On the actual day, the forecast was pretty ropey. Never-the-less, we managed to persuade the boys to join us for a walk to Arnside over the Knott. Possibly the promise of a pie in Arnside had some influence on their decision.
In Far Arnside, we sheltered behind a tall hedge for the duration of a short, sharp hail shower. It was pretty fierce, but also wind-driven so that in the lea of the hedge it came over our heads and we didn’t do too badly.
Fortunately, it was another short-lived shower. And the pies and sausage-rolls at the Old Bakehouse went a long-way as compensation for the changeable weather.
As I said – a very changeable day.
A had been working on my birthday and so wanted to go for a walk the following day. The weather was similar to the day before and although we had originally planned to go to Arnside for pies again, A eventually decided that a short Eaves Wood stroll would have to suffice.
It’s very handy having some little hills on the doorstep to climb when the weather isn’t conducive to a longer expedition!
Very nearly the exact same route as the walk in my last but one post, but with better company. I didn’t take many photos, I was probably whittering too much. We only had a brief window, as the Jones clan needed to drop off the Prof and get home; I suggested this route over any others because I knew the daffs at Far Arnside would still be worth seeing. The view from the Knott takes some beating too.
The day after my outing on Sheffield Pike. More sunshine. A local walk for a change.
At Arnside Tower Farm I waited ages for the traffic to clear – the herd were being fetched in for milking and I waited until they’d all passed before crossing the track they were using. A couple of the farms collies joined me as I walked away from the farm. I’ve never owned a dog and have no intention of getting one, but if I ever changed my mind I would want a collie – they seem like such intelligent dogs. I thought this pair would turn back when we passed the Tower, but they didn’t. Maybe they would eventually head back to the farm if I continued down the lane toward the campsite? No.
In the end, I turned back myself and they followed me all the way back to the farmyard, at which point I apparently lost my magnetism and they trotted off to investigate something else.
Not sure what happened during the first half of February. Rain probably; by the bucketload. The most significant thing to happen over half-term is that my parents came to visit, which was terrific – it had been a long while since we had seen them.
I think we had some mixed weather that week, but I managed to get out for several local walks and even saw some blue skies and sunshine.
I wondered whether all the tree-felling by Hawes Water would affect the Snowdrops there, but fortunately it doesn’t seem to have had any impact.
I know this second photo looks much the same as the first, but there’s an insect on one of the flowers in the centre of the photo. Perhaps a drone fly. I thought it was pretty unusual to see a fly outside in the middle of February.
This is Jelly Ear Fungus or Wood Fungus. It’s allegedly edible – I have eaten it, in a restaurant years ago and I can’t say I was impressed.
These black cords, called rhizomorphs, are how Honey, or Bootlace, fungus spreads. They grow beneath the bark of an infected tree, but can also spread beneath the soil to reach new trees. Honey fungus will kill its host tree. I think it’s quite common in this area.
Honey Fungus mushrooms are bioluminescent (the gills glow in the dark), although their ghostly greenish light emissions are usually far too weak to be visible to the human eye in a normal woodland environment, even on a moonless night. To see this effect it is necessary to sit close to some of the mushrooms in total darkness (in a windowless room) until your eyes have become accustomed to the dark and your pupils are fully dilated.
A rash of fungus appears along Inman’s Road, the path along the bottom edge of Eaves Wood, every autumn. I think it’s Honey Fungus. It’s never occurred to me before to bring some home to test the bioluminescence, but I think this year I will.
I think that this might be Lumpy Bracket fungus, partly because in the same way that Jelly Ear fungus usually grows on Elder, this fungus typically grows on Beech, especially stumps, which is exactly what was happening here. Where a large number of Beeches have been (controversially) felled by Hawes Water, many of the stumps now host this fungus.
I thought, obviously mistakenly, that Hawes Villa had stopped keeping pigs. Happily, I’m wrong.
Walking along Bottoms Lane I was struck by the abundance and diversity of the mosses and lichens living in the hedge.
Because there were cold winds blowing all week, my Dad, who really suffers with the cold, was understandably reluctant to venture out. TBH had the bright idea that the gardens at Sizergh Castle might be relatively sheltered. She was right.
A is in a wheelchair – lent to us by the National Trust for our visit – because she had broken a bone in her ankle whilst dancing. Little S (you can see here how diminutive he is!) delighted in pushing her around at great speed and alarming her with his ‘driving’ skills.
Four fields between Holgates and Far Arnside had been seeded with what looks to me like Ribwort Plantain. A bit of lazy internet research reveals that it can be used as fodder. Certainly, when we’ve been back to the fields, after stock have been introduced, the leaves have been pretty thoroughly stripped off. I read that growing plantain can improve soil structure. And also, more surprisingly, that its seeds are used as a thickening agent in ice-cream and cosmetics.
The weather le me down a bit here. I walked around the coast in glorious sunshine, but by the time I’d climbed the Knott from White Creek, not the longest of ascents, it had completely clouded over.
And finally, on a very damp final day of the break, the flocks of Starlings which roost at Leighton Moss briefly gathered above the field behind our house, so that we had a grandstand view from our garden.
The day after my late afternoon walk from Yealand and another walk involving a lift. This was a longer local walk on a day of very changeable weather. After I’d passed Hazelslack Farm, the weather took a turn for the worse and seemed set-in, so I took the easy option and called TBH to come and pick me up, which saved me a couple of miles in pouring rain.
Three days at the beginning of January to finish our Winterval* break. First off, an Arnside Knott walk. As you can see, it was fairly bright, but very cloudy elsewhere, so the views were highly truncated. No Cumbrian Fells on display, and to the south…
…Warton Crag looking a bit hazy, and the Forest of Bowland, usually the horizon, nowhere to be seen.
The next day’s walk, our ‘standard’ Jenny Brown’s Point circuit, is represented by this single photo of high tide in Quicksand Pool. A grey day!
The next day, a Monday, in lieu of our New Year’s Day Bank Holiday, we had four Roe Deer in the garden: a male and three females.
He was easiest to photograph, since he didn’t move about too much, often sitting quite still…
…also giving himself a thorough grooming…
…occasionally shaking himself in much the same way a dog would, and every now and then having a bit of a snack…
The females were much more intent on feeding themselves. They have a long gestation period and so maybe they were all pregnant and that was the reason for their greater appetite?
I took hundreds of photos, many of them very poor, but it was interesting to be watching them. I was surprised by how catholic their tastes were. We are all too aware that in the spring and summer the deer will come into our garden and eat lots of flowers, but in the middle of winter they seemed keen on just about anything green.
Even the rather leathery looking leaves of our large Fatsia japonica didn’t escape unscathed.
Brambles and Ivy too were firmly on the menu…
Through my zoom lens I could see the deers’ long tongues, seemingly well adapted for grasping leaves and tearing them from the plants.
Two of the does roamed the garden together, never straying from each others’ sides.
The other female occasionally joined them, but mostly plowed her own furrow. Then she joined the buck on our lawn…
And they sat, companionably ignoring one another…
I’m not sure how long I would have sat watching the deer, but then I got an offer of a lift to Arnside from A, who is working in a Care Home there. It was raining a little, but the forecast was for better to come, so this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
I walked around the coast, as far as the Coastguard station, from where I had to turn inland since the path was underwater.
I followed the road to New Barns. The tide had receded somewhat, although the salt marsh was still inundated…
The remainder of the walk was enlivened by my attempts to capture the crepuscular rays illuminating Morecambe Bay.
Today is one of those excellent January partly cloudies in which light chooses an unexpected part of the landscape to trick out in gilt, and then shadow sweeps it away. You know you are alive. You take huge steps, trying to feel the planet’s roundness arc between your feet.
Anne Dillard from ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’
I’ve quoted this before, but, somewhat to my surprise, it was ten years ago, so I think that’s okay. I’ve been slowing rereading ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’, which put it in mind, but anyway I’ve come to think of days like this as Partly Cloudies.
When I eventually got home, the three does had disappeared, but the buck was still stationed on our lawn, bold as brass. Nowhere else to be, no calls on his time. Nice work if you can get it!
*Winterval – not a term I ever normally use, but I thought I’d put it out there and see if anyone would bite!
UF was up from Manchester since we had tickets to see Martin Simpson and Martin Taylor at the Brewery Arts in Kendal. I invited TC to bring his dogs out for a walk around the village with us. We started in Eaves Wood with a visit to the Pepper Pot, then walked through Burton Well Wood and across Lambert’s Meadow. The fact that I have no photographs is, I think, a good indication of how poor the weather was. In the photo above, we are at the now decrepit bench at the top of the hill at Myer’s Allotment. Even on a wet day there was a bit of a view over Leighton Moss…
We dropped down through Fleagarth Wood to Jenny Brown’s Point, where, since it had stopped raining and the sand was reasonably firm, we decided to walk around the coast back to the village.
It was bracingly windy and rather splendid.
The next morning, a Sunday, UF made an early exit to make a prior engagement. Usually, when he makes a Sunday flit, he’ll be playing snap – the variant that has ‘seven no trumps’ and the like – or watching City play, but, if I remember right, on this occasion he was meeting friends for a walk. It might have been a good one, because the weather was much brighter, with big clouds, plenty of sunshine and heavy showers tracking in off the Bay. Having said that, I didn’t set out for a walk until late afternoon, so it’s possible I’d been waiting for the weather to improve.
I managed to string a five mile route out over nearly three hours. Tea breaks to sit and watch the showers falling elsewhere were the order of the day.
At Far Arnside, I spent some time looking for the fossilised corals in the rocks on the edge of the Bay; something I hadn’t done for quite some time.
I was surprised to get to the top of Arnside Knott without being caught by any showers. Perhaps I celebrated too soon: as I began to descend, it finally started to rain on me.
It was short lived though, and brought a rainbow with it.
Here’s the two Martins, performing a song from Martin Simpson’s repertoire, written, I think, by his father-in-law. It seems highly appropriate for these ‘Eat or Heat’ times.
When the Herefordshire Holidaymakers had to cancel their planned summer trip to Lake Garda, due to Covid restrictions and uncertainties, and us with no plans of our own, for the same reasons, the obvious thing to do seemed to be to invite them to join us in Sunny Silverdale instead. Happily, they agreed. We drove home from Towyn to tidy up a bit and inflate some airbeds, whilst they had the more onerous task of returning home, getting all of their washing done and hoping back into their cars for the long drive north.
In the early part of the week, we even had some half-decent weather, and, I think fairly soon after they had arrived, we had a wander up to the Pepper Pot and then down to The Cove.
TBH insisted that we should have a wander on the sands, which turned out to be quite wet and very sticky. Andy was in new shoes. It seems to me that it’s the destiny of walking shoes to eventually get muddy, but Andy was mortified that his pristine trainers were sullied by Morecambe Bay sludge and complained bitterly at every opportunity for the rest of the week.
We finished the week (I think) with another short climb up to the Pepper Pot. It was a lovely week, as always when the Herefordshire Hearties visit. We had a number of trips out too, so more posts to follow.
Well, I must have gone back to work. I mean physically back to work, rather than working from home. Until March I’d been out for a walk most days, but then the wheels came off. Working for a living is highly inconvenient. Anyway – here’s most of March:
Spring! I’m sure that the celandines had been flowering for a while at this point, and the Cuckoo Pint leaves hadn’t recently appeared on the floor of Eaves Wood…
Maybe it was the blue skies and sunshine which made me pay attention to them. And to the wash of yellow catkins on the Hazel trees.
I do remember showing TBH the tiny red male flowers, like little starfish, on the Hazels, which apparently she hadn’t seen before.
There’s a garden on The Row which has an amazing display of crocuses every year, which I always make a point of going to see.
A walk around Gait Barrows most memorable for this pair of Buzzards. I’ve become very wary (well frightened, if I’m honest) of these birds, having been attacked a few times by highly aggressive/protective tiercels during the nesting season. On the other hand, they are beautiful birds, and I’m drawn to them, like a moth to the flame perhaps. So here, I was gradually creeping towards the tree they were perched in, hoping that it was too early in the year for them to take umbrage, but also half hiding behind a small hummock, the top of which can be seen in the photo.
The light, unfortunately, was a bit rubbish, which doesn’t really square with these two views of Hawes Water…
…which can’t have been taken very long afterwards.
I must have been a bit late leaving the house, since the sun was already setting.
To the Pepper Pot and then The Cove with TBH and ‘Little S’.
One of those days when the a layer of cloud coverage had a very visible edge with clear skies beyond.
A walk around the coast to Arnside for a pie with TBH. No return over the Knott however and not many photos either.
I’m assuming that there followed a couple of weeks of very iffy weather, because I don’t seem to have got out much until later in the month. Or a couple of weeks of extreme lassitude on my part. Or both.