Monday 29 November 2021

Setting Up The Winter Feeding Station

 There was quite a covering of snow on the Wolds, but in the wood it was still Autumn.  We had gone out to sort out the hide set up the winter feeding station.  As we approached the hide the stately beeches still had their colourful golden coats and looked magnificent in the morning sun.  I was pleased to find the hide still standing and stable after the gales fom Storm Arwen over the weekend.  All it needed was some adjustment and tidying up.  The one surprise was the mummified weasel that I found on my chair inside.  It may well have succumbed over last winter as I didn't get out because of covid.  It didn't take long to set up the feeders; fingers crossed that the anti-squirrel dome works.  The grey squirrels are the bane of my life.  I have tried everything, anti-squirrel feeders, wiring the feeders to tree branches, all metal feeders.  So far its squirrels lots:photographer,0!!!

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Tuesday 23 November 2021

A Misty Day on Nine Standards Rigg

 The plan today was to finish up at Thomas's in Lancaster for a meal of the excellent F&C from his local Chippie so we decided on a walk further north.  Perhaps a tad too far north as we finished up with quite a drive up the M6 and then across to Kirkby Stephen to start our trek up Nine Standards Rigg.  We had chosen our route from a Viewranger selection and so parked on the summit of the pass outside Nateby on the road that descends down into Keld and Swaledale.  Although there was some good light to the west our fells were topped with a blanket of cloud.  We had decided on Nine Standards Rigg high on the fellside overlooking Kirkby Stephen and the Eden Valley.  It is actually the summit of Hartley Fell on the boundary of Cumbria and Yorkshire a few miles south east of Kirkby Stephen.  The name comes from nine large cairns on the summit which is on the Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk.  Once nearly 4m tall the Nine Standards once possible marked the boundary between Westmorland and Swaledale.  The origin of the cairns is shrouded in mystery although Wainwright suggests they are ancient and are marked on 18th century maps.  The trig point on the summit marks the watershed divide of England, rivivers flowing either west to the Irish Sea or East to the North Sea.

Parking at the top of the pass gave us a head start with height and we had soon climbed up into the mist.  The final section to the summit ridge involved yomping across tussocky, boggy ground; typical mountain marathon or Munro territory.  Once on the ridge we soon found the trig point and not long afterwards the 'nine stone men' loomed up impressively out of the murk.  After a quick, cold lunch we were soon on out way back down and pleased to have some views again.  In the foreground were the Howgills and beyond them the northern fells of the lakes.  To the north we looked towards Crossfell and Great Dunn Fell.  On the way down, before reaching the car we made a diversion to the small summit of Tailbridge Hill.

We weren't due at Thomas's so called in at Tebay services for a cup of tea; there was a surprising good farm shop and butchery which amused us for a while.  The fish and chips, as usual, were excellent.

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Monday 22 November 2021

Galgate, Day 3. Leighton Moss.

Another stunning day of weather with cloudless skies.  A hard frost, though, which, in sheltered places, remained all day.  The plan today was for a thorough session at Leighton RSPB reserve and we were soon heading  the short distance up the M6 and then across to Silverdale.  Before lunch we explored Lillian's Pool and then moved on the Grizedale and Jackson's hides.  Lunch was enjoyed sitting in the sun outside the visitor centre and then Peter and I moved on to Eric Morecambe and Tim Allen hides while Heather and Linda headed off for the fleshpots of Arnside.  We completed the day with a brilliant sunset while waiting for the starling murmuration.  Thousands of birds flew in but largely dived straight into the reeds to roost providing only a brief display.  As the numbers of roosting birds increased we could hear a constant low muttering of thousands of birds.  What an incredible experience.

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Sunday 21 November 2021

Galgate, Day 2

We awoke this morning to beautiful clear skies and our first frost of the winter.  After breakfast we went for a walk around our lake. The reflections were superb in the still clear air, although there were no goosander, otters or kingfishers, all of which can be seen here.  At the appointed hour we launched ourselves off to Scorton and the Applestore cafe for our walk: a circuit of and an ascent of Nicky Nook.  We had met up with Thomas and Katy and we had a perfect day; I was delighted that I was able to get up steep-sided Nicky Nook with stops and without being too breathless.  Sadly, when we got back, the Apple Store was so busy we couldn't get in so we repaired to an excellent cafe nearby which is attached to a garden centre and popular with cyclists.  The day was completed with a welcome pint, an excellent meal cooked by Linda and a malt.  
Tomorrow Leighton Moss calls.

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Saturday 20 November 2021

Galgate, Day 1.

Packing went well this morning and, after delivering the cat, picking up the papers and filling up with petrol we were on the road at 11.30.  It was a beautiful morning as we set off but clouded over as we travelled through the Dales.  Between Skipton and Clitheroe it began to rain and the last hour was pretty miserable, especially the M6.  It did clear somewhat by the time we arrived,  however, and Peter and Linda saw a goosander on the small lake.