Skiddaw by Ullock Pike

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Bassenthwaite, the Solway Firth and the distant hills of Galloway.

This was actually a weekend away with old friends, the usual crowd, if you are familiar with the blog, but I’m only going to post about the Saturday because we dipped out on the Sunday, due to a dodgy knee and a discouraging weather forecast.

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Ullock Pike.

As you can see, by contrast, Saturday’s weather was superb, although the photos don’t convey the strong wind which was blowing.

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The stoney slopes of Skiddaw.

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Longside Edge.

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Derwentwater and central Lakeland.

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Looking back along the ridge.

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Skiddaw again.

In the photo above, you can see the scar of the main path up from Carlside Tarn to the summit of Skiddaw. Some of us took a more direct route up to the southernmost end of the summit ridge.

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Binsey, with the Galloway hills behind.

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Finally some shelter from the wind and the chance to enjoy some the sunshine.

A great day out in wonderful company. Having said that, I don’t seem to have managed to take many photos of the assembled masses. Andy’s post has more photos generally and more photos of people in particular.

There were a whole host of Birkett’s on this circular and it occurs to me that, now that I’m off it’s high time I updated my Birkett tick list, with which I am way behind.

The last time I climbed Skiddaw it was an overnight affair with a couple of hours of sleep snatched on its stoney flanks.

Skiddaw by Ullock Pike

Hell’s Mouth and Mynydd Cilan

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Serious surfers. 

Hell’s Mouth, or Porth Neigwl, is a huge beach in the south-western corner of the peninsula. Unlike Porth Towyn, where we spend much of our time on these trips, Hell’s Mouth is exposed to the prevailing westerlies and has Proper Surf and is therefore patronised by Proper Surfers. We were there for a walk, on a very windy day. At the sight of the large rollers, B’s eyes lit-up. Next time we visit, we’ll have to come back and let him play in the waves. To be fair, he’s not the only one who will enjoy it.

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Happy Hikers.

For today though, we were making a circuit on the breezy headland of Mynydd Cilan.

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Hell’s Mouth.

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A hardy Painted Lady – I’m not sure how butterflies cope with the winds.

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The hill on the far side of the bay is Mynydd Rhiw. One for a future trip.

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Carn Fadryn and Garn Bach on the right.

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At some point, we managed to get a little of the beaten path and found ourselves bashing through bracken and prickly low-growing gorse. Somebody, I think it was TBH, practically stepped on a snake. Sadly, I didn’t see it, so no photograph, I’m afraid.

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I may have missed the snake, but I did spot this little chap, hurrying across the sand as we were almost back to our charabancs. I think this is the caterpillar of the Fox Moth. I’ve seen them before in the hills – for example in Greenburn Bottom after climbing Helm Crag, or on Rolling End more than 10 years ago now. But apparently they are very widespread and coastal grasslands are another of their favoured habitats.

Hell’s Mouth and Mynydd Cilan

Carn Fadryn – a Perennial Favourite.

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Every trip to the Llyn peninsula inevitably includes an ascent of small, but perfectly formed, Carn Fadryn. Here we are on the summit. I don’t know why A looks so sour, she enjoys a walk, but, thinking about it, she’s not so keen on sitting around. She was probably cold.

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Garn Bach.

Because we’ve climbed it on just about every visit, Carn Fadryn has appeared innumerable times on the blog. You can find some of those previous visits here.

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Looking Westward towards the end of the peninsula.

It wasn’t quite as clear as it has been on some previous occasions, nor did we have the drama of the previous year’s atmospheric sunset, but the views were expansive never the less.

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The Rivals.

 

Carn Fadryn – a Perennial Favourite.

Butterflies on the Mynydds

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Bardsey Island.

A walk at the end of the peninsula, parking on Mynydd Mawr and walking to Mynydd Anelog, will perhaps become a new fixture of our summer trip to the Llyn. The views and the colours are truly spectacular.

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I started this walk at the back of the pack, even in a slow moving group I seem to gravitate towards the rear.

And having started there…

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…I fell gradually farther and farther behind.

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The problem was that I was distracted, not only by the stunning views and the carpet of purple heather and yellow gorse, but also by the profusion of butterflies and my attempts to photograph them.

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Painted Lady underwing, subtler than the more familiar upperwings, but beautiful none the less.

Painted Ladies were the most abundant, but I remember happily counting nine different species of butterfly on this single walk. It’s the kind of thing which makes me inordinately happy. 2019 was a bumper year for butterflies apparently, particularly for painted ladies. The last big year for these migrants was 2009, an influx which I remember well.

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Mynydd Anelog.

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Common Blue on Common Fleabane.

I’ve read that Common Blues did well last summer too, with recorded numbers up over 100%. These two seem intent on increasing the population even further..

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The male is on the right, recognisable because he is more brightly coloured. Which bright colouring includes his aedeagus (analog of a penis). Which came as a bit of a surprise to me!

There were quite a lot of Common Blues about. Here’s another pair…

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Painted Lady on Common Fleabane.

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Drone Fly on Mint.

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Mynydd Mawr.

It wasn’t only the butterflies who were feeling amorous…

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I knew that grasshoppers are very variable in colour within a species, but the differences are quite striking here. I was also surprised by how much smaller the male is than the female…

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I’ve found an excellent online identification guide to crickets and grasshoppers, but I’m still not sure about these. I think they might be Field Grasshoppers.

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Tatty Meadow Brown.

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Mottled Grasshopper. Possibly.

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Small Copper.

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Tatty Painted Lady.

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Small Tortoiseshell.

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Red Admiral. Also two types of heather, Ling Heather, which is paler pink and dominant here and, to the right of the butterfly, the darker, purpler Bell Heather.

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Along the coast to the distant Rivals.

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Mynydd Anelog.

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Red Admiral.

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Meadow Brown.

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It may have seemed, earlier in the post, that I had promised nine different species of butterfly, but the post only has photographs of six. What were the other three? Well….I’m fairly confident that one was Small White, but they rarely sit still to be photographed. And…I don’t remember I’m afraid. Possibly Ringlet. Maybe Wall Brown, which I’ve seen here before. Or Gatekeepers? Or Small Heath? Much as I’ve enjoyed revisiting this marvellous walk at eight months remove, there might almost be something to be said for keeping a diary up to date!

My account of the last time we did this walk is here.

Andy’s posts about this walk are well worth a read, and can be accessed here. That’s him, on the right of the final picture.

Butterflies on the Mynydds

Kite Flying and Other Fun at Towyn Farm

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We were at home briefly after our trip to Germany and Holland, but no summer is complete for us without a trip to the Llyn Peninsula with our Camping Friends and so we were soon packing our trailer tent and driving down to Towyn Farm. All of the usual fun was had: barbecues, camp fires, mass games of cricket and kubb, and frequent trips to the beach. At the beginning of this visit, the sea was like the proverbial mill pond and we had, I think, the best snorkeling we have ever had there. There were so many fish to see, including Dogfish and, I think, a Plaice and lots of Wrasse. Later in the week, the winds picked up and so did the waves, which always makes the kids (large and small) very happy because of the opportunity for some body-boarding.

The winds also encouraged us to dig out TBH’s parafoil kite. She’s had it for years, from before we met, which is over 20 years ago, but it needed new lines and it has sat neglected in our garage.

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It’s a stunt kite and remarkably easy to crash. I blame the variable winds. A was the most successful of the kids at keeping it aloft. B’s reactions were hilarious, he got very excited and usually over-compensated for the movements of the kite.

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TBH demonstrates how it’s done. Perhaps.

I’ve always enjoyed flying kites. I once entertained the whimsical idea of flying a kite from the summit of all of the Munros. I think I managed about four. I’ve often carried a pocket kite on walks however. But I don’t have a pocket stunt kite….hmmmm.

Kite Flying and Other Fun at Towyn Farm

A Family Day out In Lübeck

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A and S in front of the Holstentor.

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We were a party of twelve all told, out for a wander around Lübeck.

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The Cathedral is huge, but has buildings all around it, so it’s hard to get a good view.

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The Rathaus is impressive too. The next few photos show various views of it.

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This…

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…is one of the buildings in the town associated with Thomas Mann. Günter Grass is another former resident.

Whilst these literary claims to fame are impressive, the first thing that springs to mind for me when I think of Lübeck is marzipan and the company Niederegger which has several shops around the town…

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That’s the principal one on the right. There’s a shop on the ground floor, a restaurant above that and a marzipan museum on the top floor.

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In Lübeck it seems that almost anything can be modelled from marzipan.

This ship was one of the displays in the museum…

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As were these almost life-size figures…

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I’ve been to Lübeck a few times. It’s a charming place with fascinating architecture.

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Although I’ve been a few times before, I didn’t know about the quiet little alleyways which abound. This time we had the advantage of a local guide, my cousin S who was born in Lübeck.

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The alleys seem like they might be private, but apparently there is a right of access, although some are only open to the public at certain times of the day.

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Little S was clearly wanting to venture down this watery avenue, but was hesitating…

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Until cousin S chivvied him along.

A Family Day out In Lübeck

Lauenburg Lakes

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Look a map! Let’s get oriented: the big lake south of Lübeck is the Ratzeburger-see and the blotchy red bit across the bottom of that lake is Ratzeburg, where we were staying. Actually there’s the Ratzeburger-see, the Dom-see (Cathedral Lake), the Küchensee and the Kleiner Küchensee, but they’re all linked so who’s quibbling? Ratzeburg straddles both banks of the lake(s) and also an island in the lake which is connected to both banks by causeways. Another glance at the map will reveal that the area is riddled with lakes of various sizes.

My aunt and uncle have lived in Ratzeburg for as long as I can remember and my cousins grew up there. Swimming in the lakes has always been a prominent feature of our visits over the years. This trip was no exception.

Here’s Little S in the Pipersee..

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My brother and his family had driven up from Switzerland in their campervan, en route to a holiday in Denmark, and were camped by this lake.

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Actually, that day we were a big family party, with three of my cousins and their families and a couple of sets of aunts and uncles with us too. A gaggle of us, of various ages, swam well out into the lake.

This…

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…is from an evening visit to Garrensee.

And this is the kids walking through the woods for an early visit to the same venue…

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It was our favourite swimming spot. Perhaps you can see why.

Through the summer months my uncle, now in his eighties, cycles here for a swim most mornings. We were never early enough to catch him, but he did join us, along with my aunt, for a later swim one day.

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My first visit here was during the hot summer of  1976, when I was a bit younger than Little S is now. We spent a day here. I remember a snake swimming on the water; unsuccessful attempts to build a raft of sticks and my cousin K, whose house we were borrowing this summer, briefly going missing, until we realised that she had swum across the lake (I think she would have been around 5 at the time). TBH saw a snake here this summer – it was when she was running around the lake, whilst the rest of the family were swimming.

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I’m pleased to say that the kids loved Garrensee, but the Ratzeburger-see had its own attractions…

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This was an evening swim, when the sky turned a bit threatening as the sun set…

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We also swam one more time in the Küchensee, in a spot with which I am very familiar. It’s close to where my aunt and uncle live and, when we visited, I used to love getting up early with my uncle to walk down the hill, past the hospital where he worked, for an early morning dip.

During one of our visits to the Garrensee I got chatting to another swimmer. After he had, rather inevitably, asked about Brexit, he told me that he lives in Hamburg and that all of his Hamburg friends would head to the Baltic coast if the they had a day off and the sun was shining, but he comes here instead.

“My friends from Hamburg don’t know about this place, how did you find it?”

Apparently there are 40 lakes in total in the Lauenburg Lakes Nature Park, maybe someday I’ll come back and swim in them all.

Lauenburg Lakes