Monday, 3 March 2014

Dawn in Martham

Stunning views over the river on my early morning walk with Floradog. Just taken on my Samsung, no filters and just lucky with the light. Stunning views from the terrace of our cottage and up the path towards the mill. 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

8 go to Cumbria

Derwentwater, very high indeed. 

The climb started up Catbells.

Scramble No 1

scramble no 3 fast approaching.

Here we go......

All downhill from now on.....

Monday, 26 August 2013

Hauxley Nature Reserve, Druridge Bay near Amble, Northumberland

Cormorants, lapwings, Canada geese, grey lags, a lazy heron and ducks, all seen from the North Hide today. Nothing terribly exciting but quiet and calm on a beautiful morning. 

Looked this up, still none the wiser. 


A true sign Autumn is on its way, rosa rugosa hips. 

A hungry caterpillar.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A ride on a steam train and hike back.

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is one of the oldest narrow gauge railways in England and known locally as La'al Ratty or 'little railway'. The train transports tourists from Ravenglass on the west Cumbrian coat to Dalegarth near Boot in the Eskdale Valley. Some of the carriages are closed, some open, but all with spectacular views as you travel up the line, stopping at places called The Green and Murthwaite Halt. We decided to take the train from Dalegarth to Muncaster, just one stop from Ravenglass and then hike back to the car over Muncaster Fell.

Flora's first railway ride which she appeared to thoroughly enjoy.

After an initial wrong turn from the stop ( sometimes the very start of walks can be confusing!) we set off walking steadily upwards along Fell Lane out on to the open hillside towards Muncaster Fell. It was a cloudy, close morning with no sign of any sun and very boggy underfoot. There were few people around and most we met were doing a similar route one way or another, walkers are always happy to share a route and mull over an OS map!

We made steady, if slow progress eastwards keeping the valley on our right and picking our way carefully through bogs, mud and gorse, wonderful views but the tops were clouded in mist and we were glad we had not planned a high level walk today. We came off the fell at about 3pm and the skies turned blue, the sun came out and temperature rose to about 20oC.

Not a Wainwright but Muncaster Fell does appear in his Outlying Fells books and certainly lived up to his description, 
"The supreme joy of Muncaster Fell is the delectable traverse of its ridge ... Here is enchantment"

Down under The Green station and then another ascent, quite a steep pull to the top of Fell Side before joining a narrow path which took us up and over the fell towards our destination.

We were following the OS map carefully but had to resort to the compass on at least one occasion as the narrow grass paths were quite indistinct on the top of Fell Side, we kept on a north east route to eventually reach the 2 tarns identified on the route, Siney Tarn and much larger Blea Tarn. There we located the steep zig zag path down to the road through the valley where we trudged for another 1/2 mile or so before arriving at the car. 

A demanding walk for modest height gain, but the views were very rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The old canal

My sister and I used to play on trees near the old canal in 1966 when our parents first moved to Lichfield. She was 6 and I knew better at 9 years of age. My mother would have had a fit. Please can we go to the shop for you, across a main road, under a bridge, across another road, list filled, sweets purchased from shop in Shortbutts Lane and return journey along the old canal. Summers of sunny days and no stranger danger existed. I remember climbing on a tree whose branches bent over the water and solemnly telling my sister she was too young to follow me and must stand and wait for me, she did. Even in those days there was no canal traffic, long closed off and full of stagnant water with interesting  creatures and us with a sense of dare. It was fortuitous maybe to buy a house much later near the same canal. Nothing much happened for many years, we walked along it with various dogs and children and then the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Trust was formed and started the restoration work in 1990

The history of the Wyrley and Essington is outlined here:

The restoration route is at the back of our house and lock 24 a 
mere 1/2 mile away. 
We try to take a regular walk to see the latest work 
and read the news boards.

It makes for a pleasant walk. The volunteers are doing a great job 
of restoring each part and the workings have now spread into Darnford Park

Spot a Chocolate Labrador?

Then all of a sudden a completed part is in view, towpath, 
beautiful blue brickwork completed and water 
reflecting the evening light in the trees.
It will be many years until the canal reappears in its former glory 
at the back of the house, we probably will not 
be around to appreciate it.
Do go down and have a look at the work, 
it's a masterpiece in progress.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Darnford Park

Darnford Park is great if you just need to get out for half an hour. It's about a mile around the perimeter, 2 for the dog at least and not withstanding the ridiculous arrows ( what, are the Park Police going to stop you for walking the wrong way??), a very pleasant way to get some fresh air if you are short on time. The Park was deserted at 3.30 this afternoon. No kids, hardly any walkers and their dogs, just a jogger in the distance. It was a beautiful, scorching afternoon, and other than the noise from the A38 traffic, quiet and peaceful. But it shouldn't have been like this.

The controversial fencing is, inevitably, having an impact on the local community. There are no kids around, not even having an illicit smoke at one of the picnic benches. There are few spaces now to kick around a football due to the new fencing, and it seems this has put picnickers off as well. 

A new banner has been attached to the fence at the Darnford Park end and notices are keeping users up to date on the current news. Over 1000 people signed the recent petition handed to Lichfield District Council to ask the Council to remove the fencing and leave the wide open spaces as they were.

The original wildflower area at the Cappers Lane end is stunning, full of 3 foot high grasses and wild campanula. Gorgeous. There's no doubt that the interior areas inside the fencing are also looking stunning but the thought of weed killer being administered and the ground being prepared for 6800 trees later in the year is really depressing.

Come on Lichfield District Council, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

A Hartington Ramble

The day started well with a fast journey to Hartington, an hour away but a different world of snow lined fields, misty vistas and rolling hills. We had planned a ramble from Hartington to Pilsbury Castle and after meeting friends and getting gaitered up, we set off.

The ramble from the old settlement of Hartington follows the hills enclosing upper Dovedale with a height gain of 830 feet and a gentle distance of 6 miles. We started to clmb soon after leaving the village and traversed gorse covered banks and a conifer plantation breaking out to a superb view into the higher reaches of the valley. Stile upon stile, many with treacherously slippery stones set not the walls and only one with a dog pass, Flora coped with several indignities of being carried, pushed, pulled and lugged over the numerous stiles.

The tracks often contained walls of different materials, limestone on one side and sandstone on the other, the river flowing between the two types of rock. We continued up the valley to Pilsbury Castle, an English Heritage site, representing a picture of what must have been a formidable defence in this remote kingdom.

This was the point of turning on the walk and we retraced our steps slightly to rise above the site. Looking back you could really appreciate the castle's location as guardian of the valley.

After several more stiles and indistinct trods and walking downhill all the time, we descended back into the village of Hartington, the pub in sight with a much needed drink and snack.