to Morecambe Bay and the mouth of the Leven from How Barrow trig pillar.

The first weekend after my return to work. B’s rugby team had an early season training camp, staying in the scout hut in Cartmel.  They’ve had weekends there before and seem to always have a good time. I’ve stayed there myself – it was the salubrious venue for my stag do, back in 2001. But that’s a different story.

Since B had to be dropped off at around lunch time, I decided to make the most of the opportunity and, after I’d helped to prep the veg for the boys evening meal, set out for an afternoon walk in the Cartmel area. Unusually, the scout hut is in the grounds of Cartmel’s racecourse and I first walked through the grounds and then beside the diminutive River Eea and into a conifer plantation, before skirting around the western flank of Mount Barnard.

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The Leven estuary, Roudsea Mosses and the Coniston Fells from How Barrow.

The right-of-way slightly misses the summit of How Barrow (170m trig point on the map below), but a little discrete trespass is definitely called for here, because, even on a damp and overcast day, this top provides a great view for such a modest height.

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How Barrow pano (click on this, or any other, picture to see a larger version on flickr)

The view takes in the Leven estuary, the Coniston Fells and the extensive wetlands of the Roudsea Wood and Mosses National Nature Reserve – which is high on my list of places due for a revisit.

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Mistle Thrushes.

Walking along the Ellerside ridge I seemed to be continually following small flocks of Mistle Thrushes.

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The Coniston Fells again – now clear of cloud.

Further along the ridge, just before I turned eastward away from the views, I watched two large raptors flying above the wetlands below. They were flying high, at quite some distance, and looked very dark against the sky, but they had a highly distinctive silhouette with their wings bowed, giving an obvious ‘elbow’ and then a second curve near the tips. Although my photos are pretty useless, they show enough to confirm the suspicion I had at the time that I was watching Ospreys. Ospreys have returned to this area of the lakes, nesting at Foulshaw Moss, but I suppose that these may also have been migrating birds on their return journey from Scotland to Africa.

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Once again, lots of large toadstools to be seen.

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Collkield Wood.

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Presumably, these are farmed deer, later to be venison. Certainly, a lot of effort and expense had been put into erecting tall, new fencing.

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Guelder Rose hedge.

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Pincushion Gall.

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Green islands with sandy beaches on a turning oak leaf.

My walk finished by crossing the racecourse again. A cricket match was just finishing on a pitch in the middle of the track and, judging by the exuberant cheering, the local team had just won an important victory.

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Cartmel Racecourse.

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Market Cross Cartmel.

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Cartmel Priory.

I’d promised myself that, being in Cartmel, I would take the opportunity to revisit the impressive priory, but it closes to the public at 5pm each day and my walk had lasted too long for me to fit that in on this occasion. Next time.

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How Barrow and Ellerside from Cartmel