Category Archives: yorkshire dales

Wildlife Moments in 2018.

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. πŸ™‚

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Great Crested Grebe fishing whilst sporting winter plumage ~ Hodbarrow Nature Reserve, Haverigg, Cumbria.
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Hugo amongst Sea Lavender in Heysham, Lancashire.
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Hedgehog wandering up a woodland path, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales.
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Underneath the Umbels, Clitheroe, Lancashire.
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Red Grouse, Great Stone of Four stones, Bentham, Lancashire.
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Small Heath Butterfly, Askham Fell, Cumbria.
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Compass Jellyfish on the beach, North Uist, Outer Hebrides.
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Common Seal, Isle of Bernerey, Outer Hebrides.
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Pretty Linnet, Askham Fell, Cumbria.
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Female Red Deer, North Uist.
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Blooming Heather on North Uist.
Swallow-tailed Moth, Salthill Nature Reserve in Clitheroe.
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Common Spotted Orchids in the Wildflower meadow, Gisburn Forest, Lancashire.
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One of the Otters we saw on North Uist. πŸ™‚
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Corn Buntings, North Uist.
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Sea Holly, Crosby Beach, Merseyside.
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Painted Lady, Salthill Nature Reserve, Clitheroe.
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Bugles near Derwentwater, Cumbria.
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Dipper, Stridd Wood, Bolton Abbey.
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Skylark with lunch, Askham Fell, Cumbria.

Hope you enjoyed the photos.

What are your own favourite wildlife moments of 2018?

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Spooky walk at Bolton Abbey.

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. πŸ„ 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. πŸ˜‰

Car parking is quite expensive. Β£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 Strid Tearooms , 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. πŸ™‚

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Bolton Abbey.
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The graveyard of the priory church of st Mary & st Cuthbert.
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Celtic cross.
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Hugo and Stepping Stones.
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Through the spooky gates to the start of The Pumpkin Trail.
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Witches legs. πŸ™‚
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The Strid, River Wharfe.
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Dipper.
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Male Mandarin Duck.
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Grey Heron.
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Autumn colours.
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Fairytale Fungi. πŸ„
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Family on the trail.
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Giant Pumpkin.
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Spooky Spider.
Caught in a web. πŸ™‚
Crayfish catch.

Past posts from visits to Bolton Abbey, if you wish to read them ~Β Camping trip ~ Catgill Campsite, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales. andΒ Easter Holiday Fun at Bolton Abbey.

A Walk up Whernside.

After being dragged ( almost kicking and screaming πŸ˜‰ ) up Ingleborough (one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks) , I actually do now feel compelled to conquer the other two.

So on Sunday , Whernside was our destination. At 736 m ,Whernside is the highest of the three. The weather didn’t look to promising as we made our way by car over to Ingleton. Cloudy, drizzly and blustery, the conditions were certainly not reminiscent of the hot sunny day we climbed nearby Ingleborough.

We parked near Ribblehead Viaduct , which is a popular starting point for the walk. Happily there is plenty of roadside parking there. We donned our waterproofs and met our friends , including my 6 year old god daughter Bronte, all set to climb her 3rd peak. Before her 7th birthday!

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Ribble Head Viaduct.

The impressive Ribblehead Viaduct was completed in 1874. Its twenty four arches made for a stunning start to our ten mile circular walk.

Ribble Head Viaduct.

We followed the Settle to Carlisle Railway for some way , passing a railway hut and an abandoned railway house.

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Blea Moor Railway Hut.
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Foxgloves.

I always keep an eye out for wildlife on any walk, so it was lovely to see lots of clumps of foxgloves and hear the melodic calls of curlews. We even heard a cuckoo. πŸ™‚

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Beck.
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Force Gill Waterfall.
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Blea Moor Tunnel.

So far, so good. The walk had been pretty easy so far. The weather wasn’t sure what it was doing though. Black clouds were soon upon us and more blustery showers as we started the gradual climb to the summit. But then a peek of blue sky, and I for one, was to warm to keep my jacket on!

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Greensett Tarn.

A resting point ( Hurrah!) gave us lovely views of a small mountain tarn. We wondered what would live in such an isolated place…..

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And then it was a yomp up to the Trig Point. To me , walking up Whernside was lots easier than our previous of the Three Peaks, Ingleborough. Our friend D had chosen the most comfortable route, a gradual ascent that included stone slab steps and an almost level path. The weather too, was a lot cooler.

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Trig Point. We made it !

At the summit of Whernside , we met a few more walkers all pleased to have made it to the top. We ate a packed lunch and there was even homemade liver cake for the dogs. Thanks Fiona!

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The descent with Ingleborough in front of us.

From the top we had great views of both Ingleborough and Pen Y Ghent, as well as Ribblehead, and even towards the Sea. We walked across the top of the mountain and then started our steep descent. I was thankful we hadn’t taken this route up! Still, a few of us did end up on our bums. πŸ™‚

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Looking back towards Whernside.

The longest part of our walk, was probably the journey back to Ribblehead, which passes through a couple of farms and wild flower meadows.

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Bunk Barn Accomodation.
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Sheep near a rocky cave that the girls discovered.
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Bel the Bedlington looking towards Ribblehead.

Once back at the viaduct we stopped to admire the stone that commemorates the builders who restored the railway bridge in the 1990s, as well as the Navvies who toiled to constuct it, a century earlier.

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So, time to celebrate! We drove a couple of miles along the road to the cosy shelter of The Old Hill Inn near Ingleton.

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Bronte and her friend Tabby enjoyed chocolate brownies and the rest of us tucked into a delicious Apricot Frangipane tart. 😁

Apparently if you are skinny enough to shimmy through the spokes of the giant cartwheel above, you are skinny enough to go pot holeing. Umm I’ll stick to eating cake. πŸ˜‰

Congratulations to Bronte, Tabby and Fiona who on this day walked up their third and final of the Three Peaks! I’m sure they will now be aiming to climb all three in one day. 😁. As for me, next stop Pen Y Ghent, so watch this space….

Camping trip ~ Catgill Campsite, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales.

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The 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey estate encapsulates all that is typical of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside. Rugged moorland, colourful wildflower meadows, shady woodland and meandering riverside walks. As well as the ruins of a magnificent old Priory.

From 1154 to 1539 Augustinian canons lived and worked here until the dissolution of the monasteries. Fortunately the accompanying church was left intact after Prior Moone negotiated with Oliver Cromwell, to keep it as a place of worship for the local community .

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I have stayed on nearby campsites in the village of Appletreewick, but never at Catgill Campsite , which is on the Bolton Abbey Estate itself, just a few minutes walk from Bolton Abbey Village.

Wil, Hugo ( our labrador) and I arrived at the site early on a Friday afternoon . The campsite accepts tents and camper vans and has a relaxed check-in and departure policy . You can roll up or depart at any time during the day before 9pm. Dogs are welcome too at no extra charge. We payed Β£40 for 2 nights camping in a tent.

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After checking in at reception we were told to pitch up anywhere we wished in either of the two fields. We chose the lower field and set up camp by the stream. Catgill campsite is part of a working farm and has been open since 2014. The facilities still feeling fresh and new, include separate ladies and gents shower blocks, a pot washing room with two fridge freezers, kettle, microwave and plug sockets and a small shop that sells the basics. We were soon ready to explore.

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Bolton Abbey village is a small picturesque parish adjacent to the Abbey grounds. It boasts a couple of tea rooms, book shop, village shop/post office and a large car park. We entered the grounds through a small archway called the ‘ Hole in the wall.’ πŸ™‚

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Instead of turning left towards the Priory ruins , we headed right along the river Wharfe, in search of the Devonshire Arms pub, which is also a rather posh hotel and spa. Sure enough after a pleasant 15 minute walk , we arrived at the pub and enjoyed a couple of drinks in the beer garden. Named for the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire , the hostelry is part of their Chatsworth Estate. After a while it got a bit chilly, so I asked the young bar staff if we could move into the ‘Dog Lounge’ which I had previously read about here. Unfortunately I was told that the entire hotel had been booked out for a two day wedding! But he kindly agreed to let me take a peek at the cosy dog – themed salon, where guests can relax with a drink and their pampered pooch.

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We spent most of the weekend at Catgill either walking on the estate or chilling by the tent, but there is plenty more to entertain anyone who visits. A stones throw from the site ( well literally next door!) is Hesketh Farm Park , which is a popular family day out. If you fancy a ride on a steam train, The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway runs between both villages. And there are miles of walks including a kids adventure trail Welly Walk.

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The estate is popular with dog walkers and Hugo had plenty of off-lead time, racing through the woodland and paddling in the river.

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Catgill Campsite is a relaxed family-friendly site with helpful amiable hosts and attractive modern facilities.

Shower blocks have family wash rooms.

Pot wash room with two large communal Fridge freezers, Microwave & Kettle.

Local Information.

Small shop selling the basics.

Fire Pit and BBQ hire.

Morning Coffee Shop serving fresh coffee, hot drinks, juice, croissants and other pastries. We especially liked this idea. πŸ™‚

The only downside is trying to find a level pitch as the site is quite sloping in places. Otherwise this is a cracking little find , in the beautiful Wharfedale countryside. 😊

Hope you enjoyed this campsite review. Our next camping trip is to a family-friendly festival in Gisburn Forest next weekend!

Wildlife In Wharfedale.

I was fortunate enough to stay at a campsite on the Bolton Abbey Estate , over the weekend. But more about that later. πŸ™‚

The river Wharfe winds serenely through the priory grounds and theres always plenty of wildlife to see , in arguably the prettiest of the Yorkshire Dales, Wharfedale. Wil and I always seem to return to the area every year, enjoying riverside walks with Hugo and glimpses of the varied wildlife that resides here.

Here are a few photos of what birds, animals and plant life, we saw on our walks.

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The Stepping stones at Bolton Abbey.
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Curlew. The soundtrack for our camping trip was a cacophony of calling curlews, so evocative of the Dales countryside.
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Dames Violet. Saw clumps of these fragrant garden escapes all along the riverside, in hues of deep pink, lilac and white.
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Snoozy Ducklings. Mother mallard was keeping an eye on her island of offspring, snoozing in the sunshine. 😁
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Yellow Flag Iris.
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Hedgehog. We saw this beauty scurrying accross the path in front of us in Stridd Wood. He/she seemed in good shape. We quickly put Hugo on his lead and left our prickly friend to its adventures.

Also in Stridd Wood ,we noticed that some trees were covered in what looked like eerie white cobwebs. On closer inspection we saw that the silky webbing was covered in hundreds of tiny catterpillars! I looked up the phenomenon and found that the catterpillar culprits actually turn into White ermine moths. See below. How wonderful to come accross these snazzy fellows.

White ermine moth ~ image via pinterest.
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Cock Pheasant. The fields were full of fine pheasants.
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Foxglove. In fairy folklore fairies taught foxes to ring the bells of foxgloves, to warn of approaching Hunts.
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Goosander in summer plumage. I love that the male goosanders plumage turns from white and black in Winter, to grey, white and brown in Summer. 😊
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Monkey Flowers. Can you see the monkey-faces in these pretty yellow riverside flowers?

Although not really Wild, this impressive looking peacock and his turkey friend lived on the farm, nextdoor to our campsite. 😊

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Lapwing. Where there are curlews, there are often Lapwings. I love their handsome head gear. 😊

Thanks for dropping by. Will return soon with a blog about the campsite we stayed at on the Bolton Abbey Estate.

A walk up Ingleborough.

Readers of this blog will probably realise that hills are not my natural environment, never mind mountains! At 723 metres, Ingleborough is definitely a mountain and one of the three highest in Yorkshire. Together with nearby Whernside and Pen-y-ghent , they are known collectively as The Yorkshire Three Peaks. Some people set themselves the challenge of walking up all three in one day. Mad or what! On a camping trip last year , I managed to talk some friends out of dragging me up Ingleborough ( we walked the less daunting Ingleton Falls Trail instead), such is my horror of heading up into the clouds.

The day would come however ( and that day was a glorious Bank Holiday Monday), that I would reach the top of my first mountain…

We set off from The Old Hill Inn , just above the village of Ingleton, 4 adults, 2 children, 2 bedlington terriers and 1 black labrador. The weather was warm, but fortunately a cooling breeze helped us on our way. This route is the shortest one you can attempt apparently. A 2.5 mile walk up to the summit.

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Ingleborough.

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Heading for the hills.
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Limestone.

The scenery as you walk towards Ingleborough is varied. Plenty to look at including limestone kilns, limestone pavements and wild flowers such as Cotton grass and Early purple orchids.

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Looming nearer.
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Stairway to heaven. πŸ˜‰

So why do I not relish climbing hills? Well despite the fact that I enjoy walking, walking up hill always makes me feel like my heart is going to shoot out of my chest. πŸ˜• I know getting your heart pumping is meant to be a good thing, but I tend to convince myself that my death is imminent. I also hate it if anyone is behind me ( incase I am holding them up) and tend to stop to let them pass. I therefore find myself way behind everyone else in no time, stopping for breath every couple of minutes. Happily I don’t really feel any aching leg pains on the way up, because I am to busy hyperventilating. 🀣

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Top of Ingleborough.

But hey I did make it!! And that has to be one of the best feelings in the world. I made it to the summit of Ingleborough. 😁

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A good place to stop for lunch.
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This mountain top is vast and very flat.
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Craggy pathway.

After eating our packed lunches we tentatively retraced our steps back down the mountain. As you can see , it would be handy to be a mountain goat on both the ascent and descent.

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Rocky descent.
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Sheep in Cotton grass.
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Cooling off. 😁

Our afternoon was topped off with a celebratory drink in the Old Hill Inn beer garden, with views towards the mountain we had just conquered. 😊

And would I walk up another mountain? We are already planning on Whernside in a couple of weeks, so watch this space…….

Sunday Sevens 15th April.

Hi folks welcome to another Sunday Sevens, a collection of 7 or more photos from the last 7 days. 😁

On Monday eve I met a couple of friends for a date with some dogs! Isle Of Dogs is the latest Wes Anderson movie and it’s definitely got the Anderson quirkiness. The story revolves round a Japanese Cities population of dogs who are all banished to ‘Trash Island’ after an outbreak of doggy illness. One boy vows to get his beloved ( though some what tick infested! ) best friend back, so we follow the scruffy mutts adventures as they attempt to become reunited with their former humans. I quite enjoyed it. β˜†β˜†β˜†β˜†

It was my sisters birthday recently so it was nice to get together with her little family to celebrate. We went out for a lovely meal to The Three Fishes in Mitton. I loved my Fish & Chips served on a fishy plate. 😊

My sister will probably kill me ( if she reads this!) but my favourite photo that I have loved this week has got to be a selfie she took of her and the cat. 🐱 Sis has just turned 41 and Chloe is 20 this year. Talk about the fountain of youth ladies. xx

Thank goodness Spring has arrived! Lots of colour in my local park this week. Always nice to see. 😁

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Yesterday was a pleasantly warm day so we made the most of it with a couple of walks. We drove over the fells towards High Bentham, hoping to do a good hike round there.

Unfortunately we couldn’t let Hugo off lead as there were lots of ground nesting grouse in the grass. I was pretty delighted to hear their calls and catch glimpses of their eye-catching red eye flashes. I swear I saw a black grouse ( I think the one below is a red grouse) but now I’m not so sure. Anyway it was wonderful to see them….and also The Great Stone Of FourStones , a local landmark , that made us think of a mini Ayres Rock. πŸ™‚ This glacial deposit has been used as a border marker for Lancashire and Yorkshire. It is said that it was dropped on the moors by the Devil himself, whilst on his way to Kirkby Lonsdale to fashion Devils Bridge. There are well worn steps carved into the side.

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After larking about on The Great Stone we drove over to Clapham in North Yorkshire and had a wander along Clapham Nature Trail with Hugo. He had a splashing time in the brook with a couple of golden retrievers. πŸ™‚

Thanks to Natalie at Threads And Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens.