30 Days Wild Days 7 ~ 12. πŸ“

This June is definitely not very similar to last year’s hot and dry ( almost flaming!) one. We’ve had rain here in the North West on most days this month. It does make enjoying wild moments that bit more challenging !

At the weekend we took Hugo for a walk round Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve in Clitheroe. As its name suggests, Salthill is a former quarry, now reclaimed by nature. As well as being geologically fascinating ( fossilised crinoids or Sea Lillie’s can be found here), the reserve is a haven for wildflowers and butterflies. The rain kept the insects away but lots of flowering plants to see including vibrant blue milkwort, ground spreading wild thyme and clusters of yellow rattle. I even got to sample a wild strawberry ( there are lots right now) , a tiny burst of flavour on my tongue. πŸ“

On Sunday we travelled to Cumbria to visit family. On the way I couldn’t fail to notice all the many Ox -Eye Daisies blooming on the roadsides. I actually know them as Dog Daisies. They have many other names too including Moon Daisy, Midsummer Daisy, Bull Daisy and Marguerite. Daisy originates from ‘ Days Eye’ as their flowers open up to the sun. Apparently ‘That’s a Daisy’ was used as a phrase describing something good in the 1800s. Over the years that changed to ‘ That’s a Doozy’ .🌼

Monday was a rare sunny day and Hugo and I had an enjoyable walk. The rain has made everything so green! After spotting some open dandelions in the morning, I returned later to collect them ( after finding a recipe for Lemon & Dandelion biscuits on Pinterest) , only to find they had all turned into fluffy seed clocks by mid afternoon. Perhaps a blessing in disguise! πŸ‹

I treated myself to some Nature inspired reading this week. I remember my Gran having this book when I was growing up. ‘ The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’ is just that, a beautifully illustrated chronicle of the flora and fauna that Edith Holden spotted when out and about ( often on her bicycle) in Warwickshire in 1906. An entry for June reads ~ Cycled through Widney : The Yellow Irises are out in the marsh there now, and at the edge of the stream I found the large blue Water For-get-me-not. While I was stooping to gather some, a beautiful Demoiselle Dragonfly came skimming across the water and lighted on a bunch of roses, the next moment it was away again. This book is really lovely to dip in and out of, I will be doing that alot I think. πŸ™‚

Meanwhile in the back yard, my washing up views take in a succession of birds feeding their young. Sorry for the bad photo ( taken with my phone camera) of some coal tits and blue tits. They are loving the fat balls. So too is the jackdaw, who now brings a friend and knocks alot of crumbs to the ground. Luckily I have a fledgling blackbird visitor, who is enjoying the spoils.

Are you having a wild week?

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30 Days Wild Days 1 ~ 6. 🐞

The Wildlife Trust is again challenging people this month to join in with #30dayswild. Every June folks are encouraged to perform a random act of wildness each day. It could be something as simple as walking barefoot in grass, feeding the birds, enjoying an alfresco coffee in the park or watching insects in the garden. Just take a little time out to enjoy nature every day, and see how good that makes you feel.

I have joined in with the challenge a few times and this year I thought I would take a relaxed approach to blogging about it as I really don’t have anything particularly planned. I will take each day as it comes.

Meadow Falls Campsite with Ingleborough in the background.
Thornton Force on the Ingleton Falls Trail.
Early Purple Orchid.
Sticks to toast marshmallows.

We were camping at Meadow Falls Campsite in Ingleton at the beginning of June with friends and their girls , so of course we just had to walk the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, which is well worth doing if your in the area. The recent rainy weather meant that all the falls were gushing impressively. The trail meanders through 4.5 mile of woodland and hillside terrain. Remember to wear sturdy walking boots if you do it!

We could smell the aroma of wild garlic ( it covers the woodland floor) as we ambled along and it was lovely to see wild orchids growing near Pecca Falls. Out in the fields meadow pippits called and tiny yellow flowers called tormentil ( known as the walkers companion flower) dotted the hills. The kids collected sticks for toasting marshmallows on the camp fire later, whittling them smooth with potato peelers.

I found this moth ( a nice man on twitter identified it as a Clouded- Bordered Brindle ) in the tent before we took it down. It was gently removed into the hedge.

Back home and a new visitor to the feeder! A jackdaw who swings on the fat balls, making even more mess than the raucous starlings. I also have visiting bluetits and House sparrows ( some are fledglings) , blackbirds, a robin and a coal tit.

A wet walk with the dog on Tuesday and I spotted this fungi growing through the greenery ~ possibly a pleated ink cap. I think they look quite ghostly.

I planted the Thirty Days Wild seeds in pots in the back yard. There are poppies along with some scabious I bought. Hope there are signs of growth by the end of June. 🌺

Yesterday I got caught in the rain out in the fields with Hugo. We did get to see a roe deer springing through the grass at great speed. A lovely wild moment, if it wasn’t for getting soaked to the skin! Once home I decided to download the RSPB single Let Nature Sing , which I have been meaning to do for a while. I’m quite late to the party as usual, apparently this cacophony of birdsong reached number 18 in the charts. I enjoyed listening to the Cuckoo, woodpeckers, curlews etc, with my brew.

Thanks for dropping by. 🌼

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ May.

Hi it’s the end of another month ( 2019 is going crazy fast! ) , So I thought I would join in with Kate’s/Hawthorns Scavenger hunt. Her words for May are Seat, View, Starts with a P, Transport, Lunch & My own choice.

Seat. I am recently back from a few days in the seaside village of Ravenglass. Wil & I are lucky enough to have friends whose family have a holiday cottage right on the sea front. And we can rent it for mates rates. So happy days. 😎 Anyway there is a balcony where we spent most late afternoons admiring the sea views and pretending we were in the South of France. You could be fooled ~ apart from my knees are wrapped in a blanket. πŸ™‚

View. The view from said balcony is fantastic, looking out over the estuary. The sunsets in Ravenglass are also to die for.

Starts With P. P is for Sea Pinks. These pretty in pink flowers cover the cliffs of St Bees head , a little further up the coast. Sea Pinks are also called Thrift. Pinks apparently do well in rock gardens and have appeared on the British threepence coin from 1937 to 1952.

Transport. The best way to get around in Ravenglass ? Well I can recommend the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway , a narrow gauge railway set in 7 miles of stunning scenery. My kind of transport.

Lunch. Here’s a recipe I found which was a hit with my other half. It could be lunch or tea.

200g Chick Peas, 200g Chorizo diced, 200g yellow cherry tomatoes halved, 2 tomatoes chopped, 1 red pepper cut in strips, 2 cloves garlic crushed, handful of frozen onions ( I use these because chopping onions always makes me cry) & a little olive oil.

Fry onion & garlic in a little olive oil for 5 minutes.

Add chunks of chorizo & fry for a couple of minutes on a high heat, before adding the pepper strips and lowering the heat again. Cook for 5 minutes then add the chick peas & tomatoes. Stir thoroughly and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on the pan.

Serve with crusty bread.

Bon appetit

My Own Choice. Our very own handsome Hugo conquered his third Wainwright last week, Crag Fell looks over Ennerdale Water. I did too….about 20 minutes later!

Head over to Kate’s blog to see more Scavenger hunters.

Three Cumbrian Seaside villages visited with Hugo. πŸ•

If your looking for miles of dog friendly coastline then you’ve hit the jackpot in Cumbria. Because most people head for the lakes and fells, the beaches are almost always quiet, few having any dog restrictions at all.

We recently spent four nights in the coastal village of Ravenglass, and visited a couple of other seaside resorts whilst we were there. All three are served by the Cumbrian Coastal Railwayline.

Ravenglass. A tiny harbor village, Ravenglass has an ancient history. The Roman settlement of Glannoventa stood here and was an important naval base. The remains of a Roman bathhouse lie on the outskirts.

The beach is a mixture of sand, shingle and mud. There are lots of well signposted walks along the coast or up into the fells. Our dog Hugo enjoyed running here and his favourite nearby hill walk from Ravenglass was a mornings yomp up Muncaster Fell.

Nearby pet friendly attractions include Muncaster Castle ( dogs are allowed in the gardens, grounds, cafe and can watch the flying hawk displays & heron feeds) and The Ravenglass & Eskdale Narrow Gauge Railway.

Hugo was made a fuss of in all three of the pubs in Ravenglass. We ate out at The Ratty Arms & The Pennington Hotel. Both were very good. 🐢

Ravenglass
Useful sign. πŸ˜‰
Hugo rides The Ratty ( Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway).
Yummy food at The Pennington Hotel.
Ravenglass.

St Bees. Twenty minutes north of Ravenglass, St Bees is actually named after an Irish medieval Saint, St Bega . Bega ( a beautiful & devout princess) fled across the Irish Sea by boat, having been promised in marriage to a Viking Prince. She had other ideas, preferring to live in religious solitude on the English mainland.

I’m not sure if St Bega liked dogs ( there is a statue of her and her rowing boat in the village center) but the beach she landed on is a great place for a bracing walk. We took Hugo to the sands at Seacote Park, where there is a caravan park, lifeboat station and beach cafe. I don’t think dogs are allowed inside the cafe but as it was a nice day we had icecream on a bench outside and Hugo was brought water & dog treats.

St Bees is the start of the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk and the cliff top ( safely fenced off ~ Phew!) is also ideal for walkies. Look out for all sorts of seabirds. The cliffs at St Bees head are an RSPB bird reserve.

The beach below St Bees Head.
Cliff top flowers.
On the cliffs.
Anchor from shipwreck.

Arnside. A pretty estuary resort, Arnside resides in the Arnside & Silverdale Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is from here that I took part in The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay walk with Wil and Hugo, three years ago. This iconic organized hike across the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay must not be attempted without an official guide.

On our latest visit Hugo had a good run on the beach but there are also plenty of coastal and inland walks to do in the area including Arnside Knott and along the shoreline to Silverdale. Do make sure you listen out for the sirens that are sounded to warn of the incoming Arnside Tidal Bore, a high tidal wave that happens once a month in Arnside’s estuary.

The village has a couple of dog friendly pubs and cafes. We chose to sit outside with the best ever fish & chips from Arnside Chippy. We also visited a very cute little jazz cafe opposite Arnside’s Railway station. Moochin About is a teeny tiny espresso bar with the cutest decor and vinyl jazz records playing on a record player. Sad to say no doggies allowed inside, purely because it is so small. There are two benches outside though, water bowls and the lovely owner brought out biscuits for Hugo and a collie customer. πŸ•

Looking over the Kent Estuary.
Windswept Selfie.
Windswept Hawthorn.
Moochin About.
More Moochin About.

If you have a dog, what beaches do you like to visit with them?

I’d love to know. πŸ©πŸšπŸ¦€

Books I read in March and April.

Sorry this post is so late, I think I have discovered book reviews are not my favourite thing to write! Really didn’t get many books read in March and April , though I did enjoy the five books I did sit down with. Here’s a short recap of my reading material. 😊

Tom’s Midnight Garden ~ Phillipa Pearce (1958). I found a copy of this children’s classic in a charity book sale and thought I would give it a go as I remember owning Phillipa Pearce’s ‘ The Battle Of Bubble & Squeek ‘ as a girl. I’m so glad I did as Midnight Garden is such a magical tale. Tom goes to stay with his very dull aunt and uncle over the summer holidays , so not to catch the measles his brother has so inconveniently caught. They live in a boring old manor house which has been converted into flats, there isn’t even a garden to play in much to Toms disappointment. The only unusual thing in the whole house is as old Grandfather clock in the communal hallway which ominously strikes a 13th time every night. A restless Tom investigates and finds the extra hour takes him back in time to when the manor house was one residence with a huge garden and is home to a lonely little girl called Hattie. Over the summer Tom meets Hattie in the garden most nights, only to find the time shifting as Hattie grows up. A children’s adventure fantasy that adults can enjoy too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

111 Places In The Lake District That You Shouldn’t Miss ~ Solange Berchemin (2019). Apparently there’s a whole range of 111 Places guides out right now, encouraging you to visit the more quirky and lesser known tourist attractions in various cities and areas. Lakeland is explored thoroughly in this handy guide which includes Postman Pat’s Valley, a nine metre stone that appears to defy gravity, the home to the world’s largest colour pencil, a Giants grave and a Buddhist Temple. Directions, opening times and website info are all included. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

One False Move ~ Harlan Coben ( 1998). Another charity book sale purchase, this was a good detective yarn to get to grips with. Even though it is book 5 in a series, the likeable character of its protagonist sports agent/crime solver ‘ Myron Bolitar’ encourages the reader to hunt out the other novels. Also this book can easily be read as a stand alone story. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Lewis Man ~ Peter May ( 2014). The second in a crime trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides, Lewis Man revolves round an unidentified corpse found in a Lewis peat bog. Detective Fin MacLeod now residing on the island feels duty-bound to solve the mystery but as he digs deeper, long buried secrets threaten to endanger the people he loves. ⭐⭐⭐

The Lido ~ Libby Page ( 2018). I enjoyed this feel good tale about the importance of community and friendship. Two women from very different decades become friends through their enthusiasm to save their local Lido which is under threat of closure. Rosemary is 86 and all her happiest memories are wrapped up there whilst Kate is 26 and struggling with loneliness in a new city. A heart warming book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any good books recently?

Ambling round Askham.

Recently I spent a few days with family. The pretty village of Askham in Cumbria has been my Mum’s home now for over 25 years. It’s attractive white washed cottages surround two village greens. The top end of Askham climbs up into the fells whilst the bottom end is all about the river Lowther and the surrounding woodland. Some of the village is still owned by the land owning Lonsdale family, who now live in Askham Hall and once resided in Lowther Castle. There are two pubs in Askham, a lovely village shop, an open air swimming pool and lots of walking trails round the Lowther estate. Here are a few pictures from my ambles round Askham.

Village Greens.
Cuckoo Flower & Water Avens.
Stone bridge over the river Lowther.
River Lowther from the bridge.
St Peters Church.
The Punch Bowl is an 18th Century Inn.
Ramsons in the woods.
Sorry, just had to include Mums handsome cat ‘Biscuit’ who is recovering indoors from some heart problems. Aw. He’s doing ok now though. πŸ™‚
Mum and I had a look round Askham Halls gardens. Β£4 entry.

Askham Hall was built in the 12th Century. It’s now a rather posh boutique hotel and restaurant.
A stone Griffin , originally from Lowther Castle.
The village shop is also a great place to go for a coffee, chat and doggy cuddles. πŸ™‚
Lots of walking trails. I followed this footpath past Askham Hall into some beautiful bluebell woods.
Though I did encounter a miniature Dexter bull on the way. After a short stand off I edged my way past him. He was actually very small, but still quite mean looking!
I was glad to reach this gate into the woods unscathed.
Bluebells.😁
Stitchwort.
Pink Purslane.
Dandelion Clock.

I spent a good couple of hours in the woods, just enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. There were so many flowers, giving the woodland floor a magical fairy land appearance. And I didn’t spy a single other human being! I did see two jays, several woodpeckers, two buzzards and a weasel. 😊

If your visiting the Askham area, here are some useful websites.

Lowther Castle & Gardens.

Askham Hall.

Askham Open Air Swimming Pool.

Punch Bowl Inn.

The Ullswater Way.

Badgers at RSPB Haweswater. 🦑

Have you ever seen a badger? I must admit these nocturnal mammals have always been something of a mystery to me. Stocky with stripey faces and claws made for digging, the badger is apparently as common as the fox, but much more elusive. Some people ( myself included) have only ever spied the bodies of those poor unfortunates, squashed at the side of the road. 😦 So when I heard about the new Badger Hide at Naddle Farm near Haweswater in Cumbria, I was eager to book myself a place. Of course it helped that my Mum lives only 15 minutes away from the new RSPB base and I could coincide the experience with a family visit.

The hide at Naddle Farm can be hired out for private viewings but I chose to book a Monday night place for myself and my brother. A Monday night slot lasts 1.5 hours and on our visit four other people joined us plus two RSPB guides. The price is Β£15 for adults ( Β£12 if your a RSPB member) and children are Β£10.

Badger viewing begins at dusk, so we arrived at the farm just before 9pm. We were then introduced to our guides and shown into the hide, which is at the back of a farm building looking onto a small fenced croft.

For the first 45 minutes no badgers appeared , so it was the brown rats that entertained us. Yikes! You can see one in the foreground of the above photo. They were quite cheeky and only made themselves scarce when the first badger showed up.

The RSPB staff had hidden food under rocks in the croft. But don’t worry, although the thought of some tasty morsels does entice wildlife, a badgers diet consists mostly of worms. A typical nights feed for one badger is a few hundred wiggly worms, which they dig from the ground and suck up like spaghetti. Yum!

Our first visitor was a badger that the guides had got to know from her previous visits. She had been named ‘ Porridge’ by some students. We had been told not to worry if Porridge showed up with bite marks on her rump. Biting each others bums is apparently quite normal in the badger world , as a way of establishing heirachy. Luckily Porridges bite wounds were almost healed and she looked in good health.

Porridge stayed around for a good 15 minutes, flipping rocks and digging in the grass. It was wonderful just to be able to sit in comfort, and watch badgers do what badgers do, in their own natural environment.

Another ten minutes after Porridge had left ( and the rats had reemerged, only to quickly hide again) another badger came a calling. This one was a new visitor. Neither of the guides had seen this particular mammal before, so they were quite excited. He/she emerged from the woodland on the hillside and spent a good while sniffling around. It is possible there are as many as 40 setts in the Haweswater area, so who knows how many badgers live here.

Our time watching Britain’s largest predatory mammal was all to soon over, but we all agreed it had been well worth it.

For information on how to book the hide look here. 🦑

Have you ever seen a badger?

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