Saturday 1 December 2018

The First Session at the Winter Feeding Station.

Last Monday afternoon I went out to Scallows for a first photography session at the winter feeding station.  I had sat in the hide briefly on one or two occasions but there had been virtually no activity.  However as the food has been going down I decided to have a go, although I suspect that the culprits are squirrels as much as birds.  To a certain extent I was right but there were still quite a lot of birds coming in: a stunning male woodpecker came twice and at least two nuthatches were backwards and forwards and a single wren came to forage under a log.  Tits were plentiful with coal tits the most numerous followed by great and blue tits.  A robin and some chaffinches were the other visitors.  A very pleasant first session.

Lake District. November 2018. Day 4

Today was a relaxed start ( aren't most of them!) as very good friends Linda and Steve were driving up from Blackpool to spend the day with us.  They arrived about 11.00 and we spent time chilling out and catching up over coffee in the van.  Eventually we dragged ourselves out to walk over the fields to Stavely for a late lunch in Wilfs, one of our favourite walks.  I couldn't resist more images of 'the tree' on the way there and back.  We spent an exceptionally pleasant day, although sadly the next day it was time for home, even more sad as this will be our last visit to the van until next March.

Lake District, November 2018. Day 3.

Thomas spent the night with us last night so that we could go to the Kendal Mountain Festival together, something that had appealed to me for years.  I was delighted first thing to be able to watch a pair of goldcrests feeding in the silver birch trees outside the caravan amongst the foraging tits.  Again we were away fairly early so that we could book tickets for any talks we wanted to see.  It was fascinating to spend time soaking up the atmosphere.  While Heather went and explored the shops in Kendal, Thomas and I went to an illustrated lecture on Alpinism in the Great Ranges, introduced by long time hero Stephen Venables who began proceedings by talking about his Himalayan exploits in the 1970s - 1990s.  He then introduced climbers Tom Livingstone, Chantel Astorga from Alaska, Rick Allen and Nick Bullock.  I was mighily impressed by Allen who at 65 had already this year climbed Annapruna 1 and been rescued off Broad Peak.  There is hope for the rest of us yet!!!
On our return we had a cup of tea and then wandered over to our favourite oak tree in the last of the light.

Monday 19 November 2018

Lake District, November 2018. Day 2

We set the alarm this morning so that we had a good start and we left the site relatively early under cloudless skies.  All went well until Windermere when we got heavy traffic and sat in a jam all the way to Ambleside caused by minor roadworks by the youth hostel.  Frustratingly we had lost half an hour but once past Ambleside we were back on track.  For a change we approached Blea Tarn from Little Langdale.  The road was very narrow but the scenery spectacular. One parked up in the National Trust car park and the bags packed we headed down to the Tarn.  Although there was some ripple on the water further out is was flat clam near the shore and gave fantastic reflections of the Langdale Pikes. Beig one of the most famous vies in the Lakes there were plenty of phographers about and even a professional art is who sat there all day producing a beautiful oil painting.  Once we continued on towards Side Pike we left most of the crowds behind.  Unfortunately the sky was cloudless and the light harsh; we photographers are never happy.  Side Pike is only a tiny hill on the ridge up to its slightly higher neighbour Lingmoor Fell.  Both are Wainrights and give stunning views of The Langdales and the fells dominating the head of the valley: Pike O'Blisco, The Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.  Back at the Tarn the reflections were even better but the light had gone.
We continued on down to Great Langdale and back to Ambleside.  The plan had been to drive to the Heaton Cooper Gallery for an exhibition of photographs of a 1929 exhibition to Kanchenjunga and contemporary paintings by Julian Cooper.  Annoyingly it was the switch on of the Ambleside Chistmas Lakes and traffic was grid locked.  Frustrated, we headed back to the caravan and beef in beer from the slow cooker.

Lake District, November 2018. Day 1

A good day today.  Packing went well and we were away early - for us anyway.  The journey went well and we dropped Thomas's bike off at work as arranged and we arrived on site at 3.00 pm giving us nice time to set up before it started getting dark.  We have our favourite pitch on the site looking over the fields to Stavely and the Kentmere fells.  The forecast for the weekend was good and the sky was crystal clear with a superb array of stars.  Mars was clear and glowed red in the south while at 6.00 am Venus, The morning star hung low in the eastern sky.  It was so bright that at first I thought it was a helicopter with its landing light switched on.

Sunday 11 November 2018

Scallows Scampering

On the 8th and 11th of November I went out to Scallows, partly to check on and top up the feeders and the winter feeding station and also of some photography of the autumn colours.  As I walk into the wood at the moment I enter a hall of golds, reds, coppers, yellows and greens.  The wood floor is still dry and the beech mast crunches under my feet.  It is quiet in the wood with not much bird sound although the food is being taken from the feeders.  The beech trees are especially beautiful and a buzzard drifts quietly over the wood.