March Many Weathers (Take 6)

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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…

image

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

image

…clear…

image

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

image

…then I’m quite happy.

The Lune at Kirkby Lonsdale…

image

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

image

…when the sun came out.

P1240280

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.

P1240282

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

P1240286

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!

Advertisements
March Many Weathers (Take 6)

Fairfield Horseshoe

Ambleside – Nook Lane – Low Sweden Bridge – Low Pike – High Pike – Dove Crag – Hart Crag – Fairfield – Great Rigg – Rydal Fell – Heron Pike – Nab Scar – Rydal Hall – Rydal Park – Ambleside

image

Mist over Ambleside.

A friend from the village has decided to join B in playing rugby for Kirkby, which means I now have someone to share lifts with. Presented with a first opportunity to miss a game and have a day off, I dithered; B has been playing for several years and I’ve missed very few games. I enjoy the matches and recently the team has hit a rich vein of form. On the other hand, the forecast wasn’t too bad and the hills beckoned. I was torn, but you can see which outcome eventually won.

image

Heading towards the ridge, Sweden Crags, Low Brock Crags and High Brock Crags on the skyline before the snow. High Pike behind.

I was out early, partly because one of the forecasts I looked at suggested clear skies around dawn and also because I discovered that certain Lake District carparks cost just a pound for the day, if you arrive before nine in the morning, including the Lake Road carpark in Ambleside.

P1240038

Looking south over Windermere.

The Fairfield Horseshoe must be one of the best known and most popular walks in the Lakes. Even early on a cold, wintery day, with a mixed forecast, there were a few people about.

P1240037

The Coniston Fells.

In actual fact the weather was much better than any of the forecasts had suggested. The weather did eventually deteriorate, but not before some marvellous views over a mist covered Windermere and then a spell of glorious sunshine. Even when the weather worsened, the clouds veiling and unveiling the hills and the light shining through gaps in those clouds and spotlighting parts of the scene were dramatic.

P1240040

From Low Pike. Another view over Windermere.

On Low Pike I stopped for a while to take in the view and catch up on some breakfast: tea from a flask and some leftover low-carb Spanish Omelette. (Cauliflower replacing the potato: works a treat. Curiously, radishes are not bad either)

image

High Pike from Low Pike.

P1240044

Heron Pike, Rydal Fell and Erne Crag catching the sun. I would be on the ridge later, but without much sunshine.

P1240046

Low Pike, Scandale and Scandale Beck from the High Pike ridge.

P1240050

Heron Pike and Rydal Fell again. Scafells and Langdale Pikes beyond.

P1240051

Coniston Fells. A great view of the horseshoe I walked quite recently.

image

The long steady pull to Dove Crag from High Pike. Fairfield behind.

P1240059

P1240063

I want to call this snow/ice on the wall rime, but I’m not sure that that’s the correct term. There seems to be a paucity of terms to describe snow and ice features in English, so that we often have to use terms from other languages – névé from French or sastrugi from Russian for example.

P1240061

I suspect that these beards of snow are the result of snow being forced through the wall by strong winds and building up these shapes on the lee side.

P1240069

Fairfield and Hart Crag.

P1240072

The Eastern Fells.

With the sun really shining now, I stopped for more tea. Out of the wind, it felt quite warm and I enjoyed sitting in the sun and listening to the drip of the snow melting.

P1240073

Looking back to Dove Crag.

P1240075

Great Rigg and Rydal Fell.

image

St. Sunday Crag.

image

Scrubby Crag.

P1240076

The horseshoe and Rydal Beck.

P1240079

Hart Crag.

P1240080

Cofa Pike and St. Sunday Crag.

P1240082

Hutaple Crag, I think.

The cloud, as you can see, was coming in quickly, which it had been threatening to do for a while. There was briefly a view of all of the fantastic ridges on the Helvellyn massif. I would have taken a photograph or two, but just at that moment I met an old friend who was walking the horseshoe clockwise with a small group and we stopped to catch up whilst the mist descended around us.

P1240084

Fairfield summit.

I was over Great Rigg in thick mist with no views at all, but then dropped below the cloud as the ridge descended. Somewhere hereabouts I found another sheltered spot where I could hunker down and eat my lunch: cabbage and chorizo soup from another flask, the warmth of which was most welcome.

P1240086

Rydal Fell and Heron Pike.

The cloud was swirling across the ridge, alternately hiding and revealing the view. The photograph above came after numerous frustrated attempts when the clouds made the ridge ahead vanish at precisely the wrong moment.

P1240087

Fairfield from Rydal Fell.

I took a photo from almost the same spot only last summer. Although I haven’t walked the entire round for many years, I’ve often visited some of the individual tops in the meantime. Unusually, I know exactly when I did last walk the whole horseshoe, because it was the second hill-walk which TBH and I did together. (The first was the Langdale Pikes via Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark.) Which dates it as early in the summer of 2000.

P1240089

Heron Pike and Windermere (now mist free) from Rydal Fell.

image

Rydal Water, part of Loughrigg and Windermere from Nab Scar.

On the lower slopes the snow had turned to slush and for a while the going was tediously slippery.

By the time I met my friend again, on the track through Rydal Park, it was beginning to rain a little and it was almost dark. It had been a long day, but very satisfying. Bill Birkett gives 10.25 miles and 1045m of ascent for this route. Mapmywalk gave 14 miles, but only 957m. I don’t suppose it really matters which is right, although the magnitude of the discrepancy is a bit alarming.

And the rugby? They won. And survived without me, funnily enough. If I could guarantee a day as fine as this one, I might even be tempted to miss another match at some point.

Fairfield Horseshoe

Around the Coast Again.

Elmslack – Middlebarrow Plain – Holgates – Far Arnside – Park Point – Arnside Point – White Creek – New Barns – Kent Estuary – Arnside Promenade – Redhills Wood – Arnside Knott Wood – Arnside Tower – Holgates – Middlebarrow Plain – Elmslack.

P1230166

Monday had brought clear skies and sunshine, Tuesday strong and chilling winds and dark clouds, Wednesday was more of a mixed bag with some cloud, but some sunshine too. Good walking weather in fact.

image

Essentially the same view as the first photo, but this one was taken with my phone rather than my camera. The drama is definitely ramped up a bit here, although the first photo is a closer representation of what I could actually see. Frankly, I can’t decide which one I prefer.

P1230168

We were joined for our walk around the coast by our good friends from the village Beaver B and G and their kids.

P1230172

I was really enjoying the contrast between the dark clouds and the shafts of sunlight lighting up the waters of the bay. I think Little S was impressed too, he slipped down the cliffs somewhere (I try not to worry too much about the kids little diversions like this, they usually seem to emerge unscathed somehow) and then sat down on the shingle to drink it all in…

P1230174

P1230175

Grange-over-Sands in the sunshine.

P1230179

Beaver B on the clifftop path.

P1230180

I was very taken by this little memorial by the path, commemorating one Edgar W. Crabtree; presumably he too loved this coastal walk.

P1230184

We stopped at the Bob Inn at New Barns for tea and coffee and such like. There’s a children’s playground, but most of our kids are getting a bit too old and sophisticated for that to divert them for too long.

I was impressed by a number of painted slates hanging on the cafe’s exterior walls…

P1230187

Here’s the details in case you’re interested…

P1230186

P1230189

Grubbins Wood and the Kent from New Barns.

P1230193

Approaching Arnside.

We split into two factions in Arnside, some eating in the Pie Shop, or the Old Bakery as the proprietors seem to prefer, and some at the chippy. I was well prepared and had some soup in a flask. I think it might have been quite late by the time we’d finished our various meals, so we took a fairly direct route home. Around the coast is always a good day out, especially in good company, and this was no exception.

Around the Coast Again.

Distant Showers

image

The tail-end of September and the Sunday of the weekend visit from the Surfnslide crew. The morning was a busy time for us and then we had a house full for lunch, but in the afternoon some of us got out for a wander across the Lots, up Stankelt Road to the Green, through Burtonwell Woods and across Lambert’s Meadow to The Row and finally through Eaves Wood to Castlebarrow, from where all of these photos of big clouds over the bay and Humphrey Head must have been taken.

image

The weather was very changeable. In the photo above you can clearly see the two blocks of Heysham Nuclear Power Plant. But here…

image

…they’ve disappeared in a rain shower.

image

Quite pleasant to watch from a dry vantage point.

Distant Showers

Thermophilous

Hagg Wood – The Row – Jubilee Wood – Waterslack Wood – Middlebarrow Quarry – Black Dyke – Red Hills Wood – Arnside Knott – Heathwaite – Far Arnside.

P1220776

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.

P1220790

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.

P1220798

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.

P1220799

Arnside Knott.

P1220801

Middlebarrow Wood and a distant Arnside Tower.

P1220803

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.

P1220805

The Kent and the Coniston Fells.

P1220806

You’re never far from a bench on a walk in this area, particularly on the Knott.

P1220811

Looking south, the Bowland Fells and the bay.

P1220814

Bramble leaves.

P1220815

Bracken.

P1220817

Another view south, taken by another bench.

P1220819

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.

P1220827

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.

P1220838

With the Red Admirals was a close cousin of theirs…

P1220842

…a Painted Lady.

P1220849

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.

P1220846

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?

P1220852

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.

P1220855

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.

Thermophilous

Baby Drivers

image

Once the Red Rose camp was over, we headed down to Lincolnshire to visit my Mum and Dad for a couple of days. On our first day there, TBH, A and my Mum went into Lincoln to watch the second Mamma Mia film, Mamma Mia Money, Money, Money*. The DBs and I weren’t so keen. I think it was my Dad who suggested that we go karting, partly because the boys had enjoyed it so much when they tried it in the spring, and partly because I missed out on that occasion and the DBs were eager to show me how much faster than me they could drive.

There were quite a few karting tracks to choose from, but once we’d surveyed the options, we all favoured ELK Motorsport near Newark. It was the 1.2km course which enticed us…

I’ve filched this overhead shot from their website. I hope they won’t mind: I only have nice things to say about the experience. It was terrific, especially since the boys weren’t faster than me after all, although it was a close run thing. Places were allocated on the basis of a fastest lap; mine was just under a minute, which, with a bit of simple arithmetic, translates into an average speed of about 45mph. Not bad, I thought, what with all those tight hairpins, but then I noticed that times posted earlier in the day went as low as 47 seconds for a lap. More practice required, obviously.

The weather was very changeable and the squally showers made for exciting racing conditions. It’s surprisingly easy to spin a kart, I found, as you brake into, or accelerate out of, a corner.

image

The rest of the photos, taken on my phone, originate from a walk I took after our karting trip. I’d had it all planned out: Dad would drop me off on our way home and I would walk back to their house. In the end, I can’t remember why, I elected not to do that, but to walk after we got back instead. It’s likely that the weather was a factor.

So, I walked from Welton, to Dunholme – the two villages have merged – and hence to the Ashing Lane Nature Reserve. Despite the photos, I actually had glorious sunshine, but I could see this ominous block of very dark cloud which was clearly heading my way and equally clearly dumping a lot of rain not too far from where I was walking.

To my relief, the cloud eventually brought rainbows rather than rain…

image

Aside from a few odd drops, I had a lucky escape.

image

Lincolnshire is famously flat, and whilst that isn’t the whole story, there are large parts of the maps of the county which aren’t overburdened with contours.

image

Which makes for fantastic views when the skies are dramatic…

image

image

image

This…

Seems apposite, plus it’s a cracking tune.

*Or was it ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’?

Baby Drivers

Bright Skies and Big Clouds

P1160746

Bright skies and big clouds tempted my out into bracing winds on a Friday night after work.

P1160747

Horse Chestnut by Pointer Wood.

P1160750

Traveller’s Joy, Sharp’s Lot.

The path down through Fleagarth Wood to the end of Quaker’s Stang was extremely muddy even then, heaven knows what it will be like now, given all of the rain we have endured since. When I reached the saltmarsh, I was exposed to the full force of the wind for the first time, and was surprised by how brisk it was.

The tide was coming up Quicksand Pool…

P1160757

But the muddy banks were unusually firm, so I continued along them, rather than seeking the road nearby, because that way I kept my view of the retreating sun.

P1160759

P1160762

From Jenny Brown’s Point.

P1160776

Sunset from Jack Scout.

 

Bright Skies and Big Clouds