September, it turns out, was a very busy month, with some notable highlights, so I have a few more posts to come. But I thought I would mention the poetry festival first. I didn’t take any photos, unfortunately, so I’ve used the opportunity to throw in some other September odds and ends.
Our comedy show in Brooklyn and the Latin band we saw in Saranac Lake stood out as high-spots in our New York holiday and I resolved to make the most of any cultural opportunities which came my way closer to home. So when I saw posts about a poetry festival in Morecambe I bought tickets for both the Friday and Saturday evenings. Given that the line up included Mike Garry, Lemn Sissay, John Cooper Clarke, Henry Normal and Linton Kwesi Johnson, all of whom I’ve seen live before, mostly many years ago when I lived in Manchester, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. They were all brilliant, as was Joelle Taylor, who was new to me. This year’s festival is scheduled for the end of September again and the line-up so far includes Carol Ann Duffy, Roger McGough, Brian Bilston, Jackie Kay and Henry Normal again. Very exciting! I need to buy a ticket.
The festival will once again be based at the Winter Gardens, which I see has just secured a substantial grant for more refurbishment. With that and the Eden Project North and a host of cultural events through the year, things seem to be on the up and up for Morecambe. I lived and worked there for many years and am really chuffed to see it has a potentially rosy future.
Not a September thing, but I think I forgot to mention that in June TBH and I saw Daniel Bye and Boff Whalley at the Duke’s Theatre in Lancaster in their show ‘These Hills are Ours’. You may remember that I was involved with them in a project of the same name a while ago. This show doesn’t relate to that, but is about a madcap scheme to run from Lancaster to Kinder Scout to celebrate the Mass Trespass. Highly recommended.
This film is not of the show, but is about a tour in Devon, during which Dan and Boff ran between venues, in mostly foul weather, and is worth a watch.
We’ve reached October in the world of my blog now. I’ll soon be caught up!(?)
The photos here are from a day with two walks. In the morning, it was the usual wander around Jenny Brown’s Point. It looks like the weather was good, so I’m surprised that I hardly took any photos.
Later, B was kick-boxing, I think his first time back after an extended lay-off following his knee surgery and a long course of physio to deal with pain and stiffness after the opp and the muscle imbalances which probably gave rise to the problem to begin with.
Whilst he was sparring, I had a wander along the Lune. This…
…is the newish bridge built to facilitate the new junction 34 on the M6. I was surprised, when the bridge was built, both by the huge size of the prefabricated metal spans and by the fact that they were already rusted, assuming that is rust?
This is the older M6 bridge…
…built with parallel spans of concrete. There’s a fair bit of graffiti on those supporting walls above the arches. Whenever I see graffiti in inaccessible places like that I wonder about who gets up there to do it? And how? And why?
Just a little way upriver from the motorway, some houses in Halton have fabulous looking gardens sloping gently down to the river. I was particularly taken by this fetching boathouse…
…which looks like it might be a family home too.
Finally, the following photo, taken on the Friday evening after these two walks, is the only one I took during the Lancaster Music Festival.
I should have taken more, it was a fantastic event. By this point I’d already seen, and heard, a couple of other acts, having stayed in Lancaster after work. A met me in the White Cross, and we met X-Ray somewhere after that. Later in the evening, the Herefordshire Hoofers arrived to catch the Uptown Monotones at the Storey Institute (my highlight of the weekend). We caught lots of other acts the following day. After being confined to barracks for so long, it was great to get back to socialising and seeing bands and having a few beers. Having said that, a week later I had Covid. None of the rest of our party did, however, so it’s equally possible that I caught it at work. I’ll never know. What I do know is that the dates for this year’s festival are the 13th to the 16th of October and that I shall be in attendance once again. Any takers?
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.
Our standard weekend circuit around Jenny Brown’s Point. Except that, on this occasion, I was on my own for some reason. And, having started across the same field to the Green, with the usual views to the Howgill Fells, I turned right rather than left on Hollins Lane and then walked across Heald Brow rather than down through Fleagarth Wood.
And then, once I’d rounded Jenny Brown’s Point, I decided to walk around via the sands.
When ‘the sands’, turned out to be much wetter, muddier and clingy (TBH would say ‘clarty’) than I had anticipated, I retreated to the rather sketchy path along the cliff top. At least until I arrived at Know Point, just as the sun was setting…
When the Herefordshire Holidaymakers had to cancel their planned summer trip to Lake Garda, due to Covid restrictions and uncertainties, and us with no plans of our own, for the same reasons, the obvious thing to do seemed to be to invite them to join us in Sunny Silverdale instead. Happily, they agreed. We drove home from Towyn to tidy up a bit and inflate some airbeds, whilst they had the more onerous task of returning home, getting all of their washing done and hoping back into their cars for the long drive north.
In the early part of the week, we even had some half-decent weather, and, I think fairly soon after they had arrived, we had a wander up to the Pepper Pot and then down to The Cove.
TBH insisted that we should have a wander on the sands, which turned out to be quite wet and very sticky. Andy was in new shoes. It seems to me that it’s the destiny of walking shoes to eventually get muddy, but Andy was mortified that his pristine trainers were sullied by Morecambe Bay sludge and complained bitterly at every opportunity for the rest of the week.
We finished the week (I think) with another short climb up to the Pepper Pot. It was a lovely week, as always when the Herefordshire Hearties visit. We had a number of trips out too, so more posts to follow.
It remained hot. The kids, well A and B anyway, were joining friends for swims in the Bay at high tide. I’ve always regarded such behaviour as a sure sign of insanity, as the sea is not all that inviting here, being full of silt and murky brown and almost certainly full of unsavoury pollutants too, but finally I cracked and TBH and I cycled down to a spot near Jenny Brown’s Point a couple of times for a dip.
And……it was very pleasant. Hopefully, we’ll get the right weather and do it again next summer.
And then we went for our annual, marvellous, camping trip with old friends to Towyn Farm on the Llyn Peninsula. I remember that I did a lot of snorkelling in the first part of the week. The water was a lot colder than it had been in the Bay, but it was clear and there was lots to see as ever. Later in the week, the winds picked up and we switched to body surfing. Lots of games of Kubb and Molkky too. Beach cricket, frisbee throwing. All the usual fun.
Lots of walking happened too, but with B still suffering with his knee we generally opted to stay at the campsite/beach and keep him company, the only exception being the obligatory ascent of ‘Birthday Hill’ or Caryn Fadryn.
I apparently took no photos at all, apart from the rather poor one above of some of the Naughty Nine on Carn Fadryn’s summit.
Inexplicable. I did take lots of pictures in the garden after we returned home though! So here’s one of those:
Edit – TBH to the rescue – I did take more photos at Towyn, but using TBH’s phone – I think mine had no charge. So here’s a selection of photos, some of which I took and some of which are TBH’s work:
Obviously the travel restrictions over the last two years have been a pain in the neck, but if I’m allowed to go to Wales for a week every summer, I reckon I can get by; with a little help from my friends anyway.
For our Whit week half-term break we were joined by our old friends from Herefordshire and also by Jay-D, who was without her girls. The kids are all growing up and I’m afraid we might have to get used to holidays without them.
We didn’t stray too far on this holiday – lots of local walks; lots chats and cups of tea before, during and after said walks. So with good friends to walk with, I took photos of….flowers…
Oh, and when we stopped for a brew near Jenny Brown’s Point, I took a photo, not of the assembled crew, but of my stove…
…a much appreciated hand-me-down from Andy.
When we stopped for ice-creams at Gibraltar Farm (they make their own), did I take a photo of
(a) Family and friends enjoying their ice-creams?
Judge for yourselves…
TBH has been warning me about my misanthropy for years. Faulty wiring upstairs I expect.
Later, when we repaired to ‘the dip’ for snacks and a mild bit of boozing, I did manage to get some people in shot as well as the fire…
The empties cans were upcycled as targets in a game of stone-throwing which I enjoyed immensely. Simple pleasures, always the best.
We had a wander around to Arnside.
I missed the return over the Knott. B was completing a DofE expedition and needed picking up from the Park Quarry car park on Hutton Roof. With hindsight, I set off far too early.
Early enough to have time for an ascent of Hutton Roof crags. The views were very hazy, but it was a fine walk none-the-less.
A fair bit of the holiday was actually spent lazing about at home, in the kitchen or the garden. Playing Kubb and Basketball. And messing about with B’s scooter, which TBF particularly took to.
Many things have been deferred, postponed, put-on-hold or just plain cancelled this year, so this week, simple though it was, came as a great relief. Thank goodness for old friends – even if they won’t pose for photos!
Andy’s posts about his visit, with more photos of people but less flowers, are here and here.
Mid-April. Most of these photos are from a single day, which started with rugby training for B in Kirkby Lonsdale. The measures around the pandemic almost entirely wiped-out B’s final season with his age group team, although knee surgery would have kept him on the sidelines anyway. Hopefully he’ll soon be fit to join his contemporaries in the Colts team.
While he was training, I took my usual stroll by the Lune and through Kirkby. It’s unusual to see the river so clear.
In the afternoon, TBH and I were out completing a circuit of Jenny Brown’s Point for a change! The sunshine was still with us, but now there were very dark and brooding skies too, a combination I find irresistible.
The remaining photos are from odd days during the second half of our Easter Break.
B often does his best to present himself as a bit of a Philistine, memorably dismissing a stunning cave in the Cévennes, for example, as ‘just rocks and water’, but secretly he’s a bit of a romantic after all. He likes a good sunset and often watches them from Heysham Barrows with his school friends. I think this photo was taken on one of a couple of walks we took together in an attempt to catch the sunset from Jack Scout. We were a bit late on this occasion.
I’m not entirely sure why I was in Lancaster, possibly due to the return of BJJ training on a Saturday morning. What I do remember was how shocked I was to see market stalls and shoppers. Although I’d been back at work for a while, Lancaster always seemed to stay resolutely quiet and traffic free.
This photos is a bit of a cheat, since it’s from March. Our washing-machine conked out, and, having replaced it, over a couple of Saturdays I dismantled the broken one and salvaged the drum to use as a fire-pit.
It wasn’t until April that we put it to use, toasting some marsh-mallows…
TBH got a bit carried away…
Actually, this is typical TBH cooking – she would call this ‘caramelised’.
As if to prove my point that working for a living, or at least commuting to work, really gets in the way of enjoying life, my MapMyWalk account shows almost daily walks through January, February and up to the 7th of March. Schools reopened on the 8th and for the next fortnight I don’t seem to have walked very far or very often at all.
Anyway, eventually I started to get out and about again:
Whilst chaffinches seem to be flourishing, I feel like I don’t see nearly as many Greenfinches now as I did even five years ago. Hardly scientific, I know, but worrying none the less.
This one was having a good old spring sing-song. It was one of many birds in evidence in the hedges and trees in the caravan park at Far Arnside, but the only one content to pose for a portrait.
I think this was the walk when I bumped into an old friend and colleague who I hadn’t seen for years. We sat at opposite ends of a bench and had a very long chat. Some of her news was sad, but it was still good to catch up.
As so often on a walk round the coast, it was the sky and the light on the bay which were the stars of the show.
For once I didn’t go all the way around to Arnside, or climb the Knott, but at White Creek doubled back on the higher path which parallels the coastal one and returns to Far Arnside.
In the morning, TBH and I completed our usual Sunday trip around Jenny Brown’s Point.
And the afternoon brought a trip to The Lots.
A Roe Deer buck in the garden. There’s still some fur on his antlers. And his winter coat is looking extremely shabby.
A very grey day, I think. This photo from the Cove is a bit shy of any colour.
He’s back! It looks like he has some bits of moss on his antlers. My guess is that he’s been rubbing them on any available surface in an attempt to remove the itchy bits of skin.
I’m quite surprised by the very red tinge of his antlers. I suppose that’s because they still have a blood supply, although mature antlers, once the covering skin has been shed are dead bone, I think.
Another grey day. Another trip to The Cove…
Blue skies at last! And a high tide in Quicksand Pool.
The Bay is well-known for its rapid tides. On this occasion we watched what looked like some very powerful cross-currents at Jenny Brown’s Point.
So: Operation Catch-up is underway. February gets just a single post. Lots of short walks in February, nothing much further than 5 miles and often shorter than that. No ascents of Arnside Knot, but endless trips to Jenny Brown’s Point. I see, from MapMyWalk, that there were a couple of spells when I didn’t get out for several days running – I think a combination of work, inclement weather and decorating were to blame (decorating, I have decided, is one of TBH’s hobbies). As far as I remember, I only left the immediate area once all month.
I think it’s fair to say that the weather was quite variable, as you might expect in February, but as my photos show, there was some blue sky about too from time to time.
A had a physio appointment in Lancaster. Whilst she was there, I took the opportunity to have a wander around Williamson Park and the grounds of the University of Cumbria (in Lancaster, in Lancashire, I know?).
TBH and I were out for our habitual circuit via The Cove and The Lots. We met A walking with her friend S, The Tower Captain’s daughter, and their dogs Hanley and Bramble.
A couple of hedgerows close to home were cut right back, down to the ground, but the roots weren’t dug out, I don’t think, so hopefully they’ll eventually grow back. (Must check on their progress.)
I love the shape of the oaks when their branches are bare.
Several different breeds of sheep here; I think the large one in the middle foreground is a Valais Blacknose sheep, presumably enjoying the ‘Alpine’ conditions in Silverdale. I’ve been racking my brains trying to remember wether I ever noticed any sheep like this when, years ago, I holidayed in Saas Fee, in the Valais Canton of Switzerland, but I can’t recall.
One of several photos I attempted to take of the sky, which had some interesting colours, during a wander around Middlebarrow Woods, where it’s quite hard to find a view which is uninterrupted by trees.
This view was massively enhanced by the presence of a large flock of birds, which, unfortunately, were too far away to show up very well in the photograph.
A walk across the sands, the first for quite some time, with TBH and A, from The Cove to Know Point. It was clearly ‘blueing up’ as Andy often says, so I tried to persuade them both to carry on around Jenny Brown’s Point with me, but I think lunch was calling, so I had to settle for continuing on my own.
The two small figures on the water are on stand-up paddle boards, the toy of choice this summer it seems. It looked idyllic, I have to say. We debated whether we could use our inflatable kayaks in a similar fashion – we haven’t done to date, but maybe this reminder will galvanise some action on my part?