Its December everyone! Is it to early to do a bit of a round-up post?? 2018 has been a pretty good year for spotting wildlife I’ve never seen before. I glimpsed my first Gannets plunging into the ocean for fish off Skye, my first Stonechats darting between fence posts and gorse bushes in Ravenglass and my first Great Crested Grebes fishing in the lagoon at Hodbarrow Nature Reserve. I witnessed my first Eider Ducks bobbing along an aquamarine blue sea in the Outer Hebrides and watched for the first time, wild otters swimming and playing in a sheltered cove there.
And this year I have tried to identify and record every flower, mammal, bird, butterfly and moth I have come across whilst out and about , in a Nature Diary. Doing this has definitely got me busy looking up everything in my often neglected wildlife guides. My diary has gotten quite full, though I know there are still so many plants and animals, that I haven’t had the pleasure of viewing in our beautiful British Isles.
Here are just a few photos of some of the wildlife I have managed to capture on camera this year. 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the photos.
What are your own favourite wildlife moments of 2018?
Hi there Scavenger Hunters and those of you just dropping in for a nosy. 😄 It’s Kate/ Hawthorn’s last Scavenger Huntof 2018, so I thought I’d better make an effort and join in. Though I did find some of the prompts pretty tough this time around. Still I do like a challenge, so here goes….
Post/Mailbox. I’m still loving Postcrossing, which is a fun way of sending and receiving postcards from all around the world. These three are off to Italy, USA and Japan. I have already popped them in the post box.
Decay. Bracket Fungi , according to Wikipedia are an ‘ important agent of wood decay, playing a significant role in nutrient cycling and carbon dioxide production of forest ecosystems’. Go bracket fungi! This one was snapped a couple of weeks ago in Ravenglass.
Second hand. I love this book called Sketches of Bird Life by C. F. Tunnicliffe. It originally belonged to Wils Dad and having been handed down, now lives with us. His drawings are beautiful , and you may recognise his style. Tunnicliffe illustrated the wildlife Ladybird Books. 🙂
Strand. Here are my two god-daughters on the shores strand-line in Ravenglass. Hugo is also there, splashing in the water. We loved our time away in this coastal Cumbrian village. You can read about our weekend Here.
Fold. Sorry, its those ‘Festival Sheep’ again. I ended up using the word ‘fold’ in the context of ‘a flock of sheep’ and these are a colourful meadow full near Ravenglass. The farmer marks the ewes that have been impregnated by a ram. I think the different colours mean different fathers and also the number of lambs expected per mother.
My Own Choice. Definitely making my own mouth water here. Wil took me out for tea on my Birthday to Bowland Beer Hall. This was dessert. Yummy! Who else loves Churros with chocolate sauce??
Ravenglass is a coastal village in Cumbria that looks over the estuary bringing together the rivers of Esk, Irt and Mite. The scenery is ever changing as the ebbing tides create rock pools and sand banks. A melodic sound of tied up boats, their parts clanging in the breeze , permeates the sea front.
I recently stopped in Ravenglass for four nights with Wil and Hugo. Some friends joined us for a couple of the nights. Luckily even in November we found plenty to keep us all occupied!
The village has two cosy dog friendly pubs as well as a rocky beach ~ home to many wading birds and beach combing treasures, ancient Roman ruins, a nearby Castle with a Hawk & Owl Centre and the Ravenglass to Eskdale Railway, affectionately known as La’l Ratty.
As well as windy walks on the beach , we enjoyed a stroll to Muncaster Castle which is a pleasant walk through the Muncaster Estate, passing the old ruins of a Roman Bath House.
We all loved the Bird of Prey Display and it was good to know that the staff are so enthusiastic about conserving the different species, especially Vultures, who do get a bit of bad press in the bird world. Seeing them as a ‘ Clean up Crew’ definitely helped me realise what a useful breed of bird they are.
Speeking of birds, Wil and I also visited Hodbarrow Nature Reserve, an RSPB reserve on the coast between Haverigg and Millom. It was a day of high winds and squawly showers, but we enjoyed the dramatic scenery.
Most of all just hanging out in Ravenglass itself was a wonderful experience. I am sure we will return. 😊
So as November is my Birthday month , I thought I had better check on my 25 Before 45 Bucket list progress. Considering I am now almost the grand old age of 45 ( Sob! ), I think I haven’t done to badly with the list. I have managed to cross off 15 out of 25 of the entries I wrote down two and a half years ago. Some I still would like to do and I am sure I will probably write another list soon, and add them to it. But for now , here is how I did.
1.Learn to crochet. Discovered this isn’t my bag. 😐
A friend and I had a crochet lesson and I just couldn’t master it. Kind of knew I would find it difficult, as I can’t knit either. Imagine me looking quite confused and then thoroughly bored, with my hands tied in woolly knots.
2.Find a keep Fit Regime I like. Done! I have enjoyed the #walk1000miles challenge and am still continuing. Hopefully 1500 miles this year and maybe 2000 in 2019.
3.Eat a Dutch Pancake in Amsterdam. Haven’t got round to visiting Amsterdam yet. Its definitely somewhere I intend to go for a long weekend.
4. Photograph a Kingfisher. Done! Got my photo on the river Nidd in Knaresborough. 🙂
5.Make an Honesty Box Meal. Still need to create a meal from produce bought from the side of a country road.
6.Read To Kill A Mocking Bird. Done! Bought the book from a second hand book shop in Fargo village in Coventry and loved it. I then just had to watch the Gregory Peck film from the 60s and found it to be a great adaptation of the novel.
8.See the Northern Lights. Maybe another trip to Iceland beckons. We chased the lights four years ago , with little success. I don’t really need an excuse to revisit !
9.Have a Vintage Make over. I’m not to bothered about this one anymore. Glam is just not me , to be honest. Does a Wham Tribute night , where my friends and I dress up in Eighties style Choose Life T-shirts and tutus count? 😉
10.Swim in a Lido. Well I can’t believe I never got round to swimming in a Lido! Ilkley Lido in Yorkshire is the nearest one to me, so hopefully next Summer……..
11. Go on a proper picnic with a picnic hamper. Done! Bought a hamper from a charity shopand enjoyed a picnic by the stream in Dunsop Bridge. Unfortunately Hugo took a chomp out of the cake!
12. Be Nine Stone! A-hem, Nope!
13.Stay in a Bothy. Definitely in two minds about this one. The type of bothy I mean is one of the very basic Mountain Bothy Association stone buildings that you find in remote parts of Scotland etc. They are free to stop in, though you might have to share with other hikers. I wrote a post about them called Would you stay in a Bothy? I think I may actually prefer Wild Camping though, as you are zipped up in a tent, and there is no danger of a mouse running up your trouser leg…….
14. Photograph a Barn Owl in the wild. When I wrote this I had actually seen Barn Owls several times. Since then, none at all. 😦
16. Take Part in a sponsored Charity Event. Done! Raised money for the East Lancashire Hospice, whilst walking across Morecambe Bay. The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.
17. Have Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23. I have really been slacking in the Afternoon Teas department in 2019. Up to press , I haven’t indulged in this very British Institution, all year. I do like the idea of partaking in Afternoon Tea in the clouds though, so Cloud 23 ( at the top of Beetham Tower) your still on my list. 🙂
18. Enter Hugo in a Doggy Competition.Done! Entered Hugo in a bonnie dog category at a local pooch show. He didn’t get placed, even though he is of course, the most handsome boy in the world. I am one highly prejudiced doggy Mum!
19. Get Engaged! Haha.
20. Bathe in a Turkish Baths.Done! The Turkish Baths in Harrogate are a relaxing and fun experience. 🙂 If your ever in Harrogate , treat yourself….
22. Experience a night out down Canal Street. Done! The rainbow village in Manchester, a top night out!
23. Do the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk With the Queen’s Official Guide.Done! See number 15.
24. Visit the new Cat Cafe in Manchester.Done! My friend Lisa and I spent some quality time eating cake and stroking cute kitties. Cat Cafe Manchester.
25. Cook a proper Sunday Roast Lunch ( I almost never cook!). Done! I know its a shocker that up until my 45th year, I had never made a roast dinner. Please don’t judge me. ;). Thanks Wil for overseeing my attempt at Sunday lunch. Yes I did cheat somewhat as I bought ready made gravy, Yorkshire puds and a tray of pre prepared veg to roast. But It still counts….I hope. 🙂
I have visited the beautiful Bolton Abbey Estate on the banks of the river Wharfe many times in both the Spring and Summer, but never in Autumn before. A mistake I believe, as this is now my favourite time of year to explore the Priory ruins and the acres and acres of woodland trails. We were meeting up with my Sister and her family as well as our cousin and her husband, who were holidaying in the area.
Autumn Half Term is a great time to visit with the kids, as spooky goings on are happening deep in the woods. A family friendly Pumpkin Trail with hidden clues to unravel a witches spell, is proving a spooktacular attraction. 🍄 You can pick up a leaflet from the Cavendish Pavillion Shop.
The estate is also pet friendly with miles of on and off lead walks to enjoy. And plenty of chances for a dip in the river. 😉
Car parking is quite expensive. £10 per vehicle, although the ticket does let you move round the various car parks on the estate. Make the most of your day there and pack a picnic or visit one of the cafes on site. We liked The StridTearooms , a short walk from the end of the pumpkin trail, and they welcome four legged friends.
As well as completing the trail, the kids also enjoyed the Welly Walk, playing in the river and looking for wildlife. The Wharfe was teaming with various bird life including Herons, Dippers, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtails and Ducks.
Here are a few photos from our day. We spent a good five hours exploring and loved the Autumn colours. 🙂
Today I thought I would round off my week with a Sunday Sevens, seven or more pictures from the last 7 days.
A Witchy Walk.
Even though we are busy decorating the kitchen at the moment ( when I say we, I really mean Wil ! ) , we did take time out for a walk in Aitken Wood near Barley. Pendle Witch country, the little conifer woods here are home to a spooky sculpture trail that tells the story of the Lancashire witch trials of 1612 . I have now reached 1300 miles walked in 2018, so still hoping to complete 1500 by the end of the year.
Guilty Pleasures. 😈
So I’m in love with the devil ! Fantasy horror writer Neil Gaiman is one of the creators of the supernatural characters in Lucifer, a TV series about the original fallen angel, the devil himself. Now residing in LA, Lucifer is keen to learn more about humanity and is even using his devilish powers for good ( well kind of 😉 ), working as detective Chloe Decker’s wickedly sexy sidekick. Swoon! I am late to the party as usual…but totally loving this show. ❤️ You can watch it on Amazon Prime.
Also very appropriate for this time of year, how about a supernatural romance that begins in Autumn and is set in historical Oxford? Diana Bishop is a young scholar ( and reluctant witch) , who unwitingly stumbles upon an ancient enchanted manuscript, buried deep in Oxford’s Bodleian library. It’s discovery both thrills and disturbs the supernatural community, who all want to get their hands on both it and the young witch who summoned it. Diana finds herself being both hunted and protected by an ancient brooding vampire called Matthew Clairmont. This book has apparently just been made into a fantasy series on Sky, so one to look out for. For now though, I’ll just curl up with this couldron bubbling paperback romance. 🕸️
The first recipe we tried from The Little Book Of Hygge was a success! We made Skipper Stew which is a winter warming stew, perfect for Autumn and Winter. As its name suggests Skipper Stew was originally made on ships. The main ingredients are brisket ( though any meat will do), chicken stock, onions and potatoes. We served it with sourdough bread and pickled red cabbage instead of the suggested Pickled beets and Rye bread though. You can also find the recipe online here.
Wine Tasting. 🍷
Yesterday I was lucky enough to go to a Wine Tasting in Waddington with some friends. At first we were all very professional , swirling our glasses round and declaring ‘ I detect hints of elderflower’ , but it soon descended into chaos when we realised there were fifty bottles to try, in a two hour time slot. Haha. Great idea! If your thinking about wine now , check out www.winesbytimbyrne.co.uk
Some of you will know that I happen to live, but a hop, skip and a jump away from a tiny castle keep in a small Lancashire market town. I have been neglecting the grounds of Clitheroe Castle on my blog recently, so yesterday I took my camera and a coffee out and explored for an hour.
The Castle was built in 1186 by Robert de Lacy and rises proudly over the town. Its really only a Norman ruin with no roof, but it’s our roofless ruin. 🙂
Below the keep is a memorial commemorating all those residents of Clitheroe, lost in two World Wars. The soldier stands, head bowed, looking out toward Pendle Hill.
Clitheroe Castle Museum resides in the former Steward’s House in the grounds. Many moons ago I visited with a friend and wrote this post ~ Clitheroe Castle and Museum.
There is also a café in the Atrium, which is a good place for a brew.
I soon got side tracked by the local wildlife.
The Pinnacle , situated in the Rose garden was once part of the Houses of Parliament and was gifted to the town in 1937. Also in the Rose garden are a couple of sculptures , a leaping limestone salmon and a hawk.
That’s all for now though, my hour is up! Maybe I will return soon, with a camera and a coffee . 🙂