The Bay and the Kent.

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Gratuitous picture of homemade bread. Made with malted bread flour because that was all I managed to buy, and lucky to get that I think. I’ve decided that I prefer bread with at least some malted flour in it.

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Looking back to Silverdale.

A sunny but windy day: on the sands it was cool; in the trees, with a little shelter, quite warm.

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The long ridge of Heathwaite and Arnside Knott.

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Know point and Clougha Pike beyond. I was following the tide line, but in the opposite direction.

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The channel and Humphrey Head beyond.

I felt sure that, the water levels having dropped due to the prolonged dry weather, I would be able to find a place to cross the stream, but it was always a little bit too wide and a bit too deep for me to even contemplate trying.

So I followed it back towards the shore and Arnside Knott…

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When I reached the shore I discovered the source of the water, a deceptively small spring…

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…carving its way through the sand. Not sure how I missed it before.

I noticed the where the sands had been dry for the longest, on the highest ground, it had begun to acquire a greyish crust…

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I followed the thin strip of sand between the cliffs and the channel again, heading for Park Point. The dropping water level had exposed a muddy island in the channel which was popular with red shanks…

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Rounding Park Point.

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A dog whelk shell?

On my previous wander this way I had watched a runner make a beeline for Grange. At the moment, the River Kent swings away from the Arnside shore and curves seemingly almost to Grange. I didn’t want to go quite that far, but I set off from Park Point towards the river, weaving a little to check out any obvious shapes on the sand, which usually turned out to be driftwood…

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Looking back to Park Point.

I haven’t been out into this part of the estuary before and, although more enclosed than the bay itself, I was surprised by how vast it felt…

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Eventually, I reached a slight dip, beyond which the going looked very wet and muddy…

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River Kent and Meathop Fell.

I turned and followed the edge towards Arnside…

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A skeletal flounder perhaps – know locally as fluke?

I’d originally intended to return home via the Knott, but I’d spent so long on the sands that it was now getting on in the afternoon and I wanted to get home to cook tea. I thought I knew a spot where I could access the cliff-top path and was very chuffed to hit the right place, where a break in the cliffs gives access, at the first attempt.

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The shingle beach at White Creek, much like the one at the Cove, is still liberally covered with the flotsam washed up by this winter’s Atlantic storms.

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Peacock butterfly.

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Pied wagtail.

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White Creek.

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I think that these are emerging leaves of lily-of-the-valley.

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Having followed the cliffs for a while, I dropped back down to the beach and returned to the village on the sands again.

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Another dead flatfish. I’ve often wondered how they cope with the huge tidal range in the bay. I know that a lot of them end up in the river channel, because I’ve watched people fishing for them barefoot at Arnside. There are some many fish that it’s efficient to plodge about until you stand on a fish, then you simply bend over and grab them and chuck them to an accomplice on the river bank.

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Approaching the Cove.


The Bay and the Kent.

Too Far?

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Notices like this went up around the village in the early days of the virus. With the twenty-twenty vision which hindsight provides, and in light of the clarification subsequently issued to police forces, it’s easy to see that the notice is not entirely correct. But it’s not my intention to criticise: the Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Watch were simply doing their best to interpret instructions which were clear in their intent but completely lacking in detail. To some extent, we’ve all had to make our own decisions about exactly what constitutes ‘staying at home’, when, in fact, we don’t actually have to stay at home all the time.

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Whelk Eggs.

Apparently, my Dad tells me, one of my second cousins was stopped by the police, only this week, and told that cycling isn’t exercise and that he should go home.

It’s not only the police who have at times been over-zealous however, and there seems to be quite an inclination, in conversation and online, to find fault with other people’s choices. Usually, online at least, swiftly followed by a second wave of condemnation heaped on the whoever dared to criticise and so on.

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The ‘other’ Holgates caravan park at Far Arnside – it looks far bigger from the Bay than it does when you walk through it.

There’s been quite a bit of discussion, in local Faceache forums, about whether it’s acceptable or not to cross Parish Boundaries whilst exercising. Some of it, it’s fair to say, was tongue-in-cheek, but I think it at least echoed the kind of conversations many people have been having.

So, it’s possible that on this walk, and I suppose on a handful of others, I went a little too far?

Initially I walked out into the bay until some dark lines off to my right attracted my attention and I turned in that direction. They turned out to be the far bank of a broad channel…

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Morecambe Bay – the tiny dots on the horizon are Heysham Nuclear Power Plant.

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I turned and followed the edge of the channel back towards the shore north of Far Arnside.

Eventually, I was forced to deviate somewhat in order to cross a meandering side-stream..

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Shelducks and Mallards. Grange-over-Sands promenade behind.

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Closer to shore the channel held a lot more water and was evidently quite deep.

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The bank was crumbling and clearly unstable.

Although the channel eventually ran quite close to the cliffs, it was still possible to keep following it round towards Arnside.

I was a bit nonplussed when I rounded Park Point and saw that the channel simply petered out…

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From this point there’s always a view of part of the Eastern Fells of the Lakes. You’ll struggle to see it in the photo above, but I thought I could pick out some remnants of snow up there. Fortunately, with the magic of the superzoom….

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I could confirm my suspicion.

I keep changing my mind about which hills are visible from Park Point, but my current thinking is that this looks like a view of Fairfield and the western half of the horseshoe.

Just around the point, I was struck by the sudden profusion of shells…

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Cockle shell.

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Mussel shell.

I assume that it’s to do with how the tides flow around the point, perhaps creating eddies or a lull and hence causing shells carried by the currents to be deposited.

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I followed the estuary up towards Arnside.

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Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

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A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.

Not a great photo, I know. They were on the far side of the river. But I’m never entirely confident about the difference between Mergansers and Goosanders, so I’m hoping that, if I make some brief notes here, then the details might stick for future reference. That often seems to work.

The male Merganser, on the right, has a wispy crest, a white neck-band and an orange-brown breast. The female is quite dark, with no clear delineation between the plumage on her head and neck.

Here’s a pair of Goosanders which I watched as they fished just a little further upriver.

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The male doesn’t have the crest, has a white breast and far more white generally. The female has a very obvious dividing line between the colours of her neck and head.

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Lesser Black-backed Gull, who was every bit as interested in the Goosanders as I was. Whilst I’m making notes – the yellow legs distinguish this from  a Great Black-backed Gull.

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Female Goosander.

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Male Goosander.

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Pigeon.

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Scurvy-grass. Packed with vitamin C apparently.

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Train crossing the viaduct – I couldn’t tell whether it had any passengers or not.

In Arnside I stuck to the edge of the estuary, rather than walking along the Prom. I couldn’t avoid a short road-walk and passing through the railway station however and if I transgressed then I suppose this is where, not that I was ever closer than the stipulated two metres away from any residents of Arnside.

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It looked like the old bridge had been closed off for repairs and replaced with a temporary, scaffolding bridge…

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Which was high enough to give a good view along the Kent Estuary…

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I walked along the old rail embankment which borders the estuary here, eventually turning off to cross Arnside Moss and then follow Black Dyke and the railway line back towards Eaves Wood.

In the fields by Black Dyke which were flooded for several weeks in the winter, there was a fair assembly of Shelduck, Lapwings, Canada geese, Greylag geese, and Herons, almost as if all of these waterfowl were loyal to the erstwhile lake even now that it had drained away.

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Hart’s Tongue Fern.

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New leaves emerging.

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Willow catkins – with, I think, a honey bee, thoroughly dusted in yellow pollen.

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Ginger thorax, black abdomen, white tail: a Tree Bumblebee. A species which is a comparatively recent arrival in Britain.

I’d been thinking that it was about time that I saw some Coltsfoot flowering, and sure enough, there it was beneath the willows.

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A different willow catkin, or possibly the same species at an earlier stage – but I’m inclined to the former. Willows are a tad confusing.

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A section of Eaves Wood, where most of the trees had been felled, was resplendent with Primroses, which is, I think, exactly the point – flowers of this sort, which seem to prefer open woodland, violets, primroses etc are important food-plants for various butterflies, some of them rare.

And so, a tune: it has to be Little Richard. A has been practising a dance to ‘Long Tall Sally’ and who can resist that? Or ‘Tutti Frutti’ and it’s opening ‘a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom’, a vocalisation, apparently, of the driving drum beat which Richard wanted for the song. However, I’ve gone for something a bit less obvious, which you might not have heard before, Freedom Blues:

Too Far?

Zest

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An early start in Eaves Wood. All the photos are from the third of January.

When I started blogging, back in 2008, I anticipated that I would be principally keeping a record of  local walks. I’ve branched out since and many posts have covered walks a bit further afield as well has family holidays, and occasional detours into recipes, card games, museums and whatever else takes my fancy, but in 2020, more so than in the intervening years, my walking has mostly been from my doorstep.

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Later in the day, Arnside Knott from near Hollins Farm.

We are lucky to have a host of walks to enjoy in the area and quite a diversity of habitats with woods, wetlands, meadows and low limestone hills. Most of the paths have become very familiar over the years, so you can expect lots more posts featuring well-worn images of Hawes Water, Eaves Wood, Arnside Knott etcetera, I’m afraid. Often though, there are new things to notice, or seasonal changes to note, and even if all else fails, then the skies are ever-changing and sometimes even dramatic…

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“The more things a man is interested in, the more opportunities of happiness he has, and the less he is at the mercy of fate, since if he loses one thing he can fall back upon another. Life is too short to be interested in everything, but it is good to be interested in as many things as are necessary to fill our days.”

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Grange from the cliff-path.

“It is quite impossible to guess in advance what will interest a man, but most men are capable of a keen interest in something or other, and when once such an interest has been aroused their life becomes free from tedium. Very specialised interests are, however, a less satisfactory source of happiness than a general zest for life, since they can hardly fill the whole of a man’s time, and there is always the danger that he may come to know all there is to know about the particular matter that has become his hobby.”

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And again from down on the sands.

“Young children are interested in everything that they see and hear; the world is full of surprises to them, and they are perpetually engaged with ardour in the pursuit of knowledge, not, of course, of scholastic knowledge, but of the sort that consists in acquiring familiarity with the objects that attract their attention.”

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Heathwaite.

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Looking South down the coast.

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Silver Birch on Arnside Knott.

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Kent Estuary and Whitbarrow Scar catching the sun.

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Looking towards Silverdale Moss.

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Arnside Tower.

Zest

Out to Lunch

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Here’s TBH on the cliff path round to Arnside, on one of our favourite outings: round the coast to Arnside, lunch in a cafe and then back over the Knott.

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I never fail to take a photo when we reach Park Point, turn the corner into the estuary and a whole new vista opens up.

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This was a very high tide, the stream at New Barns is not usually this full.

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A similar trip featured in my October post, but I couldn’t remember where we’d had lunch. Or rather: I could remember eating at the Wagtail and at the Jazz Cafe, but not which had been in October and which in December. Both meals, incidentally, were outstanding. Looking at the photos, I can tell that this December trip was the time we patronised the Wagtail, because when we remerged on the front, the weather had deteriorated somewhat.

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Not so much that were deterred  from climbing the Knott to take in some snowy views.

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A walk like this and a lunch is something we would normally fit in at some time over Easter, and although we are hardly suffering here, I shall certainly miss it.

Out to Lunch

September

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Big skies over Eaves Wood.

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Autumn Lady’s Tresses on the Lots.

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Swallows, gathering to leave.

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Sunset, rivers Kent and Bela, Whitbarrow Scar.

The last photo is from a standard, short circuit I walk, when it’s light, after I’ve dropped A off for a ballet lesson in Milnthorpe. The others from Sunday afternoon walks after following on from morning Rugby duties. On one of those Sundays, B had played for Carlisle against three other teams, including his own, because Carlisle had arrived for the mini tournament short of players after a bug had decimated their ranks. He enjoyed it enormously, because the Carlisle players were so friendly and welcoming. Aside from that, I can’t tell you much about those walks, because I don’t remember.

Maybe I’m in the September of my years?

I find the more familiar versions of this Weil-Anderson standard a bit pedestrian. Trust Mr Brown to pep it up.

September

Kent Bore

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Not me, I hope! Although this is yet another account of one of our favourite walks – around the coast to Arnside for lunch and back over the Knott.

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Grange-over-Sands.

As you can see, the tide was well out as we turned the corner into the Kent estuary.

It being Easter Monday, Arnside was extremely busy. We’d hoped to dine in the Wagtail cafe again, but all the tables were taken (it’s not a big place). Fortunately, we could fall back on the excellent Bake House instead and buy pies and pasties to eat on the benches on the small quay.

We’d already heard the Coastguard hooter sound to warn of the tide coming in. Just as we’d settled down with our pies, here it was…

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I think I’m right in saying that the Kent tidal bore is the second biggest in the UK, after the Severn bore, which is one of the largest in the world.

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It’s quite a while since I’ve been in Arnside at the right time to witness it. Sometimes, when the tidal range is particularly large, there can be many kayakers surfing the bore. On this occasion, there were just two paddle-boarders.

I have to confess that it looks a bit tame in a photo, but the rapidity with which the tide arrives is something to behold.

I think the Surfnslide crew missed the show, being still embroiled in the business of purchasing lunch in the thronged bakery. I guess they’ll have to visit again!

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Pie time! I’m not sure why TBH is pulling a face, she really likes the vegan pie from the bakery.

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Meanwhile, Andy liked his pie so much that he decided to wear it!

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Kent Estuary.

There followed a rather hot and wearisome interlude whilst I dragged everyone on a diversion to Plantation Avenue to check the number of my old house, because I couldn’t remember and we needed to know (for boring quotidian reasons).

Some of the party (well, the rest of my family) then decided that it was too hot and too much like hard work to climb Arnside Knott (I think there may have been work to do to prepare for the following days return to school too).

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Looking south from Arnside Knott: Arnside Tower Farm, Arnside Tower, Middlebarrow, Warton Crag and (just about) the Forest of Bowland hills.

The rest of us arrived on the top with perfect timing to see the part-timers heading down the drive of Arnside Tower Farm…

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We shouted them, but to no avail. So we left them to it and headed on to the trig pillar to admire the slightly hazy view to the north…

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It was a fine way to finish both an excellent fortnight off work and a really enjoyable Easter weekend.

And I almost forgot to mention that the Jones clan arrived this time very generously laden with gifts. A stove and a game and very probably other things which I have ungraciously forgotten. More about those to come…

Anyway, it’s always great to see them, with or without gifts, and fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too long before our next meeting…

(Two teasers in one post, I really know how to ramp up the tension! However, I have another great weekend to record before I get to either of those…)

(That’s three teasers! And I haven’t even mentioned the Redpolls…Or the Hare…)

(That’s five teasers. Blimey, I’m still way behind!)

Kent Bore

Around the Coast Again.

Elmslack – Middlebarrow Plain – Holgates – Far Arnside – Park Point – Arnside Point – White Creek – New Barns – Kent Estuary – Arnside Promenade – Redhills Wood – Arnside Knott Wood – Arnside Tower – Holgates – Middlebarrow Plain – Elmslack.

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Monday had brought clear skies and sunshine, Tuesday strong and chilling winds and dark clouds, Wednesday was more of a mixed bag with some cloud, but some sunshine too. Good walking weather in fact.

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Essentially the same view as the first photo, but this one was taken with my phone rather than my camera. The drama is definitely ramped up a bit here, although the first photo is a closer representation of what I could actually see. Frankly, I can’t decide which one I prefer.

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We were joined for our walk around the coast by our good friends from the village Beaver B and G and their kids.

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I was really enjoying the contrast between the dark clouds and the shafts of sunlight lighting up the waters of the bay. I think Little S was impressed too, he slipped down the cliffs somewhere (I try not to worry too much about the kids little diversions like this, they usually seem to emerge unscathed somehow) and then sat down on the shingle to drink it all in…

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Grange-over-Sands in the sunshine.

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Beaver B on the clifftop path.

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I was very taken by this little memorial by the path, commemorating one Edgar W. Crabtree; presumably he too loved this coastal walk.

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We stopped at the Bob Inn at New Barns for tea and coffee and such like. There’s a children’s playground, but most of our kids are getting a bit too old and sophisticated for that to divert them for too long.

I was impressed by a number of painted slates hanging on the cafe’s exterior walls…

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Here’s the details in case you’re interested…

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Grubbins Wood and the Kent from New Barns.

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Approaching Arnside.

We split into two factions in Arnside, some eating in the Pie Shop, or the Old Bakery as the proprietors seem to prefer, and some at the chippy. I was well prepared and had some soup in a flask. I think it might have been quite late by the time we’d finished our various meals, so we took a fairly direct route home. Around the coast is always a good day out, especially in good company, and this was no exception.

Around the Coast Again.

White Coats

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Back at home, I redecorated the kitchen. Again. In white. I have a mania for repainting white walls in white. Still, that’s that job done and forgotten about for………at least a month or two. It wasn’t all bad – whilst I was painting, we had several visits from Roe Deer – of which more to follow. I also listened to a great deal of Radio 6 and have become quite addicted to being reminded of great songs I haven’t heard for years, or, better yet, hearing great songs I’ve never heard before.

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I also got out for occasional strolls from time to time. This day brought two walks – both organised around errands.

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TBH and I walked over to the Silver Sapling Campsite to search for TBH’s missing (new) glasses in amongst all the tents which were drying out from their ordeal at the Red Rose Jamboree.

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It was a fruitless search, but there were lots of Common Darters about, so not a complete waste of time.

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Later I was in Arnside. I think A must have had a piano lesson. I strolled along the promenade…

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…admiring this chap’s kite-surfing skills.

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I must admit, it looked like great fun.

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He had a small audience and was definitely playing to the crowd, leaping up and using the kite to briefly, but spectacularly, fly through the air. Very clever. I bet his kitchen walls are not a pristine white like ours though.

This is one of those tunes which I would have missed, but for my new found enthusiasm for Radio 6. It seems apposite, or at least the title does. Doesn’t Baxter Dury sound like his dad here?

White Coats

Watch Me Now

Far Arnside – Park Point – White Creek – Blackstone Point – New Barns – Arnside – Arnside Moss – Black Dyke – Far Waterslack – Waterslack – The Row – Hagg Wood

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House Sparrow

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Newly-laid hedge by Townsfield.

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Primroses on the bank on Cove Road.

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Hazel Catkins.

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Marsh Tit.

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Daffodils in the woods near Far Arnside.

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Green hellebore in amongst the daffs.

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Grange and Hampsfell.

The tide was well out, the mud unusually firm, so I did something I don’t often do and walked away from the shore on a beeline for Hampsfell on the far side of the Kent, only turning inland again as the sand started to drop towards the river channel.

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Park Point.

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Redshank.

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Arnside Knott from New Barns.

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I had what I am now beginning to think of as my Birding Camera with me and wasn’t using my phone for once. Along the estuary I had some fun photographing a Cormorant which was fishing, a number of Redshanks, a Corvid, probably a Crow, which was tussling with what looked like a plastic bag half-embedded in the far bank of the river, and nearby another Crow vigorously bathing in the shallow margin of the river.

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I know that birds bathe, we have a birdbath sited just beyond the window I’m currently sat beside and I’ve often watched Blackbirds dipping into it, but this seemed a little more out of the ordinary.

The camera helped me to identify a pair of Goosanders which were fishing in the channel…

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Here, the male, on the right, has caught a small flatfish.

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Whitbarrow Scar, the Kent, the viaduct.

On the wall of a small, abandoned quarry close to Arnside I noticed some heather flowering…

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It’s the wrong time of year for our native heathers, but the heathers in our garden are flowering too so I guess this is an interloper.

I’m still feeling the after-affects of the virus which laid me low last week, so I chose to follow the Kent for a while beyond Arnside, and then by cutting back across Arnside Moss and following the field path beside Black Dyke managed to almost completely avoid the need to struggle uphill.

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In the woods near Middlebarrow Quarry a pigeon-sized bird ghosted past my shoulder, swooped low and then banked steeply to land noiselessly on a branch ahead of me. This was no wood pigeon however, a bird incapable of doing anything silently.

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I think that this is another female Sparrowhawk, although, as ever, I stand ready to be corrected.

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Silverdale Moss.

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Trees near Hagg Wood.

This photo…

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…was taken several days before any of the others in this post. We’ve had Roe Deer in the garden again a few times recently. On this occasion there were, briefly, four of them, despite the fact that Roe Der are often reported to be solitary creatures. All males I think. I wanted to include the picture because it shows how furry this buck’s new antlers are. It looks as if he had spotted me. Certainly, just after I took this photo, he bounded over the hedge into our neighbour’s garden.

I’m reading ‘I Put A Spell On You’ by John Burnside at the moment. It’s a very unusual book, which I think I bought solely because of the title and it’s reference to the Screaming Jay Hawkins song, which I’m more familiar with in the versions by Nina Simone and especially Creedence Clearwater Revival. I don’t know, in honesty, quite what to make of the book, but I couldn’t help but mentally underline this passage…

“…it comes to me that, at moments like this, yes, but also in some far off place at the back of my head, I am, in some modest and ineffable way, supremely happy. Or perhaps not happy so much as given to fleeting moments of good fortune, the god-in-the-details sense of being obliged and permitted to inhabit a persistently surprising and mysterious world.”

So perhaps this post’s title should have come from that passage, but instead, having contrived to find a walk almost without any contours, I chose the purloin the title from The Contours big hit.

“Do you love me?
(I can really move)
Do you love me?
(I’m in the groove)
Ah, do you love?
(Do you love me)
Now that I can dance
(Dance)

Watch me now, oh….”

Watch Me Now

Tea For Two.

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The Friday after our Selside adventure was much more settled and sunny and much less windy. TBH and I took what’s becoming a habitual wander around the coast to Arnside for lunch. A very late lunch, which is par for the course when we do this. We couldn’t induce any of the kids to join us, they all felt that they needed a rest after the exertions of the previous day. I didn’t take many photos, we were too busy nattering.

When we arrived in Arnside, both the Old Bakery and The Ramblers Cafe were stuffed to bursting. We’d met some friends from the village near New Barns though, who told us that they also make a habit of walking to Arnside, and that the best coffee in the area was served at the new Jazz Cafe near to Arnside Station. I’d already heard about the cafe because Conrad reviewed it on his blog last month.

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I can’t verify the claims about the coffee, because neither of us drink it, but the teas were excellent, so were the sandwiches and TBH’s cake. We also came away with a loaf of sourdough walnut bread which was delicious. In all, highly recommended.

In his post on the subject, Conrad mentioned this tune…

Which I wasn’t familiar with. I’m posting it here because I know I will forget the title, so now I will know where to find it again.

Tea For Two.