Meeting

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Some photos from two shortish local walks during the half-term. The first was a trip over the Knott on a hot sunny day, when the views were decidedly hazy.

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I spotted this clump of pink flowers a little way from the path, near the top of the Knott. They had me puzzled at the time and I’m still none the wiser.

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This bee seemed to like them, whatever they were.

Much as I enjoy a wander up the Knott, that wasn’t the sole purpose of this trip: I was heading over to Arnside to drop in on Conrad of the Conrad Walks blog. Having conversed over the internet for many years, it was great to finally meet and chat. Hopefully, we’ll get out for a walk together too in the not too distant future.

The second outing was a wander around Hawes Water.

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An ant mound which has been very thoroughly dug over.

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The dead oak between Hawes Water and Challan Hall – the foreground of many photos before it fell.

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Meeting

King of the Hill

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Cowslips.

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Looking south along the shore from Heathwaite.

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Mayflower (hawthorn).

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Lancashire Whitebeam.

Whitebeam is a southern species in the UK, except the Morecambe Bay area has its own sub-species.

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Arnside Knott panorama.

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Early Purple Orchids.

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New Ash leaves.

Sunshine and blue skies have been at a bit of a premium for some time now – summer seems to have been postponed somewhat. Nice to look back then at these images from a Sunday in May when we did have some warmth and brightness. Naturally, I climbed Arnside Knott, my current obsession. The post title is a shameless excuse to squeeze in a song by my all time favourite band:

King of the Hill

Kent Bore

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Not me, I hope! Although this is yet another account of one of our favourite walks – around the coast to Arnside for lunch and back over the Knott.

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Grange-over-Sands.

As you can see, the tide was well out as we turned the corner into the Kent estuary.

It being Easter Monday, Arnside was extremely busy. We’d hoped to dine in the Wagtail cafe again, but all the tables were taken (it’s not a big place). Fortunately, we could fall back on the excellent Bake House instead and buy pies and pasties to eat on the benches on the small quay.

We’d already heard the Coastguard hooter sound to warn of the tide coming in. Just as we’d settled down with our pies, here it was…

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I think I’m right in saying that the Kent tidal bore is the second biggest in the UK, after the Severn bore, which is one of the largest in the world.

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It’s quite a while since I’ve been in Arnside at the right time to witness it. Sometimes, when the tidal range is particularly large, there can be many kayakers surfing the bore. On this occasion, there were just two paddle-boarders.

I have to confess that it looks a bit tame in a photo, but the rapidity with which the tide arrives is something to behold.

I think the Surfnslide crew missed the show, being still embroiled in the business of purchasing lunch in the thronged bakery. I guess they’ll have to visit again!

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Pie time! I’m not sure why TBH is pulling a face, she really likes the vegan pie from the bakery.

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Meanwhile, Andy liked his pie so much that he decided to wear it!

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Kent Estuary.

There followed a rather hot and wearisome interlude whilst I dragged everyone on a diversion to Plantation Avenue to check the number of my old house, because I couldn’t remember and we needed to know (for boring quotidian reasons).

Some of the party (well, the rest of my family) then decided that it was too hot and too much like hard work to climb Arnside Knott (I think there may have been work to do to prepare for the following days return to school too).

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Looking south from Arnside Knott: Arnside Tower Farm, Arnside Tower, Middlebarrow, Warton Crag and (just about) the Forest of Bowland hills.

The rest of us arrived on the top with perfect timing to see the part-timers heading down the drive of Arnside Tower Farm…

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We shouted them, but to no avail. So we left them to it and headed on to the trig pillar to admire the slightly hazy view to the north…

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It was a fine way to finish both an excellent fortnight off work and a really enjoyable Easter weekend.

And I almost forgot to mention that the Jones clan arrived this time very generously laden with gifts. A stove and a game and very probably other things which I have ungraciously forgotten. More about those to come…

Anyway, it’s always great to see them, with or without gifts, and fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too long before our next meeting…

(Two teasers in one post, I really know how to ramp up the tension! However, I have another great weekend to record before I get to either of those…)

(That’s three teasers! And I haven’t even mentioned the Redpolls…Or the Hare…)

(That’s five teasers. Blimey, I’m still way behind!)

Kent Bore

Burning with Optimism’s Flames

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My Birthday, back at the start of April. I’d decided to defer my usual ‘Birthday Hill’ day out, because the boys had ju-jitsu training, but there must have been a bit of miscommunication: it turned out that they were both up for a walk instead. We decided to fall back on an old favourite: around the coast to Arnside for lunch and home over the Knott.

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Grange-Over-Sands. The tide was well in and still rising.

“She claims she’s found a way to make her own light
All you do is smile, you banish the night”

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The moment you turn the corner to look down the Kent estuary. Cartmel Fell, Gummer How and Meathop Fell (with a higher lakeland fell squeezed in between, although very tiny in the photo).

“Now you see I’m smiling
Back to juvenile’ing
I learnt her lesson
In like flint and styling
All the world is neatly curled around my littlest finger”

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Whitbarrow Scar and the Kent Viaduct.

We had lunch in the refurbished and renamed ‘Wagtail’ cafe on the promenade. (It used to be the ‘Ramblers’.) The food was delicious, and the cafe has instantly become our new favourite in Arnside.

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Peacock Butterfly.

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TBH admiring the view from the Knott.

“I can’t stop this grinning
So assume I’m winning”

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TBH, Little S and A on the Knott.

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Red Admiral.

“Now every bird and bee just fuel the fire for me”

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The King(s) of the Castle.

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Arnside Tower Farm Chicken.

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Arnside Tower.

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Looking back to Arnside Knott.

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Violets.

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Song Thrush.

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Lesser Celandines.

“She says she’s burning with optimism’s flames, away away
She says she’s burning up all her guilts and shames, away away”

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These very common flowers, which open wide when the sun shines, make great mats of colour in hedgebottoms early in the year. Always really cheering.

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Quince Flowers – still going strong having started flowering as early as New Year’s Day.

So, what do you buy a man for his birthday, if he’s obsessed with walking?….

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Little S, B and TBH had all independently gone out and bought me socks! Marvellous – the old ones were all getting a bit threadbare.

And finally – the cryptic quotes are all from ‘Burning Optimism’s Flames’ by XTC. Andy Partridge has a knack for writing tunes about being happy – ‘Yacht Dance’, ‘Wrapped in Grey’ and ‘Stupidly Happy’ spring instantly to mind, from various stages of their career. There are probably others too. ‘Burning Optimism’s Flames’ is from the wonderful ‘Black Sea’, the first album of theirs which I bought and still one of my favourites. (XTC fans seem to love debating which of their albums are best – frankly I can’t even agree with myself on this one, I change my mind so often).

Burning with Optimism’s Flames

Uitwaaien.

Eaves Wood – Arnside Tower – Arnside Knott – Arnside – Sandside – Beetham Fell – Hazelslack – Silverdale Moss – Coldwell Meadows – Gait Barrows – Hawes Water – Sixteen Buoys Field – Eaves Wood.

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Arnside Knott and the Kent estuary from Beetham Fell.

Uitwaaien (v) (from Dutch) To take a break to clear one’s head; lit. “to walk in the wind”.

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Silverdale Moss, Middlebarrow and Arnside Tower.

A long walk, on the last day in March. I needed to uitwaaien. I didn’t take my camera and, to begin with at least, didn’t take many photos with my phone.

Eventually, of course, I would regret the lack of a camera with a zoom: in the photo above you can see a small white speck which is a Great Egret. I have seen them before locally, but this one glided in and landed quite close by. It was interesting to watch it fishing and see just how similar to a Heron they are in all but looks and how unlike a Little Egret. I really would have liked to get a good photo though.

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In this photo the tiny specks which look like there might have been dust on the camera lens are actually hirundines, my first of the year and much earlier than I expect to see them. I suspect that they were Martins of some sort, but can’t be sure. I do know that they lifted my spirits considerably.

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Primroses.

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Hawes Water.

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I was worried that all of the tree-felling at Hawes Water would put an end to my annual pilgrimage to see the Toothwort which flowers there, but the although the trees which host the Toothwort have been felled, the flowers have reappeared. I think that, like the Martins, this was the earliest I have ever seen them. I did take some photos, but they didn’t come out too well. There are, of course, numerous photos from previous years of the rather odd looking flowers dotted about this blog.

When I got home it was to find that the kids had made tea, not entirely unexpected, since it was Mother’s Day, but welcome none the less. B’s pork, leek and apple stew was delicious. Rather better than when I make it, I thought. I’ve told him he’s delegated to make it regularly, but he doesn’t seem too keen.

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This last photo is from a midweek wander across the Lots, a couple of days after the walk which garnered the rest of the pics.

Uitwaaien.

March Many Weathers (Take 6)

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Daffodil season is just about over and I don’t seem to have taken many photos of daffs this year. So here’s some which were sat in our porch – I noticed the light as I was setting-out for a wander and I couldn’t resist.

Of course, normally I fret about the fact that I continually post photos of the same old things over and over, ‘leaves and stuff’ as TBH has it; ironically, this year I’m worrying that I haven’t taken enough photos of daffodils, one of my usual spring staples. Something else I ponder from time to time is whether it’s best to restrict each post to a single walk and each walk to a single post, and whether or not I ought to cover every one of my walks on the blog. I realise that if these are the things I worry about then I’m a very lucky man, but even though these things are obviously trivial, and nobody really cares whether blogs have rules or not, these are still matters that I mull over occasionally. Not that I’ve ever reached any sort of satisfactory conclusion.

All of which waffle leads up to the fact that this is a portmanteau post which covers several mid-March walks whilst also ignoring a number of others.

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Several of those walks involved ascents of Arnside Knott. Multiple ascents on some occasions. Six in all.

One of them was with TBH, as you can see.

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It’s often said that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only weather. So I’ll refrain from suggesting that we had some rotten weather in March, but I can at least say that we had a lot of weather. Some days, the weather was very changeable, with big clouds and showers blowing through.

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I like those kinds of days, because of the rainbows, dramatic lighting and impressive cloud formations which often accompany them.

Some days, however, just brought a lot of rain. B’s rugby was often cancelled due to water-logged pitches and the fields east of Arnside Tower farm and adjacent to Silverdale Moss were all flooded…

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Still, if it means we get days of high contrast, when louring skies…

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…clear…

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…but I can still see showers, falling on someone else, whilst I have sunshine…

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…then I’m quite happy.

The Lune at Kirkby Lonsdale…

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…was running very high and swift, but even that looked less threatening a few minutes later…

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…when the sun came out.

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The view from the Knott was also always changing. Sometimes there was hardly any view. At others times only the higher hills were obscured by clouds, or they were cloaked in snow, or both.

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Another spring staple of the blog, much shyer than daffs, is Green Hellebore…

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I made several visits on the way to and from the Knott to check that it was still there. It was. Very reassuring.

This is Davy Graham’s version of ‘Take 5’…

…it seems like he was in a hurry to finish!

March Many Weathers (Take 6)

Take 5

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The weather’s dreadful, the forecast is for worse to come, but you’re desperate to get out and put some miles beneath your feet and, perhaps more importantly, to include plenty of up in your route. What do you do?

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Climb Arnside Knott, obviously.

Five times.

Not that I’m obsessed or anything!

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The Pepperpot was barely beneath the low clouds and the Knott was hidden as I approached it, but began to clear after I’d arrived on the top for the first time.

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By the time I’d reached the toposcope I almost had a view.

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I didn’t set my camera phone to monochrome, this is just what the weather was like!

And down at Far Arnside…

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The sun was shining a little on the daffodils.

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Perhaps things were looking up?

But by the end of my second ascent, heavy snow was falling, somewhat to my surprise.

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Over the course of the six hours of the walk I had snow, hail and, as you can see, some pleasant spells too. But mostly I had rain, increasingly so, and lots of it.

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I did contemplate calling it a day at times, but mostly I was enjoying myself. I also found one or two bits of path which I’d not walked before.

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Eventually, I stopped taking photos, with the exception of a series of selfies by the trig point on the Knott. I’m not sure why. I’m not normally one for taking selfies at all, and since you can’t actually see the trig point in any of the photos, they don’t really prove anything at all. In the first couple I look a bit sweaty and more than a bit gormless, in the penultimate one I look quite wet, and by the last one it was clearly chucking it down…

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…but I still managed to look quite pleased with myself.

That’s my new coat, by the way. Picked up for a snip from Mountain Warehouse. It did surprisingly well, but by the time I got home I was saturated. No coat will keep you dry forever, especially not one that costs £35.

Would I do it again? Without a doubt! Maybe tomorrow, if I can swing it.

This is Val Bennet’s ‘The Russian’s Are Coming’, but obviously it’s actually a reggae cover version of Paul Desmond’s ‘Take 5’.

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Oh. 15ish miles and about 2600′ of ascent, according to Mapmywalk, for those of you who like stats. Which, I’ve just realised, puts me almost bang on Naismith. Almost. Hurrah. There’s hope for me yet.


In the summer, I shall be attempting to complete the annual 10 in 10 challenge. Briefly, the idea is to walk a route over 10 Wainwrights in 10 hours or less.  You can find out more here.

The event is a fundraiser and I’m hoping to get some sponsorship for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. My Just Giving page is here. All donations, however small, will be most welcome. I should add that the sponsorship is not a condition of my entry and that I’ve already paid a fee to enter which covers all costs, so all sponsor money would go directly to charity.

Take 5