Trowbarrow Views

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The forecast promised that the weather was going to improve. I set out on trust, although there were still a few spots of rain in the fairly strong wind.

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The hay has since been cut – they were collecting it in today – but then the grasses were long and swaying in the breeze. The dominant, red-tinged grass here is, I think, Yorkshire Fog, but I’m really not sure about the patch of pale grass standing out amongst the red. Cocksfoot?

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Yorkshire Fog.

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Bittersweet.

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Leighton Moss.

Fortunately, by the time I reached Leighton Moss, the view to the west was finally looking promising…

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The reeds along the boardwalk were looking tatty and half-eaten. It didn’t take much sleuthing to discover the reason why.

Alongside the reeds, there were lots of these large Dock leaves. (We have several Docks – I have no idea which these are).

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Many of them were infected with a fungus causing red blotches on the upper sides of the leaves…

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And crusty white rings on the undersides…

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I’ve done my lazy research, and I think that it’s a rust fungus called Puccinia Phragmitis.

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Common Spotted-orchid and Quaking Grass.

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Red Wall.

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Bee Orchid.

I was looking for the Fly Orchid which apparently flowers here. I didn’t find it, but more of the Bee Orchids had come into flower. Also, while I was poking about, I found a narrow path which I assume is the climbers’ descent route from the top of the main crag. I’ve never been up to the top before, but the views were excellent…

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Humphrey Head.

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Leighton Moss from Trowbarrow.

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Common Spotted-orchid and Quaking Grass again.

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And another (but quite different) Common Spotted-orchid.

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Hedge Woundwort.

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The clouds were back.

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Six for gold.

Towards the end of the walk I came across a couple of bumblebees once again apparently asleep on flowers. It was very windy and when I grabbed one of the flowers to try to hold it still for a photo the bee waved one leg in a half-hearted fashion, like a person might if you tried to rouse them from deep sleep.

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Trowbarrow Views

The Wells of Silverdale

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There’s something very satisfying about a hand drawn map, don’t you think? This one is from a leaflet; one from my collection of leaflets detailing local walks, which I have acquired over the years and keep filed away on a shelf. I dug it out because I wanted to compare it with this map…

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Which is from ‘Old Silverdale’ by Rod J. Ireland, which I bought last week, a little birthday present to myself, and which I’ve been poring over ever since. This map shows more wells than the first. At some point, I shall have to see if I can find any trace of the additional wells shown. But on this occasion I contented myself with following the route shown in the leaflet.

 

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Cheery Dandelions.

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Cheery Celandines.

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Elmslack Well.

Yes, I realise that it’s actually a bin. But I’m told that it’s on the site of the old well.

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Inman’s Road.

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Not wells, I know, but these tanks formerly collected and supplied water to Hill House, now the Woodlands pub, so they seem relevant. Mains water arrived in the area in 1938 (there’s still no mains sewers). Until then the wells would obviously have been important. Also many houses had tanks on the roof which collected rain water.

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This photo is the best I managed from a satisfyingly close encounter with ‘the British bird of paradise‘, or more prosaically, a Jay. The Jay moved from branch to branch, but unusually, stayed in sight and not too far away. Sadly, never long enough for me to get any half decent photos.

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This squirrel was more obliging.

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Wood Anemones.

The Toothwort beside Inman’s Road is much taller than it was, but already beginning to look a bit tatty and past its best.

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More Wood Anemones.

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Chaffinch.

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Dogslack Well.

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Comma butterfly.

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Bank Well.

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The light was stunning and making everything look gorgeous.

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Coot chick.

Well, almost everything. This is the kind of face that only a mother could love, surely?

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Lambert’s Meadow.

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I like to think that this is a Raven, sitting atop a very tall tree, regally surveying the meadow and the surrounding woodland. But none of the photos show the shaggy throat which is supposed to make it easy to distinguish between Ravens and Crows. So, I’m not sure.

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Burton Well

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The pond at Woodwell.

There are newts at Woodwell. We hardly ever see them. But today, not only did I see one, but I managed to train my camera on it…

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Blast!

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Golden Saxifrage.

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Woodwell.

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The Ramsons in Bottom’s Wood are looking particularly verdant, but no sign yet of any flowers. On the verge of Cove Road, near to the Cove, the flowers are already on display. The flowers always seem to appear there first.

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Cherry blossom.

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Jackdaw.

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Song Thrush.

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Nuthatch.

On the Lots there were Starlings and Pied Wagtails foraging on the ground.

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Crow – the second evening in a row when a crow has been perched on this branch.

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Pied Wagtail.

It was one of those magical days when lots of birds seemed content to sit still and be photographed. Lots, but not all. The Buzzards were flying above the small copse above the Cove. I watched them through the trees as, once again, they both flew in to perch on a tree at the far side of the wood. This time it was the same tree in which a Tawny Owl obligingly posed for a photo one evening some years ago. They were tantalisingly close, maybe I could get some good photos?

But when I switched on my camera, what did I notice, much closer to hand…

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…a pair of Nuthatches.

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Since I learned to recognise the slightly monotonous song of Nuthatches, I’ve come to realise how very common they are in this area. And I spot them much more often than I used to. As a boy, these were an exotic rarity to me, and fortunately their ubiquity has done nothing to reduce the thrill I still feel when I see them.

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One of the pair sat and pruned itself for quite some time and I took lots of photos before eventually turning my attention back to the tree where the Buzzards…

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…were no longer perched.

I scanned other trees for a while, and then, just as I reluctantly gave up on the idea of seeing the Buzzards again, there they were, not in a tree, but in the adjacent field, one on the ground and the other sat on a dry-stone wall, and showing to much better advantage than before. But before I took any photos, they were off again.

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Starling.

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Bullfinch.

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Morecambe Bay.

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Blackbird – in almost the same spot as the night before.

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Five for silver.

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It was getting a bit dark for bird photos at this point, but this Goldfinch was behaving in a way which I’ve noticed a couple of times recently; it was singing, swivelling sharply through ninety degrees singing again, then back and so on. The precision of it seemed quite aggressive, but at the same time, pretty comical.

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The leaflet says that this walk is ‘about four miles’, but although I’d skipped the out and back to Bard’s Well on the shore, The Move App was telling me that I’d walked five miles. And despite the Jay, the Newt and the Buzzards all evading my camera, this had been a very satisfying five miles.

The Wells of Silverdale

Little and Often

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Anyone who follows, or even just occasionally dips into this blog, will know that I like to get out for an evening walk. Or a morning walk. Or, pretty much an any time of day walk.

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To a certain extent, since I started the blog, I’ve become guilty of seeing the aim of these walks as being to provide fodder, and particularly photographs, for the blog. So that, for example, there would be little point of rousing myself for a late walk on a gloomy day in early March to see whether the daffs were flowering in the woods near Far Arnside, if the low light was going to hamper my photography.

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Green Hellebore.

Since the New Year, however, I’ve bucked my ideas up, turned over a new leaf, rung the changes,….(insert similar cliches to taste) and have been trying to get out every day, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes. Many of these walks have been in the dark. Or the rain. Or both. And often my camera has been left at home.

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But now the evenings are getting lighter and even when the light is low and the sun has sunk behind a bank of cloud to the west, there’s still always something to see or hear.

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I see that Mr Sloman has a daily target of 3 miles. And I know that Bertrand Russell once advocated a regular 6 mile walk. Maybe I need a GPS enabled device so that I can track my own milage.

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In the meantime, I shall just keep on keeping on.

Little and Often

Only Weather

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So, after some bright and spring-like weekends in January, February’s first weekend heralded a return to more wintery fare. On Saturday it snowed. I dropped A off for an overnight stay with friends who live in a cottage on a hillside with a grandstand view of the Lyth Valley. Well, normally it does – on this occasion, with snow falling thickly – we couldn’t see further than a couple of field-lengths away.

By the time I arrived home, the snow had turned to rain and a rapid thaw was underway. This didn’t happen further north however, and that evening, we later found out, A was sledging by moonlight.

Sunday morning brought a dense blanket of fog. The fields were still white over, but what looked from a distance like snow, turned-out, on closer acquaintance, to be wet slush.

The boys wanted to sledge however, and grey, wet and dispiriting though it was, the slush was at least slippy – so sledging it was.

At the Cove a couple of fishermen sat in deckchairs looking out into horizon-less grey.

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We met numerous friends on the Lots – sledging seemed to be the order of the day. The forecast had suggested that things would brighten up, but although the sun kept appearing as a white disc through the murk and threatening to break through, the promised improvements never materialised.

Sledging on the Lots

The boys were shown (by our friend E) a run which had a small jump in the middle. Here’s a ropey film of B sledging down it:

Eventually, after a snowball fight and lots more sledging, the boys were ready for some warm, dry clothes and some lunch.

I decided I could wait a little longer for those pleasures and went for a bit of a longer stroll through Eaves Wood and down to Haweswater. The photos I took were of exactly those things I like to photograph at this time of year, in these conditions…..

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Bare trees through fog.

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Refracted trees through water-droplets.

Snowdrop from below

The secret hearts of snowdrops…..

Snowdrops near Haweswater

…otherwise known as snow-piercers.

Later in the week (Wednesday?) I arrived home form work just as the moon was rising. Full moons generally rise at around the time of sunset. This was a little after sunset, and rising in the eastern sky, I presume that the moon was bathed in light which had passed through the earth’s atmosphere? Certainly the moon was noticeably red. I fiddled with the settings on my camera, but still ended up with a collection of blurred and useless shots. This one does at least give an idea of the colour:

Blood moon

Today, despite sub-zero temperatures, it rained. Not surprisingly, the rain froze as it landed. It was lethal – I passed the immediate aftermath of a multiple vehicle pile-up on the motorway on my way to work. The A590 in Cumbria was apparently very badly effected.

What next?

Only Weather

Turned Out Nice Again.

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It rained and it rained and then it rained some more for good measure. Here in the North-Wet we made copious cups of tea and quietly went about the business of evolving webbed feet and gills. It seems in retrospect, that we did very well to grab such a stunning day back before Christmas and even the walk over Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, with it’s unfortunate mud-skating incident, at least stayed much drier than many days have of late.

And then suddenly – some proper winter weather: cold, clear, crisp and frosty. Sadly, I’m still in no fit state to take full advantage – those lucky people who were walking in the Lakes, or North Wales and probably the Dales must have had a grand day. (I’ve seen some photos from the Glyders and a report from the Southern Uplands where the weather was cloudy, but eventually cleared. The Pieman was abroad in the Pennines, and a couple of friends from the village were, separately, walking near Ulswater and tell me that it was very fine, but I haven’t seen anything on t’interweb yet from the Lakes.)

Anyroad up, we didn’t miss out completely. On Saturday the kids went to Dalton Zoo with their grandparents. I had work to do, but in the afternoon TBH and I drove up to Bowness where we had a short stroll along the lake shore and then went for afternoon tea at the home of the world’s most expensive pudding (which amazingly, at £22,000, has now sold). The afternoon tea is a bit cheaper than that.

Sunday morning was clear and frosty again and I tried, in vain, to tempt the ankle-biters to come out to witness the sunrise.

Moon

Maybe they knew more than they were letting on. The moon was clear and bright in the western sky, but without climbing to a vantage point, which I didn’t want to do because of my ankle, I could see that the sun had risen, but couldn’t actually see the sun!

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I know…a little more patience was required.

Still, I like to get out whilst everything is coated in frost…

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Later we were in Arnside. The boys and I had a walk along the promenade…

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Ammendment: of course there was a blogger out in the Lakes.

And – a back-packing trip from Snowdonia with stunning views and cute ponies to boot.

Turned Out Nice Again.

Roe Deer

Another glorious Thursday (naturally). My last afternoon working in Carnforth, but I didn’t walk home – bad planning on my part. I did get out much later however for a walk on Arnside Knott. The sun was already close to setting when I began my walk.

 Robin’s pincushion Gall or Bedeguar Gall

Agrimony (the ‘mystery plant’ I was confused by on Warton Crag before it came into flower)

The variety and profusion of wildflowers was fantastic, but the light was not always conducive to photos.

In a clearing in the woods I met….

…a roe deer buck. He seemed quite calm about my presence and continued to graze and scratch, occasionally pausing to stare in my direction. I took lots of photos, but this was by far and away the sharpest.

When I came out of the woods at Heathwaite much of the light was provided by the moon. I’m very impressed that the camera managed to produce any kind of image….

…of the betony, which was growing in a huge purple mass in the grass there, along with orchids and self-heal, ox-eye daisies and thyme, ladies-bedstraw….

A moonlit view south along the coast.

I saw two more roe deer here. Well, the first I mainly heard, first the drumming of its running feet as it bounded through the long grass and into the trees and then the harsh dog-like barking from deep in the woods. I listened to a tawny owl for a while and then noticed a second, smaller roe deer down where the first had run from. I think it was another young one, the third I’ve seen this year. I watched it for a while – even took some photos (perhaps best described as ‘impressionistic’) using the camera’s available light setting .

Then I used the last of the available light to climb back up to the top of the hill to watch the lights coming on across Cumbria.

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An Evening Dawdle

Yesterday the weather finally broke and a downpour washed away the hot and heavy weather we’ve been having. After a bit of a set-back, I’ve been at home for the last two weeks and have honoured a self-imposed house arrest, but having just been signed off for another fortnight, and feeling slightly stir crazy, I decided that rest and recuperation would have to include some modest walks. So yesterday evening found me beating the familiar path to the Cove and across the Lots.

I hadn’t left the driveway before I stopped to spend several fruitless minutes trying to photograph the bees and hover flies sampling the flowers on the Lime tree in our neighbour’s garden. The flowers where swinging pendulously on long bracts in the stiff breeze and even catching a sharp image of them proved to be beyond me, but I’ve posted this one anyway because I think it catches something of the warm evening light. I have no idea which of the many species of Lime this tree is, but I hope that it might be Silver Lime because its nectar is narcotic to bees.

There’s a lot to be said for dawdling: a brisk march might have burned more calories, but I might have missed the effect of the sunlight on the Lime flowers, and I would certainly have missed these tiny flowers…

…on Goosegrass, or Cleavers, growing tall in the hedges around Town’sfield. Our kids call it Sticky Weed because the plant is covered with tiny bristles which means that thrown at a jumper it will invariably stick. It needn’t be a jumper, any garment will do – particularly if it is one of mine, as far as the kids are concerned.

The hedgerows are currently thronged with critters: spiders, bees, hover flies etc. all busy going about their lives. Mostly they don’t sit still long enough for me to get pictures, but this red-eyed wonder was having a breather…

…probably negotiating with Jeff Goldblum for the biopic.

Of course, not all of us are in such a hurry…

…this tiny snail, at home on an ivy leaf, was moving at a pace I could appreciate.

The back of the Cove has been awash with the yellow and green of these tall plants for awhile now.

Last year I thought that they might be Sea Radish and I’m sticking with that assumption in the absence of a better guess. In fact the flowers are just about finished now.

And are giving way to these swelling seed pods…

The tide was well in…

…and unusually the wind was sufficient to provide the sound of the lap of tiny waves against the shore.

More rather fetching seed pods on the grassy bank above the cliff, this time on some sort of vetch, perhaps Bird’s-foot Trefoil?

This large, bulbous fungus is growing on the same tree trunk where last year I watched Starlings feeding their nestlings.

In the Lots, wild thyme and Lady’s Bedstraw are abundant…

Once again the wind didn’t help here and I shall have to return to try again.

This Thistle was a little more cooperative…

Prickly though it is, it seems to be occupied by a number of tiny red mites (you might need to view the full size photo on Flickr to see them.)

 

As ever, it was just great to be out and about.

An Evening Dawdle