A Walk from Bowland Bridge

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Across the Winster Valley to Whitbarrow Scar.

A hot Saturday afternoon, towards the end of April. TBH and I escaped for a short stroll around the Winster valley.

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Eastern Fells from Raven’s Barrow.

Raven’s Barrow isn’t really a summit, just a bump on the edge of sprawling Cartmel Fell, but it has a huge cairn (with a seat built into it) and superb, panoramic views. We found a place to get out of the wind and sat for quite some time. With a brew, of course.

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Whitbarrow from Raven’s Barrow.
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Looking South from Raven’s Barrow.
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With annotations – what do you think?
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Hmmmm – not sure that I agree.

I like the idea of footpath signs with a quote. I always like to know where quotes originate, but couldn’t track this one down. I did find this…

“I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.”

…which seems to be often wrongly attributed to Emerson, but is actually the work of Muriel Strode, ‘the female Walt Whitman’, who I think may repay further investigation.

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St. Anthony’s Church.
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Whitbarrow Scar again.
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River Winster – looking South.
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River Winster – looking north.
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Raven’s Barrow from the edge of Colehowe Wood.
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Cowclose Wood.
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Cowclose Wood bluebells.
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Nearing the top of Cowclose Wood.

The bluebells in Cowclose Wood were fantastic. I’m afraid, as usual, my photos don’t begin to do them justice.

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Pool Bank.

Pool Bank is a tiny hamlet, full of charming old buildings.

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Fox’s Pulpit Pool Bank – another place where the Quaker founder preached in the open.
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Descending towards Coppy Beck accompanied by Blackthorn blossom.
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Cowmire Hall and the northern end of Whitbarrow Scar.
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The Hare and Hounds – back in Bowland Bridge.

I think the battery on my phone died at Pool Bank. From there we followed the path through Broomer Dale to near Lobby Bridge, then another path to Scale Hill, then back along the minor lane we had started on.

A Walk from Bowland Bridge

A Market, A Fire-pit, Clouds and Sunsets

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Ruskin’s View

Mid-April. Most of these photos are from a single day, which started with rugby training for B in Kirkby Lonsdale. The measures around the pandemic almost entirely wiped-out B’s final season with his age group team, although knee surgery would have kept him on the sidelines anyway. Hopefully he’ll soon be fit to join his contemporaries in the Colts team.

While he was training, I took my usual stroll by the Lune and through Kirkby. It’s unusual to see the river so clear.

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St. Mary’s churchyard, full of daffs.
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The Manor House.
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The Lune.

In the afternoon, TBH and I were out completing a circuit of Jenny Brown’s Point for a change! The sunshine was still with us, but now there were very dark and brooding skies too, a combination I find irresistible.

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Hollins Lane.
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Warton Crag and a snow-dusted Ward’s Stone across the salt-marsh.
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Warton Crag.
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Quicksand Pool and the copper-smelting chimney.
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The Bowland Fells across Quicksand Pool.
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Jenny Brown’s pano (click for larger image).

The remaining photos are from odd days during the second half of our Easter Break.

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Cove sunset.
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Huge cloud.
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Post sunset from Jack Scout.

B often does his best to present himself as a bit of a Philistine, memorably dismissing a stunning cave in the Cévennes, for example, as ‘just rocks and water’, but secretly he’s a bit of a romantic after all. He likes a good sunset and often watches them from Heysham Barrows with his school friends. I think this photo was taken on one of a couple of walks we took together in an attempt to catch the sunset from Jack Scout. We were a bit late on this occasion.

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Saturday market, Dalton Square, Lancaster.

I’m not entirely sure why I was in Lancaster, possibly due to the return of BJJ training on a Saturday morning. What I do remember was how shocked I was to see market stalls and shoppers. Although I’d been back at work for a while, Lancaster always seemed to stay resolutely quiet and traffic free.

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Washing-machine tub fire-pit.

This photos is a bit of a cheat, since it’s from March. Our washing-machine conked out, and, having replaced it, over a couple of Saturdays I dismantled the broken one and salvaged the drum to use as a fire-pit.

It wasn’t until April that we put it to use, toasting some marsh-mallows…

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TBH got a bit carried away…

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Flambéed marshmallow.

Actually, this is typical TBH cooking – she would call this ‘caramelised’.

A Market, A Fire-pit, Clouds and Sunsets

Company on Calf Top

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Uncle Fester in Barbon

The title says it all really. The restrictions were relaxed, some meeting up outdoors was allowed again – at last. So we arranged to meet in Barbon for a walk.

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Barbon Church

Despite having the least far to travel, we were, inevitably, the last to arrive. Or we would have been, had not the Yorkshire contingent parked in Barbondale, near Blindbeck Bridge I think. Somehow, for reasons I never quite fathomed, this was my fault. Not to worry, we were eventually assembled and ready to embark.

Incidentally, A had driven us to Barbon and would later drive back too. One unexpected consequence of the lockdowns has been that she hasn’t been able to have many driving lessons, so it’s fallen to me to teach her. It was a bit nerve-racking at first, but ultimately, a nice way to spend time together. Hopefully, she’ll soon manage to get a test booked.

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Waxcaps

Our route took us to the highest point in the Middleton Fells, Calf Top, and then back by the same route. (An alternative plan to drop down into Barbondale and return that way was abandoned because the sun was shining and leaving the ridge would have meant dropping into shadow, which seemed a shame.)

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Waxcaps?

The grassy, lower slopes of Eskholme Pike were decorated with lots of colourful Waxcaps. And also clumps of yellow stalks. I couldn’t decide whether they were also Waxcaps, perhaps in a more or less advanced stage of their life-cycle?

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Across the Lune Valley. Lakeland Fells on the horizon. Howgills top right.
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Thorn Moor

The Middleton Fells give easy walking, without any particularly steep climbs, and expansive views.

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TBH takes a nap. Snow-capped Lakeland Fells in the distance.
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Crag Hill.
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Professor Longhair leads the way.
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Calf Top from Castle Knott.
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Looking over Howegill Head to the distant Lakeland Fells.
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On Castle Knott.
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A negotiates a boggy bit.
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Looking back to Castle Knott.
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Crag Hill. Whernside in the background (I think).
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Nearing the top.
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The Howgills
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TBH next to the (unusually) decorated trig pillar.
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Looking down to the Lune valley.
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Retracing our steps from the top.
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Eskholme Pike
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…good place for a very belated lunch and brew.
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It would have been a good day’s walking in any circumstances, but throw in the opportunity to see friends with whom we’d missed several regular annual get-togethers, and the fact that I’d not ventured off home territory much for some months and this became a really special day out. When we said our goodbyes, we agreed not to wait too long before we met for another walk.

Company on Calf Top

September Colour.

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Evening Primrose.

The day after my Arnside Knott walk was another cracker. I was out three times, twice around home and also for a short stroll in Kirkby Lonsdale whilst B was at rugby training.

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Creeping Thistle.

I was revelling in the abundance and variety of the wildflowers on my home patch after the relative dearth beneath the trees in the Tarn Gorge. I took a huge number of photos, of which just a small selection have been chosen for this post.

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Yarrow and Oxeye Daisy.
Hoverfly.
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Nipplewort.

Nipplewort is a tall straggly weed, without, at first glance, a great deal to offer, but the small flowers are well worth a closer look.

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Grange from the Cove.
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River Lune from Ruskin’s View in Kirkby Lonsdale.
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Market Cross, Kirkby Lonsdale.
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St. Mary’s Church, Kirkby Lonsdale.
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Hoverfly.
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Common Darter.
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Guelder Rose berries.
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Common Darter (on, I think, Marsh Thistle).
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Yet another Common Darter.
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More Guelder Rose berries.
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A shower out over the Bay, taken on a midweek, post-work walk.
September Colour.

Seismic Noise and Mast Years

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Early light on St. John’s Silverdale.

One consequence, apparently, of the current situation, has been the reduction of seismic noise; that is seismic readings caused by human activity. The journal Nature reports a drop by one third in Belgium, and I read somewhere, sorry, I can’t remember where, that in London it’s down by about a half.

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Heading towards Hawes Water. A fence on the left has been partially removed. Similar fences, between woodland and pasture, have been removed across the Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve. Will they be replaced or is this part of a new management plan?

It’s difficult to gauge whether paths around Silverdale are quieter now than they usually are, because I’m not normally out myself mid-week in the daytime. I think that they have got busier, though, since the extra clarification which has made it clear that it’s okay to drive a short distance for your daily exercise.

I didn’t drive for this walk, in fact I haven’t driven anywhere for weeks, but I did walk a little further than usual, as I have done from time to time.

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The cairn at Gait Barrows.

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Ash flower buds.

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Beech mast.

TBH and I have both been noticing on our walks (and runs in TBH’s case) that, when we are beneath Beech trees this spring, every step brings a satisfying crunch. The local Beeches seem to have produced a bumper crop of mast last year. That’s not unusual: every three to five years Oaks and Beeches produce a huge crop and those years when that happens are know as mast years.

It seems that the reasons why this occurs are not completely understood. A Guardian piece on mast years hypothesises that it’s the spring weather which dictates: Oaks and Beeches are wind pollinated, so a warm and windy spring produces a lot of flowers which are successfully pollinated. If that theory is correct then this year ought to be a mast year.

On the other hand, this article, on the Woodland Trust website, posits that the lean years control the population of frugivores*, like Jays and Squirrels and then, in the bumper years, the remaining populations of these creatures can’t possibly eat all of the seeds so that some are bound to get a chance to germinate and grow.

This second theory would seem to require some element of coordination between trees, which in turn would imply that trees must communicate in some way. That might seem unlikely, but that’s exactly the thesis advanced by Peter Wohlleben in his book ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’, which I read last summer while we were in Germany and found absolutely fascinating.

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Anyway, back to my walk: I’d left Gait Barrows via the small hill Thrang Brow which is enough of a rise to give partial views of the Lake District hills, but that view never seems to translate well in photographs. From Thrang Brow a slender path heads of through the woods of Yealand Allotment. I don’t often come this way, but always enjoy it when I do.

A bright yellow sign on the far side of a wall attracted my attention…

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And I’m glad that it did, because just over the wall was a small group of Fallow Deer…

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Fallow Deer.

Sadly, most of the group were almost hidden by trees so I only got a chance of a clear photo of this one individual.

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Limekiln in Yealand Allotments.

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Peter Lane Limekiln.

I’d been thinking of incorporating Warton Crag into my walk, but I was thirsty and the weather was deteriorating, so took the path which cuts across the lower slopes to the north of the crag. Just as I took this photo…

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View of Leighton Moss.

…it began to rain. TBH, bless her, rang me and asked if I wanted her drive over to pick me up, but the rain wasn’t heavy so I decided to carry on.

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Tide line on Quaker’s Stang.

On Quaker’s Stang, an old sea defence, previous high tides had left a line of driftwood and dried vegetation right on the top of the wall, and, further along, well beyond the wall on the landward side. I’ve often wondered about the name – apparently ‘stang’ is a measurement of land equivalent to a pole, rod or perch. That sounds like it might offer an explanation, except a pole, or a rod, or a perch, is five and a half yards and Quaker’s Stang is a lot longer than that.

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This tree is very close to home. I spent the last part of my ‘walk’ watching and photographing the antics of another Treecreeper in its branches.

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Treecreeper.

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I suppose a treecreeper qualifies as an LBJ, a Little Brown Job, except that sounds derogatory and, in my opinion, Treecreeper’s are stunning, in their own muted way.

*Frugivore was a new word to me, and I’m always happy to meet one of those. Apparently, it’s an animal which lives wholly or mostly on fruit.

The idea of compiling a kind of day-y-day playlist originated when Andy and I were discussing a mixtape I made, many moons ago, for our long drives up to Scotland for walking holidays. One of the songs on the tape was The Band’s ‘The Weight’. It’s still a song I adore. As well as the original, there’s a great version by Aretha Franklin, but here (subject to it not getting blocked) is Mavis Staples singing it with Jools Holland’s orchestra from one of his hootenannies:

I’ve seen Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra a couple of times live and can definitely recommend them. Last time I saw them, at Cartmel Racetrack, we went with friends and took the kids with us. There was a fair there too, and several support acts, including the Uptown Monotones who have become a firm favourite. Anyway, the kids were mortified when the adults all had the temerity to dance. In public! One of my sandals fell apart whilst I was dancing, I’m not sure whether that was a consequence of my vigorous enthusiasm or my inept clumsiness. Or both.

Seismic Noise and Mast Years

The Unattended Moment

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The Bay from Castlebarrow, late evening.

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Millennium Bridge over The Lune, Lancaster.

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.

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Daffodils at Far Arnside.

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High water in the bay again.

The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale’s backbone;
The pools where it offers to our curiosity
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices,
Many gods and many voices.

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The view from Park Point. With added whitecaps.

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Looking to Grange-Over-Sands.

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Looking south along the coast.

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River Kent from Arnside Knott. Lake district hills lost in cloud.

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River Lune. Ruskin’s view.

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St. Mary’s Kirkby Lonsdale.

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The Bay from Castlebarrow.

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Arnside Tower.

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Whitbarrow from Arnside Knott.

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The River Kent from Arnside Knott again.

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The bay and Humphrey Head from Arnside Knott.

For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.

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Looking south along the coast.

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Sunset from Emesgate Lane.

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These last two images are actually videos. I don’t think they’ll work, because I’m too tight to fork out for a premium account. But click on the pictures and that should take you to the relevant flickr page where you can hear the sound of the wind and the breaking waves, some of the many voices of the sea, should you wish.

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The photos here are mostly from the ‘leap day’ weekend at the end of February and the start of March, except for the first which is from earlier that week.

The quotations are all from ‘The Dry Salvages’, which is the third of T.S.Elliot’s Four Quartets. To be honest, I stumbled across it when looking for something about the sea – or so I thought. It turns out, what I was really looking for was that passage about ‘the distraction fit’, ‘the unattended moment’. I’m sure I’ve read the poem before, but I’ve never been struck so forcibly by this section as I was on this occasion.

I remember trying to capture something like this idea in a post way back in the early days of the blog. Perhaps, in some ways, it’s always the ‘unattended moment’ I’m writing about, or seeking when I go out for yet another walk, or crawl around taking yet more photographs of orchids, or of leaves, waves, clouds etc when I have thousands of images of exactly those things already.

It seems entirely appropriate to me that Elliot’s examples of ‘distractions’ should end with music – anyone who’s been to a gig, or clubbing, with me and watched me throwing my ample, uncoordinated frame around, grinning like a loon, might have caught me in one of those moments, if they weren’t too lost in the music and the moment themselves. But equally, they might have shared a moment like that during a wild day in the hills, when, despite, or perhaps because of, adverse conditions, our enthusiasm bubbled over into unexplained laughter and broad smiles; equally I think of a few ‘wild’ swims which sparked the same kind of happy absorption, or quiet moments around a beach bonfire. I’m heaping up examples because I can’t really put my finger on what I’m driving at, but I know it when I feel it.

Usually happens when the horns come in during this tune, for example.

The Unattended Moment

January Walks from Work

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Another component of my drive to increase my mileage were regular Lancaster walks from work, both at lunchtime and often later on for half an hour or so, before returning to prepare for the following day. I became quite adept at just missing the sunset from up by the castle.

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Lancaster Canal and the Cathedral.

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The garden at the Storey Institute.

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St Peter’s Cathedral.

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We did, occasionally, see some blue sky this winter. Just not often.

January Walks from Work

Night Hikes

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St Michael & All Angels Parish Church, Beetham.

So, in my quest to for ‘Longer and More Often’, I strove to fit in a walk whenever I was giving the kids a lift. One standard was a walk from Milnthorpe to Beetham and back, on the nights when A had a ballet lesson. It’s along the busy A6, but fortunately there’s a footpath all the way.

St Micheal’s is Grade I listed. Here’s the beginning of the listing:

Church. Probably C12; South aisle added c.1200, chancel extended to East C13, Beetham Chapel added C14, North aisle added and South aisle widened C15, top stage of Tower added C16. Restored and south porch added 1873-74

There are images from inside the church here, which I took when TBH and I walked to Beetham. I’m surprised to see that was as long ago as 2012.

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The Wheatsheaf, Beetham.

When I lived in Arnside, so over twenty years ago, we had a Christmas lunch at the Wheatsheaf, we being Mum and Dad, my brother and me. It was a very pleasant walk and a lovely meal I think. The walk home was enlivened by the fact that my mum forgot to remove her paper crown and couldn’t understand why the rest of us had the giggles. I’m easily pleased!

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Beetham, again.

After I’d walk this route a few times, I took to adding on a loop, if time allowed, on a path which skirts the paper mill, crosses a footbridge over the River Bela and then joins the minor road near Heron Corn Mill, which follows the Bela into Beetham.

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During the storms and flooding which we endured this winter, the little Bela was running very high, had far exceeded its banks, and was very close to the road.

On evenings when the boys were at Ju-jitsu or Kick-boxing classes, I would walk along the Lancaster Canal, aiming to reach the aqueduct over the Caton Road out of Lancaster.

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And when Little S had his climbing lessons at the University, I would wander around the campus, past the sports pitches…

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There’s allegedly a woodland trail around the outskirts of the campus. It was quite hard to find in the dark, but I had a bit more success as the evenings started to lighten…

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Of course, most of my evening walks were around the village on a series of loops, the length and duration of which I became very familiar with. Pavements and street-lighting are a bit of a rarity in the village and I generally didn’t bother trying to take photos, aside from one beautiful moon-lit evening when, walking along Bottoms Lane, I attempted to capture the moon and the way it was lighting the clouds on my cameraphone. Curiously, that didn’t work, but I have the blurred image as a reminder.

Night Hikes

Stralsund

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We visited Stralsund several times. We drove through, for example, on the way to and from Rügen. It was also our go to choice for shopping. And we had a bit of a wander around a couple of times.

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Very charming it was too.

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Here Little S is giving an impromptu recital on a piano seemingly left out for just such an eventuality. He’s never had lessons and was probably playing chopsticks. A, who can actually play, refused to give us a rendition.

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The Dom and the Rathaus.

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This is part of the bridge over to Rügen. The pano below is my attempt to capture it all.

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I don’t have a photo of the tiny Turkish cafe where we ate a couple of times – kebabs and falafel at a fraction of the price we might have paid elsewhere and very tasty too.

When these photos were taken we were in town to visit one of Stralsund’s many attractions. More of which to follow.

Stralsund

Half-term Happenings: Back to Little Salkeld

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Addingham Church.

We were all keen to get out for a family walk, none more so than my dad, but he struggles with the cold these days and I wanted to find a route which had both the potential for a good walk, but also the option to cut the walk short if need be. After a bit of deliberation, I hit upon the idea of two shorter walks based around Little Salkeld in the Eden valley. We parked initially by Addingham Church near the village of Glassonby (curiously, the village of Addingham no longer exists).

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This walk, or variations on it, have become a firm favourite of ours. Here’s A beside the Saxon Cross in the churchyard…

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And here she is posing for a similar photo back in 2011….

A with Anglo-Saxon cross

In the intervening years the cross seems to have shrunk!

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I can rarely resist the temptation to have a peek inside any churches I pass and Addingham certainly repays the effort. The lady on the right here is St. Cecilia, an early Christian martyr. I thought that the instrument she’s shown playing seemed entirely unlikely, but apparently she is often depicted playing it and it’s a real instrument – a portative organ or organetto. My lazy internet research also revealed that St. Cecilia appeared on the reverse of the old Edward Elgar £20 note.

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There she is bottom left, beneath Worcester Cathedral. Presumably because she is the patron saint of musician’s. I can’t say that I’ve ever realised that she was there. How many times I have handled notes like this one, over the years, without ever really looking at them?

Then again, I didn’t know that King David is traditionally associated with the harp either, a fact which appears in the Book of Samuel, just before the more familiar story of David and Goliath.

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Talking of familiar stories, here’s Saint George and the unfortunate dragon in my favourite window at Addingham.

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Addingham also has two hogback gravestones, which, I’ve learned, were unique to the Viking settlers in Britain and haven’t been found in Scandinavia. The best preserved example is at St. Peters in Heysham, which I’ve walked past many times, but never been inside – an omission I must rectify soon.

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It’s a short downhill stroll from Addingham Church to the huge stone circle of Long Meg and her Daughters.

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I didn’t take many photos on this occasion, just these of my mum and Dad and my brother, but the stones have appeared on the blog many times before.

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Winter Aconites on a roadside verge.

Another short stroll brings you to Little Salkeld, where we enjoyed a fabulous lunch in the cafe at the Watermill….

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Steve and I then walked briskly back up to collect the cars and park them in Little Salkeld, whilst the rest set-off for a wander along the River Eden to Lacy’s Caves…

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We managed to catch them up at the caves themselves.

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By the time we had turned to walk back to Little Salkeld, an already cold day had become even colder, but that didn’t detract from a marvellous family outing.

Half-term Happenings: Back to Little Salkeld