Lanefoot Farm Weekend II

After faffing about on the campsite for most of Sunday morning we set off for a short drive down the Newlands valley. Unfortunately, we timed it so that we hit the early stages of the Keswick half marathon. It’s not so many years ago that I ran this race myself, although I’m sure that it wasn’t staged on a bank holiday weekend then. I do remember that the amount of traffic on the narrow roads rather spoiled what should have been an excellent run.

Sam was asleep when we arrived at our parking spot so while the rest of the party embarked across the Newlands valley, I sat in the car with him and listened to the radio. When he woke up we crossed Newlands Beck:

And soon found the rest of the party having their lunch on the slopes of Cat Bells.

The weather was quite odd with sunshine, but also drops of rain in the air. From our picnic stop it was a short walk…

To Hawes End on Derwent Water – a top spot for throwing stones into the lake:

Having a run around:

Or a natter with your Dad:

At Hawes End we caught on of the scheduled launches that circuit the lake. The front of the boat was open and the very front seats were empty. Naturally the kids were very excited and made a beeline for those seats. Nobody thought to warn us why they were empty. Out on the Lake it was windy and choppy and as we hit the wake of another boat a huge wave crashed over the bows and into our laps. On the first leg of the journey we just about managed take it in our strides and laugh off the discomfort, but after picking-up more passengers at Nichol End the waves were bigger and more frequent. The boat was packed and there was no real way to get the kids out of the way of a proper drenching. Some of them were very wet and cold, and Ben in particular was upset, but kids are remarkably resilient and once we were off the boat they were soon racing around the shore and swinging on a barrier.

In Keswick we had a bit of a wander around a park and a quick stop for a snack.

Captions are invited for this photo, my own thoughts were either:

I thought that you had the meths!

Or, perhaps Jane is thinking:

I never was in favour of Care in the Community

Not all of my friends are scruffy, just the oldest and closest ones.

After several hours of trying it finally began to rain in earnest. We boarded another launch to complete our trip around the lake, but this time got seats inside. The rest of the trip was fun, but as we approached Hawes End the rain showed no sign of abating. Angela, Jane and Matt disappeared to fetch the cars and Andy and I were left to try to maintain the spirits of the flagging children. Ben had slept on my lap around the lake, and not surprisingly didn’t appreciate being woken up to be taken out into the rain. I ended up carrying him up the hill to the road. There was a bit of a mix up with the cars but on the whole the children did very well despite the cold and wet and my rendition of several verses of If you’re miserable and you know it. I did bribe them with chocolate biscuits. And a cuckoo serenaded us whilst we waited – the first that I can remember hearing for quite some time. Given recent gloomy reports about the dwindling numbers of migrating birds it was nice to have the opportunity to hear it, even in the pouring rain.

We arrived back at the campsite to see a short-lived but stunning rainbow over Skiddaw and from that point the sky began to clear in preparation for a glorious day on Monday…

Lanefoot Farm Weekend II

Free Enjoyment

This book, then – apart from being meant for amusement – is merely intended to illustrate how much free enjoyment anyone can derive from simply keeping his or her eyes open in going about normal daily affairs.

Richard Adams – from the Introduction to A Nature Diary

How’s that for a manifesto?

He goes on to mention stars, birds and wildflowers as things that anyone could spot and identify with the aid of a suitable field guide. You might add clouds, fungi, trees…… Or even shopping trolleys and city-limit signs.

To be honest, even with the aid of a field guide I’m a pretty limited amateur naturalist. But I don’t mind. The thing is that it’s not the identifying that’s important, but the close attention required in order to make an attempt. By being aware of our environment we allow the possibility for the familiar to surprise us, for the local to become exotic.

I was out after work again tonight. Into Eaves Wood, up and down to the Pepperpot. Direct there, meandering back. Once again I had Sam in the backpack. Today what drew my attention was bark.

So – which kind of tree?


This last is another beech – it’s on a favourite path of mine and I always notice the contrast of the bark, lichen and moss when I pass it.

Finally, one for the family – my walking companion:


Looking red-nosed after a 40 minute turn in the woods. (He slept through most of it.)


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Free Enjoyment