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…

Arnside viaduct P1151101

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.

Roe Deer

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

Leaning Against Another Wall

On Sunday after more mineral wool fun, TBH and I found ourselves with time on our hands and no kids to fend for (the in-laws having once again stepped into the breach). We enjoyed a peaceful walk for a leisurely lunch at the Wolfhouse House Gallery. Odd to walk past the pond at Woodwell without pausing to fish for algae with big sticks. And to saunter around the gallery taking a proper look at the art and craft on display without the distraction of worrying about the potential for breakages at toddler level. Our return route was more circuitous, taking in Jenny Brown’s Point and Jack Scout. In Fleagarth Wood anemones were flowering.

Later I was out again, on my own, in the last of the light. As I walked down the road to the Cove I could hear the tide coming in before I saw it. One of the quirks of the current channels in the bay is that a finger of water runs up the reclamation scheme wall to Jenny Brown’s Point and the turns northward running up the coast, leaving island sandbanks behind it. What I could hear were the crosscurrents and rips of the fast flowing water heading up that channel. On the far bank four oystercatchers watched impassively as several small dark items floated swiftly past on the in-rush.

 

It was darker than this photo suggests, but it is possible to make out some of the turbulence in the channel.

I climbed on to the small cliff-top path and, leaning against the wall, watched twin fingers of water reach out across a large sandbank. The tide was cutting in to the sandbank from both the seaward and the landward sides with fingers which extended and widened with astonishing rapidity. The single sandbank was soon two, both diminishing as I watched. I’ve read that it’s impossible to outpace the tides here on foot. I can well believe it.

Meanwhile the moon, queen of the tides, looked on impassively.

Leaning Against Another Wall

Leaning Against a Wall

After a tiring day spent insulating our loft, TBH and I decided to take a quick stroll and take in some fresh air. Whilst she washed away the irritating residue of mineral wool, I sat on a bench in our garden drinking a cup of tea. She was taking a while, so when the tea was gone, I shuffled down the drive and across the road to lean on a wall and get a view of the changing western sky uninterrupted by houses or trees. The sun, setting whilst I watched, was glazing the sign outside the church with gold…

…and painting the clouds with colour…

 

The wall itself was not without interest…

We did eventually go for our short wander. The moon was already high in the sky to light our way when the sun set.

You’ve seen better pictures of the moon obviously. But I’m astonished that I can get results like this with a relatively cheap hand held camera. What would Galileo and his contemporaries make of it? B is quite moon obsessed – I can see that I shall have to find out about the craters and seas evident here.

Leaning Against a Wall