A Night Away At The Caravan.

On Saturday we were finally allowed to travel to our caravan and more excitingly, stop overnight! I must admit I was a little worried about our drive to the Lake District. Would we be stuck in traffic for hours? Would everyone in England be heading away for the weekend? It turns out we hardly saw a soul and the roads were not overly busy. There again the weather was not the best and we definitely needed our waterproofs.

Our destination was just under two hours away, so on route we stopped off near Kirkby Lonsdale to take Hugo for a riverside walk. The Lune was nearly bursting it’s banks, there had been so much rain.

Pretty painted pebbles lined the riverside path.
Rather nice art on the public toilet doors.
An old fashioned float in Kirkby Lonsdale.
The River Lune looking choppy.

Once we got to the caravan site we checked over the van , had some lunch then headed up into the fells for a walk. It’s the first time we have done this route, probably because of my general reluctance to drag myself up hill. It was of course worth it! We found a patch of woodland, a clear water beck and lots of foxgloves.

Once back in the village I couldn’t resist looking round the Green. Melmerby Village Green is an 11 acre green that used to be grazed by livestock. It is managed for wildlife and there are lots of lovely wildflowers on display.

Pied Wagtail almost camaflaged in the wall.
Betony.
Sheepfold.
Harebells.
Postbox in the village.

In the evening we left the pub to the locals and had tapas and wine in the van. Wil fried these padron peppers in olive oil and tossed them in sea salt. Delicious!

Peppers.
Quiet on site.

On Sunday morning we headed to Pooley Bridge which is near Ullswater. The lake was lively!

Hugo in Ullswater.
Bought a sausage roll in here. 😁
And had a socially distanced coffee in The Crown .
The River Eamont and the new bridge under construction. Pooley Bridges original stone bridge was destroyed during Storm Desmond.
Pooley Bridge Inn sign.

It felt good to be able to stay overnight at the caravan and it was nice enjoying a coffee in the Crown pub. We are ready for our proper week long break away. Not long now!

Did you go to a cafe or a pub at the weekend?

Under The Railway Bridge.

I have been noticing lately how lovely a local field is looking. All-sorts of flowers have been popping up this year. Makes me wonder if someone has been scattering seeds? The plants have been absolutely buzzing with bees and grasshoppers. Meadow Brown’s , Ringlets and Skippers are flying in abundance. I’m eager to see what else will turn up over the Summer. Will keep you posted. 😘

There could be more clover than grass in the field and they smell really sweet, especially in the sunshine after a shower.

Pops of colour are certainly provided by the burnt orange blooms of the Orange Hawkweed, which is also known as Devils Paintbrush and Fox & Cubs.

I think this is a member of the Crane’s -bill family , maybe Druce’s Cranes-Bill.

Tutsan is the largest of the St John’s Wort flowering plants. I was quite surprised to find it amongst the vegetation. I like how there are both flowers and berries.

I noticed a couple of Silver Y Moths fluttering around the thistles. They are migrant moths that fly day and night and can be identified by the metallic y on each wing.

Love-in-a-mist is not a wildflower, so I’m not sure how this bloom ended up here. I love it’s delicate and intricate design.

By the brook a Yarrow peeps , it’s leaves are feathery. In the past this plant was used on bloody wounds, but sticking it up your nose causes nosebleeds apparently. 🙄

Skippers are seen resting on buttercups and darting from flower to flower. They are tiny butterflies, however I cannot tell whether they are the large or small species.

In the grass I spy Fairy Flax which looks like it should be in a fairies garden.

Along with ringlets there are lots of Meadow Browns in the field. They are very fond of the thistles. 🙂

So that’s all for now. There are foxgloves and teasel but I will save them for another post. 🙂

Books read in May and June.

My reading has slowed right down since those first heady days of lockdown, when I was grabbing anything and everything I could get my hands on. Not a huge amount read in the last couple of months though…

The Spy Who Came in from the cold – John Le Carre ( 1963). Classic British spy novel that I didn’t warm to at all. Set in the cold war ,the plot revolves around agent Alec Lemas as he is sent on one final assignment. He will have to seemingly betray his country in order to turn a high powered German intelligence officer. I just didn’t like any of the characters enough to care much about what happened to them. ⭐⭐

The Bookseller ~ Cynthia Swanson ( 2015). Kitty Miller lives a happy but unconventional life running a book shop with her friend Frieda in 1962. She’s unmarried, has her own flat and a gorgeous cat , she’s quite content with her lot in life. Then one night she has a dream and finds herself happily married, a mother of three children and living in a huge house in the suburbs. Soon the dreams become a regular thing and Kitty starts to enjoy this alternative reality , where her name is Katharyn and it’s 1963. I really enjoyed this story which is reminiscent of the film Sliding Doors. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Italian Shoes ~ Henning Mankell ( 2009). Initially I thought this was going to be a Scandinavian crime novel, as it is written by the author of the Wallander series. However there is no crime, just a cranky old man who lives a solitary existence on a remote island. One day he receives a surprise ( and a little unwelcome ) visitor from his past, who forces him to face up to things he would rather forget. A physical and emotional journey is undertaken. A slow thought provoking read. ⭐⭐⭐

Last Breath ~ Karin Slaughter ( 2017). This novella is actually a prequel and introduction to a main character in Slaughters detective novel ‘ The Good Daughter’ which I haven’t read. Charlie Quin is a lawyer who finds herself drawn to a young teenager, who like herself lost her mother at a young age. But are things all they seem with her young client, and how far will Charlie go to protect her. ⭐⭐⭐

I’ll Keep You Safe – Peter May ( 2018). Peter May weaves his love of the Islands of Harris and Lewis into another Hebridean detective yarn. This time there is a murder in Paris and a back story set in a close knit but wary Scottish community. There are two female protagonists and not everyone gets their happy ending. A slow burner of a read. ⭐⭐⭐

Although I didn’t read much throughout May and June, I did have a second hand book stall outside the house to raise money for the NHS. We managed to raise £80. Hugo looks like he’s helping in the above photo, in reality he just barked at any passing pooch, which was a bit off putting. Haha, oh well!

Read anything good recently?

The Elusive Bee Orchid.

Yesterday in the scorching heat we found the elusive Bee Orchid! This one was in Cross Hill Quarry Nature Reserve in Clitheroe, which can be accessed through Brungerley park. A kind member of a local wildlife group offered to show my sister, her kids and I where it was. 😊

There are over fifty species of orchid in the UK and all are protected. Although there are much rarer orchids ,the Bee Orchid is particularly striking I think. It’s flowers resemble the insect and amerous bees can transfer pollen to them, mistaking them for another 🐝 bee.

There were plenty of insects out in the late afternoon heat yesterday. We saw lots of butterflies including meadow brown’s, skippers, ringlets, common blues, tortoishell s, red admirals, whites and comma all fluttering around the quarry.

One of many many large skipper butterflies.
An unassuming orchid found all over the quarry is the Common Twayblade. I did not even realise that these are orchids.
A beautiful Marsh Orchid.
My niece got this picture of a cute new moth ( to us) , the Latticed Heath Moth.
The only Bee Orchid ( as yet) in the reserve has three flowers.
Bee Orchid.
My niece and Yellow Loosestrife flowers.
Heron intent on tea.

As you can imagine, wandering round a quarry in the heat made us all want to dive in the river, which luckily was close by. We all went for a paddle to cool off and the above heron wasn’t bothered by our presence at all.

Have you seen any orchids this year?

Downham & Twiston Circular Walk. 🥾

Another blog post, another local walk. This one is from the picture perfect village of Downham, where in fact many years ago, I went to primary school. The hike is a 4 mile circular route and was a very peaceful one, we saw only one other person out walking until we arrived back in the village at the end for an ice cream. 😊

We set off from the large car park in Downham, following the brook down through the village. You may recognize Downham from the TV series Born and Bred which was filmed here.

A stone bridge over the brook.
All the cottages in the village are owned by Lord Clitheroe’s estate, so the whole village is tenanted.
There are quite a few Stiles and kissing gates on the walk.
A brood of ducklings. 🙂
We head uphill through farmland and find a well placed bench.
Some locals are keen to see us off though.
A pretty wildflower meadow. 🌼
Hugo cooling off in Twiston Beck.
Twiston Mill Pond, though we couldn’t see the pond for the reeds!
Heading past Twiston Mill , which was a busy cotton mill in the past.
Old squeeze style replaced by gate.
You can continue here to Downham Mill, but our route took us elsewhere. I would like to do this walk though too.
The walk carried on past a couple of farms. Here’s a view of Pendle.
Dog Roses and Elderflowers.
Cows grazing as we approach Downham again.
On a rocky outcrop above the village , a 🐝 on mother of thyme.
And Biting Yellow Stonecrop.
Back into Downham. The cottages are stunning and no overhead cables or satellite dishes in sight.
Picture postcard perfect.
The Assheton Arms, Downham’s lovely pub. A couple of days after our walk we heard that the company who owns it has gone into administration, so not sure about it’s future. 😦
Downham pre school, which once upon a time used to be my primary school.
Hugo waiting for ice cream.

We ended our walk at the little ice cream shop on Hare Green, which also sells brews, cakes and sandwiches.

I downloaded this route here. 🥾

Clitheroe, Pendleton & Worston Walk.

Recent times have given me opportunity to explore new walks in my local area and also revisit places from my past. Although I live in a small market town, I grew up in the countryside. Of course at 17 I was only to happy to move away to ‘the big City’ , that’s what Clitheroe felt like to a country bumpkin like me back then. 🙂 I will never forget my farming roots though , as much as I love living somewhere with shops, pubs and friends, I do still feel at home clomping round the fields.

This is a walk from Clitheroe, through the pretty village of Pendleton, passing the farm I grew up on at the foot of Pendle Hill and taking in the small village of Worston. Most of the route has featured on my blog before at various times, but there’s usually something new to spot.

A woodland path past Standen Hall.
After crossing the A59 we walk into Pendleton. Lots of old cottages here.
And a pub called The Swan With Two Necks which is currently selling take way ales.
Pendleton is called ‘ Peniltune’ in the Domesday book.
Love this bright red gate. ❤️
Time to cross the road.
Heading through one of the farms in the hamlet of Mearley.
A sign for a new ( ish ) holiday let in Mearley.
Sunbathing cows.
Knowle Top farm looking down over Mearley.
Hugo and stick.
Mearley.
Little Mearley Hall where I grew up, at the foot of Pendle Hill.
Worsaw Hill in the distance.
Orange Hawkweed aka Fox & Cubs ,on the grass verges.
Interesting gate sign in Worston village.
Pendle Hill from Worston.
Rockery garden in Worston.
Honesty box eggs.
My first photo of a hare!
Little & Large. ❤️

Thanks for joining us on another local stroll.

Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve ~ June.

So I returned as promised to Salthill Nature Reserve in Clitheroe to look for the elusive Bee Orchid. There was a photo of one on a local wildlife group, but could I find it? Well nope! However there was still plenty to see and it was nice to wander round the reserve.

There were lots of Speckled Woods in the woodland areas.
And scented Dog Roses adorned the pathways.
The poisonous Cuckoo Pints green berry stalks cover the woodland floor.
The Common Blues looked vividly blue.
Honey scented flowers of Agrimony were once added to mead.
This rabbit sat and watched me from a woodland clearing.
A new wild flower sighting for me ~ Round leaved Wintergreen. The leaves remain evergreen through winter.
I saw a few Brown Ringlets.
Common spotted orchid.

I snuck into a gated off meadow which might not have been part of the reserve. Whoops! There were vast amounts of ox-eye daisies in there which were buzzing with bees and small dragonflies.

Daisy fest. 🌼
Small tortoishell on daisy.
And on bramble blossom.
Red Clover. This one looks particularly vibrant.
I didn’t have a clue what this was! I thought it may be some rarity, but then someone told me it was a cowslip gone to seed. 😜
Small tortoishell on wild thyme.
Cinnabar Moth.
I always get my Cinnabar’s and Six spotted Burnet’s mixed up. I should just count the spots. 😊

So despite not coming across the bee orchid, it was a successful visit. Have you visited a nature reserve recently?

To The Sea.

I have been craving ‘ a sea fix ‘ for some time now. Today was finally the day that I got my fix. We headed to Heysham on the Lancashire coast and parked at Heysham Nature Reserve behind the power station. After typing Heysham Nature Reserve into Google maps it told me that we had visited the reserve two years ago. Scary that it remembered. 😜

Heysham Nature Reserve is still open , however the car park and facilities are currently closed. We managed to find a spot near the entrance and Hugo had an off lead wander. At some point we ended up on the rocky shore in front of the power station. Un surprisingly it was easy to social distance beside a nuclear power station. 😊

We walked as far as the striking rust coloured South Pier lighthouse and retraced our steps back to the car.

Rocky shore.
Behind the power station.
Yellow Rattle.
Greater Knapweed.
Hugo inspects the thin strip of beach.
Sea & sky.
Lesser black backed Gull.
South Pier Lighthouse selfie.
South Pier Lighthouse.
Oyster catchers brunch time.

It was around 11-30 and already cracking the flags at nearby Half Moon Bay when we parked the car on the small car park there. In fact it was getting a bit too hot for Hugo. After a short walk along the cliffs as far as the St Patrick’s chapel remains, we called it a day. Looking back on my post from two years ago, we had a hot weather visit then too! No beautiful new sculptures at that time though. Fab to see the recent editions. 😊

Oyster catcher sculpture.
Half Moon Bay.
Ship Sculpture looking over Half Moon Bay.
Ship Sculpture.
My first ever sighting of a Whitethroat. 🙂
St Patrick’s Chapel.
Rock cut coffin graves.

Goodbye beautiful Lancashire coast. Until next time. ❤️

Weets Hill Walk. 🥾

We found a peaceful moorland walk on Sunday. I guess it was so quiet because of the drizzly weather. It soon fined up though and we happily abandoned our waterproof jackets. Yay!

Our walk started from a canal side car park near the Anchor Inn at Salterforth near Barnoldswick. This isn’t an area we have explored before and despite having a map and walking book we did get a bit lost ( shocker! ) but it all worked out ok in the end.

The route headed up into the rugged moorland of Weets Hill where there are fantastic views and even some unusual art work. Here are some images from our 6.5 mile hike.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
Canal side way marker.
Buttercup meadow.
A narrow squeeze style which I could barely squeeze through. 😅
Ground nesting birds sign. We made sure we kept to the bridleway.
This old track is called Lister Well Road.
Caught on camera.
Lister Well Road.
Lower Foulridge Reservoir…maybe. Anybody know?
I can’t help pointing out Lister Well Road ! Lister is my family name. 😊
Blacko Tower in the distance.
Cuteness overload ❤️.
Hungry horse.
Looking toward Pendle Hill.
‘ Heading’ for Duck Pond Farm.
There is actually a head at Duck Pond Farm. 🙂
And another!
A former occupant ( an art teacher) made the large head sculptures.
Fitting all our big heads in a selfie.
Heading away from Duck Pond Farm. A beautiful white horse.❤️
Getting in some dawn chorus practice..
Cotton grass.
Buttercups.
Think there’s a troll under the bridge.
This is Hugo’s cute pose…..only done when he is watching someone eat. Look into my eyes!!
Meadow Pippit collecting nesting material.
Weets Hill Moorland.
Heath Bedstraw.
A Barnoldswick chimney.
Somebody’s watching me.
Foxglove.
Pink grass. Anyone know their grass? 😁
And back to the canal tow path.
The Anchor Inn….. apparently holds an impressive stalactite formation in the cellar.

This walk was definitely all about the views , the wildlife ( we were serenaded by the continuous chatter of pippits and skylarks) and those unforgettable sculptures at Duck pond farm.

Walking Book – Walking in the Forest of Bowland and Pendle by Terry Marsh.

Map – Explorer OL21 ( South Pennines).

Clitheroe to Mitton Circular Walk.

Just a quick post featuring a walk today from home. We set out about 8 am hoping to miss the heat, it was already getting warm early on. Luckily for Hugo this is another route taking in the river Ribble ,so he had plenty of opportunities for paddles and swims.

Today’s walk is a circular route from Clitheroe to Mitton and back. It’s one we have walked a few times over the years.

Heading for the railway bridge.
Mearley Brook.
Approaching the Ribble Way.
There’s a newish photography aid down Edisford.
Edisford Bridge.
Quackers.
We have now crossed the bridge and are walking along the other side of the river towards Mitton. We pass through a little wood.
And carry on down the riverside.

Mama and brood.
Up through another little wood and we find this newly carved bear chair, which has appeared during lockdown.
We follow the footpath signs to Mitton, passing Great Mitton Hall.
Over the bridge near the Aspinall Arms.
The Aspinall arms is somewhere we would ordinarily stop off at for refreshment. Huge beer garden and dog friendly.
Next to the pub footpaths can be followed back to Clitheroe.
I heard a piping call. It belonged to a Common Sandpiper.
Nearly home and more content cattle relaxing in the sun. 🙂

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