The Wrong Trousers

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Ward’s Stone from Baines Cragg.

Early in May, we met up with our old friends for a walk, and to celebrate Andy’s birthday. We had the least far to travel, since we were meeting at the Littledale carpark on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, not too far from Lancaster. So, naturally, never knowingly on time for anything, we were the last to arrive. I think the last of Andy’s bacon butties had yet to be washed down with a mug of tea at that point, so we may not have delayed things too much.

Leaving the cars, we started with an easy ascent of Baines Cragg, which, despite many previous visits to this area, I’ve never climbed before – it turned out to be an excellent viewpoint. It’s a shame the skies were so grey – I shall have to go back and have another look when the weather is more clement.

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Bluebells in Cragg Wood
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Crossing Ottergear Bridge, part of the Thirlmere Aqueduct.

Apparently the Thirlmere Aqueduct, which transports water from the Lake District to Manchester, is the longest gravity-fed aqueduct in Britain (source).

The track which crosses Ottergear Bridge was presumably constructed as part of the engineering work related to the aqueduct. It took us to the path which climbs Clougha Pike from the Rigg Lane car park.

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Slow Worm

When we lived on The Row, we used to see Slow Worms in our garden quite often. They seemed to like our compost heaps. B did once find one in our current garden, but that was years ago.

They are thought to be the longest-lived of all lizards; the remarkable age of 54 years has been reliably recorded.

from ‘Fauna Britannica’ by Stefan Buczacki
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Brew/lunch/cake stop number 1.
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Looking over Caton Moor towards Ingleborough.
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Andy Goldsworthy sculpture.
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TBH in one of the sculptures.

Below the sculptures we found a sheltered spot, out of the wind, for our second cake/brew/lunch stop. For me, this was a highlight of the day. The heathery slope was comfortable, the view to the north, if somewhat hazy and grey, was still extensive and, above all else, the company was excellent.

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Ward’s Stone.

Andy had been keen to tick-off Ward’s Stone, but the weather wasn’t great, so we decided to follow this track which looped around Grit Fell and then come back over the top of Grit Fell.

It was along here somewhere that ‘the trouser incident’ occurred. J has a pair of waterproof overtrousers, apparently designed for cross-country skiing, with zips down both the inside and the outside of both legs – making it possible, in theory, to put them on whilst wearing skis. However, with all 4 zips undone, and in a strong wind with driving rain, the trousers had 4 long flapping pieces and even without the encumbrance of skis, try as she might, J couldn’t get them on. It didn’t help that she got the giggles, which turned out to be infectious and soon, whilst TBF and TBH tried to help, the rest of us were doubled-up laughing and making entirely unhelpful suggestions. Eventually, the trousers were tamed, just about in time for the fierce shower to come to an end.

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TBF, J and TBH heading to Grit Fell, Ward’s Stone behind. Hats, gloves, full waterproofs – a wintery May!
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Ingleborough. And showers over The Lune valley.
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On Grit Fell.
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Our descent route.
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Brew stop number 3. It started to rain moments after we sat down.
My phone batteries packed up (temporarily) near the end of the walk – I think it may have been because I let my phone get too wet – hence the gap in the route.

Andy’s account, with a better map, better photos etc is here.

Whose birthday is next?

The Wrong Trousers

Warrendale Knotts

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Above Settle.

The weekend before Christmas, when we would, in normal circumstances, be gathered together for a wet weekend of overeating, anecdote bingo, and maybe a bit of walking. Obviously that couldn’t happen last year. At least we could meet up for a walk. Sadly, the Surfnslide crew were self-isolating and weren’t able to join us.

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Rainbow over Settle. Glad I got that sheet of corrugated iron in the foreground!

We met in Settle with a view to climb Warrendale Knotts. I suggested we divert slightly from our planned itinerary to take a look at Scaleber Force…

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Scaleber Force.

I’d noticed that a small section of woodland here is access land, and that a right-of-way drops down to the bottom of the falls and then abruptly stops.

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The EWO and Scaleber Force.

I think you’ll agree, it was worth a little out-and-back along a minor lane to see it. We found a likely spot, out of the wind, for an early lunch spot, thinking shelter might be at a premium later in the walk. Naturally, once we’d settled down, it began to rain. This seems to have been a recurring theme when we’ve met for walks of late.

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Pendle Hill. Plus more corrugated iron.
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High Hill Lanethat’s High Hill straight ahead.

It brightened up and we had a lovely sunny spell back along High Hill Lane.

But it was soon grey and wet again. It was that sort of day.

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Warrendale Knotts.

The route we took up Warrendale Knotts proved to be ridiculously steep near the top, but it was well worth the effort…

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Attermire Scar from Warrendale Knotts. The distant big hole in the middle of the picture is Victoria Cave.
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On Warrendale Knotts.

We spent quite some time on this modest top. It was very windy, but with the clouds scudding across the views were constantly changing and very dramatic.

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Crepuscular Rays.
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Warrendale Knotts and Attermire Scar. Rye Loaf Hill on the right.
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Pen-y-ghent
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Pen-y-ghent and one of the cairns on Warrendale Knotts. Is that Fountains Fell in the cloud on the right?
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Leaving the top.
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Eventually, we had to move on. In fact, the Cheshire contingent had some pressing engagement and we chose to walk with them, initially at least, and so by-passed Victoria Cave.

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Another view of Pen-y-ghent.

The weather deteriorated again, but the Adopted Yorkshire Woman assured us that she remembered a shelter, or possibly a cave, in the vicinity of Jubilee Cave, which would be kitted out with comfortable benches and provide a pleasant dry spot for another lunch stop. Sadly, it never materialised. Hard words may have been spoken about the vividness of the AYW’s imagination.

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Jubilee Cave.

AT Jubilee Cave, the Cheshire crew left us to take a direct route back to Settle, whilst the remainder of our small party returned to Settle via Winskill and Langcliffe. That’s a very pleasant route, but I didn’t take any more photos, because the rain returned and this time it meant business. We did enjoy a brief dry spell and had a hurried stop in order to drain the dregs from our flasks, but by the time we reached the cars it was chucking it down. A small price to pay for a terrific walk though.

The day before this walk I uninstalled and reinstalled MapMyWalk. It worked, so here’s the resultant map. I think the numbers are kilometres, although the 4 and 6 seem a bit odd?
Warrendale Knotts, not named on the OS 1:50,000 is the trig pillar with a psot height of 440m.

I’ve never climbed Warrendale Knotts before, and I still haven’t been up Rye Loaf Hill. Looking at the map of the Dales, it also occurs to me that I haven’t been up Great Shunner Fell or Buckden Pike or Fountains Fell since the mid-eighties. Which seems criminal given that they’re all relatively close to home. Aside from the Three Peaks area, the closest bit to home, I’ve been neglecting the Dales. I have a lot of exploring to do!

Warrendale Knotts

Not Missing the Point

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Photos from three consecutive weekend’s walks around Jenny Brown’s.

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This first set are a bit odd, because there’s plenty of blue sky over the Bay, but it’s grey inland and the light is very flat.

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Must have been a Sunday morning walk, which is generally when TBH and I chose to have a wander together.

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We finished across the sands, which we didn’t often do, and they weren’t quite as firm and dry as we’d anticipated, but firm enough, fortunately – no quicksand drama to report! Hard to tell in the photos, but the Coniston Fells had a covering of snow.

This photo…

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…on the other hand, was clearly from a late afternoon walk; the warm light is a giveaway.

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I remember this walk well. Unusually, I was on my own, I don’t remember why.

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I finished across the sands again and, even close in shore, being out there on a winter afternoon as the light faded and the lights around The Bay came on, felt quite wild and special.

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Finally, one photo from another rainy walk around the point. On our regular walks we’d watched Quicksand Pool undercut the high far bank of the channel. We’d often hear the clump and splash of a section falling away. It was interesting to see, each week, how the bank and the channel had changed.

Not Missing the Point

November: On the Home Patch

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Sunset from The Cove
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Post sunset light from The Lots

People were going further afield for their daily exercise. I knew this. Every day we drove past the Eaves Wood car park and it was full. I could read about it on blogs. People I met on my walks recounted trips to the Dales and the Lakes.

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Post sunset light from The Lots

And I would be doing the same. Soon, very soon.

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Tree trunk near the mouth of the Kent.

But somehow, I didn’t get around to it.

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Flooded fields from Arnside Knott

I wasn’t particularly worried about what might happen, or any potential consequences.

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Late afternoon skies from Castlebarrow…

I’m a creature of habit. I just seemed to be stuck in a rut of sorts.

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And The Cove.
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Fungi.

Still, there are worse ruts to be in!

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I was still getting out a lot. Frequent visits to The Cove, The Pepper Pot, and around Jenny Brown’s Point, usually with TBH.

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The weather was a bit mixed, to say the least.

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“See that storm over yonder, it’s gonna rain all day.”

This was a memorable walk. The tide was exceptionally high. So much so that we had to turn back and couldn’t get around Jenny Brown’s because the the salt marsh was inundated.

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All of this is usually green!

It was also very windy and squally, with very heavy showers.

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We walked across Quaker’s Stang which was completely exposed to the wind off the sea, and made for very bracing walking.

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The RSPB car park for Allan and Morecambe hides was flooded.
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More fungi.
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Waves (of a fashion) at Jack Scout.
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The lights of Heysham and Morecambe from The Cove.
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Another high tide at Jack Scout.
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The salt marsh when it isn’t underwater! Warton Crag behind.
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Warton Crag again, across Quicksand Pool.
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Jack Scout Rainbow.
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Towering cloud catching late light from The Cove.
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Arnside Prom.

So – I’ve dismissed November with a solitary post again.

What would break my out of my routine? I needed an external stimulus, an intervention you might say…


Here’s something I haven’t done for a while – a tune for the end of the post. I absolute love the interplay of voices on this Levon Helm track….

November: On the Home Patch

October 2020: More Showers, Rainbows, and Big Clouds.

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The view from Castlebarrow.

The title pretty much sums it up. Photos from lots of different local walks, taken during the second half of October. I was aware that some people were beginning to travel a little further afield for their exercise, but somehow my own radius of activity seemed to shrink to local favourite spots not too far from the village.

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Crepuscular rays on the Bay.
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Rainbow over The Lots

This is my mate D and his pug. I often meet him when I’m out for a local walk. I think I’ve mentioned before how much bumping into neighbours whilst out and about has helped during the lockdown in all of it guises.

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The sun dips towards the sea, from Castle Barrow.

I can’t remember exactly when this happened – let’s assume it was October: I bumped into a chap carrying a fair bit of camera gear in Eaves Wood. He asked if he was going the right way to the Pepper Pot. He was. I saw him again on the top. It turned out he’s working on a book, one in a series, about where to take photos from in the North-West. Based in Lancaster, he’d never been to the Pepper Pot before. Funny how that can happen. Cloud had rolled in and the chances of a decent sunset looked a bit poor. I saw him again, a few weeks later, this time he’d set up his camera and tripod a little further West, in a spot I’d suggested. I hope he got his sunset.

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A paper round rainbow. Just prior to a proper drenching.
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TBH in Eaves Wood.
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Among all the changes which Natural England have been carrying out at Gait Barrows – raising the water level, felling trees, removing fences, putting up new fences in other places etc, they’ve also renovated this old summer house by Hawes Water. Presently, it’s still locked, but eventually it will be an information centre and a vantage point to look out over the lake.
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Around this time, TBH started to take a regular weekend walk together around Jenny Brown’s Point. It was interesting to watch the channel from Quicksand Pool change each week and to contrast the weather and the tides each week.
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Traveller’s Joy by Jenny Brown’s Point.
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From Castlebarrow, heavy showers tracking in from The Bay.
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Late sun from Castlebarrow again.
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The lights of Grange from The Cove.
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Sunrise from our garden.
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TBH by the Pepper Pot on Castlebarrow.
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Post sunset from Castlebarrow.
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The last of the light from The Cove.
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Silverdale Moss from the rim of Middlebarrow Quarry. It had just finished raining, or was just about to rain, or probably both.
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Autumnal birches with a rainbow behind.
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The Shelter Stone Trowbarrow Quarry.
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Leighton Moss from Myer’s Allotment.
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The Copper Smelting Works Chimney near Jenny Brown’s and more heavy showers.
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Jenny Brown’s Cottages.
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The Bay from The Cove on a very grey day!
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Cows in the rain.

The brown cow at the back here is a bull. I’d walked through the fields on Heald Brow where they were grazing a few times and he’d never batted an eyelid. But on this day he and a few of his harem where stationed in a gateway. I was considering my options and wondering whether to turn back, but when I got within about 50 yards the bull suddenly started to run. At quite a canter. Fortunately, it was away from me and not towards – he was obviously even more of a wuss than me!

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A White-lipped Snail – the rain isn’t universally disliked.
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Clougha across the Bay.
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Little Egret.
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The yellow feet are a good distinguishing feature.
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Picnic lunch – apple, mushroom soup and a selection of cheeses.

I decided that the best way to make the most of sometimes limited windows at weekends was to head out in the middle of the day and to eat somewhere on my walk. This bench overlooking the Kent Estuary was a particular favourite. Haven’t been there for a while now – must rectify that.

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The tide had heaped up fallen leaves in a long sinuous line.
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Scot’s Pines on Arnside Knott.
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Birches on Arnside Knott.
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Whitbarrow from Arnside Knott.
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River Kent from Arnside Knott.
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A flooded Silverdale Moss from Arnside Knott. Ingleborough in the background
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Arnside Tower.
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Clouds catching late light.
October 2020: More Showers, Rainbows, and Big Clouds.

October 2020: Rainbow Days

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If you click on this image and then zoom in, you’ll see that the Howgill Fells had a dusting of snow.

Last year, when I got behind with the blog, I dealt with the previous October with a single brief post. Not this time. Last October deserves at least 2 posts.

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Eaves Wood

So, what did I get up to last October? Well, I certainly got out for a lot of walks; almost exclusively from home. I took a lot of photos, generally of cloudy skies, often with a rainbow thrown in for good measure.

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My brolly became my constant companion and my favourite bit of walking kit. It was windy too mind, and my umbrella was turned inside out on a couple of occasions. Which trauma it seems to have survived without any noticeable loss of function.

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Challan Hall and double rainbow.

B took over A’s Saturday morning paper-round, then offered to stand in on Sundays too for his friend E, at which point an ongoing knee problem flared up leaving him unable to walk, requiring surgery and a lengthy convalescence, so muggins ended up doing both rounds. At least I got an early walk in at the weekends. And often an early soaking. I was initially at bit slow finding all of the houses on the rounds, so much so that, on one occasion, the Newsagent sent out search parties. I think I was eventually forgiven – she took pity on me after seeing me doing my drowned rat impression so often.

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Hawes Water and rainbow.
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Eaves Wood from by Hagg Wood.
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The Bay looking moody.
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Sunset from near Hagg Wood.
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Rennie’s Aqueduct, taking the Lancaster Canal over the River Lune. Why was I in Lancaster? I can’t recall.
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Early mist rising off Hawes Water.
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Clearly, it wasn’t always cloudy.
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This has become a bit of a new favourite view, with the Lakeland Fells seen over the woods of Gait Barrows.
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In Eaves Wood.
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Ruskin’s View.

Rugby training, without contact, resumed for B, until the knee injury put a stop to that, which is why I was in Kirkby Lonsdale.

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Fungi intent in taking over a Luneside park in Kirkby.
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Looking toward the distant Howgills.
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Usually when I take photos of Roe Deer in the garden, I use my camera’s zoom to bring them closer. This was taken on my phone, since I hadn’t realised that the deer were there. They eventually hopped over the fence, but were unusually nonchalant about my presence.
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October 2020: Rainbow Days

September Colour.

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Evening Primrose.

The day after my Arnside Knott walk was another cracker. I was out three times, twice around home and also for a short stroll in Kirkby Lonsdale whilst B was at rugby training.

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Creeping Thistle.

I was revelling in the abundance and variety of the wildflowers on my home patch after the relative dearth beneath the trees in the Tarn Gorge. I took a huge number of photos, of which just a small selection have been chosen for this post.

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Yarrow and Oxeye Daisy.
Hoverfly.
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Nipplewort.

Nipplewort is a tall straggly weed, without, at first glance, a great deal to offer, but the small flowers are well worth a closer look.

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Grange from the Cove.
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River Lune from Ruskin’s View in Kirkby Lonsdale.
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Market Cross, Kirkby Lonsdale.
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St. Mary’s Church, Kirkby Lonsdale.
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Hoverfly.
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Common Darter.
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Guelder Rose berries.
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Common Darter (on, I think, Marsh Thistle).
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Yet another Common Darter.
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More Guelder Rose berries.
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A shower out over the Bay, taken on a midweek, post-work walk.
September Colour.

Rain?

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And then, towards the end of April, a funny thing happened. It rained. Outrageous! We’re just not used to that here in Sunny Silverdale.

Not that it rained much. And Woodwell pond, which had been in danger of drying out, needed it. As did all the other flora and fauna, no doubt.

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Early purple orchid.

The orchids on the lots looked good after a wash and brush up.

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And another.

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Green-winged orchid.

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Horseshoe vetch above the Cove.

Much as I’m enjoying the sunshine, everything is looking more than a bit scorched and we could do with some more of that rain. Preferably overnight! (Not that I’m greedy or anything).


Rain?

Allt Coire Thoraidh – Cry Me a River

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Eas Urchaidh waterfall on the River Orchy.

Early March, time for our annual get together in the Highlands. This started many years ago as a ‘boys’ weekend, to get as many of us as possible on one place to meet an old friend who was visiting from Denmark. He still comes over from Denmark for the weekend, but we long since abandoned the idea of it being a for ‘boys’ only, so the group has, if anything, swelled over the years. In addition, as our kids have grown up, this has been a good opportunity to introduce them to the delights of winter hill-walking. This year we were joined by A and her friend, the Tower Captain’s daughter S. Imperative then, that we had some decent weather so as not to put them off.

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Eas Urchaidh waterfall on the River Orchy.

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Eas Urchaidh video – click on the image to open it and play it on flickr

Unfortunately, on the Saturday, we had one of the wettest days I can remember. We tried to get out for a walk – thinking that staying down in the forestry might be a good idea. We’d spotted a Caledonian Forest Reserve in Coire Thoraidh and thought we would go and have a look, then continue up to Lochan Coire Thoraidh and possibly down the other side beyond the Lochan.

But it really was chucking it down. The Allt Broighleachan was a raging torrent, which I didn’t recall from our previous visit to these woods. We crossed a slightly awkward ford and had just reached the reserve when we encountered…

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Ford (!) through Allt Coire Thoraidh.

…a ford too far!

I seem to remember that there was some discussion of ‘practising river-crossings’ in threes, or some such lunacy. Andy went off to look for somewhere to jump across.

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Drowned Rats.

But ultimately, sense prevailed, and we turned back.

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Allt Coire Thoraidh ford video.

Watch to the end to see how put-out Andy was by the situation. Doesn’t seem too bothered does he?

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Waterfall – Allt Broighleachan.

When we retraced our steps it was to find that the ford we had already crossed had become more of an extended pool and were forced to divert across a very wet boggy area, guaranteeing wet feet for all.

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Waterfall – Allt Broighleachan – video.

After we got back and hung up all of our drenched gear to dry, it actually briefly stopped raining. It didn’t last too long, but it was sufficient to entice me out again, for a wander towards Inverveigh.

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River Orchy at Bridge of Orchy – looking north.

The map shows another ford there, so I ought to have known how that outing would end.

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River Orchy at Bridge of Orchy – looking south.

I didn’t get far, but the views of the river were worth it.

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River Orchy

Later, the girls played Ticket to Ride in their room, whilst the Tower Captain and I watched England beat Wales at Twickenham on the little telly in ours. Then to the bar where we were staying, the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, for a slap up meal, a few bevvies and the usual mix of silliness, rehashed stories, daft gags and such like.

Not a bad day, considering.

Andy’s account of the day is here.

My own account of our previous visit, when both the river and the waterfalls at the top of this post were frozen over and we climbed Beinn Mhic Mhondaidh in testing conditions, is here.

Now,  a tune in different guises:

I’m presuming that everybody knows the original Julie London version. I’m very fond of that. There’s a great version by Dinah Washington too. The song was originally written for Ella Fitzgerald, but she didn’t actually record it until well after it had already been a hit. Unusually, I’m not overly-struck by her take on the tune. Too lush an arrangement, I think. Having said that, I really love this live rendition, which throws in everything but the kitchen sink and couldn’t be further from the spare, melancholy original…

It’s my favourite tune from Joe Cocker’s brilliant live album ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’.

Allt Coire Thoraidh – Cry Me a River

Baby Drivers

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Once the Red Rose camp was over, we headed down to Lincolnshire to visit my Mum and Dad for a couple of days. On our first day there, TBH, A and my Mum went into Lincoln to watch the second Mamma Mia film, Mamma Mia Money, Money, Money*. The DBs and I weren’t so keen. I think it was my Dad who suggested that we go karting, partly because the boys had enjoyed it so much when they tried it in the spring, and partly because I missed out on that occasion and the DBs were eager to show me how much faster than me they could drive.

There were quite a few karting tracks to choose from, but once we’d surveyed the options, we all favoured ELK Motorsport near Newark. It was the 1.2km course which enticed us…

I’ve filched this overhead shot from their website. I hope they won’t mind: I only have nice things to say about the experience. It was terrific, especially since the boys weren’t faster than me after all, although it was a close run thing. Places were allocated on the basis of a fastest lap; mine was just under a minute, which, with a bit of simple arithmetic, translates into an average speed of about 45mph. Not bad, I thought, what with all those tight hairpins, but then I noticed that times posted earlier in the day went as low as 47 seconds for a lap. More practice required, obviously.

The weather was very changeable and the squally showers made for exciting racing conditions. It’s surprisingly easy to spin a kart, I found, as you brake into, or accelerate out of, a corner.

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The rest of the photos, taken on my phone, originate from a walk I took after our karting trip. I’d had it all planned out: Dad would drop me off on our way home and I would walk back to their house. In the end, I can’t remember why, I elected not to do that, but to walk after we got back instead. It’s likely that the weather was a factor.

So, I walked from Welton, to Dunholme – the two villages have merged – and hence to the Ashing Lane Nature Reserve. Despite the photos, I actually had glorious sunshine, but I could see this ominous block of very dark cloud which was clearly heading my way and equally clearly dumping a lot of rain not too far from where I was walking.

To my relief, the cloud eventually brought rainbows rather than rain…

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Aside from a few odd drops, I had a lucky escape.

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Lincolnshire is famously flat, and whilst that isn’t the whole story, there are large parts of the maps of the county which aren’t overburdened with contours.

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Which makes for fantastic views when the skies are dramatic…

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This…

Seems apposite, plus it’s a cracking tune.

*Or was it ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’?

Baby Drivers