March Many Weathers (Take 6)

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Daffodil season is just about over and I don’t seem to have taken many photos of daffs this year. So here’s some which were sat in our porch – I noticed the light as I was setting-out for a wander and I couldn’t resist.

Of course, normally I fret about the fact that I continually post photos of the same old things over and over, ‘leaves and stuff’ as TBH has it; ironically, this year I’m worrying that I haven’t taken enough photos of daffodils, one of my usual spring staples. Something else I ponder from time to time is whether it’s best to restrict each post to a single walk and each walk to a single post, and whether or not I ought to cover every one of my walks on the blog. I realise that if these are the things I worry about then I’m a very lucky man, but even though these things are obviously trivial, and nobody really cares whether blogs have rules or not, these are still matters that I mull over occasionally. Not that I’ve ever reached any sort of satisfactory conclusion.

All of which waffle leads up to the fact that this is a portmanteau post which covers several mid-March walks whilst also ignoring a number of others.

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Several of those walks involved ascents of Arnside Knott. Multiple ascents on some occasions. Six in all.

One of them was with TBH, as you can see.

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It’s often said that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only weather. So I’ll refrain from suggesting that we had some rotten weather in March, but I can at least say that we had a lot of weather. Some days, the weather was very changeable, with big clouds and showers blowing through.

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I like those kinds of days, because of the rainbows, dramatic lighting and impressive cloud formations which often accompany them.

Some days, however, just brought a lot of rain. B’s rugby was often cancelled due to water-logged pitches and the fields east of Arnside Tower farm and adjacent to Silverdale Moss were all flooded…

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Still, if it means we get days of high contrast, when louring skies…

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…clear…

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…but I can still see showers, falling on someone else, whilst I have sunshine…

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…then I’m quite happy.

The Lune at Kirkby Lonsdale…

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…was running very high and swift, but even that looked less threatening a few minutes later…

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…when the sun came out.

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The view from the Knott was also always changing. Sometimes there was hardly any view. At others times only the higher hills were obscured by clouds, or they were cloaked in snow, or both.

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Another spring staple of the blog, much shyer than daffs, is Green Hellebore…

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I made several visits on the way to and from the Knott to check that it was still there. It was. Very reassuring.

This is Davy Graham’s version of ‘Take 5’…

…it seems like he was in a hurry to finish!

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March Many Weathers (Take 6)

Half-term Happenings: Lancaster, Lune, Meal, Murmuration.

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On the Thursday of our February half-term week, we were looking to combine another ‘easy’ walk, which allowed the possibility of shorter or longer alternatives, with a lunchtime meal. We hit upon driving to the park and ride carpark, just off the motorway by Lancaster, which has the advantage of being free, then walking into town. We could then either walk back or catch the dedicated bus service if need be.

From the carpark, after crossing a couple of busy roads, it’s easy to access the path beside the River Lune. That took us to John Rennie’s 1797 aqueduct, which carries the Lancaster Canal over the river.

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We climbed up to the canal and then followed that into Lancaster.

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The River Lune and the (smelly) Carrs Billington plant.

We were heading for the Sun Hotel for lunch. The food was magnificent…

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I’ve included this slightly blurred photo of B instagramming his choice, because I know at least one reader of the blog who appreciates a huge burger.

The vegans were happy too…

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In fact, I think we all enjoyed our meals.

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After that enormous repast, we decided that we were all fit enough to walk back to the car. This time we followed the Lune rather than the canal.

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‘Little’ S and my nephew L. The latter wanted to pose in front of this cafe for some reason?

The dull cloud of the morning had cleared, so we had terrific views of the aqueduct reflected in the placid waters of the Lune to accompany our walk.

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On the way home, as we drove along Storrs Lane by Leighton Moss, I thought I saw a Starling murmuration, so we stopped to take a look. This is definitely a winter phenomenon and even in mid-February I suspect that there were perhaps less birds than we had seen earlier in the year, when we often saw people parked to watch the Starlings as we drove home from Lancaster in the late afternoons.

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The advantage we did have though was clear skies and good light.

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Still photos really don’t do this justice: the way the cloud of birds wheels together and pulses and fluidly changes shape.

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It was an unexpected bonus at the end of a very enjoyable day.

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Half-term Happenings: Lancaster, Lune, Meal, Murmuration.

Devil’s Bridge

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Another Kirkby evening stroll. The heron was there, fishing in much the same spot as last time.

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The water looked cool and inviting. I watched as fish jumped from the water to take flies. I felt sure that I would be able to see them swim away under the water, but I couldn’t. Just once I managed to follow the fish briefly, but it was soon lost against the background of rocks and pebbles.

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Under Devil’s Bridge some lads were swimming. Very wise.

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Dolittle.

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Ruskin’s View.

Another Wednesday evening with training at Underley Park. Once again I walked down to Devil’s Bridge and here I am posting the same views as I have before. But…here’s my excuse – look at the view above: right in the centre is Brownthwaite Pike, the most prominent hill in the view. It’s illusory, Brownthwaite Pike is not half so prominent as it appears to be: there’s higher ground just behind, and much higher hills behind that, but remember Brownthwaite Pike for a forthcoming post.

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Here’s the church again, because….well, because the lengthening evening meant that I was there to see it with the sun still shining on it.

In the Lune, I watched a Heron fishing…

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…seemingly quite unperturbed by my attention, and I wished that I didn’t only have my phone with me. I don’t learn, the same thing happened a week later.

The village center had been closed to traffic and there was clearly filming going on…

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The square looked to have been dressed to hide any modern features with crates and market stalls. The tarmac was hidden under a layer of soil and several horse-riders were whirling around the small space. They must have finished just after I passed, because the horses and their mounts came past me on their own way back to Underley Park…

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I shall look forward to the film.

Dolittle.

Little and Often: Lilydale

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These photos are from a couple of weeks ago now. The dying embers of a beautiful sunny evening. As usual, I was in Kirkby Lonsdale for the boys Rugby practice on a Wednesday, and went for a wander along the Lune…

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…past Ruskin’s View, through the churchyard and on to Devil’s Bridge. The display of Daffodils by St. Mary’s, and other flower strewn churchyards I’ve seen since, have had me digging out Francesca Greenoak’s book ‘God’s Acre’ which is about the flora and fauna likely to be found in a British churchyard, and, in turn, the title of that book put me in mind of the 10,000 Maniacs song ‘Lilydale’.

Come as we go far away
From the noise of the street
Walk a path so narrow
To a place where we feel at ease

Strange how my mind works: I haven’t listened to that album, ‘Songs from the Wishing Chair’, for years, but, at one time, I listened to it so frequently that I seem to be able to play it mentally on demand on some kind of internal radio.

Meanwhile…

 

April’s milage keeps me on course for my arbitrary 1000 mile target for the year. Once again, I didn’t match the early enthusiasm of January or February, despite the lighter evenings, but a couple of bouts of illness go some way to account for that. Not to worry, as of today I’ve clocked just over 450 miles so far, so I’m still ahead of schedule.

Right – off to find ‘Songs from the Wishing Chair’, time to get reacquainted with an old favourite.

Steep is the water tower
Painted off blue to match the sky
Can’t ignore the train
Night walks in the valley silent…
Little and Often: Lilydale

Sunday Triptych: Ruskin’s View.

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I know that I posted photos of this view only recently, but I thought you might like to see what it looks like when the sun shines and with an added dusting of distant snow.

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Ruskin’s view panorama. Click to see larger image.

The snow-capped hills are at the southern end of the Middleton Fells – Castle Knott and Calf Top. The prominent hill on the right of the first photo is Brownthwaite Pike, which is a bit of an oddity, because when you’re on it, it doesn’t seem very prominent at all: there’s higher ground just behind and then the ridge curls to the east and much higher tops. Still, it’s a great view point and a good place for a picnic on a summer’s evening. I’m intrigued by the Kirfit Hall in the middle distance, which looks to have some sort of tower incorporated into the building.

 

 

Sunday Triptych: Ruskin’s View.

Little and Often: Listed Lancaster

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Millenium Footbridge over the Lune.

Half-baked projects have been a feature of this blog. Some of them – following the length of the Kent over several outings, bagging the Birketts, last year’s Lune Catchment outings – have been moderately successful, in their modest way, not that any of them have reached a conclusion, but they’ve been enjoyable and have all taken me to places I might not have visited otherwise. There have been other ideas which I’ve floated from time to time, but even the ones on which I haven’t made much progress – learning birdsong springs to mind – have given me pleasure despite the lack of significant gains. All of which being the build-up to the announcement of another hare-brained scheme of mine, but first, an aside…

This…

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…is Greyhound Bridge in Lancaster. It was closed today for repairs. Built in 1911, it was a railway bridge until the line was closed in 1966. In 1972 it was reopened as a road bridge.  It will be closed for at least 6 months. Apparently the repairs are necessary because the bridge is deteriorating at a rate which means that by 2029 it will be unfit for traffic. In the meantime, traffic will be diverted over Skerton Bridge, which will have to accommodate the traffic currently carried by both bridges,  and which, built between 1783 and 1787, is considered to be rock-solid. There’s a moral in there somewhere.

Anyway, my little projects: last weekend, after I had been admiring the many handsome buildings in Kirkby Lonsdale, I decided to see what I could find out about one or two of them, and it occurred to me to search the internet for listed buildings there. It transpires that Wikipedia has a handy page which gives some details on them all. Whilst I was reading through that list, it occurred to me that a similar page for Lancaster probably exists and that seeking out the buildings on that list would add some interest to my lunch time strolls.

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St. John the Evangelist’s Church.

It turns out that Lancaster has well over 300 listed buildings. So plenty to go at. A small number have appeared here before. So, should I start from scratch? Does each building require a stroll and a post of it’s own? Multiple pictures? Interiors where possible? I shall have to give this some thought, otherwise gawping at and photographing the buildings will become too diverting and I shan’t be racking up the miles which was my original intention. Still, I think that this idea has legs.

Little and Often: Listed Lancaster