Tag Archives: wild flowers

Flora, Fauna and a Festival in a Forest.

I haven’t just been spending my time yomping up hills recently. At the weekend Wil and I joined some friends at the annual Cloudspotting Festival in Gisburn Forest, a popular family-friendly Arts & Music festival, set in the heart of the beautiful Forest of Bowland in Lancashire.

As this year’s festival was actually on a smaller scale than usual, with two nights camping and one full day devoted to fun events for all the family plus some great Live Bands, it was called A Break In The Clouds. Being my first ever experience of Cloudspotting, I wasn’t sure what to expect!

Apart from the early evening midgie beasts ( we were in a forest after all) , I loved it. When I wasn’t participating in laughter yoga, noshing on yummy festival food, drinking cider in the Bitter Suite Bar, listening to storytelling by the campfire or dancing along to Sweet Baboo’s psychedelic floor- filling tunes, I was chasing butterflies in the surrounding wildflower meadows. 😁

Our friends daughters ( aged 7 and 8 ) had a wonderful time too. There was plenty going on for kids including Forest School, The Highway Rat Trail and Interactive Theatre ‘ The Sorrowful Stag’ . What was lovely about ‘A Break In The Clouds’ was the chilled friendly vibe. It felt very safe and allowed the kids a rare degree of independence, that children don’t get to experience so much these days.

Here are a few images that myself and my friend Fiona took. 😊

Cloudspotting Hen Harrier.
Wildflower Meadow.
Bronte & Lydia.
Festival Footwear.
Silver Y Moth.
The Sorrowful Stag.
The Sorrowful Stag.
Festival Food.
Common Spotted Orchids.
Holistic Therapy Trailer.
The Green Canteen.
Damselfly.
Small Skipper.
Forest Camp Fire.
Festival Thoughts Tree.
Headliners, Lancaster Band ~ The Lovely Eggs.
A Break In The Clouds. πŸ™‚

The Cloudspotting Festival is set to return in it’s fuller form in 2019. πŸ™‚

Are you off to any festivals this Summer?

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A Midsummer Morning.

Today I thought I would post what I saw on this mornings walk with Hugo.

Friday morning walks are favourites of mine, as I don’t have to hurry. With no work to giddy me along, I am prone to dilly dallying. An hours walk takes me two. Though Hugo has more time to play. πŸ™‚

This morning we ventured up the fields and followed the wall that protects Standen Hall from nosy parkers ( myself included 😁) and wandered along a country lane for a while. Here’s what I saw. …

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Hugo , no doubt telling me to hurry up!
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Bramble blossom. Can’t wait for the Blackberries. 😊
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Bittersweet or Woody Nightshade. It scrambles over plants in woods or hedges.
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Hogweed. The largest of the umbellifers.
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Rook on a dead tree. I have seen a woodpecker here previously.
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Oxeye Daisies are also known as Marguerite or Moon-Daisy.
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Into the shade.
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The shady Woodland path is surrounded by Enchanter’s Nightshade. Its Latin name is Circara lutetiana , named after Circe, the enchantress of Greek legend who turned Odysseus’ men into pigs by giving them a magic potion. Oink!
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Poisonous berry stalks of the Cuckoo Pint. The berries will change colour to a warning red.

Not sure what these blue flowers are. The closest I have come, when checking my Collins Handguide to the Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe is Jacobs Ladder. They are pretty anyway.

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Field Roses.
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Hoverfly on rose.
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Hugo with Pendle Hill in the background.
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Thistle Flower.

Most of the above photos were taken before 8am. It promised to be a beautiful Midsummer Day. And it is!

Have a lovely 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 Cumbrian weekend of wanderings and wildlife.

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Chimney Sweeper Moth.

The recent weekend was spent gathered with family at Mums. She didn’t want a big celebration, just time spent together with children and grandchildren on her 70th Birthday. Country walks, playing games, visiting some lovely gardens, and a Birthday Cake. It was a happy couple of days!

Mum lives at the foot of Askham Fell near Penrith in Cumbria. Its a comparitively little explored part of The Lake District, but well worth a visit. On Saturday morning before my sister and niece and nephew arrived, Wil and I armed ourselves with a Askham Fell Marsh Kelpie Tale Trail Map, and headed for a walk up the fell.

There are various Tale Trail maps of different places in The Lake District, aimed at younger walkers ….and the young at heart. 😁 The Marsh Kelpie is a fictional character that lives on the fell. We didn’t find him of course, but we did see lots of wildlife and a stone circle.

Skylark, Askham Fell.
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Small Heath Butterfly.
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A herd of ‘Wild’ Fell Ponies live on the Fell. This one with Wil is not very wild and shaped like a barrel. πŸ™‚
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Cockpit Stone Circle ~ once used by villagers for cock fighting.
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Linnet. πŸ™‚
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Pied Wagtail.
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Common Bistort on the road side. Mum knows this as ‘Sweaty Feet’ and if you smell it…..it does whiff a bit. : b

Its a good job my family are all wildlife lovers , as we also spent a lot of the weekend pouring over Mum’s Bird book, trying to identify the birds we saw. πŸ™‚ My sister and I forgot our phone chargers ( there’s not much of a signal or wifi anyway) , so it was nice to Id what we saw , the old-fashioned way.

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Siskin on Mum’s Bird feeders.
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Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
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Wil’s photo of a rather dapper Dipper on the River Lowther.

On Saturday afternoon we took Mum to Holehird Gardens near Windermere. She loves gardens and this one which is run by volunteers, is home to the Lakeland Horticultural Society. June is a good time to visit for the rhododendrons and blue Himalayan poppies.

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Blue Himalayan Poppies and Alliums.

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I’m not very well up on my garden flowers, but as you can see the beds were abundant with colour. πŸ™‚

On Sunday we visited somewhere closer to Askham. Acorn Bank gardens and Water Mill at nearby Temple Sowerby. The National Trust looks after the property and the manor house dates back to 1228, its first owners were the Knights Templar.

There is plenty to see at Acorn Bank. We walked along a forest trail to the working water mill, looked for frogs in the lily pond, found fairy doors, enjoyed the gardens, had a lovely brew and cake, browsed the second hand book shop and found Newtopia. πŸ™‚

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Fairy Door.
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A freaky green spider on Bistort…or Sweaty feet. Is this a Cucumber Spider?
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Imogen and Woody Woodpecker.
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Acorn Bank.
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Impressive Coat of Arms.
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Hop It !
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Looking for Newts!

There’s a pond full of Great Crested Newts in the Sunken Garden at Acorn Bank. We had plenty of fun trying to spot them!

Thanks for joining me on a fun family weekend…with lots of wildlife thrown in for good measure. x

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…….

Wild Garlic & Cheese Scones.

Today I reached a little milestone. I am currently participating in the #walk1000miles challenge , which I started in the New Year. I have just become a Proclaimer. I have walked 500 Miles! To celebrate, I thought I would do a little baking , so I made some Wild Garlic & Cheese Scones. Wild garlic has speer shaped leaves and is abundant in woodland at the moment. In fact it’s white pompom shaped flowers are just starting to appear. I foraged some leaves whilst out walking locally this afternoon.

Wild Garlic & Cheese Scones.

I found this recipe in the Ribble Valley Magazine and it is one of wild food forager James Woods , from www.totallywild.co.uk

Ingredients ( 8 Scones).

250g plain flour.

75g unsalted butter, small chunks.

1tsp baking powder.

1 tsp salt.

50g mature cheese, grated.

15-20 young wild garlic leaves and stems, finely chopped.

150ml milk.

Method.

Place the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Rub the flour into the butter until it resembles fine bread crumbs.

Add the salt, baking powder, grated cheese, chopped wild garlic leaves and mix.

In the mixing bowl.

Make a well in the middle and add the milk, a little at a time, mix with your hands or a large spoon.

Flatten the dough into a thick round on a floured surface. Ok!

Remove and form it into a ball in your hands, then flatten the dough into a thick round on a floured surface and cut into eight wedges ( I only managed 6). Place on a lined baking tray.

Scones…..that actually look like bannocks. Ready to go in the oven.

Bake in the middle of a pre-heated oven, 180 C , for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and lightly browned.

Happy 500 Miles!

I found the scones to have a subtle garlic flavour. They are really good with butter! I think I should have tried to cut the wild garlic leaves finer, but all in all I am quite pleased with how they turned out. 😁

Heres to the next 500 miles!

Spring walks, a Nature Diary and an Easter treat.

The Easter Weekend so far ~ a Good Friday walk with friends, spring shoots and wild flowers and a visit with my lovely friend Lisa to Stydd Gardens in Ribchester. 😁

Blackthorn blossom
Good Friday Walkers assemble in the Calf’s Head Beer Garden.
Stydd Gardens.
Nutella Hot Chocolate and an Easter treat. Rosie Duck at Stydd Gardens.Soo good. πŸ™‚
Lovey Dove.

Treats for the dog at Rosie Duck.

My Ladybird book What To Look For In Spring helped me identify some of the spring flowers below.

Butterbur by a stream.
Golden Saxifrage.
Wild garlic leaves. I do have a recipe handy for wild garlic leaves & cheese scones!
I am going to start a nature diary for my sightings. πŸ™‚

The Easter Weekend has been lovely so far. πŸ™‚

Roll on the next two days. X