Thursday 14 September 2023

Lake District, September 2023, Day 7.

 Our final day was one of drying out from the deluge, some packing and pottering. We did venture out to Beetham Nursery for lunch and found the nursery to be excellent. We shall return.

The Langstrath Birch
The End of the Day.

Lake District September 2023, Day 6. Shall We, Shan't We

 Today we had friends from near Cartmel coming to visit. For his 90th birthday we had promised Gordon an all day Breakfast but for various reasons we decided to do it at the van. The forecast was not good for later in the day: thunderstorms! The morning, however, was still warm and sunny so we relaxed outside reading and watching the clouds build up from the south east thinking "Shall we, shan't we fire up the barbie??". I had planned to cook most of the breakfast on the BBQ but at the last minute decided it was too much of a risk. Just as Anna and Gordon arrived it started to rain. To begin we tried to sit in our small porch awning but the decision was to retreat to the van. It rained; it rained apocalyptically and the site quickly flooded. A wise decision not to light the BBQ and the breakfast was successfully cooked in the oven mostly. A smashing afternoon catching up with old friends, though.

Sunday 10 September 2023

Lake District, September 2023, Day 5

We sat on the short turf of the limsetone fellside watching a pair of buzzards wheeling high in the sky above the Lythe Valley laid out below us. The air was thick with swalows and house martins scything and darting through the air as they hunted insects rising in the air currents above the trees which were already taking on an autumnal tinge. We had walked from the caravan, through Rather Heath Plantation behind us and over farmland until we could climb the diagonally ascending path through Scar Wood up onto the open fellside of Cunswick Scar with Kendal on one side of us and the beautiful Lythe Valley on the other. Although late in the season the short turf was spangled with limestone flowers: harebell, tormentil, rockrose, wild thyme and scabious. We revelled in being up high but eventually we had to retrace our steps in time for our meal we had booked in the Pig and Whistle on the site.
Old post, Rather Heath Plantation
Cunswick Scar looking towards Scout Scar.
Looking down into Kendal
Stavely and Kentmere in the haze.
Flower studded limstone fellside
Cunswick Scar
From Cunswick Scar

Lake District, September 2023, Day 4

A very hot day today so we enjoyed breakfast outside and then sat in the shade and read. Eventually we stirred ourselves and set off for Leighton Moss. Although it was quiet, all the usual suspects were there, the highlights being several great white egret, three winchat and three spoonbills. There were a few cattle egret as well but sadly I missed them. Despite the heat it was quite pleasant walking around to Lower Hide as much of the route is shaded. We finished off our day with a visit to The Albion in Arnside where we sat out on the terrace looking over the Kent Estuary. We returned home to braising steak in beer cooked in the slow cooker which we ate outside in the last of the light.
Distant Great White Egret.
End of the day, Arnside

Friday 8 September 2023

Lake District, September 2023, Day 3

A visit to Kirkby Lonsdale today to visit friends Frank and Barbara. Although Frank never actually taught me at school, I was not skilled at woodwork, he ran the school cross country team, coached me for track middle distance running and cross country and he used to run us all over the East Midlands to cross country league races in his ancient Austin car. We have always kept in touch and so it was wonderful to spend some time with them. We also had the opportunity to potter around Kirkby Lonsdale and have lunch out.  A lovely day.
River Kent
River Kent
River Kent

Lake District, September 2023, Day 1 and 2

Packing went well and we were away by 10.30 and arrived at 3.30 in hot sunny weather. It was good be back at the caravan after such a long forced absence. It had been away having seals and the large front panoramic window replaced as the seal had gone in that. Unfortunately the window was on a product recall and had to come from Holland with the resultant post Brexit delays. The work has been carried out excellently and Swift paid for it under their warranty - wonderful. However, although we had the caravan back, we didn't have some of its equipment and so had no gas or running water. Carnforth Caravans came up trumps, though, and arrived next morning at 10.00 with it all. Also our very kind neighbours cooked our pizza for us so all was good. Because we had to wait in for the caravan man and needed to do some sorting out we had a lazy day on day 2 and contented ourselves with a walk through the wood and a BBQ followed by a walk up to our favourite tree.

Monday 4 September 2023

Le Tour de Rodney, Day 3.

 "When I nod my head, you hit it!". Dick Cullen who I worked for on his smallholding as a student laughed uproariously at his joke as he always did. The farm is situated on the bank of the River Witham tucked in next to Metheringham Delph on Blankney Fen. When I was working in the fields on my own I used to be able to tell the time from the trains passing through Stixwould Station on the other side of the river. By my student days they were diesel powered DMUs but I remeber as a child travelling to Lincoln from Woodhall Junction steam hauled. I was reflecting on these memories as I waited with The Historian at Stixwould Station for the ladies to catch us up. The old railway line is now part of The Water Rail Way and it is possible to cycle off road all the way to Lincoln from Woodhall Junction at Kirkstead.

We had loaded up our bikes at The Rodney and driven the short distance to Southrey Station from where we biked along the trail to Kirkstead where we enjoyed tea and stickies in the Ragged Apron Cafe once the Railway Inn. Following the return ride it was time to load up the bikes again our short, but excellent break over for this year; some old rides revisited and a new one explored.

Le Tour de Rodney, Day 2.

 The Historian stood on the castle ramparts musing reflectively over the ruins. There is enough of Bolingbroke Castle left, with the help of the information boards to paint a mental picture of what it would have been like at the time HenryIV was born here. 

Brian and I had set off that morning from The Admiral Rodney on a perfect early September morning; warmth in the sun yet a hint of Autumn in the air. Our route climbed steadily to Mareham-on-the-Hill before undulating across the top of the Wolds to Hameringham giving splendid views as we went. From Hammeringham it was a steady climb up to Winceby, the site of the Civil War battle in 1643, before the long swooping descent with fabulous views over the fen to Boston and down into Old Bolingbroke.

Sadly the Black Horse has long since closed but we enjoyed exploring the castle and the church. The castle passed through marriage into the ownership of John of Gaunt whose son, Henry, was born in the castle in 1367 becoming king in 1399. His baptismal font can still be found in the church.

Continuing to East Kirkby we called in at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre hoping for a coffee but unfortunately it was £11 entrance and we decided that was an expensive coffee. The side benefit though was that the lancaster aircraft was outstide and we had excellent views.

Coffeeless we carried on along a quiet lane along side the first of the drainage canals that drain the fens. We soon arrived at The Red Lion at Revesby where we availed ourselves of an excellent roast beef sandwich and even more excellent pint of Bateman's Gold. Good as it was though, this may have been a mistake as my legs were not so keen to push the pedals round after lunch.

Mareham-le-Fen, was our next destination where we turned along the quiet lane to Wood Enderby and on to the main Boston-Horncastle road. Crossing here we discovered another quiet lane that took us through the Scrivelsby Estate after which we took anoth back lane to reach the Spa Trail at Thornton Halt. From here it was a gentle mile along the train to take us back into Horncastle.