Tag Archives: walking

A week in the Western Lakes. 

A few days ago we got back from a whole week in the lovely Lake District. We stopped in a holiday cottage , just outside the Eskdale village of Santon Bridge. Eskdale is a glacial valley in the less touristy Western side of the Lake District National Park. For us it was the ideal getaway, a base to explore what this gorgeous area has to offer.

Ride on the Ratty.   One thing I knew I wanted to do was take a steam train journey on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway.  The railway is a 7 mile minimum gauge heritage railway , affectionately known as L’al Ratty. It was originally used to carry hematite iron ore from mines around Boot, nowadays  it’s  an inventive way to explore the surrounding countryside.  We bought return tickets from Ravenglass to Dalegarth station £13.90 each ( Hugo’s ticket was £1.50) and walked along the river Esk to Stanley Ghyll Force. Trust us to find a waterfall!  L’al Ratty also played host to an Art Installation on our visit.   The Curious Incident of the Stag on the Train Line was an exhibition  of 12 beautiful wildlife paintings by local artist Sarah Taylor.  It was fun to spot  them along the trackside. 🙂

 A Walk to Wastwater.   The nearest lake to where we were staying is also the deepest lake in The Lake District. Wastwater is three miles long , half a mile wide and 260 feet deep.  One day we walked from the  cottage to the village of Nether Wasdale and onto Wastwater. As  you can see we were lucky enough to experience the most amazing walking weather, and the Autumn colours were stunning. Hugo got to bag another lake , which brings his lakes & tarns tally to 13.  Plenty more to go at though!

 Owls at Muncaster Castle. 


Muncaster Castle dates back to medieval times and with 70 acres of wild woodland gardens , its grounds are there for exploration.  The main draw for me though was the Hawk & Owl Centre which puts on daily flying shows. I caught the morning World of Owls Flying Display, where several species of owls can be seen at close quarters. The centre works in partnership with the Hawk Conservation Trust and the talk was both informative and entertaining. Make sure you know how to duck!  Of course Hugo had to stay with Wil whilst I had all the owl themed fun. 😦 Dogs on leads are welcome in the gardens and at the afternoon Sky Hunters Display and Heron feed ( there is a special viewing area for dogs and their owners), but we left before then, to find Hugo an off lead walk.  

Bag a Wainwright.
Wil was determined that we would walk up a mountain on our holiday, and bagging a Wainwright should have been on my Bucket List! Despite not being fond of hills, I’m always in awe of the gorgeous views, once I make it up one. 😉  We chose Buckbarrow, as it was within walking distance of our cottage, and from it’s summit, we could see the sea from one side and Wastwater and the screes from the other. Quite a vista! There are 214 Wainwight Peaks altogether. This was my first! 

 

Head for the Coast.  Santon Bridge ( our base) is actually only a few miles  from the coast, so it was inevitable that we would head for the seaside. The pretty harbor village of Ravenglass has a couple of pubs , a beach and of course is home to The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. We also ventured further a field , following the coastal road to Barrow In Furness and the russet stone ruins of Furness Abbey. The ancient abbey is looked after by English Heritage and it and the museum/giftshop are fascinating to look round. From Barrow we really wanted to take a trip to Walney Island , a nature reserve that is home to a colony of Grey seals. Unfortunately a traffic accident mean’t we had to forgo our plans, so we went to Haverigg Beach instead. The beach here is especially popular with dog walkers and it looked like you could walk for miles and miles.

I really enjoyed our time in the Western Lake District. My only regret is that we didn’t get to explore some of the other lakes in the area. But we were without a car for a couple of days…..so I think we did pretty well considering. 🙂

What is your favourite part of this iconic National Park?

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Photo An Hour Sat August 26th.

Yesterday was Photo An Hour Day on Instagram, organized by the lovely Janey and Louisa.  I joined in so here’s  some random shots from my day. 🙂

8am.  Muesli and blueberries for breakfast. Trying my best to be more healthy at the moment….and have been doing pretty well, so far!

9am.  We are off on a walk, so map and waterproofs packed.

10am.  Walking through the village of Pendleton and say hello to a goat. 🙂

11am.  And now walking past a campsite. It feels strange that we haven’t gone camping ourselves this bank holiday.

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12 Noon. Time for a pit stop. We are in the pretty village of Downham and have lunch at the tea room/ Ice cream shop on the village green. Hugo hoping for titbits as usual!

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1pm.  We walk to the top of  Worsaw  Hill and admire the views across the valley and Pendle Hill.

2pm.  Stopped in a pub beer garden for refreshments.

3pm.  Home now and the sunshine has dried all the washing, except the rag rugs.

4pm.  Slinky is making the most of the sunshine. ^^
 

 

5pm.  The widflower seeds in the flower bed are doing well….though most of them happen to be daisies! 

6pm.  Straightening my hair as I’m off out later.

7pm.  A bit of light reading, from the Bridget Jones era. 🙂

8pm.  In the pub with my friend Jo. Think it’s locals night!

9pm.  We get last minute tickets to a Stone Roses tribute band.

10pm. ‘ I am the Resurrection!’

11pm.  And end the night playing Jenga in the Ale House.

 

Having a lazy day today after yesterday. Hope you are enjoying your bank holiday. Catch you soon! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingleton ~ Camping and Waterfalls.

Oh British Summertime where are you? Oh wait, this is British Summer Time!!  We have just returned from a camping weekend with friends ,in the Yorkshire Dales. We donned our wellies and waterproofs and didn’t let the continuous downpours spoil our fun. 🙂 Happily we found a really good campsite just outside of Ingleton village, which definitely catered to all our needs.

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Meadow Falls is kid and dog friendly.

Meadow Falls is a proper family friendly campsite. Along with the usual campsite facilities, Meadow Falls has the additional benefits of a small shop selling essentials, a children’s play area, fire pit hire, a games room converted from an old barn (great for rainy days ~ there is also a fridge freezer and microwave in there)  and a fairy trail , which proved popular with the youngsters in our group. 🙂

The site also welcomes dogs and has an enclosed dog exercise area ,plus there is even a warm water dog shower!  A recently refurbished family and dog-friendly pub, The Marton Arms, is only a 5 minute walk away. And Ingleton with it’s host of shops, cafes and pubs is about 15 minutes walk.  Pretty much the perfect campsite then for our band of five adults, two kids and two dogs.

 

 

The weather did not play ball on this trip, for a splash around in Ingleton’s  Open-air swimming pool , so we decided to have a splash around the Waterfall Trail instead!  The  Ingleton Waterfalls Trail   is a four and a half mile waterfall wonderland and is well signposted in the village.  There is a charge for the upkeep of the trail. Adults £6, Children £3 and a family ticket costs £15.

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The trail winds its way through woodland , following the River Twiss and the River Doe. It also covers rugged moorland and as a geological site, much of the trail has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  Here are a few pictures from our walk.

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Muddy hands and a Money Tree.
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Bridge over the River Twiss.
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Mushroom carvings.
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Pecca Falls.
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The refreshment hut at Pecca Falls makes great hot dogs.
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The sun came out at Thornton Force.
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It is possible to stand behind the waterfall.
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Heather in bloom.
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Bridge Buddies. 🙂
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Swaledale sheep.
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A Wheatear .
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Beezley Falls.
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Rival Falls.
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Emerging Ghyll Scramblers or Canyoners. Brrr , must have been cold!
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Snow Falls.
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Limestone.

Our walk was interlaced with sunshine and showers, but we all agreed it was great fun. It almost looked like the sun was here to stay…….then a sudden downpour sent us scurrying to a pub in Ingleton, for refreshments and card games. 🙂

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Drying off in The Wheatsheaf.

Luckily later on it stayed dry enough for a barbecue and the kids showed us how to make marshmallow toasting sticks, with the aid of potato peelers and gardening gloves!

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Hugo eyes up the BBQ.
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After a stick hunt, the girls make them pointy with potato peelers. Will double up for vampire stakes I expect! Future Buffys in the making.:)
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Toasting on the cobb. We will definitely hire a fire pit next time!

Have you ever done the Ingleton Waterfall Trail? I thoroughly recommend it, even in the rain. 🙂

Camping and a walk in the Forest Of Bowland.

No need to dust down the old leaky tent for the first camping trip of the year ! Happily We  Wil had bought a nice new one a few weeks previously . This tent was meant to be the same model as our original. But it seems a whole lot bigger. Erm it’s practically a marquee !

Anyway we didn’t venture to far from home. We chose Fell View Park near the pretty village of Scorton. Perched on the edge of the Forest Of Bowland AONB , Fell View is adjacent to the owners farm and is surrounded by meadows full of bleating lambs and nesting lapwings.

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Hawthorn Hedge.

The campsite has plenty of EHU points, good hot showers, an undercover washing up area and a small fishing lake , which is home to lots of ducks and geese.  We stayed in the non electric tent field and had it all to ourselves for the first night.  The hedges were heavy with the scent of hawthorn blossom and the resident Greylag Geese were happily honking away.

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Mama and brood.

There’s a little Local Information Room on site with maps of nearby walks , so we took a leaflet for a Circular Route taking in ‘Nicky Nook’. The fell top is a relatively easy walk ~ about 215m to the top.

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Spot the Lapwing.
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Bowland Fells.
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Nicky Nook Summit,
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Cotton Grass.
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The Tarn.
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Descending Nicky Nook.
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Golden Gorse Blooms.

As you can see ‘ The Forest Of Bowland’ is not actually a forest in the traditional sense. The name Forest was given to Royal Hunting grounds in ancient times. Bowland is made up of  ruggedly beautiful moorland and gentle lowlands. The AONB actually covers 312 square miles of rural Lancashire and neighboring Yorkshire.

After descending ‘Nicky Nook’ we found ourselves on a country lane and followed the signs to the Apple Store Cafe  in Wyresdale Park.  The cafe set in a sheltered walled garden in the grounds of Wyresdale Hall, is the perfect place to drop by for a brew and a cake. 🙂  We sat outside , though it did look lovely inside, the glass house interior felt a little stuffy even on quite a drizzley day. The lovely waitress served our refreshments on mismatched vintage crockery, and even brought out a sausage for Hugo! 

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The Apple Store.
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My tea came in a Henry viii adorned teapot. 🙂

 After tea and cake we explored the grounds a bit ( I never saw the estate peacocks 😦 ) and then decided to deviate from our route and headed into Scorton itself for a wander. On the way we spied this cute cottage with it’s quirky garden signage.

 To get to Scorton we had to cross the M6. Who knew that such a tranquil place is so close to the motorway. The pretty village  has  a Bar Restaurant, spa shop and a cafe/gift shop. We had a couple of drinks in the lovely and dog friendly Priory Stout Bar. 

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The rare Hen Harrier is the symbol of The Forest of Bowland.
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A Scorton Doorway.
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Typical Village transport. 😉

 

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Hugo looking sorry for himself. The Priory is a friendly place to unwind with a drink or enjoy a meal. Pets welcome! 

 After a drink or two we continued on our way. We headed back through Wyresdale Park, across the fields and onwards to the campsite. It was a beautiful walk. 🙂

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Bluebells.
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Friendly horses.

 

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Cheeky lambs.

Fell View is definitely a campsite we will return to I think ,as there is so much nearby countryside to explore and the area is indeed one of Outstanding natural beauty.  🙂

A Pet-friendly Break in Keswick.

When planning a break with your four-legged friend , it is always handy to know that one particular Lake District resort has been voted ‘Uk’s Most Dog Friendly Town’ by the Kennel Club for four years on the trot. Lovely Keswick has it all. Stunning countryside with miles and miles of walks, a beautiful lake ( Derwentwater), cosy pubs and cafes, eclectic  shops , several dog-friendly parks and a  variety of accommodation  and visitor attractions that welcome waggy tails.  It seemed the ‘Pawfect’ place for a January Break with our labrador Hugo. 🙂 Here’s what we got up to….

Where we stopped.   We booked  Butterfly Cottage through Sally’s Cottages  who are based in Keswick. They have over 230 pet friendly holiday cottages in The Lake District and Cumbria. Our bijou retreat was so cosy with its Wood Burning Stove ( a must for a Winter Break), open plan downstairs space, fully equipped kitchen and beautiful bedroom with comfy King Size Bed. The location was really handy for everything in town and it was super useful to have an enclosed back yard with a muddy boots and paws wash.

Where we walked.  Every morning before breakfast we headed to Crow Park on the banks of Derwent Water. This is one of three Dog Friendly Parks in Keswick that we noticed. The others are Hope park and Fitz Park.  Each morning depending on the weather, the scenery changed. Sometimes the mountains were bathed in gold, sometimes they were an angry slate blue. It was peaceful there and Hugo had a great run around.

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There is a ten mile circular walk around Derwent Water itself which we hope to try on our next visit. We did however revisit a Railway walk which we enjoyed  whilst camping in Keswick a couple of years ago.  The Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path is now partially destroyed due to last Winter’s storms but what remains, still makes for a pleasant stroll or bike ride. The walk starts from the Swimming Baths near Fitz Park.

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We also walked up to  Castlerigg Stone Circle situated just outside of Keswick off Castle lane. With the mountains of Helvellyn and High Street as a backdrop, the stone circle is among the earliest in Britain, dating back to 3000 BC.  On a clearer day the views are stunning.

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Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Places to  Eat & Drink.   Keswick is great for dog friendly pubs and cafes.  In fact  all the pubs in Keswick welcome dogs except for the Wetherspoons.  Of course we made it our mission to try out as many as we could !  My favourites were The George Hotel with it’s cosy seating area by the fire, The Wainwright Pub, The Packhorse  Inn,  and of course The Dog and Gun famed for it’s ‘Homemade Goulash’ and doggy treat menu. 🙂

I don’t know about you but for breakfast on holidays I love pancakes. 🙂  Keswick has that sorted . We loved  Merienda  on the main street. It’s a fab Cafe Restaurant open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner.  With an 8am opening time Mon-Sats and 9am on Sunday it is the perfect place to refuel before yomping up those hills. Another great venue for early starters is Cafe Bar 26 on Lake Road which does amazing Full Spanish Breakfasts. And both do make delicious  pancakes. 🙂

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Merienda
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Bar 26.

Many of the pubs serve great food ( try the Royal Oak for their amazing Cheese Boards & Platters) and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Keswick that welcome dogs. As well as Bar 26 and Merienda look out for The Square Orange Bar/Cafe, Java Chocolate & Coffee Shop, Lakes Bistro & Bar, The Filling Station, Little Chamonix, Laura in The lakes, Kat’s Kitchen ( Veggie ) and Mrs F’s Fine Food emporium, to name but a few.

Shopping.  Plenty of shops in the town don’t mind you being accompanied by your four legged friend. I find the best thing to do is always ask first. Lots of the Outdoorsy shops are dog friendly and so are many others. Hugo visited lovely gift emporiums Cherrydidi  and Love The lakes  on St John’s Street, for holiday souvenirs. He also bobbed into Keswick’s well loved Pet Store Podgy Paws which is a great place to visit for advice on local walks and dog friendly places, activities and attractions.

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My picture of Cherrydidi Shop Dog Zak, taken last Summer. He has his own range of Zak merchandise and is a complete babe. 🙂

Visitor Attractions.  Here is a quick list of pet friendly things to do and places to visit in Keswick and the surrounding area. 🙂

Cumberland Pencil Museum. Carding Mill Lane. Journey through the history of pencils and pencil making. Home to the biggest colouring pencil in the world! pencilmuseum.co.uk

Keswick Launch Company. Derwentwater. See the gorgeous scenery of Derwentwater on a lake cruise. keswicklaunch.co.uk

A Puzzling Place. 9 Museum Square. An exhibition of optical illusions and trickery. puzzlingplace.co.uk

Keswick Climbing Wall. Goosewell Farm. Indoor and Outdoor Adventure Centre. keswickclimbingwall.co.uk

Castlerigg Stone Circle. Near Goosewell Farm.

Whinlatter Forest Park. England’s only true Mountain Forest with walks, trails and adventure play. forestry.gov.uk

Mirehouse & Gardens. Stately Home and gardens on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Dogs welcome in the gardens and grounds. mirehouse.co.uk

The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden. Portinscale.  Beatrix Potter often holidayed here and the garden was the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. Reachable via a lake jetty or car. thelingholmestate.co.uk

 

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Hugo by Derwentwater.

I shall certainly take a look at the list on our next visit to Keswick. Hugo cannot wait to go again…and nor can we. 🙂

Can you recommend any dog friendly destinations?

 

 

 

The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.

At the Weekend I got to tick something off my Bucket List and raise a bit of money for charity. Can’t be bad!  For a while now I have wanted to do ‘The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk’ which is a guided walk across the shifting sands between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands in Cumbria. The walks are led by Cedric Robinson MBE ( the Queen’s Official Guide), who has been escorting thousands of charity fundraisers safely  over the bay since 1963. That makes him pretty darn experienced , wouldn’t you agree !

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The walk starts on the front at pretty Arnside. No Hugo is not seeing us off. He will be joining us for this 8 mile trek over the bay. 🙂

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There are about 200 people joining us too, dressed mostly in shorts and trainers or walking sandals. Some brought the kids and others bring four legged friends. We were soon met by Cedric in his trusty tractor.

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Cedric is a bit of a celebrity so he poses for a few photos with fans before we set off.

The sands are so beautiful and stretch out for miles in front of us. They are also very dangerous so it’s important never to cross without a respected guide.

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Even in such an impressive turnout, it is possible to enjoy the serenity of the seascape.

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Eventually we cross our first channel !  The River Kent creates the channels and we are soon paddling…….

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Even these little fellas are doing the doggy paddle. 🙂  One Jack Russell Terrier called Cato still kept paddling with his front paws in mid air,even after his owner picked him up. Aww!

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The water comes up to my mid thigh. Yep I’m a short arse!  Hugo does swimmingly well. 🙂

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I resigned myself to the fact that I would get pretty wet. So did Hugo ! Luckily the weather is kind to us and amazingly we don’t feel cold at all.

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We cross several channels in this way. The route is marked by Laurel Branches, chosen because their leaves do not drop.

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Cedric keeps an eye out for us all. I ask him if , as the Queen’s Official Guide, he has ever taken Her Majesty across Morecambe Bay. He hasn’t ( yet! ) but he has had the pleasure of accompanying Prince Phillip in the 1980s. He had to tell The Duke off for  driving his horse and carriage to fast over the sands!

Our walk takes a little over four hours and ends at Kent Bank station ,just outside Grange-Over-Sands. We amble back to our little B&B muddy, with aching legs and a great sense of achievement. 🙂

If you would like to donate to my  Just Giving  page please do. We are raising money for ‘East Lancs Hospice’.

And here is some more information about The Morecambe Bay Walk.

Birds that Brunch and Signs of Spring.

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Yesterday I took my camera down the fields in the hope of capturing one of the Barn Owls I frequently see when I’m walking the hound. Yes I know, I am one lucky girl! But the enchanting creatures, who I often see hunting in daylight ( I didn’t know they did that!) proved elusive this time. Just knowing they are around ( possibly due to ground being disturbed because of new housing estates being built in the area ) gives me hope that I will get my shot one day. 🙂

The birds I can depend on not to be too camera shy are the various garden types  that feed in a gateway to the campsite near the river. Some kind soul puts food out for them every day. These birdies know how to Brunch. 🙂

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Female Blackbird.
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Long tailed Tit.
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Chaffinch.
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Robin.
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Nuthatch.
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Blackbird.

I hung around for a while, until my feet started getting a wee bit cold. If I tell you I also saw two Jays but couldn’t get a picture, you will know how disappointed I was. 😦  But the fact that wildlife is thriving down by the river does make me happy. I frequently see Kingfishers, Herons, Dippers and Goosander. Two walkers told me recently that they have spied Otters! And of course the camera shy Barn Owl(s) are possibly the most beautiful and graceful birds I have ever seen in the wild. 🙂

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Catkins or Lambs tails.
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Snowdrops.

And despite the cold weather it does appear that Spring is just round the corner. 🙂

Have you spotted any signs of Spring yet?