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?
I thought I would post a few of my favourite wildlife photos that I have taken whilst out and about this year. There have been a few special moments! I finally managed to photograph a kingfisher ( not once, but twice! ) and I was thrilled to spy a Green Woodpecker by the river Wharfe in Yorkshire. A holiday on the Norfolk Coast proved an amazing experience for wildlife spotting and even a few days away in London gave me some photographic opportunities. 🙂 Hope you enjoy my pictures.
Day 23 ~ Set up Camp. Less than a week to go now, of the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild challenge. It is becoming a challenge to find new things to do in the wild, but a camping trip can surely help with that. However looking back to my wild moments of 2015 , I can see we went camping then too. And to the same place! Still, you can’t go wrong with a firm favourite, and Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales is somewhere we have returned to again and again. Howgill Lodge Campsite is a 30 minutes walk along the river from the village, and is a great little site, popular with families and walkers. And it’s dog friendly too. 🙂
Howgill Lodge tries to do its bit for the environment and encourage wildlife. There are bird boxes around the site, wildflower areas, and solar panels for water, heating and lighting in the shower blocks.
After setting up camp in the Yorkshire drizzle, we walked along the River Wharfe and ended up in one of the pubs in Appletreewick for a few drinks. Then we got comfy , the rain got worse, so we stopped for tea and more liquid refreshment! If you find yourself in the area I can definitely recommend the Craven Arms and Cruck Barn for real ales, ciders and amazing food, adorned with wildflowers. 🙂
And the walk along the river is always beautiful, even in the rain. Some things reassuringly never change. Lots of glorious Common spotted orchids in bloom and a young Wild Swimmer, forever immortalised by a poignant plaque, as the Wharfe winds it’s way through the woodland.
Day 24 ~ Wildlife along the River Wharfe. As is tradition when we visit these parts, we decided to walk to Bolton Abbey and back. With a lunch break, and me forever stopping to take pictures ( much to the annoyance of my other half, tee hee) , we were probably out walking for about 6 hours. Anyone else would be much quicker! Here are a few million photos from the day.
Day 25 ~ More from the Riverside. Before heading home we took Hugo a walk from nearby Burnsall village to Hebden. There is a choice of wibbly wobbly suspension bridge or stepping stones to cross the river. Which would you choose?
And look out for these beautiful yellow flowers that adorn the river bank. I have seen them on previous visits, but only just managed to Id them.
How is 30 Days Wild going for you? Thanks for joining me in the Dales. 🙂
Having recently arrived home from a holiday in Norfolk, thrown some washing in, greeted the cat and waved off my Other Half to the pub, I thought I had better do some catching up on blog posts. 🙂 Firstly it’s time to update my progress on #30dayswild, which The Wildlife Trusts have organized to challenge people to experience 30 random acts of wildness in June. On Day One I made Wild Watermint Tea here and since then I have been staying on the coast in Hunstanton , aka Sunny Hunny. 🙂 Here are some Wild Moments!
Day Two. Red Striped Cliffs and Nesting Fulmars. As soon as had we settled into our accommodation , we headed to the beach with Hugo. The first thing we noticed was the extraordinary red and white striped cliffs. The red chalk is due to iron staining. They are certainly a stunning sight.
The tide was out and below is our view toward the Sea. Rock pools have formed in between the boulders. Hugo is out there somewhere! We did not find even a solitary crab in the pools, but they do have rather a lot of predators. Looking up to the cliffs once again , we couldn’t fail to see ( and hear ) hundreds of pairs of Fulmar, nesting in the craggy rock face.
Fulmars look like Gulls but are apparently members of the Petrel family. They are able to drink sea-water and have ”tube-noses” enabling them to excrete excess salt through their nostrils. You learn something new every day! We wish our labrador had a Tube Nose, he does tend to take the odd sea sip, when he thinks we are not looking….
Day Three. Coastal Butterflies & Wildflowers. Ona walk along the Norfolk Coastal Path from Hunstanton to Holme , here are some of the plants and butterflies that we spotted. Now despite studying a couple of Collins Guides , I’m not confident with all my IDs. So if you know better, please let me know. 🙂
Maybe Early Purple Orchids.
And a red Variant.
This walk was a dream for me. Some of these flowers and insects, I have never seen before. I just couldn’t stop smiling. 🙂
Day Four. Eating Lavender. Norfolk Lavender is one of the country’s largest Lavender Farms and as it was only down the road from us at Heacham , I persuaded Wil that we needed to try their Lavender Cake! Lavender has been used since Roman times ( indeed it was the Roman’s who probably brought this fragrant flowering herb over to our shores) in medicines, lotions and potions. I for one had never tried it in cake….. or in Lemonade.
The cake was quite nice ( in a fragrant flowery way) but even though Wil and I shared it, we couldn’t finish it. Now that wouldn’t happen with Chocolate Cake! The lemonade was refreshing but very very fizzy, so I couldn’t drink all of that either. Most disappointing was the fact that about ninety percent of the lavender isn’t in bloom yet, so if you are planning a visit, wait a few more weeks.
Day Five. Collected Shells on Brancaster Beach. On Day Five we took Hugo for a walk On Brancaster Beach. Norfolk is great for Pet Friendly Beaches and Brancaster is just one of many lovely stretches of sand. Our walk was incredibly windy so we got somewhat sandblasted. I’m not sure my photo really does the conditions any justice!
I probably gave up collecting shells after about five minutes , so my little collection is a bit sad. What you can see are a couple of oyster shells, a razor shell, a couple of cockle shells, pebbles and a couple of trough shells. I think they are all quite common on British Beaches.
Day Six. Rainy Walk In a Country Park. This day was wet and windy so we decided to have a wander round nearby Sandringham Country Park. The canopy from the woodland offered some protection from the elements. At this time of year the Royal retreat is adorned with flowering Rhododendrons and Foxgloves. We spied a Roe Deer, several squirrels and a couple of cheeky Jays. They were all very camera shy. So here are some facts about foxgloves. 🙂
Other names for Foxgloves include Fairy Thimbles, Floppydocks and Goblin Gloves.
The name Ffion is Welsh for Foxglove.
Foxgloves , though highly toxic, are used in Heart Medicines.
Plant Foxgloves in your garden and you will attract fairies.
The White Spots in each bell are marks left by fairies.
Fairies apparently taught foxes to ring the bells, warning other foxes of hunters in the area.
Bad fairies told foxes to wear the flowers on their paws ( like slippers) so the hens in the hen house wouldn’t hear them coming.
In mythology the Roman Goddess Flora touched a foxglove to Juno’s belly, so she could conceive a child with Jupiter.
Thanks for reading my update. More to follow in a few days. 🙂
Hey there, I thought I would do one quick #30dayswild post before I go on my jollies to Norfolk tommorrow. Its a bit of a cheat because I actually collected the mint yesterday afternoon. But I did make the tea this morning. I had a refreshing wild moment. 🙂
All I did was steep the leaves in hot ( not boiling) water for about 5 minutes and pour into a teacup. I don’t like my mint tea to sweet so didn’t add sugar. Water Mint tea has a pepperminty taste and I must say, I really enjoyed it.
Look out for Water Mint by streams. You will probably smell it’s minty fragrance first! At the moment you can identify Water Mint by its green leaves tinted with purple. From July there will be lilac flowers to admire too. 🙂
If you haven’t heard about The Wildlife Trusts #30dayswild yet, check out their website. They are challenging everyone to get involved , by doing something Wild every day in June. This could be anything, from taking the dog on a different walk route, sowing a patch of wild flower seeds, eating a picnic up a tree or identifying a bird call…..
As I’m off to the Norfolk Coast tommorrow, I am really looking forward to spotting wildlife there that I don’t get to see in Lancashire. I look forward to updating my blog and reading everybody elses Wild posts on my return. 🙂
Because I am a traveller I can look down on the birds and up at the fishes. I collect moments and can venture back in time to lost worlds. I seize life and simultaneously escape it at will. Because I am a traveller I envy no man at home.