Snow?

20210123_095206

I know – it’s very odd that I’m posting pictures of our snowy garden when the country is currently experiencing a heatwave. What’s more, whilst I’ve been dashing off whole weeks with a single post, this post only covers the first of two Saturday walks at the end of the working week covered in the previous post.

We all get a bit excited when we have snow, it’s fairly infrequent here, but none more so than A. Here she is making an early morning snowman.

She joined TBH and I for a wander in Eaves Wood, which was surprisingly quiet.

20210123_100458
20210123_102309
There was almost no view at all from the Pepper Pot, the cloud was very low.
20210123_102750
20210123_102758
Spot the Robin!
20210123_103113
20210123_103027
A made another snowman.
20210123_105656
20210123_113256

Weirdly, although it remained very cloudy for most of the day, when we walked down to The Cove, we briefly had an outbreak of blue sky and sunshine.

20210123_113301
20210123_113744

The Lots were very busy with young and old. The humps and hollows there are perfect for some fairly safe sledging.

20210123_113750
20210123_113835
St. John’s.
20210123_113841

In the afternoon, I was out again, on my tod, but that will have to wait for my next post.

Snow?

Four Seasons in one Week

Monday

20210118_120037

The Euros have been playing havoc with my resolve to catch up with the blog, so here’s another week-to-view post covering a walking/working-from-home week back in mid-January.

20210118_125741

On a few occasions when my timetable allowed, I wandered over to Myer’s allotment for lunch with a view. On this occasion, I remember, it started to drizzle as I sat down with my flask of soup, and stopped just as I packed up to leave.

20210118_155910
A bonus stroll, later in the day, with TBH and A.

Tuesday

20210119_163402
A wet day!
20210119_163450
A very monotone view from the Cove.

Wednesday

20210120_155519
Another wet day. I didn’t get out for a walk at all. But these Roe Deer visited the garden. One or two of my lessons were punctuated by my commentary on the wildlife and/or weather I could see through this window.

Thursday

20210121_123831
A trip to the Pepper Pot.
20210121_150316
And then the Cove.
20210121_150333
Nice reflections on the mud of the Bay.
20210121_150336

Friday

20210122_115851
Back to the Cove, yet again.
20210122_115909
The view is just a little different every time. Certainly contrasts with Tuesday!
20210122_115955
20210122_125301
Myer’s Allotment lunch again.
20210122_134943
Another trip to the Pepper Pot.
20210122_135019
20210122_135842
20210122_164846
And back to the Cove to finish the week.
20210122_165056
Four Seasons in one Week

Snowy Scenes, a Murmuration and a Sunset

P1320800

With snow on the ground, a little bit of mist about and a fairly clear sky, worth getting out for an early work. Not that you need to be up that early here in early January to catch the sunrise.

P1320811
P1320814
P1320815
The mist hides the village.
P1320823
P1320826

I had a short walk, across the fields and then up into Eaves Wood.

P1320827
P1320830
P1320836
20210109_123509

Later I was out again and did a very similar walk with the next door neighbours who had a chore to do at the Silver Sapling campsite, probably breaking the rules in some way into the bargain.

20210109_131729
Our friend BB.
20210109_131948
Silver Sapling.

Later still, I was out on my own again, wandering around Jenny Brown’s Point. The light was superb.

20210109_154936
20210109_155112
20210109_160445
20210109_162733

Right through the winter, there’s a really impressive Starling Murmuration and roost at Leighton Moss. Of late, I haven’t made the effort to get down there to see it often enough. On this occasion, as I walked along the top of the small cliffs of Jack Scout, part of the murmuration flew along the coast behind me and swooped past me following the cliffs. Usually the Starlings fly just above the treetops, but this time, where there weren’t any trees, they were low, hugging the cliffs, and so I was enveloped in the flock and in the astonishing whirr of thousands of wings. It was breathtaking. They came around three or four more times, but never quite so close.

20210109_162518

The sunset was highly impressive. I watched for ages, taking lots of photos (on my phone, I didn’t have my camera with me). When the cold started to seep into my bones, I set off for home, but then, looking behind me, realised that the colours had intensified even further. I went back to the clifftop to take more photos, but then my phone’s battery died.

20210109_162900

Unlike my camera, my phone seems, if anything, to rather underplay the colours of a sunset. This one really was spectacular. Especially after the battery had died. You’ll just have to take my word for it!

20210109_162935
20210109_163042
20210109_163333

Another very memorable day, chiefly because of the Starlings.

Snowy Scenes, a Murmuration and a Sunset

New Year’s Eve Snow and Mist Inversion

20201231_090948

New Year’s Eve brought a light dusting of snow. A is always keen to get out and enjoy snow when it comes, which is not that often here. We first when up to the Pepper Pot to get a view over the village and then headed down towards The Cove.

20201231_092045

I don’t think snow usually settles on the sands of the Bay.

20201231_093029

I certainly can’t recall seeing anything like this before. I suppose it was because it had been so cold the day before.

20201231_093053
20201231_093101
A monochrome view.

We were both struck by the great white expanse and the contrast with the heavy grey clouds above.

20201231_093344
20201231_093409
20201231_093737

The cloud started very low, and subsequently dropped even further so that, after our walk, the village was enveloped in fog.

20201231_093746

Later, however, it seemed that the fog was breaking-up and I set out again for the Pepper Pot. I didn’t take any photos in the fog, but it was still quite dense at home. By the time I was in Eaves Wood though I could see blue sky overhead…

20201231_143000

Unlike snow, fog is pretty common place in this area. I can think of many occasions when I’ve thought that the fog was thinning and hoped that the small elevation of Castle Barrow might be sufficient to lift me above the fog – but I’d never actually seen that, until today…

P1320782

It was an amazing sight – something I’ve seen in the mountains before, but didn’t expect to see from just 70 metres above sea level. I knew the rest of the family would enjoy this, so I phoned them and then watched as the fog continued to disperse and other bits of high ground began to appear…

P1320783
Warton Crag emerges.
P1320781

Inland, to the East, Ingleborough was almost clear of mist.

P1320779

For some reason, long zoom shots of Ingleborough seem to work best when there is snow on the hill.

P1320791

At first, I had Castle Barrow to myself, except for this Robin, which didn’t seem all that bothered about the cloud inversion.

20201231_145430
The higher ground of Silver Helme and Heald Brow appear, but the village was still hidden.
20201231_145456
I don’t often take selfies, but this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
20201231_145940
TBH and the DBs arrived. A was already out for a walk with a friend.
20201231_150655
Over The Bay.
20201231_153219
Nice light in the woods.
20201231_154417
Almost home, still a little mist clinging on.

All in all, a very memorable New Year’s Eve, even if we couldn’t party with our friends like we usually would.

New Year’s Eve Snow and Mist Inversion

A Walk with X-Ray and Boot Review Update.

20201228_133924
X-Ray on the Lune Aqueduct, just before he produced a flask of tea and two cups from his bag. What a gent.

X-Ray has appeared on this blog from time to time over the years. He’s an old friend who is always great company on a walk. We play in a pub quiz team together, but the pandemic put paid to that and when he rang me over Christmas I realised that I hadn’t seen him since the start of lockdown. A get together seemed called for and we eventually agreed on a walk around Lancaster. It was a glorious sunny day, lots of other people had a similar idea to us and were out for a post Christmas ramble in the unexpected sunshine. I probably should have taken a few more photographs, but X-Ray and I had a lot of catching-up to do, and anyway, whenever we get together we seem to able to fill several hours with non-stop conversation. On this occasion, without really realising it, we managed eight miles of blether before we’d found our way back to X-Ray’s flat.

20201228_115424
Freeman’s Pools

We talked, among other things, about work; the pandemic, of course; pensions I seem to remember – probably an age thing; and about shoes. X-Ray had been reluctant to come for a walk from Silverdale to Arnside because he has no comfortable walking boots. For our walk he was wearing, I think, a pair of trainers with part of the toes removed. He finds it very difficult to buy shoes or boots which are wide enough for his feet, as do I. I told him about my Altberg boots, which I bought at Whalley Warm and Dry and which, after 5 years of use, are a little scuffed but otherwise as good as new. In fact, I’m wearing them more and more, as I find that they are consistently the most comfortable footwear I own. Anyway, X-Ray rang me last week and told me that he has an appointment next week at Whalley Warm and Dry to get some boots fitted. Hopefully, he can find something which is a good fit, and then we can get out for a walk somewhere a little further afield. Remembering our chat has also got me thinking about maybe going back myself to try a pair of Altberg shoes.

20201228_162809

Talking of kit, we were out for a family walk later that same day, after sunset, to try out a Christmas present, a wooly hat with an integral head-torch.

20201228_162828

As you can see, although the sun had already set, the light was rather nice.

20201228_162846

I was jealous of B’s hat which, as well as a light, incorporates bluetooth headphones. What a great idea!

A Walk with X-Ray and Boot Review Update.

November: On the Home Patch

20201106_162354
Sunset from The Cove
20201106_163329
Post sunset light from The Lots

People were going further afield for their daily exercise. I knew this. Every day we drove past the Eaves Wood car park and it was full. I could read about it on blogs. People I met on my walks recounted trips to the Dales and the Lakes.

20201106_163333
Post sunset light from The Lots

And I would be doing the same. Soon, very soon.

20201107_134735
Tree trunk near the mouth of the Kent.

But somehow, I didn’t get around to it.

20201107_154159
Flooded fields from Arnside Knott

I wasn’t particularly worried about what might happen, or any potential consequences.

20201107_161645
Late afternoon skies from Castlebarrow…

I’m a creature of habit. I just seemed to be stuck in a rut of sorts.

20201113_170343
And The Cove.
20201114_141118
Fungi.

Still, there are worse ruts to be in!

20201114_141823

I was still getting out a lot. Frequent visits to The Cove, The Pepper Pot, and around Jenny Brown’s Point, usually with TBH.

20201115_105355

The weather was a bit mixed, to say the least.

20201115_114142
“See that storm over yonder, it’s gonna rain all day.”

This was a memorable walk. The tide was exceptionally high. So much so that we had to turn back and couldn’t get around Jenny Brown’s because the the salt marsh was inundated.

20201115_114215
All of this is usually green!

It was also very windy and squally, with very heavy showers.

20201115_114412
20201115_114806
20201115_115723

We walked across Quaker’s Stang which was completely exposed to the wind off the sea, and made for very bracing walking.

20201115_115951
The RSPB car park for Allan and Morecambe hides was flooded.
20201115_121936
More fungi.
20201115_132935
Waves (of a fashion) at Jack Scout.
20201119_163948
The lights of Heysham and Morecambe from The Cove.
20201121_150921
Another high tide at Jack Scout.
20201122_121851
The salt marsh when it isn’t underwater! Warton Crag behind.
20201122_122633
Warton Crag again, across Quicksand Pool.
20201122_124036
Jack Scout Rainbow.
20201122_155121
Towering cloud catching late light from The Cove.
20201128_125916
Arnside Prom.

So – I’ve dismissed November with a solitary post again.

What would break my out of my routine? I needed an external stimulus, an intervention you might say…


Here’s something I haven’t done for a while – a tune for the end of the post. I absolute love the interplay of voices on this Levon Helm track….

November: On the Home Patch

October 2020: More Showers, Rainbows, and Big Clouds.

20201020_171042
The view from Castlebarrow.

The title pretty much sums it up. Photos from lots of different local walks, taken during the second half of October. I was aware that some people were beginning to travel a little further afield for their exercise, but somehow my own radius of activity seemed to shrink to local favourite spots not too far from the village.

20201022_162959
Crepuscular rays on the Bay.
20201023_172613
Rainbow over The Lots

This is my mate D and his pug. I often meet him when I’m out for a local walk. I think I’ve mentioned before how much bumping into neighbours whilst out and about has helped during the lockdown in all of it guises.

20201023_172926
The sun dips towards the sea, from Castle Barrow.

I can’t remember exactly when this happened – let’s assume it was October: I bumped into a chap carrying a fair bit of camera gear in Eaves Wood. He asked if he was going the right way to the Pepper Pot. He was. I saw him again on the top. It turned out he’s working on a book, one in a series, about where to take photos from in the North-West. Based in Lancaster, he’d never been to the Pepper Pot before. Funny how that can happen. Cloud had rolled in and the chances of a decent sunset looked a bit poor. I saw him again, a few weeks later, this time he’d set up his camera and tripod a little further West, in a spot I’d suggested. I hope he got his sunset.

20201025_091037
A paper round rainbow. Just prior to a proper drenching.
20201025_130134
TBH in Eaves Wood.
20201025_132317
Among all the changes which Natural England have been carrying out at Gait Barrows – raising the water level, felling trees, removing fences, putting up new fences in other places etc, they’ve also renovated this old summer house by Hawes Water. Presently, it’s still locked, but eventually it will be an information centre and a vantage point to look out over the lake.
20201026_105647
Around this time, TBH started to take a regular weekend walk together around Jenny Brown’s Point. It was interesting to watch the channel from Quicksand Pool change each week and to contrast the weather and the tides each week.
20201026_111023
Traveller’s Joy by Jenny Brown’s Point.
20201026_152607
From Castlebarrow, heavy showers tracking in from The Bay.
20201026_152552
Late sun from Castlebarrow again.
20201026_172136
The lights of Grange from The Cove.
20201027_065519
Sunrise from our garden.
20201027_170908
TBH by the Pepper Pot on Castlebarrow.
20201027_171157
Post sunset from Castlebarrow.
20201027_173213
The last of the light from The Cove.
20201028_080130
Silverdale Moss from the rim of Middlebarrow Quarry. It had just finished raining, or was just about to rain, or probably both.
20201028_080823
Autumnal birches with a rainbow behind.
20201028_092248
The Shelter Stone Trowbarrow Quarry.
20201028_100020
Leighton Moss from Myer’s Allotment.
20201028_100515
20201028_103107
20201028_152436
The Copper Smelting Works Chimney near Jenny Brown’s and more heavy showers.
20201028_152547
Jenny Brown’s Cottages.
20201029_070809
The Bay from The Cove on a very grey day!
20201029_074625
Cows in the rain.

The brown cow at the back here is a bull. I’d walked through the fields on Heald Brow where they were grazing a few times and he’d never batted an eyelid. But on this day he and a few of his harem where stationed in a gateway. I was considering my options and wondering whether to turn back, but when I got within about 50 yards the bull suddenly started to run. At quite a canter. Fortunately, it was away from me and not towards – he was obviously even more of a wuss than me!

20201029_074641
A White-lipped Snail – the rain isn’t universally disliked.
20201030_130650
Clougha across the Bay.
P1320738
Little Egret.
P1320732
The yellow feet are a good distinguishing feature.
20201030_131956
20201030_133958
Picnic lunch – apple, mushroom soup and a selection of cheeses.

I decided that the best way to make the most of sometimes limited windows at weekends was to head out in the middle of the day and to eat somewhere on my walk. This bench overlooking the Kent Estuary was a particular favourite. Haven’t been there for a while now – must rectify that.

20201030_141529
The tide had heaped up fallen leaves in a long sinuous line.
20201030_143533
Scot’s Pines on Arnside Knott.
20201030_144239
Birches on Arnside Knott.
20201030_145301
Whitbarrow from Arnside Knott.
20201030_145933
River Kent from Arnside Knott.
20201030_150621
A flooded Silverdale Moss from Arnside Knott. Ingleborough in the background
20201030_154048
Arnside Tower.
20201031_162516
Clouds catching late light.
October 2020: More Showers, Rainbows, and Big Clouds.

October 2020: Rainbow Days

20201004_154536
If you click on this image and then zoom in, you’ll see that the Howgill Fells had a dusting of snow.

Last year, when I got behind with the blog, I dealt with the previous October with a single brief post. Not this time. Last October deserves at least 2 posts.

20201004_161946
Eaves Wood

So, what did I get up to last October? Well, I certainly got out for a lot of walks; almost exclusively from home. I took a lot of photos, generally of cloudy skies, often with a rainbow thrown in for good measure.

20201004_162308

My brolly became my constant companion and my favourite bit of walking kit. It was windy too mind, and my umbrella was turned inside out on a couple of occasions. Which trauma it seems to have survived without any noticeable loss of function.

20201006_165659
Challan Hall and double rainbow.

B took over A’s Saturday morning paper-round, then offered to stand in on Sundays too for his friend E, at which point an ongoing knee problem flared up leaving him unable to walk, requiring surgery and a lengthy convalescence, so muggins ended up doing both rounds. At least I got an early walk in at the weekends. And often an early soaking. I was initially at bit slow finding all of the houses on the rounds, so much so that, on one occasion, the Newsagent sent out search parties. I think I was eventually forgiven – she took pity on me after seeing me doing my drowned rat impression so often.

20201006_170143
Hawes Water and rainbow.
20201006_171350
20201008_171337
Eaves Wood from by Hagg Wood.
20201009_174705
The Bay looking moody.
20201009_182239
Sunset from near Hagg Wood.
20201010_101814
Rennie’s Aqueduct, taking the Lancaster Canal over the River Lune. Why was I in Lancaster? I can’t recall.
20201010_100604
P1320718
P1320719
Early mist rising off Hawes Water.
20201011_083723
Clearly, it wasn’t always cloudy.
20201011_091127
This has become a bit of a new favourite view, with the Lakeland Fells seen over the woods of Gait Barrows.
20201011_095213
In Eaves Wood.
20201011_115154
Ruskin’s View.

Rugby training, without contact, resumed for B, until the knee injury put a stop to that, which is why I was in Kirkby Lonsdale.

20201011_120839
Fungi intent in taking over a Luneside park in Kirkby.
20201011_145208
Looking toward the distant Howgills.
20201015_173838
Usually when I take photos of Roe Deer in the garden, I use my camera’s zoom to bring them closer. This was taken on my phone, since I hadn’t realised that the deer were there. They eventually hopped over the fence, but were unusually nonchalant about my presence.
20201015_181235
October 2020: Rainbow Days

Small Wonders

20200614_152834

The view from Castlebarrow – Warton Crag, Clougha Pike and the shorn fields around home.

Unlike my last post, this one features photos taken on numerous different walks, over a week.

P1290802

I climbed Arnside Knott to watch the sunset. By the time I reached the top, it had clouded up, so these shots from beside the Kent Estuary earlier in the walk were better than those taken later.

P1290805

P1290819

In my many visits to Gait Barrows I’d noticed a few low sprawling shrubs with pointed glossy leaves. I kept checking on them to see what the flowers looked like.

P1290822

I’m very pleased to report that this is Wild Privet, especially since I have been misidentifying Geans as Wild Privet until this year.

P1290827

Wild Thyme.

P1290833

Biting Stonecrop.

P1290834

Heath Speedwell.

“What I did not fully realise when I set out was the unexpected reward that comes from searching for wild flowers. Flower finding is not just a treasure-hunt. Walking with your head down, searching the ground, feeling close to nature, takes you away from a world of trouble and cares. For the time being, it is just you and the flower, locked in a kind of contest. It is strangely soothing, even restorative. It makes life that bit more intense; more than most days you fairly leap out of bed. In Keble Martin’s words, botanising takes you to the peaceful, beautiful places of the earth.”

P1290841

Scorpion Fly, female.

P1290842

“Meanwhile Brett was diverted by the insects visiting the flowers…I felt an unexpected twinge of envy. How exciting life must be, when you can take a short walk down to the river bank and find small wonders in every bush or basking on a flower head, or making themselves comfortable under a pebble. Why don’t more of us look for Lesne’s Earwigs instead of playing golf or washing the BMW?”

P1290875

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

P1290880

Ringlet.

P1290885

P1290903

Large Skipper, female.

P1290899

Possibly a Gypsy Cuckoo Bumblebee.

P1290913

A Calla Lily at Woodwell again.

Both quotes are from ‘Chasing the Ghost’ by Peter Marren.


Songs about flies?

‘Human Fly’ by The Cramps.

‘I am the Fly’ Wire.

Other songs which spring to mind: ‘Anthrax’ by The Gang of Four for its line ‘I feel like a beetle on its back’, or, similarly ‘Song from Under the Floorboards’ which has Howard Devoto declaring ‘I am an insect’. But I’ve shared both of those before, I think. Californian punk band Flipper also recorded a version of ‘There Was An Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly’, but, to be frank, I never really liked it. It’s altogether a very punky collection of songs. I’m not sure whether that reflects a squeamishness about insects in mainstream music, or just the fact that it’s with punk that I am best acquainted? There must be some good butterfly songs, but aside from ‘Caterpillar’ by The Cure, which, again, I’ve shared before, I can’t think of any at present.

Small Wonders

Lambert’s Meadow and Trowbarrow

20200604_192923

The view from beside the Pepper Pot. I’m trying to remember whether or not the fields had been cut for silage at that point, or if the general yellowy-green hue is due to how dry it had been. I’m inclined to the former, because I know that the weather had broken by then and we had finally had some rain.

P1290092

I cut through Lambert’s Meadow again, principally in the hope of seeing more dragonflies.

P1290096

The hint of yellow edging the white tail on this bumblebee might make it a Buff-tailed Bumblebee, but all the usual provisos about DNA testing being required to accurately distinguish between different species of white-tailed bumblebees apply.

P1290098

This however, is more distinctively a Tree Bumblebee.

P1290112

I was in luck – a male Broad-bodied Chaser.

I’ve been wondering about Broad-bodied Chasers quite a bit of late. When I first photographed one, back in 2010, I felt that it was a real fillip, a red-letter day. This year, obviously, has been exceptional, because I’ve been able to get out, locally at least, far more often, but even before this year I’ve generally seen and photographed lots of Broad-bodied Chasers, including the ones which seem to visit our garden each summer. Have their numbers increased since 2010, or have I just ‘tuned in’ somehow? I would say that I see females more often than males, and we’ve only ever seen females in the garden. Even though it is now clear to me that they are relatively common locally, I still feel that spotting one is a cause for celebration, mainly because they are so colourful.

P1290116

This is Broad-leaved Helleborine, growing, as it does every year, by the track which leads to Trowbarrow Quarry. It occurs to me that, since this was a month ago, I ought to go back to see if it’s flowering yet. Since the beginning of June the weather has, of course, deteriorated greatly and I haven’t been venturing out as often or as far as I would like.

P1290117

The width of the flower and the looped markings made me think that this was Heath Spotted-orchid. However, that likes acidic soil, I think, so not the most likely thing to find in a former limestone quarry. Nearby I photographed another flower, more prominently lobed which looked like a halfway house between Heath-spotted and Common Orchid. And of course orchids hybridise, just to add to the confusion.

The quarry in question was Trowbarrow…

P1290125

Which I was visiting in case the Bee Orchids were flowering…

P1290128

The Bee orchid gets its name from its main pollinator – a species of bee – which is thought to have driven the evolution of the flowers. To attract the bees that will pollinate the plant, it has flowers that mimic their appearance. Drawing them in with the promise of love, the bees attempt a mating. As they land on the velvet-textured lip of the flower, the pollen is transferred and the poor bee is left frustrated. Sadly, the right species of bee doesn’t occur in the UK, so Bee Orchids are self-pollinated here.

Source

I have to confess to being slightly flummoxed by how a flower could have evolved so precisely as to be able to fool a male bee into thinking that the flower is a female bee of the same species. How does that process start and how long would it take?

I’d left it quite late and the orchids were in the shade, making me think of a return visit the following day if the sun was shining.

I suspected that the rains which had come after a long dry spell might have stimulated the emergence of some fungi…

P1290137

…which it had, if not in the numbers and variety I’d expected.

Lambert’s Meadow and Trowbarrow