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?

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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.

Beetham Fell and Haverbrack

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River Kent, Whitbarrow and Lakeland Fells from Haverbrack.

A couple of days after our Boxing Day walk we were out for another family ramble. Our kids wanted to take their cousins to the Fairy Steps, so that’s what we did, starting from Sandside.

As you can see it was a clear, sharp sunny day.

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The walk was about the same length as the Boxing Day one, just a bit over five miles, but with more up and down.

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The Fairy Steps on Beetham Fell.

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Arnside Knott and the Kent from Beetham Fell.

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Panorama of the view from Haverbrack (click to see larger version).

One of my Christmas presents was a ‘new’ smartphone. I’ve been playing with the MapMyWalk app which does exactly that, but also provides a wealth of other statistics and graphs, some of which you can see here…

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…maps, stats, graphs, for a numbers geek like me this is Nirvana. It also keeps running totals. Expect more on this theme in later posts.

Beetham Fell and Haverbrack

If It’s Not Broke…

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The Thursday of half-term, the weather forecast was set fair, so we had decided to get out for a walk (well, four of us anyway, TBH was back at work, Cumbria having had their half-term a week earlier). I think it was Little S who first mooted a local stroll, pointing out the advantage of not wasting time in the car. So it was that we set off on a very familiar route: up to the Pepper Pot, via ‘The Climbing Tree’, around the coast…

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…and along the Kent to Arnside…

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For lunch in the Pie Shop, or the Old Bakery as I think it’s properly known (sadly, it transpires that they don’t do giant Scotch Eggs midweek much to my disappointment).

And then home over Arnside Knott.

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Arnside Knott Panorama – click on the photo, or any others, to see an enlarged version on flickr.

It’s a route we’ve walked, with slight variations, many, many times before, but so far none of us has tired of it. Photos of the kids in the tree at the top of the post are a staple of this blog; the tree hasn’t changed much over the last ten years, not the kids enthusiasm for climbing in it or swinging from its limbs. When they were tiny, I worried that when they were older they would be climbing way out of sight and terrifying me, but although they still like to climb it, they don’t seem any more intrepid now than they were then, not that I am complaining. In fact, when she was just a tot, A climbed along that left-hand branch to well past where B is sat in the picture and then declared herself stuck, and I had a merry time coaxing her down. It’s good that they still enjoy clambering around in trees, although I did get a bit chilled on the Knott waiting for them whilst they explored the possibilities of a tree they hadn’t climbed before. At least I had the view to distract me from the cold.

Elsewhere, we found great piles of leaves and B found some pretext, an imagined slight, to begin a leaf war, so we charged around kicking them into the air and just occasionally managing to successfully shower them over another member of the party. Another childish pleasure which they haven’t grown out of. And, to be fair, neither have I it seems.

 

 

 

If It’s Not Broke…

Gurnal Dubs

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Gurnal Dubs.

Something close to a Proper Walk to report on tonight, so I shall attempt a Proper Post to do it justice. This was still, however, another case of making-the-most-of-a-window-of-opportunity provided by Taxi Dad duties; it’s just that this was a slightly longer window than usual, and in a location with lots of potential for a good walk. It was a Sunday in early October, so ordinarily I would have been ferrying one or both of the boys to a rugby practice or match, but B had elected to take part in a charity mountain bike ride with his Scout group instead. Here he is…

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…in Staveley Mill Yard, before the ride. And here again…

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…afterwards. He’s disappointed with this second photo, because, he tells me, it doesn’t show the full extent of the cuts and bruises he picked up. Nor does it convey just how wet and muddy he and his bike had become.

They were raising money for Papyrus, a charity which works to prevent young suicide. Since then, B has also participated in a night hike over our local 3 peaks: Arnside Knott, The Pepper Pot and Warton Crag. There’s a collective JustGiving page here, should you feel inspired to sponsor B.

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Reston Scar and part of Staveley from Spy Crag.

I had a few hours, then, whilst I waited for his return, and set off on a beeline for Potter Fell and its tarns.

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Kendal.

The initial blue skies and and strong sunshine slowly disappeared behind a layer of cloud, but, fortuitously, the cloud cleared again just after I’d arrived at Gurnal Dubs, where I intended to break for lunch and a brew.

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The very tidy boat house on Gurnal Dubs.

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The tarns here were dammed and enlarged to supply water to the paper-mill at Burneside. The mill belongs to James Cropper PLC, set-up in 1845 by a man of that name and still managed by the Cropper family. I wondered whether J.A.C. might be the James  Cropper who managed the company relatively recently, a descendent presumably of the original James. Whoever owns it, I imagine it’s a lovely spot for boating; it was certainly a very pleasant place for lunch.

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I had leftovers from the evening before: humus, guacamole, roasted carrot dip (very peanutty, nobody but me liked it), crudities, and a little bit of fried chorizo. TBH and A had recently embarked on a Vegan October. A Vegan October, I might add, which has now lasted right through November too, and which shows no sign of coming to an end any time soon. The Dangerous Brothers are beginning to adjust, but, back then, were not very supportive of the idea, and the fried chorizo was one of my attempts to placate them.

Whilst I tucked into my lunch and made a brew, a family of three arrived, changed into wetsuits and swam in the tarn. I’ve visited Gurnal Dubs many times, but it’s never really occurred to me to consider it as a place to swim. Next time, however…

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Potter Tarn with the Coniston Fells behind..

Eventually, I headed back to Potter Tarn and then turned south past Ghyll Pool.

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It was noticeably Waxcap season, with small fungi half-hidden in the grass in many places along my walk.

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Crimson Waxcaps.

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Meadow Waxcaps.

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Apparently, these are quite nice to eat, although they are also under threat and so perhaps best left alone..

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The striking green of the grass growing in this old nest really stood out against the bracken covered hillsides and red haws on the small thorn tree.

 

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I liked the cheery request on this gate. That’s Cunswick Scar above Kendal behind.

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I’m guessing this is a Common Darter, an older female perhaps. It also liked the gate.

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Big barn at Hundhowe.

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I anticipated having a choice of which bank of the Kent to follow back into Staveley, but the bridge at Hagg Foot was washed away by the floods of Storm Desmond and hasn’t been repaired, so I stuck to the north bank and the woods of Beckmickle Ing.

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River Kent.

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A posh stile with handrails.

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A handsome tree (and house) on the outskirts of Staveley.

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Gurnal Dubs

Only the Wanderer

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A late wander, along the road bordering the Kent. Dark skies and squally showers, but patches of blue too; gulls and cormorants out on the mud and skeins of geese following the estuary towards the Bay.

“Only the wanderer
   Knows England’s graces,
Or can anew see clear
   Familiar faces.
And who loves joy as he
   That dwells in shadows?
Do not forget me quite,
   O Severn meadows.”
Ivor Gurney.
Only the Wanderer