I have just realised that the last time I wrote was at the end of May! The lambs are now small sheep, their mothers are shorn (and looking a bit cold at the moment), the hedgerows are scented with honeysuckle and meadow sweet and harebells are shyly appearing. There have been an amazing amount of baby birds this year, tits of all varieties, punky woodpeckers, yellow hammers, siskins, greenfinches and many others as well. The housemartins eventually rebuilt the nest under Buttermere window, raised some young, who then I think collapsed the nest again as they fledged. When I examined the remains of the nest in the courtyard, I saw that as well as leaves, moss and sheep’s wool there was also a nice warm layer of Wattie’s fur!

Last Sunday was grey and very windy so I decided to walk the dog up the Mosedale valley at the back of Melbreak: this is a good one for when the weather is a bit iffy. Whilst I was walking, I was thinking of what might be my ten favourite walks; this would be one of them. It can be a walk in its own right (although it is a bit of a there and back, the views are different!) or it can be the beginning of many other walks. The path is part of an old route which leads from Loweswater to Ennerdale: if you walk down past Low Park there is a sign post which reads ‘Ennerdale Water 4 ½ miles’ – always a surprise as Ennerdale seems so distant by road. The problem with walking to Ennerdale (apart from the bog!) is getting back. There used to be a very useful old bone shaker of a bus that went to Ennerdale on Saturdays/Sundays in July/August but sadly it doesn’t run anymore. Other alternatives are going to Scale Force and returning via Crummock shore or continuing to Buttermere. You can also head for fells such as Great Bourne, the High Stile Ridge, Hen Comb – what choices!

I like the sense of wildness on this walk, you go less than a mile from the Kirkstile Inn and you feel you are in the middle of nowhere. If I am just going along the valley, I have to decide when I am going to turn back. I sometimes go to the far end of Melbreak where the view opens out towards Crummock but most times I go as far as the lone holly tree. This is situated in the wide boggy valley floor where there are no other signs of any trees at all. It is quite big and in winter has berries on it. It is marked on the OS map as the Mosedale Holly Tree and, according to Wainwright, is the only tree in Lakeland to be given a name! Another claim to fame is that it also features in Margaret Forster’s book, ‘The Memory Box’, being mentioned on a walk to Scale Force.

I’m still working on my other favourite walks: there are some that are definitely included and others that are maybes but it is lovely just to think about them.

As I drove round the roundabout at the Sheep and Wool Centre earlier this week I had to smile at Hartley the Herdwick in a beautifully colourful coat which was crocheted by Lynne Hardman and her crochet group! Hope it makes you smile too!