On the actual day, the forecast was pretty ropey. Never-the-less, we managed to persuade the boys to join us for a walk to Arnside over the Knott. Possibly the promise of a pie in Arnside had some influence on their decision.
In Far Arnside, we sheltered behind a tall hedge for the duration of a short, sharp hail shower. It was pretty fierce, but also wind-driven so that in the lea of the hedge it came over our heads and we didn’t do too badly.
Fortunately, it was another short-lived shower. And the pies and sausage-rolls at the Old Bakehouse went a long-way as compensation for the changeable weather.
As I said – a very changeable day.
A had been working on my birthday and so wanted to go for a walk the following day. The weather was similar to the day before and although we had originally planned to go to Arnside for pies again, A eventually decided that a short Eaves Wood stroll would have to suffice.
It’s very handy having some little hills on the doorstep to climb when the weather isn’t conducive to a longer expedition!
Not sure what happened during the first half of February. Rain probably; by the bucketload. The most significant thing to happen over half-term is that my parents came to visit, which was terrific – it had been a long while since we had seen them.
I think we had some mixed weather that week, but I managed to get out for several local walks and even saw some blue skies and sunshine.
I wondered whether all the tree-felling by Hawes Water would affect the Snowdrops there, but fortunately it doesn’t seem to have had any impact.
I know this second photo looks much the same as the first, but there’s an insect on one of the flowers in the centre of the photo. Perhaps a drone fly. I thought it was pretty unusual to see a fly outside in the middle of February.
This is Jelly Ear Fungus or Wood Fungus. It’s allegedly edible – I have eaten it, in a restaurant years ago and I can’t say I was impressed.
These black cords, called rhizomorphs, are how Honey, or Bootlace, fungus spreads. They grow beneath the bark of an infected tree, but can also spread beneath the soil to reach new trees. Honey fungus will kill its host tree. I think it’s quite common in this area.
Honey Fungus mushrooms are bioluminescent (the gills glow in the dark), although their ghostly greenish light emissions are usually far too weak to be visible to the human eye in a normal woodland environment, even on a moonless night. To see this effect it is necessary to sit close to some of the mushrooms in total darkness (in a windowless room) until your eyes have become accustomed to the dark and your pupils are fully dilated.
A rash of fungus appears along Inman’s Road, the path along the bottom edge of Eaves Wood, every autumn. I think it’s Honey Fungus. It’s never occurred to me before to bring some home to test the bioluminescence, but I think this year I will.
I think that this might be Lumpy Bracket fungus, partly because in the same way that Jelly Ear fungus usually grows on Elder, this fungus typically grows on Beech, especially stumps, which is exactly what was happening here. Where a large number of Beeches have been (controversially) felled by Hawes Water, many of the stumps now host this fungus.
I thought, obviously mistakenly, that Hawes Villa had stopped keeping pigs. Happily, I’m wrong.
Walking along Bottoms Lane I was struck by the abundance and diversity of the mosses and lichens living in the hedge.
Because there were cold winds blowing all week, my Dad, who really suffers with the cold, was understandably reluctant to venture out. TBH had the bright idea that the gardens at Sizergh Castle might be relatively sheltered. She was right.
A is in a wheelchair – lent to us by the National Trust for our visit – because she had broken a bone in her ankle whilst dancing. Little S (you can see here how diminutive he is!) delighted in pushing her around at great speed and alarming her with his ‘driving’ skills.
Four fields between Holgates and Far Arnside had been seeded with what looks to me like Ribwort Plantain. A bit of lazy internet research reveals that it can be used as fodder. Certainly, when we’ve been back to the fields, after stock have been introduced, the leaves have been pretty thoroughly stripped off. I read that growing plantain can improve soil structure. And also, more surprisingly, that its seeds are used as a thickening agent in ice-cream and cosmetics.
The weather le me down a bit here. I walked around the coast in glorious sunshine, but by the time I’d climbed the Knott from White Creek, not the longest of ascents, it had completely clouded over.
And finally, on a very damp final day of the break, the flocks of Starlings which roost at Leighton Moss briefly gathered above the field behind our house, so that we had a grandstand view from our garden.
A post to (almost) clear-up November. On three successive weekends TBH and I got out for short local walks. Here she is on what was evidently a glorious Sunday at the Pepper Pot.
The week before, the day after my exhausting wander around Gait Barrows in the sun, we completed our standard Jenny Brown’s circuit.
It was a grey day and the only photographs I took were of these large toadstools growing on a tree in Sharp’s Lot.
On the final weekend in November A had a challenging journey, during storm Arwen, to collect B and I from a do at Kirkby Rugby club. Then, at around 2am, TBH and I were out in the gale, dismantling the trampoline which had begun the evening at the bottom of the garden, but which was now flying around our patio (which is several feet higher than the lawn where it started). The storm did quite a bit of damage – knocking out the downpipe from our gutters, moving a shed a few inches, destroying a section of fence as well as a gate etc. What’s more, we were without electricity for a quite a while – not quite 24 hours.
The path through the fields behind the house was closed due to felled telephone and powerlines, but since I could see all of the fallen lines, and avoid them, I decided to go that way anyway. One of the line of oaks had fallen…
And another, larger oak was down in the fields between Bottom’s Lane and The Row…
It was quite sad to see these trees, which I’ve photographed so many times, so swiftly destroyed.
We were actually meant to be away on this Sunday – TBH had managed to transfer our hotel booking from our postponed anniversary celebration a month before. But we didn’t get off until after dark, because B had an emergency appointment due to a suspected broken nose – a rugby injury. We might as well have gone anyway: the doctor told B that, since his breathing wasn’t affected, he could get his nose straightened out when he stops playing rugby, but not before.
Anyway, we did eventually get away – more about our brief trip in my next post.
Hagg Wood – The Row – Challan Hall – Hawes Water – Challan Hall Allotments – Silverdale Moss – Back Wood – Leighton Beck – Coldwell Meadows – Coldwell Parrock – Gait Barrows – West Coppice – Hawes Water – Challan Hall – Waterslack – Eaves Wood – Inman’s Road
Covid laid me up for a little over two weeks. Not a pleasant experience, obviously, but it could have been worse. The first week of that fortnight was half-term, we’d planned to meet up with my Brother, who was over from Switzerland with his kids, and my Mum and Dad. We’d also booked a night away to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. All that went out the window. On the plus side, I did listen to a lot of radio dramas.
I also felt like I’d missed out on a half-term’s worth of walking. So, in mid-November, on the Saturday after my first week back at work, when the skies were virtually cloud free, I was itching to get out for a walk.
The autumn colours were splendid, and there was fungi in abundance, particularly in Eaves Wood. I very much enjoyed the views and the light and the sunshine and taking lots of photos.
A drystone wall between the woods around Hawes Water and the meadows by Challan Hall was festooned with Harlequin ladybirds. A non-native species, which arrived in the UK as recently as 2004, they are enormously varied in colour and patterns. The air around the wall was full of them too. As I paused to get some photos with my phone, they began to land on me too. Apparently, they hibernate together in large groups. I assume that this wall, with its many cracks and crevices, is an ideal spot for that.
Whilst I was enjoying the weather and the sights, the walking was another matter. After about a mile, I was already feeling quite fatigued. Anyone with any sense would have turned back, but I kept walking away from home, getting increasingly tired. In the end, I walked a little over six miles, but the last couple were pretty purgatorial – I felt so tired I was tempted to lie down by the path and have a nap.
After this walk, I took it easier for a couple of weekends and have been okay since, except it took a while for my senses of smell and taste to come back, and now that they have some foods which I formerly enjoyed now taste revolting; peanut butter springs to mind, which used to be a favourite. Almonds too. Curiously, the things which taste bad all have the same foul flavour.
Anyway, back to the walk – I was taken by the contrast of the yellow leaves of the Blackthorn thicket and the blue sky behind, but also by the abundance of Sloes on the Blackthorn…
This bench, near Hawes Water was very welcome and I sat on it for quite a while, although it was fairly wet.
There was an absolute riot of fungi in Eaves Wood, fascinating to see, but extremely difficult to identify.
Unusually, I think I’ve enjoyed this walk more in retrospect than I did at the time. Can’t wait for some more bright and sunny days.
UF was up from Manchester since we had tickets to see Martin Simpson and Martin Taylor at the Brewery Arts in Kendal. I invited TC to bring his dogs out for a walk around the village with us. We started in Eaves Wood with a visit to the Pepper Pot, then walked through Burton Well Wood and across Lambert’s Meadow. The fact that I have no photographs is, I think, a good indication of how poor the weather was. In the photo above, we are at the now decrepit bench at the top of the hill at Myer’s Allotment. Even on a wet day there was a bit of a view over Leighton Moss…
We dropped down through Fleagarth Wood to Jenny Brown’s Point, where, since it had stopped raining and the sand was reasonably firm, we decided to walk around the coast back to the village.
It was bracingly windy and rather splendid.
The next morning, a Sunday, UF made an early exit to make a prior engagement. Usually, when he makes a Sunday flit, he’ll be playing snap – the variant that has ‘seven no trumps’ and the like – or watching City play, but, if I remember right, on this occasion he was meeting friends for a walk. It might have been a good one, because the weather was much brighter, with big clouds, plenty of sunshine and heavy showers tracking in off the Bay. Having said that, I didn’t set out for a walk until late afternoon, so it’s possible I’d been waiting for the weather to improve.
I managed to string a five mile route out over nearly three hours. Tea breaks to sit and watch the showers falling elsewhere were the order of the day.
At Far Arnside, I spent some time looking for the fossilised corals in the rocks on the edge of the Bay; something I hadn’t done for quite some time.
I was surprised to get to the top of Arnside Knott without being caught by any showers. Perhaps I celebrated too soon: as I began to descend, it finally started to rain on me.
It was short lived though, and brought a rainbow with it.
Here’s the two Martins, performing a song from Martin Simpson’s repertoire, written, I think, by his father-in-law. It seems highly appropriate for these ‘Eat or Heat’ times.
This was the day after the second of our walks from Brockholes. TBH and I had dropped B off there again, and had decided to spend the day in the Lakes before picking him up at the end of his shift. We’d had the bright idea of using the local buses so that we could do a point-to-point walk.
We parked up in Ambleside and then got thoroughly lost in the vast Hayes Garden World complex looking for the loos. Due to a lack of clarity on the bus timetable, and possibly a degree of muppetry on our part, we missed the first bus and ended up playing silly golf in a very busy Ambleside to pass the time until the next bus.
The bus didn’t take the most direct route and I felt both sorry for, and amused by, some of the tourist traffic which met the bus. The driver didn’t take any prisoners, but could squeeze the bus through gaps with only a few millimetres to spare.
From Coniston, we followed the Cumbria Way past Tarn Hows, stopping very early for a brew and a bit of lunch. The minute we stopped, of course, it began to spit with rain. I’d originally had grandiose plans to climb either Holme Fell, or Black Crag, or both, but the time we’d lost and the need to be on time for B, prompted us to abandon those options.
Tarn Hows was predictably busy, but the rest of our route was very quiet. We left the Cumbria Way after Tarn Hows, and bumped into a family of runners who we know from B’s rugby team. Small world!
Our route actually took us most of the way to the top of Black Crag. Once we’d crossed the watershed, the Langdale fells dominated the views for most of the rest of the walk.
There’s no village of Arnside here, but High and Low Arnside farms, High Arnside Tarn, Arnside Intake and Arnside Plantation.
On this long section, with its great views, we saw one other walker, a dutchman on his first visit to the Lakes, who was, he told us, very taken with what he had seen.
Possibly the reason this path is little used is that it deposits you on to the busy road between Ambleside and Coniston. I’d thought we would be able to get back on to the Cumbria Way, but I was mistaken. Fortunately, there is a permission path alongside the road for much of the way.
On the lane up to Skelwith Fold we witnessed some more motoring muppetry, with one car having to reverse around another, the driver of which had admitted defeat, to allow a van to pass. People got out of vehicles, examining bodywork which had at no point been in any danger of being scuffed, and some heated exchanges took place, but only, I think, between two occupants of the car whose driver had been apparently paralysed, like a ‘cragfast’ sheep.
A permission path took us, from the wonderfully named Bog Lane, down to the Brathay and a spot which I’ve earmarked as a fine looking swimming hole for when it’s warmer again.
I may have told TBH that a walk from Coniston to Ambleside would be 6 miles, prompted by a route description I’d found online which said the same. It seemed wise, in the circumstances, to stand in front of this signpost to hide the evidence to the contrary, especially since we still had some way to go.
We very much enjoyed this walk and I can definitely see us using the buses in the Lakes again to enable us to walk similar point-to-point routes.
No map from MapMyWalk showing the route since it had one of its occasional tantrums and refused to work.
The year is almost up and the blog is stuck in June. So….better get a shift on.
First off, some shots from an evening to Foulshaw Moss when A was dancing.
Next door neighbour and all-round good-egg BB was interested in our ebikes; I suggested he borrow one and join me for a trip. We cycled to Morecambe. As you can see, the weather was fantastic, but there was a strong wind blowing, unusually, from the South, so that cycling along the Prom was an uphill struggle. The compensation was that on our way back again we felt like we had wings. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of our memorable refreshment stops, at the Hest Bank for a pint on our outward trip and at The Royal in Bolton-le-Sands for a lovely meal and a couple more ales in their sunny beer garden.
Old friend X-Ray visited to catch up. It was very grey day, but we dragged him out for our usual wander around Jenny Brown’s Point anyway.
Another taxi-Dad trip to Foulshaw Moss. Things have moved on since then – A has passed her driving test and doesn’t need any more lifts to Milnthorpe. I shall need a new excuse to visit Foulshaw Moss.
Finally, a shorter bike ride with TBH which took us to Holme and back via some very quiet lanes. It almost went horribly wrong when I made the mistake of leaving TBH a little behind (she having chosen not to use an ebike) and she, inexplicably, took a left turn, even though I’d mentioned the fact that we would go through Yealand Redmayne. It all worked okay in the end, after a few puzzling moments and a bit of cycling back and forth looking for each other.
A couple more June bike rides to follow… eventually.
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.
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.
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.)
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?
The Middleton Fells give easy walking, without any particularly steep climbs, and expansive views.
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.
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.
And I would be doing the same. Soon, very soon.
But somehow, I didn’t get around to it.
I wasn’t particularly worried about what might happen, or any potential consequences.
I’m a creature of habit. I just seemed to be stuck in a rut of sorts.
Still, there are worse ruts to be in!
I was still getting out a lot. Frequent visits to The Cove, The Pepper Pot, and around Jenny Brown’s Point, usually with TBH.
The weather was a bit mixed, to say the least.
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.
It was also very windy and squally, with very heavy showers.
We walked across Quaker’s Stang which was completely exposed to the wind off the sea, and made for very bracing walking.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rugby training, without contact, resumed for B, until the knee injury put a stop to that, which is why I was in Kirkby Lonsdale.