Friday, 19 October 2018

Lake District, October 2018. Day 6. Tilberthwaite Touring

Beautiful cloudless skies and anothe frost greeted us this morning.  We were away fairly quickly (for us), driving via Ambleside to the car part in Tilberthwaite by  Andy Goldsworth's Sheepfold.  Our route took us along the road to High Tilberthwaite Farm and then joined the gravel track down through old slate quarries and Moss Rigg Wood.  The Autumn colours were spectacular: gold, green, red, yellow and graceful silver birches were beautiful against the deep blue sky and blue-grey slate spoil heaps.  We wandered down to elegant Slater Bridge in Little Langdale for photography and lunch.  After lunch of cold pizza and hot chocolate we walked back and up to Cathedral Cavern in the Little Langdale slate quarries, named for the cathedral-sized main cavern which leads through to other smaller caverns and dark adits , tempting to explore.  Generations of quarrymen had blasted slate out of here leaving a huge central pillar to support the roof.  After splitting for roof and flooring, the slates were transported down to Coniston for distribution. Although I had already photographed this amazing space I couldn't resist making more images of it. 
Soon it was time to head back up the hill to Hodge Close Quarry.  Yet another fabulous photographic location, this vast hole in the ground has a lake in the bottom that is purported to be as deep as the quarry walls above.  As well as being a favourite haunt of photographers, it is also popular with scuba divers and rock climbers.
Heading down across fields took us back to High Tilberthwaite where we stopped to photograph the beautiful herdy sheep and chat with the farmer.  Sadly he was leaving the following week citing careless and selfish tourists as the main reason.  He complained bitterly of trains of landrovers and trail bikes destroying bridleways and leaving gates open. Saddened but comforting ourselves that we did try to be caring and respectful of this magnificent area we returned to the car.
Our final stop was a potter round Ambleside before returning to the van for rehydration and supper.
Sadly tomorrow we have to return to Grimsby but looked forward to visiting our brand new great-niece on the way.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Lake District, October 2018. Day 5.

We set the alarm this morning to make sure that we didn't oversleep again.  After breakfast I left Heather working on her rope sculptures and headed for Leighton Moss RSPB reserve, a place I had been meaning to visit for some time.  It is a reserve of vast reed beds and lakes,  haunt of bittern, bearded tit, otter and red deer.  I saw none of these on this first exploratory visit with no camera gear other than a red deer stag.  Others could be heard roaring in the distance as the testosterone fuelled rut gets under way.  The belling of the stags is primeval.  Although I dipped out on the reserve's top line species I enjoyed a good couple of hours with 24 bird species including marsh harrier and marsh tit as well as red deer, fallow deer on the way and a couple of late Dragonflies.
On returning to the van we had a sandwich lunch and later wandered across the fields to Stavely where we enjoyed a pint in the Eagle and Child.  The light was excellent and I was pleased to make some pleasing images of our favourite oak tree with the Kentmere fella in the distance.  We are now settled cosily in the van looking out at a beautiful sunset as we cook pizza for dinner.

Lake District, October 2018. Day 4

A lazy day today, partly prompted by a wet misty start.  Later in the morning we drove into Kendal for some shopping.  I was pleased to find some quality wellies in the market in the indoor shopping arcade, something for which I have been searching for ages.  Ready for winter now!!  We had a snack lunch in Booths cafe and then shopped for baby books in Waterstones (we have just become great aunt and uncle).
After a cup of tea when we got back  I went out to test drive the wellies with some photography in Rather Heath Woods.  The colours were spectacular and I came back with some pleasing results.
In the evening we met up with long-time friends Anna and Gordon for a meal at the nearby Strickland Arms.  It was good to catch up and the food was excellent, and the beer.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Lake District, October 2018. Day 3. Wasdale Wandering and the Wasdale Oak

What a contrast to two days ago: Storm Callum with 24C temperatures, gales, torrential rain and flood to flat calm, clear skies -1C and our first frost.  We were up and away at 10.00 am.  It is a long drive round to Wasdale from Ashess Lane.  We did consider the trip over the Wrynose and Hardknott passes but Google says that going round is quicker.  By the time we arrived at the NT car park at Wasdale Head and set out it was nearly 1.00 pm.  We must remember to start earlier before coming round to Wasdale in the future.  Nonetheless it was a beautiful afternoon and the sky had cleared completely, not so good for photography but at the end of the day a few interesting clouds bubbled up.  The autumn colours were stunning and at times the lake was flat calm producing superb reflections. Our route took us over the fields of Wasdale Head Hall farm before tackling the steep open fellside above the lake.  Initially we were on a narrow path through bracken before crossing two sections of the famous Wasdale Screes.  Actually the walking was easier over the screes without the impeding bracket.  I had identified the tree using binoculars from the other side of the lake so recognised the landmarks indicating that we were below the oak.  Now all remained a ferociously steep scramble up to it while Heather stayed below drawing.  Breathless and sweating, I enjoyed just sitting with the tree soaking up it's presence and the view before photographing it.  For such an old tree it is relatively small tree, naturally bonsaied as it struggles through the scree.  Around it though are quite a few saplings hopefully the harbingers of a fellside oak wood while giddyingly below me were beatifully graceful silver birches looking wonderful with their Autumn colours contrasting with the steely blue of the lake waters below.  What a situation!!  The afternoon was slipping away from us so all too soon it was time to head back to the car revelling in the autumn colours  reflections and the majestic mountains of Kirkfell, Great Gable and Scafells at the head of the valley.  As we drove back along the lake I stopped for some photography of Gable set against the lake waters.
We were late back at the van so it was time for some serious rehydration while cooking dinner.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Lake District, October 2018. Day 2

After a dry night we woke to find that the flood waters on the site had drained away.  It was, though, much cooler than yesterday's 20+C.  After a very lazy start we moved at the end of the morning calling in first at Ings Services and Biketrex before setting off for Ullswater and Treefold North, one of the links in The Longview network of seven remarkable trees.  The drive over the Kirkstone Pass was beautiful and dramatic as usual with views down into the head of the Trout beck Valley and the Troutbeck Alder and once over the summit down to Ullswater.  On the way over the pass we could see brighter weather moving in from the west.  The sky soon cleared to leave a beautiful Autumn afternoon.  We had made a slight error of judgement, however, when, despite three trips round the car park at Aira Force we could find no parking spot.  Realising that It was Sunday we returned to the cafe in Glenridding and then returned to a different parking spot.  In order to find the Treefold we then set off along The Ullswater Way back towards Aira Force.  We were rewarded with excellent views through trees and bracken glowing golden in the afternoon  sun to the lake below.  We soon found the Treefold with its entrance aligned with The Glencoyne Pine high on the fellside.  Unlike Treefold East a year ago, Treefold North has had an oak planted within it.  We wish it well.  Like the Little Asby Treefold this one has the words of a line of Harriet Fraser's poem inscribed on its walls:
roots deep
years weathered
taking the long view
Hoping that Treefold East at Little Asby now has its tree we returned to the car with plans to walk to The Wasdale Oak tomorrow.   Before returning to the site we drove to the end of the lake at Pooley Bridge looking for photographs.  When we got back we were greeted by mouth-watering aromas of beef in beer coming from the slow cooker, one of the best investments we have made for the caravan.  Rehydration was, of course, essential.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Lake District, October 2018. Day 1

After three wonderful but windy days on the Yorkshire coast completing the Cleveland Way we headed west towards the Lakes and Storm Callum.  Although very windy the weather remained dry until beyond Ingleton when we ran into torrential rain.   It soon cleared but it was obvious that there had been considerable downfalls and it wasn't long before we had to negotiate our first flood.  On the A591 bypass around Kendal the traffic soon slowed to a halt: our next flood and shortly after the third.  This time it was much more extensive with waterfalls gushing off the fields.  Blue flashing lights behind us heralded the arrival of the police and we were the last vehicle allowed through before the road was closed.  We soon arrived at the site after this only to find the entrance and all of the central portion also under water.  Fortunately we could get to our pitch which was, thankfully, dry.  As Thomas was joining us we had contacted him and he had avoided the A591 and gone into Kendal Asda for essential supplies: the beer.  All safely gathered in, we settled down to a simple pasta meal and an early night hoping for better weather the next day.
It's incredible to think that as we drove across the car thermometer recorded 22.5C and as I write this morning two days later it is -1C and we have had our first frost.  Our weather patterns are upside down!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Dog Walking and Photography.

We decided to celebrate delivering my degree work to Barnsley for final assessment by taking Jet for an extra long walk through Irby and Swallow valleys and woods. 
Our route took us from Irby Dale high over the wold with expansive views over the Number and down into Swallow Dale.  We had to stick to the valley path here as timber felling was in progress.  It was good to see that they were not clear felling but substantial trees were being left with clearing to allow the light into glades.  Good for wildlife.
A short road section took us to Swallow and then the old road back to Irby Dale.  Butterflies were on the wing: speckled woods and tortoiseshells and a superb second brood brimstone.  There were still plenty of sloes on the bushes as we returned along the top path to the car.