Another Brief Account of a Brief Local Outing

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Right. It’s raining. I’ve no work and no plans for a few days, time to get back up to date, so that I can perhaps write about some walks which I can remember properly.

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These photos from a February half-term walk with TBH, without the kids (what were they up to? probably ransacking the house or somesuch).

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An early sign of spring.

After a wander across Heald Brow, round Jenny Brown’s Point and through Jack Scout, TBH was keen to get home. I extended the walk a little by continuing across The Lots to The Cove.

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Still playing with the panorama setting. These two seem to be more successful than many I’ve taken. Wonder why?

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Another Brief Account of a Brief Local Outing

Between Coats

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So, with the electricity out in Lancaster I found myself off work with some unexpected free time. When it became apparent that this would happen, my first thought was, “I’ll paint the kitchen.”

Well, that may have been my second thought, after “I can have a lie in.” Or third perhaps, after “I could get out for a good walk”. And if not third, it was definitely my fourth or maybe fifth, well, not more than my eleventh thought. It occurred to me just after TBH said: “You could paint the kitchen,” as she lugged paint tins, brushes, etc in from the garage, wearing an expression which brooked no argument.

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I did get out for some short strolls, between showers.

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Down at the Cove I could see various large bits of flotsam, presumably washed into the channel by the storm. I could also see the next shower advancing across the Bay…

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Time to get back to the painting!

The kitchen does look spick and span though. It’s white now. Much better than before.

What’s that? Before?

Oh,…

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…it was white.

Between Coats

Pond Life

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Most of the time the sea in the Bay is pretty placid. But once in a while we do get some waves. Here’s some evidence from one of our local walks with our American cousins.

On another local walk we visited Burtonwell Wood rift cave…

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The passage runs parallel to the cliff-face, and part way along there’s a spot where it’s possible to climb up to a ‘window’…

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From the cave we walked to Woodwell. We often visit, but this time we came prepared with nets and plastic tubs…

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The kids caught quite a variety of pond life. I think that this…

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…is probably a Three-Spined Stickleback. (But, as always, I stand ready to be corrected.)

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Pond Skaters.

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I’d call that upside down insect a Water Boatman, my field guide tells me that it is a Common Backswimmer (also know as a Water Boatman). The rather splendidly red snail is a Great Ramshorn (I think).

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This must be a Water Beetle, but I’m really not sure which kind.

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Here, the Water Boatman has a silvery sheen due to a trapped air bubble which it uses to enable it to breath.

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We were all fascinated by the contents of our tubs.

Well…almost all…

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Later that day we wandered into Eaves Wood for a bit of tree-climbing. Professor A can never resist joining the kids…

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Once again, B’s busted arm proved to be a great hindrance…

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Here we all are by the Pepper Pot…

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Pond Life

In The Gloaming

The advent of British Summer Time and the clocks changing brings the prospect of getting the kids to bed and then still having daylight for a walk. Out this evening delivering minutes of a meeting to various places around the village, but contrived to visit the Cove and cross the Lots too. As the light faded the birdsong seemed to increase in intensity – Robins and Blackbirds seemed to be particularly vociferous.

From the Cove I could see groups of Oystercatchers huddled along the edge of the channel. I could also just about hear what sounded like a cacophony of gulls somewhere far out in the Bay. In the low light the Bay is a fairly forbidding place – all brown mud/sand and grey sky, but I find the view really restful.

The spit of land sticking out into the Bay is Humphrey Head, which is well worth a visit. You can just about pick out some of the Oystercatchers. (You can see a bigger image on Flickr but they are still just black dots.)

The dark line dead centre of the photo is (I believe) Priest Skear, a rocky outcrop.

This one is looking south. This time you might be able to pick out the lights of Heysham power station in the centre of the picture (the bigger image on Flickr definitely helps in this case.)

In The Gloaming

Blue True Dream of Sky

For the last couple of days we have had drab monotone grey skies and drizzly dismal weather. As if in sympathy I’ve been under the weather myself, having come down with the same disgusting cold that the rest of the family suffered over the weekend. Some relief today on the weather front at least: after another grey start, the skies cleared and we had a mild and sunny afternoon.

When I got home from work Angela’s parents were here and Angela and Ben were waiting to take me out for a walk. Ben was on his push-bike and really enjoyed freewheeling over the humps and hollows of the Lots.

This is the Kent channel taken from the cliff-top path near to the Cove. As you can see: plenty of blue sky, a few fluffy cumulus, but above them some strips of parallel clouds with a fairly well defined top edge and a more ragged bottom edge.

I’ve looked in my book, I’ve tried Google Images, but I can’t decide whether these are cirrostratus or not. Can anybody help me out?

As you may have gathered, I’m quite keen on clouds at the moment, but I’m not averse to a clear blue sky – not that we see them in this neck of the woods very often. They do make an excellent backdrop, for instance to this blackthorn blossom:

It looks like there’s a lichen growing on the blackthorn.

Yes, look – like little grey corals. I’m even more ill-informed about lichens then I am about clouds. But…I did borrow ‘Lichen’ from the Collins New Naturalist series from the library last week. So let me see……

Blue True Dream of Sky

Spring Balance

After some heavy rain yesterday it was good to wake up to clear skies and sunshine. We took the children for a walk in Eaves Wood. The wood was a good choice since it afforded a lot of shelter from the strong and chilly wind.

Amy really enjoyed her walk today. She took the lead all the way to the Pepperpot, walking a little way ahead of us, determined to get there first. She is becoming increasingly independent.

Once Ben had accepted that he couldn’t keep up with Amy he enjoyed having Angela and I to himself. Here he is pausing before picking his way up a small scramble:

And here are the team at the Pepperpot:

We explored the open, rocky area around the Pepperpot:

Before taking a different path home, passing some of our favourite trees on route.

We like this one because it is so fabulously twisted:

This one because it’s great to climb on:

And this one because of its two-tone dress:

(Ideally I would now supply the Latin names of the moss and the lichen, but to be honest I couldn’t even decide what type of tree it was. Here’s a close-up of the lichen, can anybody help?)

Sam enjoyed his walk too:

Despite the sunny start, there was, as I’ve said, a very chilly breeze. As the day wore on, large cumulonimbus clouds filed in from the sea.

Shortly after lunch we had a short, sharp hail shower. I took this photo whilst I was pottering about in the garden. On Thursday afternoon when I was putting up a nest box in the garden a robin and a song thrush were facing-off; performing their own version of duelling banjos. They were back again today, perched in almost the same spots, once again seemingly taking it in turns to fire off the latest salvo like two sparring horn players in a jazz band.

Later in the afternoon I took Sam for a brisk walk to the Cove and across the lots. When we arrived at the Cove we could see a large cloud, already beginning to block out the sun, which far out in the Bay seemed to merge with the horizon.

As we walked across the Lots the cloud seemed to grow until it almost filled the western half of the sky. The grey band of rain widened along the horizon. We almost beat the rain home.

It often felt like spring today. We saw a single bluebell flowering on a roadside verge. Greenfinches careered around the lanes after each other. A pair of crows worked steadily on a nest in one of the trees in the field at the back of the house. A blue tit checked out the nest box that I put-up last year. (And which has a substantial nest in it, although I don’t think that any broods were raised there last year.) The primroses on the bank on Cove Road are joined by an excellent display of daffodils. As we walked in Eaves Wood, a pair of buzzards flew overhead together screeching and mewing.

However, the cold wind, the heavy showers and the forecast of a powerful storm tonight were a reminder that winter may not quite have had its final say yet.

Spring Balance

The Cove

A fairly spectacular sun rise this morning, with the flooded fields frosty and in places frozen over, and quite a bit of colour in the sky. The photo doesn’t do it justice. (It was taken through a window before hastily setting off on a slightly dicey drive to work.)

An unexpected bonus tonight of not only a walk, but a little bit of daylight for the walk too.

I was out yesterday evening for a half an hour jaunt in the rain and the dark with nipper number three having a nap in the pushchair. I was drenched by the end, but bizarrely I enjoyed it.

Today Sam was in the front carrier which gave me greater scope in my choice of route. I went down to the Cove. The photos give a pretty fair idea of how it looked – grey sky, grey water, grey mud, grey shingle. Grey. (The blue in the final picture is entirely an invention of the camera)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The river here is the Kent, rising on the slopes of High Street, flowing through Kentmere and Kendal and out into Morecambe Bay. Not so long ago there was an extensive grassy foreshore, but the Kent channel moves across the estuary on a cycle and at the moment it is right over on this side. As the foreshore eroded away it revealed a series of very tall posts – you can just about make one out in the right hand picture. It also uncovered a Victorian tip with lots of shards of pottery and bits of old bottles.

There was some colour to see because the cliff-top path here has a rich ruddy mud. In fact, there is a a sort of gully cut back into the cliff where the limestone is very red. This is apparently a Heamatite mine (an iron ore used as a dye I think) dating back to Roman times.

Later, walking through the village up Stankelt Road, I heard an owl calling, seemingly quite close by. The calls got louder and then there it was ghosting along the treetops in Clark’s Lot.

By the time I got home it was dark and Sam had woken from his nap.

The Cove