Townsfield – Holgates – Hollins Farm – Arnside Knott – Redhill Woods – Black Dyke – Middlebarrow Quarry – Eaves Wood.
April is not the time for garden tiger caterpillars, which this at least resembles, so I’m not sure what it is.
On my birthday, I climb a hill. I’m not sure when this became a routine, but probably in my twenties, when I usually spent Easter in the Highlands with friends, my birthday conveniently often falling into the Easter break. I can remember climbing Liathach on my 27th, half a lifetime ago, and by then it was definitely already a confirmed idea. I’m not precious about it; sometimes it’s the day before, sometimes a few days after, but at some point I climb a hill to celebrate another passing year. It’s as good an excuse as any other.
There have been some cracking excursions in recent years, shared with the family, and it has become as much a fixed idea with the kids as it has with me: dad, predictable in every way, wants to climb a hill on his birthday. They fall in with this ritual, so when it came to this year’s big day, we didn’t need a three line whip, as I had feared; everyone knew that we would be going for a walk and nobody complained. They may even have enjoyed themselves.
Options, obviously, were a bit limited. Should we go back to Coniston Old Man? Helvellyn? Pen-y-ghent? Or should we move on, try pastures new?
Another Old Post Box, opposite Hollins Farm
Unsurprisingly, we eventually settled on Arnside Knott.
Common lizard. Well, the tail of a common lizard. Apparently, it was sunning itself on the path and, according to B, I almost stood on it, poor thing.
Crow with nesting material.
Arnside Knott view. A bit hazy, but still pretty special.
Wood ants nest.
Marsh tit on ash flowers.
‘Little’ S on the trig pillar.
Blackbird with lunch!
I’ve know for years that herb paris grows in this area, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I actually saw any. I didn’t know whether to be pleased or dismayed by my poor of powers of observation, when I spotted this large patch of it, growing right alongside the main path which climbs the Knott from Silverdale Road in Arnside, and which I must have walked past hundreds of times.
It’s an odd plant with four broad leaves symmetrically spaced at the top of a single stem. The flower is also odd, but none of them were flowering, so you’ll have to wait for that pleasure. Since then, I’ve found it in several more places, including right by the principal path into Gait Barrows and by Inman’s Road in Eaves Wood. There’s undoubtedly a moral to this story, but I’m not sure that I can see what it is yet!
We dropped down the path which runs along the boundary of Hagg Wood (this is a different Hagg Wood to the one I often refer to, which is beside Bottoms Lane in Silverdale).
As we started along Black Dyke, we saw lots of butterflies, chiefly small tortoiseshell, and our first swallows of the year. Later, I saw that Cumbria Wildlife Trust were reporting the first sightings of Swallows, in Cumbria, this year, on that day. I’m not sure why I was chuffed to be amongst the first to see the returning swallows, but I was. Maybe it’s my competitive streak.
Willow catkins at Middlebarrow Quarry again.
Honesty on the Coronation Path. Still flowering in April, even though the first flowers appeared at Christmas.
Most of my presents didn’t arrive until later in the week, so I won’t mention them for now, but I did get several pairs of socks, a newish custom of which I thoroughly approve.
It being my birthday, I’m going for two tunes. Firstly, for obvious reasons:
And then, my all time favourite tune, of all time, which, for some reason, I don’t think I’ve posted before:
Hercules by Aaron Neville, written by the amazing Allen Toussaint.
Actually, I’m going to be greedy. Here’s a third video. Same song, same singer, but this time live on Daryl’s House. Daryl being Daryl Hall, of Hall and Oates fame. If you haven’t watched Live from Daryl’s House, I strongly recommend it.