Category Archives: wildlife

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

Hi it’s Scavenger Hunt time again. I am linking up with Kate’s Blog and choosing a photo for each prompt.



Seasonal. At the beginning of the month we had a walk around RSPB Campfield Marsh near Bowness on Solway. It looked particularly lovely with the late summer seasonal heather in bloom.


Favourite seat/place to sit. I haven’t really got a favourite, but if I had, how about a pew with a view. This was taken 2 years ago on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides. Oh to be back!
Comforting/cosy. Speaking of seats, a lovely friend made me a cushion over lockdown. It’s perfect as an armrest on my bench in the back yard.
Delight/ed/ful. I was delighted to capture this delightful Red Admiral on camera a few days ago. Now it’s September butterflies are becoming fewer and far between.
Micro/mini/tiny. These Shetland ponies might be small, but they are feisty characters. Hugo is keeping his distance. 😅


My own choice. Slinky hasn’t made an appearance on the blog in a while. Never fear she is still here. Here she is hogging Hugo’s bed. Luckily he has two!

Thanks for dropping by.

Lowther Longhorns.

Just a quick and hopefully cute post for you today, featuring some very laid back longhorns. I’ve had a fair few hair raising run ins with coos this year, there have been some frisky heifers and bullish young bulls on summer walks, I can tell you. But these guys, well they are just in full on relaxed mode. Though maybe a little curious about why I’m peering at them from behind a big tree…..

Luckily on my second attempt at capturing this native cattle breed on camera, I got slightly better photos. My first attempt a few weeks earlier was on my camera phone. I quite like that you can see lovely Lowther Castle on these ones though. 😊

The English Longhorns roam freely on the Lowther Castle estate near Penrith in Cumbria. They are a new introduction at the castle, and another introduction may well be on its way. Back in January the Lowther estate was given the go ahead to reintroduce beavers to the river Lowther. Due to coronavirus this has been put on hold at the moment though.

I was quite happy to see these snoozy beasts anyway. English Longhorns are a hardy breed , they will be able to stay outdoors during the cold winter months. I am looking forward to seeing more of them through the seasons. 🐮

Bampton grange & Bampton.

Bank Holiday Monday and the Lake District was swarming with visitors. Our plan to visit Haweswater, usually one of the quieter lakes in the National Park was scuppered, when we realised we were never going to be able to park.

Not far from Haweswater are the adjoining villages of Bampton and Bampton grange. The river Lowther separates the two. We parked by the river and took our labrador Hugo for a walk through the quiet lanes and meadows.

Summer Sky.

The Old Chapel, Bampton.

Jams for sale outside the Old Chapel.

Knipe Moor in the distance.

Mardale Inn.

Bampton Bridge.

Old fashioned Diesel pumps.

Hugo cooling off.

Shop and Tea Room.

Time for 🍰 cake. 🙂

Bampton has a movie connection! The phone box in the village appeared in the 1987 Cult Classic Withnail and I. There is even a visitor book inside and a battered video copy. We found other Withnail film locations here on a walk last year. It’s a bit of a bonkers film. 😅

Withnail and I phonebox.

Visitor Book.

Grass covered roof on a stone building.

Knipe Moor.

Robins Pincushion on Dog Rose bush.

Over the bridge is Bampton grange with its church and pub. The vicarage there houses a library of Latin books called Tinclar’s Library. The bridge walls were covered in pretty painted pebbles.

Bridge over the river Lowther.

Hedgehogs.

Strawberry plants and face masks for sale.

The Crown and Mitre.

The Crown and Mitre.

St Patrick’s Church.

A horse cools off.

It was nice to explore two villages away from the Lake District crowds.

Eden Valley Villages ~ A Vampire & A Cockatrice.

Forget Whitby’s Count Dracula connections. Cumbria’s own Eden Valley has had its share of batty experiences. Two villages in particular have suffered attacks by supernatural beings……..

First let’s visit Croglin , a pretty fell side settlement, about ten miles south of Carlisle. Here the houses are rosy stoned and few. There is a pub called The Robin Hood and a little church.

The Vampie Of Croglin Grange is a retelling of a story told at a dinner party to a collector of horror stories, a Victorian writer called ‘Dr Augustus Hare’.

The story goes that two brothers and a sister rented the property called Croglin Grange in the village. One hot summers night the siblings retired to bed. Unable to sleep, the sister Amelia watched the moonlit night from her bedroom window, noticing a couple of moving lights heading from the nearby church yard, towards the house.

Suddenly Amelia found herself frozen to the spot. A wizened gnarled figure with long boney fingers was scratching at the lead around the window. Before long the glass window fell through and the terrifying figure flung itself onto Amelia, biting her neck. Her petrified screams awoke her brothers who came to her aid, one of whom chased the creature , losing sight of it in the church grounds.

Amelia’s brothers took her to Switzerland to recover. Being a non superstitious trio the three returned to the grange ( I think I would have stayed away 🙄) to carry on with their tenancy. Unfortunately Amelia was not to be left in peace. Her persistent attacker returned!

This time the brothers managed to shoot the figure , tracking it down to a vault in the cemetery. They waited until daylight to surprise the ‘vampire’ who they found resting in a coffin, a fresh bullet wound in its leg. They then dragged the creature outdoors into the churchyard and burned it. 🦇

Cottages in Croglin.

Somebody’s watching me…

Somebody else is watching me….

St John’s Church, Croglin.

So is The Vampire Of Croglin Grange a true story? There does not appear to be a building called Croglin Grange in Croglin. However is it coincidence that another Eden valley village, not to far from Croglin, has a peculiar legend too…..

Renwick is a red sandstone built small settlement, formerly known as Ravenwick, there is a Raven Beck running through the village.

In the early 1600s residents of Renwick suffered the appearance of the Renwick Cockatrice. The extraordinary tale is mentioned in William Hutchinson’s ‘ The History Of The County Of Cumberland’ , published many years later in 1794.

Workmen were dismantling the old village church in order to build a new one on the site we see today. Suddenly a vicious winged creature flew up from the vaults and started attacking the villagers. It apparently resembled half cockerel/half lizard, known in legend as a ‘ cockatrice’. As a bite or even a glare from a cockatrice was said to be deadly, people ran for cover.

Only one villager was brave enough to fight off the beast. John Tallantire of nearby Scale houses slayed it with a Rowan branch. His reward was that he and his family were let off paying rents for years and years after.

The cockatrice has also become known as ‘The Renwick Bat’ …and apparently last made an appearance in the 1950s!

All Saints Church, Renwick.

Rowan trees are found locally, known for fending off evil.

Twisty tree.

Sun dial bird.

John Tallantire’s headstone.

A Renwick cottage.

Is it possible that the Renwick Cockatrice was simply an oversized bat disturbed by the demolition of the church? We shall never know, as like the Croglin Vampire, the villagers burned the evidence..

🦇

Back On The Tolkien Trail. 🧙‍♂️🥾

Although I’ve posted about The Tolkien Trail on my blog before, I walked it again recently with my sister and family, and thought it worth another look. Undoubtedly this tranquil area of Lancashire inspired J. R. R. Tolkien , he often stayed here whilst visiting his son John who attended Stonyhurst College. The Lord Of The Rings author enjoyed walking in the lovely leafy Hurst Green countryside and local place names and landmarks made it into his writings.

On this occasion we followed the route starting at The Shireburn Arms , the 17th century Inn was named after the rich land owning Shireburn family. A river Shirebourn features in The Lord Of The Rings.

Hurst Green village centre.

A Tolkien quote near The Shireburn Arms.

A glorious clump of Purple Loosestrife. ❤️

Aqueduct.

Our walk very nearly got abandoned. At this point we were meant to be following the riverside but a herd of frisky cows showed too much interest in Hugo the Labrador. We made a hasty retreat up a hill and managed to rejoin the river later.

A house called ‘ Jumbles’ named after Jumbles’ rocks, pertruding stones in the river Ribble.

River depth gage.

Hugo.

Hacking Hall in the background.

The heavens kept opening ( and the sun shone too! ) as we followed the trail. To be honest the walk could really benefit from a few Lord of the Rings inspired sculptures or scribbles along the route, I reckon. Anyway above is Hacking Hall from where the Hacking Ferry boat still operated in Tolkien’s time at Stonyhurst. The ferry was possibly the inspiration for his ‘ Bucklebury Ferry’ .

This old oak is mentioned in The Woodland Trusts Ancient Tree Inventory.

Winckley Hall Farm.

Tree climbers.

Cromwell’s Bridge from Lower Hodder.

Cromwell’s Bridge over the river Hodder may have been the inspiration for Tolkien’s ‘ Brandywine’ bridge. It is named after Oliver Cromwell ,who along with his troops rode over the skinny stone structure, on their way from Gisburn to The Battle of Preston. We followed the riverside up through shady woodland past Hodder court.

Corn crops a long the Holder.

Cuckoo Pint Berry Stalks.

Windey path through the woods.

Up above.

Stepping out.

Eventually we ended up in the grounds of Stonyhurst college, though I didn’t manage to get many photos. And then back to the car parked in Hurst Green. The trail covered 6 or 7 miles in total.

Stonyhurst college grounds from behind.

Alm houses in Hurst Green.

I must confess I have never read any Tolkien, though I enjoyed watching The Lord Of The Rings films. When walking the trail you probably need to research the areas connections beforehand, as there is no signage or information on the route. Nevertheless this was an enjoyable hike around a lovely area. 🥾

Here is a recent post from The Bowland Climber who was in the area too.

The Tolkien Trail can be downloaded online and can be found in numerous local walk books. I used…

Walks Around Clitheroe ~ Terry Marsh.

A Weekend In Ravenglass & Eskdale.

Back in January a group of friends booked a holiday cottage on the Cumbrian coast. Little did we know then what a strange turn of events would unfold in 2020. A global pandemic would envelop the world, like something out of a Sci Fi film. We were definitely thankful that we had arranged our mini break for August in Ravenglass….and happily for us , it could still go ahead. Fortunately this little corner of the Lake District is relatively quiet and social distancing was easy. We also had amazing weather, which always helps. 😎

Looking over to Ravenglass.

Sunshine & Sunsets. So it was that 6 adults, 2 children and 2 dogs spent a happy 3 nights in lovely Ravenglass. Friday was enjoyed mostly on the beach in front of the cottage and admiring an incredible sunset from the balcony. One friend brought a Water Bottle Rocket 🚀 whose launches into the sky gave us endless entertainment on the sand.

Life’s A Beach.

Launching A Bottle Rocket.

Balcony view.

A Glorious Sunset.

A Ratty Trip , Walk To Eel Tarn & Wild Swimming. You can’t visit Ravenglass in the Summer without a ride on The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Affectionately known as La’al Ratty, this narrow steam gauge railway takes passengers into the seriously scenic Eskdale Valley. We booked return tickets to Dalegarth Station near Boot, from where there are plentiful beautiful riverside and fell walks. Face coverings were advised though not enforced on the platform and inside covered carriages.

Our plan was to walk to a remote tarn for some wild swimming. However as stunning as the hike was, Eel Tarn itself wasn’t really suitable for water pursuits. Surrounded by boggy marsh, only Hugo the Labrador managed to spring in there for a cooling off doggy paddle. However the kids had discovered a promising looking waterfall pool in Whillan Beck , which we managed to visit later.

All aboard.

Eskdale Mill.

Whillan Beck Waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.

Sign to Eel Tarn and Scarfell Pike.

Heading up the fell.

Distant cattle.

Eel Tarn.

Picnic lunch.

Stone Peat Hut ruins.

Spot the Herdwick’s.

Direction to the pub.

A choice of destinations to head to from the Woolpack .

🐻 Bear at the Woolpack.

Time for a swim in the waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.

Saturday was a really hot day so the cool clear water in the beck was just perfect for swimming in. We had it all to ourselves too. As we left a local family arrived, the father had been coming to the waterfall for 40 years. To us it was an accidental ( and totally wonderful) discovery.

Eskmeals Nature Reserve. Having visited Ravenglass several times now, I hadn’t actually realised that the dunes I had seen on the other side of the estuary are part of Eskmeals Nature Reserve . We decided to visit here on Sunday for a walk. The dunes are home to rare natterjack toads ( we didn’t see any though) and many species of wildflower. There is parking by the viaduct at nearby Waberthwaite. Look out for a yellow flag. If it is flying the adjoining MOD land is in use.

Entrance to the reserve.

⛵ Boat.

Almost deserted beach.

Barrel jellyfish.

Sea Buckthorn.

We came across this pebble Union Jack in the sand.

Pebbles galore on a shingle spit.

A Few More Images From Ravenglass.

Tranquil waters.

Ravenglass has been a Roman port and was also visited by Vikings.

On a garden wall.

Hugo and yacht.

Little Egret.

The Queen wears a face mask in The Ratty Arms.

Anchor.

Bladderwrack seaweed.

A sea plane on the beach.

As we were leaving Ravenglass on Monday morning a man was setting up his sea plane for a 40 minute journey to a lochside cafe near Dumfries for a coffee. Can’t be bad!

Have you ever visited any places mentioned in this post?

🐚

Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve ~ August. 🦋🌼

Melilot.

Somehow I didn’t get up to my local reserve in July, but I have had two wanders round Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve recently. Lots of wildflowers still blooming, including a couple of ‘ new to me’ ones. I also took part in the Big Butterfly Count 🦋 , there is still time to submit your sightings. 2020 has been a bumper year for people taking part apparently.

Rosebay Willowherb.

Ox- Eye Daisy.

Yarrow. Pretty in pink.

Agrimony.

Small Tortoishell on Marjoram. For me Small Tortoishells have been the butterfly of 2020. Never seen so many.

The Wintergreens are still thriving.

Field Scabious.

Carline Thistle.

Red Admiral.

On the verge.

Great Burnett.

Eyebright.

Ragwort.

Skipper.

A ruffled looking rook.

Autumn Gentian/ Felwort.

Have a lovely weekend. 🦋

Melmerby & Ousby Circular walk.

Here are a few images from a 5 mile walk we did on Saturday in The Eden Valley. This is a nice walk in some parts, but we definitely had issues with some very lively cattle, and had to keep making diversions to avoid them. I love cows the most when they are snoozy, and not galloping down a field toward you. 🤪

Also, we had to finish the planned route by road ,as the crops in a cornfield we would have walked through ( on a public footpath) were being collected. It was a peaceful country road though, so not so bad.

We walked through Melmerby, passing rosy stone buildings such as this, the village store.

And a bee friendly area, not for mowing.

A pretty pink poppy, buzzing bee inside.

Bluetit on umbelifer.

A track that takes you up the fell.

But we turned right for Gale Hall.

And were passed by a trailer of bales.

Lane to Gale Hall.

Unsurprisingly Gale Hall is a farmhouse.

A calm cow. Unfortunately I didn’t think to get photos of the lively ones.

Think we are safe from cow stampedes in this field!

Distant crops.

I wondered what a Texas Gate is? It is in fact a cattle grid.

Pony who came for a pat.

Pretty pink mallows.

Feverfew.

Postbox in the Row, a part of the straggling village of Ousby.

Sheep being herded in Ousby.

Foxy pub sign.

A Robins Pincushion, which are created by a Gall wasp on wild rose bushes.

Once back in Melmerby I find a pretty painted pebble. 🙂

Parts of this walk weren’t great, but I did get some nice photos from it at least. 😊

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ July. 📷

Hey, I finally remembered to join in with Kate’s Photo Scavenger Hunt this month. Read on for July’s words.

Something Purple ~ Let me tickle you with a teasel. These spiky specimens appeared in the railway bridge field a few weeks ago, and have slowly been turning purple.

Shades Of Green ~ Not the most original photo, but here’s Hugo wearing a green collar in a newly mowed meadow, where the grass is a few shades of green.

Starts with…..F ~ My niece was ten this week. Double digits! Here is her Fantastic birthday cake with 10 candle Flames.

Still Life ~ And still life went on through lockdown. At least it did for wildlife. A selection of what I saw over that period. ❤️

Snapped At This Moment ~ A moment in time, trying on a mask before heading to my first hair appointment since before lockdown. I really don’t like wearing them as I find them suffocating. However I guess I just need more practice!

My Own Choice ~ The lovely coastline at Grange Over Sands a couple of weekends ago. And Mr Hugo of course. 🙂

Thanks for bobbing by.

A Garden Of Eden ~ Flora & Fauna In The Eden Valley, Cumbria.

I thought I would share some of the wild treasures I saw recently on my week off in the lovely Eden Valley of Cumbria.

A Wildflower Meadow On The Lowther Estate. Situated between Askham and Whale after the bridge, the estate has put on a colourful display.

Vipers Bugloss.

Daisies & Campions.

Corncockle.

More from Melmerby Village. The village green and surrounding meadows are blessed with colour.

Red Admiral.

Travellers horses. Not particularly wild , but a lovely pair with very big hooves. Saw them clip clopping past pulling a Romany wagon, the occupant took the reins with a crow chattering away on his shoulder.

Bitter Vetch.

Skipper on Betony.

Honeysuckle.

Ringlets on Yarrow.

Langwathby & Edenhall. A perfect place for finding riverside and cornfield flowers.

Mallows.

Chamomile, maybe……

Common Furmitory.

Field Pansy, maybe…..

Giant Bellflower.

Cow Green Reservoir. A haven for moorland birds.

Juvenile wheatear.

Golden Plover.

Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. Definitely a go to if you love your upland wildflowers.

Ruby Tiger Moth.

Common Spotted Orchid.

Marsh Cinqfoil.

Bog Asphodel.

Mountain Pansy, maybe…..

Cotton Grass.

Dalemain Estate, Dacre. Always a pleasure to see the resident deer.

Fallow Deer.

Buzzard.

Fallows.

Hope all the colour and cuteness brightened your day. X