A wonderful few days weather wise. Enough sunshine to put a spring in everyone’s step.😁 Here are some camera shots.. and a few phone photos of birds and blossom taken over the weekend ,and when out and about late this afternoon. The sun shone, bees buzzed and I even saw my first butterfly of the year flutter by. All this as temperatures hit 20°c in February!
What early signs of Spring have you seen recently?
Last weekend I joined friends for a walk and Sunday Lunch. The part of the A59 that by passes Clitheroe has been closed at weekends due to the building of a new round-about ( much uproar from residents), so this normally extremely busy road is eerily quiet on a Sunday and you can walk down it ( or indeed sit on it) without being squished by on coming motorists. We managed to walk part of the way to the village of Worston along the road, pretending we were in a zombie apocalypse. 🙂
Meanwhile my other half was decorating the bedroom, and what a grand job of it he has made too. I am super impressed! We went for a teal, mustard and white colour scheme ,which is a change from the pale blue & white it was previously. If your interested, the wallpaper and paint is from Twitter Lane in Clitheroe, the bedding and curtains are from Dunhelm Mill and the free standing lamp is from Next.
At the moment myself and my work colleagues are experiencing an unsettling time at work. Our department will be reducing its hours to Thursday to Sunday in May. My current hours are Monday through Thursday. Oh dear! Anyway we have to apply for the weekend jobs in April ( if we want them) and by then we should also know if redundancy is an option. So it’s looking like come May, I will be either working totally different hours…or be jobless! Neither are a very pleasant thought. I’m going to make the most of my weekends whilst I still have them and am still earning money. 🙂
On Friday I visited Mum in Cumbria with my sister, niece and nephew. The weather was lovely so we had a walk up Askham Fell and made friends with the fell ponies. The sky was blue, the gorse was in bloom and smelt of coconuts.
And yesterday was even more Spring like in Lancashire. It was actually t-shirt and ice cream weather. Wil, Hugo and I did a 12 mile walk and discovered an old pack horse bridge. Long may the sunshine continue!
Thanks to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens, a collection of seven or more photos from the last 7 days.
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?
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. 😊
Haweswater is a reservoir in the valley of Mardale in the North East of the Lake District. In the 1930’s this four mile stretch of water was created from the original smaller lake and the flooding of the picturesque Mardale Valley. Two villages, various farms and ‘ The Dun Bull Inn’ were destroyed, so that Manchester and other urban areas could benefit from a decent water supply. The reservoir still provides a good percentage of the North West’s water.
At the moment Haweswater’s water levels are much lower than usual, so it is possible to see the remains of the sunken village of Mardale Green, at the top end of the lake. However after parking at the Haweswater Hotel ( the only residence on the lakeside) and enjoying a spot of lunch, time restricted our planned walk to the ruins. Instead we ambled a couple of miles along the road to a heather strewn viewing point, the purple blooms are just coming into flower, and make for a beautiful backdrop. 😊
The Haweswater Hotel was built in 1937 by the Manchester Corporation, after the flooding of the valley. Inside it is decorated in an impressive Art Deco style, harking back to it’s 1930’s beginnings. We actually stopped there in 2016 for a couple of nights…and it was almost empty of guests. Happily this Summer’s beautiful weather and the ‘reappearance of the village in the reservoir’ have peeked tourists curiosity, concerning this lesser known (though still idyllic) area of The Lake District….
Have you seen any heather blooming yet? Its still quite early, so it was lovely to see this pretty plant already flowering on the banks of the lake.
On Saturday we braved The Mini Beast Of The East and headed to Cumbria to visit family. We also packed in two short walks with our labrador Hugo. I kept my camera handy to record any burgeoning signs that Spring might just be making an appearance. 🙂
First stop , Kirkby Lonsdale. This small market town on the edge of the Lake District sits on the banks of the River Lune. An easy stroll from the free car park at Devil’s Bridge takes you along the waterside and up into the town centre.
The only climb is the ’86’ Radical Steps that lead up to ‘Ruskin’s View’ , a beautiful vista painted by Turner and described by John Ruskin as ” the loveliest view in England”. The steep stone steps also take you to St Mary’s Churchyard, which was adorned with a delightful carpet of crocuses when we visited.
The cold weather has meant that the snowdrops here in the North are still in good form! Whilst they continue to bloom, Winter has stubbornly decided to hang on I think. As we headed further up the M6 , the countryside turned whiter and the world got windier.
Our second walk was later in the afternoon and started off in the pretty village of Dacre, about two miles north of Pooley Bridge. Four stone bears can be seen amongst the gravestones in St Andrews graveyard ( they are not very bear like now! ) and it is claimed that they once rested on the four corners of Dacre’s 14th Century Castle keep.
The only daffodil in flower that we saw was one solitary yellow trumpet in Dacre. Looking back to this time last year, the nearby village of Askham where my Mum lives was positively trumpeting. Not so in 2018…yet ! We continued on our way amongst snow flurries, bitter cold winds and odd spells of bright sunshine, along the estate path towards Dalemain Mansion. I wrote a post last year about our visit to the gardens here.
Although its a nice dog walk from Dacre to Dalemain, the estate does not allow four-legged friends to accompany you into the house, gardens or café. 😦 So we tried to warm up outside with a steaming hot coffee and a delicious slab of ginger cake spread with marmalade. Dalemain is famous for its annual Marmalade Awards and Festival, and it was actually near to the end of the first day of this years festival, when we arrived. If your in the area today, the weekend of marmalade tasting continues. I bought a small jar of Jane’s Marmalade. Jane is the Lady Marmalade of the house apparently.
These two short walks added up to six miles and it was lovely to see some small signs of Spring what has been an unusually cold March.
Of course things are back to the norm, back home in Lancashire today. Yet more snow!
What signs of Spring have you seen in your neck of the woods?
Having recently returned from a 3 night break in the lovely Lake District, I would love to show you some photos from my stay. As per usual Wil and I were accompanied by our labrador Hugo. We stayed once again in Keswick, where we engrossed ourselves in country walks and awesome food. If you have a dog, then this Cumbrian town is super pet-friendly. Hugo must have been given a treat, everwhere we went. Luckily he had plenty of opportunities to run those tasty titbits off!
Friday ~ Snowy Thirlmere.
As we wouldn’t get the key to our accomodation until the late afternoon, we had planned a walk from Harrop Tarn to Thirlmere. The little country roads in the area were pretty icey though, so we scrapped that plan and parked at Station Coppice on the East side of Thirlmere instead. From here we took the underpass to Swirls Car Park . This is a popular starting point for the trek up Helvellyn. If you prefer a gentler stroll ( like me! ), there are various trails up into the woodland, including a Red Squirrel trail. We found a fresh white world ,the whole area was very Narnia like, under a blanket of snow. Hugo pounced in the drifts, I flung myself into snow angel shapes and a solitary herdwick , watched us with mild curiosity.
After enjoying the peaceful woodland we headed to the lake, where Hugo had a bracing paddle. Thirlmere is actually a reservoir ,created from the original smaller lake and the flooding of two hamlets Armboth and Wythburn. The industrial demands of Victorian England meant that Thirlmere was needed to supply water to the growing mill population of Manchester. To this day the 95 mile Thirlmere Aqueduct carries water to Manchester and beyond.
Saturday ~ Around Derwentwater.
Saturday dawned a fine bright cold day, the perfect weather for a winter walk around beautiful Derwentwater. A scenic ten mile waymarked path ambles round the shoreline , taking in stunning snow-capped mountain vistas, often reflected in the lake itself. What I particularly loved about this walk were all the interesting landmarks on route. Starting at the Friar’s Crag Viewpoint just after the Keswick Launch and Jetties, the path will regale you with many photographic opportunities. Look out for The Hundred Year Stone at Calfclose Bay, the Lodore Falls behind the Lodore Falls Hotel, The Chinese Bridge over the river Derwent inscribed with a Winnie The Pooh quote and the giant hand sculpture ‘Entrust’ near Portinscale. There are plenty of refreshment opportunities on route. We stopped off at Mary Mount Hotel for a coffee and a beer and The Lingholm Kitchen near Portinscale for a late lunch. From February The Keswick Launch reopens so if you do try out this circular walk, you can incorporate it with a cruise on the lake too.
Sunday ~ Chilled day in Keswick.
Sunday was a typically wet Lake District day. We decided to mostly chill in warm dry places. 😁 There was the happy discovery of a new pooch themed cafe Jaspers Coffee House on Station street, which does amazing breakfasts ( see above) and has cute doggy decor.
Did you know that Keswick’s Pencil Museum is home of the first pencil! The newly refurbished collection is a fun place to spend an hour out of the weather, especially if you get competitive doing the ‘Whats the point?’ Pencil Quiz. 😉
There are lots of great places to eat and drink in the town, many are very dog friendly. We always frequent the characterful Dog & Gun on Lake Road and finally managed to fit into the tiny tapas & cafe bar The Square Orange for a leisurely lunch. Definitely worth the wait!
Monday ~ Soggy Wet Sleddale.
Today we left Keswick and stopped off at Shap near Penrith. Again I had plans , this time for us to walk round Wet Sleddale Reservoir. But the lane down to Wet Sleddale looked pretty hazardous, so we parked in Shap and walked the 3 miles there. Maybe it is always wet and bleak here ( hence the name! ) but we didn’t make it round the reservoir. 😐 Still I am up for a return visit! We saw lots of Buzzards and kestrels and the area has a connection with a cult British film. Sleddale Hall was a film location in back comedy Withnil and I.
Where have you visited in January? Or are you enjoying a spot of hibernation. 😁
Dog friendly hikes and exploring, mostly around New England. Our Adventures includes: waterfalls, the beach, conservation land, lighthouses, state parks, the woods, the mountains, statues, and castles.
An Eclectic Mix Of Revelation By Baldy. A Blog About Cumbria, Home Of The UNESCO Lake District National Park. Photographs, Paintings, Sketches & More. Mountains Are My Bones; Rivers My Veins; Forests My Thoughts.
This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. I am a 15 year old young naturalist with a passion for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I have been blogging since May 2013 and you can read my old blog posts at www.appletonwildlifediary.blogspot.co.uk