Nevermind

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Over Christmas, as I think I’ve said, we regularly had a number of Roe Deer in our garden. I didn’t often photograph them, but when this buck ventured close to the house it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss him and his lop-sided new antlers.

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I suppose they will even out as they grow?

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The weather was generally dull and damp, with quite a bit of fog, and we took it in turns to suffer from an unpleasant cold, but, on the plus side, my mum and dad came to stay with us and we enjoyed all of the usual treats of the season: over-indulging in food, playing family games, watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ etc.

I know that I’ve also mentioned before the highlight of the Christmas period for me, which was my present from TBH – a night away in Glasgow with tickets for the Craig Charles Funk and Soul show – but that isn’t going to deter me from banging on about it again!

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Here’s TBH in the curry house we went to before the gig, which was just across the road from the hotel. We weren’t up very early the next day, we aren’t really used to 4am finishes, I think we just made check-out at midday. It was the first bright and sunny day we’d seen for a while and, since we’d already paid for parking, we had a walk to a vegan cafe/bar, which TBH had found online, for a Full Scottish Vegan Brunch, which was surprisingly good.

The hotel was right by the Clyde…

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…the building slightly right-of-centre in the picture is BBC Scotland.

This intriguing building…

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…had a twin on the far bank of the river. Apparently these originally covered shafts which led to a tunnel under the Clyde.

This…

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…is, I think, part of the SEC centre.

We walked along St. Vincents’ Crescent…

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I thought this rather elegant terrace might be Georgian, but a bit of lazy internet research reveals that it’s actually a bit later, built from 1850 onward, so definitely Victorian.

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Still very handsome though.

Obviously, having mentioned our dance-athon again, it’s only fitting to finish with another memorable tune from that night. How’s this:

 

I love a cover which is radically different from the original, so Blue Mode’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is right up my street.

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Nevermind

Deer Prudence

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This winter, we’ve frequently had four Roe Deer in the garden, three female and one male. Two of the does seem to like to sit under the kids trampoline.

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You’ll have noticed what I did with the title? Feeble isn’t it?

I know it’s a Beatles Song, but I always hear this version in my head. At this point Robert Smith was the Banshees’ guitarist, which apparently came about when The Cure toured with the Banshees as their support act. I wish I’d been at one of those gigs! I did see Siouxsie and the Banshees shortly after this, at the Apollo in Manchester, by which time they’d recruited a new guitarist; but I never saw The Cure, which is an odd omission, because I was quite obsessed with them for a while.

Deer Prudence

Yewbarrow Woods and Boretree Tarn

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Rusland Pool and Border Moss Wood from Crooks Bridge.

The prospect of this day, and the one to follow, had loomed large in my thoughts ever since B’s rugby fixture list was sent out back in September, because this Sunday showed no match and no training. A day off! In the few days running up to the weekend I kept sorting through weather forecasts and maps and guidebooks; dizzy with the countless possibilities, but also concerned that the weather was expected to be universally dreadful.

As the day approached and the forecasts for persistent rain didn’t improve, I decided that I better find something which didn’t venture too high into the hills and settled on visiting a couple of places between Windermere and the Rusland Valley which I’ve had my eye on for a while.

I drove up to the Lakes in very wet and grey conditions, wondering whether to call it quits, turn tail and head home again. After I’d found a spot to pull off the road in the Rusland Valley, I realised that I’d managed to come out of the house without my OS map. Fortunately, I’d spent a long time during the week staring at this part of the map and had a pretty clear memory, I thought, of the route. When I found an information board featuring this map…

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…my mind was made up: I took a photo on my phone, donned my waterproofs, girded my loins and embarked.

This is the map I should have been looking at…

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…although my copy doesn’t have the green dotted line through Yew Barrow Dale and Skinner Pastures which must be a recently created right of way.

My route took me along that path to Border Moss Wood, where I did an out-and-back in order to visit Rusland Pool and Crooks Bridge. Rusland Moss, a little further up the valley, is a good place to see Red Deer and I hoped I might see some on this occasion too. As I stood on the bridge, admiring the misty views, three deer ran down to the river, swam swiftly across and quickly bounded away again.

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The woods on this walk were an absolute delight, even in the rain, and I’m really looking forward to revisiting in the spring and the autumn.

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I’m afraid my photo doesn’t convey how impressive this tree was: it must have fallen down a long time ago and now four of its branches have grown strong and tall like individual tree trunks in their own right.

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Yewbarrow Woods.

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A tiny unnamed tarn in the mist.

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Boretree Tarn.

I’ve never been to Boretree Tarn before. It’s not too far from High Dam and I’m wondering whether it might be just as good for swimming when the weather and water temperature are both more clement. On this occasion, I found a comfortable spot by the edge of the tarn and tucked in to some very welcome cabbage and chorizo soup. There were a couple of swans and a few ducks to keep me company, but otherwise it was a quiet and tranquil spot.

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The view, such as it was, from Rusland Heights.

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Approaching Hall Brow Wood.

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Skowbarrow Beck.

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In Hall Brow Wood.

It was a relatively short walk, about six and a half miles, and by the time I got back to the car I was drenched, but I’d enjoyed my self none-the-less. I shall think of the trip as reconnaissance for future visits in better weather.

Towards the end of the walk the cloud had been lifting a little and beginning to show signs of breaking up. Just as I started the engine to set-off home, literally as I turned the key in the ignition, the windscreen was suddenly suffused with lovely golden light from the low winter sun, and I wondered if the weather was going to play a dirty trick by improving now that I’d finished walking, but I needn’t have worried: the sunshine was extremely short-lived and it was soon raining again.

I’d managed a good walk, despite the weather, and still had another iron-in-the-fire….

Yewbarrow Woods and Boretree Tarn

Roe Deer in the Garden Again

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Roe deer continue to be frequent visitors to our garden. In fact, we see them increasingly often. Partly, perhaps, because the kids seem to have rather lost interest, for now at least, in the trampoline, so the garden is quieter than it has been. We saw deer almost every day last week, but these photos are from back at the tail-end of October.

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This buck was in the garden when we arrived back from our walk to Arnside. Red Deer are also found in this area, but they are considerably larger than Roe Deer. The white rump patch is also a good distinguishing feature of Roe Deer.

The next day we had three deer in the garden. An adult female…

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Notice that she has a short tush, unlike the male. With this doe were two smaller deer, presumably her fawns from back in the early summer.

They were still smaller than her, but catching up. We’ve had visits from a doe and two fawns on and off through the summer and autumn. Were they always the same three? Hard to know – I like to think so.

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Roe deer commonly give birth to litters of two or three young. These twins are brother and sister…

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…she’s on the left here, with a tush like her mum.

It’s hard to see, but you can just make out that he has the beginnings of antlers sprouting on his head…

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There are photos of this, or another, Roe Deer family scattered through this post, if you want to see them in their gorgeous golden summer coats.

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Roe Deer in the Garden Again

Northern Sky

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Early October, (am I catching up?) and an early, pre-rugby outing to watch the sun rise over Ingleborough.

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And to admire the fungi in Eaves Wood.

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As I’ve noted before, by dropping down the hill a little, I can experience the illusion of multiple sun rises.

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At the circle of beeches the light was lovely…

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…and the ground sprinkled with small white toadstools.

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Long before I began to piece together some knowledge about other local flora and fauna, I tried to get to grips with fungi, mainly for culinary purposes; if I could identify the species of toadstool then I could safely find the ones which are safe and good to eat.

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I even went on a foraging course and learned to take spore prints.

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But Britain has thousands of species and I find them almost impossible to distinguish between, so these days I generally settle for taking photos and buying my mushrooms from the supermarket.

On the other hand, I know where I stand with deer, and this pair…

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…are unmistakably Roe Deer.

 

Northern Sky

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

All Good Things

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All good things must come to an end, or so they say. And so: to the last weekend of our holiday. Actually, these photos were all taken on the Friday. The Saturday was rather damp. I still got out for a walk and took lots of photos of a hugely varied selection of fungi, but I must have only had my phone with me and the photos are all hopelessly blurred. On the Sunday, I was out so late that the few photos I took were almost completely dark, but for a thin line of light along the western horizon.

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Red Admiral.

On the Friday then, I was out in the garden, drawn out by the butterflies on the Buddleia. A subsequent walk took me past this old postbox on Cove Road…

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To The Cove itself…

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And thence onto The Lots where I hoped to find…

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Autumn Lady’s-tresses flowering.

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These are tiny plants, extremely easy to miss, but once you’ve spotted a couple your eye seems to tune in, and pretty soon you’re realising that there are loads dotted about. In ‘Wild Orchids of Great Britain and Ireland’ David Lang says that Autumn Lady’s-tresses are mainly distributed in the southern half of England, so we must be lucky to have them on The Lots and at Jack Scout.

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The Latin name is Spiranthes spiralis, the second part of which presumably refers to the way that the flowers spiral around the stem.

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Carline Thistle.

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Maybe not the most promising flower – a brown thistle, but I’m very fond of them.

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As you can probably tell.

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Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly.

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An Inman Oak.

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Rosehips.

Back in the garden, the seedheads on the Staghorn Sumach caught my eye…

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Apparently this can be used as a seasoning, and something similar is used in the Middle East – I haven’t plucked up the courage to try it yet.

Earlier in the summer we’d seen a lactating Roe Deer hind on our patio and I wondered if she had hidden a fawn, or fawns, nearby.

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Then we had a few visits from a hind, possibly the same one, with two fawns in tow. That’s the hind at the top of the post.

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The fawns’ white spots were beginning to disappear, but were still visible.

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They came right up under the kitchen windows. I was particularly pleased to catch the mother whilst she was in the sun, because that way you can see the wonderful colour of their summer coats.

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They’ve been back since, or at least a similar family have, but now have duller, winter fur and the fawns have completely lost their spots.

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I took this photo, as I often do, to remind me to go to the advertised talk. Which, a couple of weeks later, I duly did. Very good it was too.

I’ve seen Brian Yorke talk before. He’s very knowledgable and funny to boot. Unless you live locally, you might not have the chance to to catch up with one of his talks on flowers or ferns or bird migration, but he does have an excellent website where you can keep up with his latest finds and quirky drawings.

Anyway, back to the Friday: in the evening, we met with some friends for a beach bonfire, a chinwag and a few convivial drinks…

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I think that it was our good friend G who suggested the event.

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I hope it becomes a regular thing.

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B seemed to enjoy hunting for driftwood logs to sit on and/or burn.

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Sitting around a fire on a beach inevitably has me thinking back nostalgically to happy weekends on the Welsh coast a long time ago, with a different group of friends.

Finally, one last image of a Roe Deer, this time one of the young ones, as it passed through a sunny spot beneath our kitchen window…

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All Good Things