May 2024

You never know what you might come across on a morning dog walk. Yesterday as I went down the fields to Crummock Water a small flock of herdies with some very young lambs, crossed my path and stopped so I could take a picture.  This morning as I turned the corner into our lane there were two hares running towards me, sadly they were too speedy for a photograph.

When family and friends visit our main activities have usually been walking and climbing the fells but what do we do if walking is not so possible? I had a friend to stay recently who is unable to walk as far as she used to and one of the places we went to was Muncaster Castle. The bluebells in the woods were fabulous. As well as the house and gardens they have a lovely Hawk and Owl centre with excellent and informative flying displays.

On another day we visited the  Shipping Brow Gallery at Maryport which is a new, small and very friendly gallery with a permanent exhibition of local pictures by Percy Kelly.  There is also a Percy Kelly trail around the harbour and also one for Lowry. We completed the day with a drive up the coast to Allonby which has a lovely village as well as beach and an excellent café, the Allonby Tea room, all well worth a visit.

As a child I remember seeing a signpost with Loweswater spelt Lowsewater and I found it a couple of weeks ago when I visited the Dean Scarecrow Festival. It is written in dialect and the pronunciation would be ‘o’ as in cloud and ‘a’ as in cat.

April 2024

April is the month for new born lambs in Loweswater and walking the dog down to the lake this morning, I saw these two in a field by the hedge who could not be more than a few hours old. As you can see from the sharp shadows on the photo it was a beautiful sunny day and the old oaks along the lane from Foulsyke are just starting to come into leaf.

Loweswater lake was perfect.

I had one of my grand-daughters staying with me last week and as she is very interested in animals we spent a lovely day at the Wildlife Park. It is an excellent place to take children, there is a wide range of animals, some of which can be fed by hand, and there are close encounters with some birds of prey, this amazing tawny owl came and sat next to us.

Another day we had a walk to St Bega’s church at Bassenthwaite which dates back to AD 950 and is quietly situated on the shore of the lake.

The access is through the gardens of Mirehouse and as we walked through we were surprised to see this amazing border of fritillaries.

Next month it will be all about bluebells, or whitebells as the case may be.

 

March

It’s difficult not to focus on the weather at the moment as we are getting such a wide range in the past weeks. We have had lots and lots of rain. It is still very mucky underfoot and you have to think where you can walk. For a couple of days last week you couldn’t get over the bridges at Crummock.

We have had some gloriously sunny days with snow on the fells and I can’t resist taking yet another photo of the view from Foulsyke down to the lake.

Last week I went up Raven Crag at Thirlmere: it has been difficult to access for a while but now it is a lovely walk with new steps up the final ascent. It was a day of heavy cloud so there was no view from the top, the only photo I took was of a very attractive tree stump on the way down.

Spring however is progressing, there has been frogspawn billowing out of the pool by the pump house at Crummock.

The daffodils in Loweswater Churchyard are looking beautiful despite the weather.

and there are a few remaining crocuses.

Last Friday I was surprised by an incredible display of daffodils on High Rigg by St John’s in the Vale: we wondered how they had got there.

Primroses are appearing in the hedgerows, these were on the track down to Maggie’s Bridge at Loweswater.

Many of you will be aware of the extensive felling of larch trees because of phytophthora ramorum in Holme Wood. The wood is now being restored and there was a day for the local community to get together and help. Hundreds of trees were planted and my friend Judy and I helped plant over eight hundred primroses.

February 2024

The start of a new season, the annual maintenance work and updates have been done. I’ve had my Visit England assessment, maintained my Five Star, Gold Award status including my 100% rating on cleanliness so I’m ready to go!

Walking round the muddy lanes despite the weather, one is aware of the arrival of Spring. The catkins have been noticeably bright and a thrush is singing its heart out in one of the tall trees.

Loweswater Church yard has been covered in snowdrops.

There is now a blue carpet of crocus and the daffodils are not far behind.

It won’t be too long until we start seeing lambs locally, I did see some bouncing around in a field as I drove over towards the coast last week. In the meantime Sean brings a smile to all our faces.

January 2024

Last Sunday was a gloriously sunny, but cold and icy, day and I went up my first fell of the year which obviously had to be Low Fell directly behind Foulsyke: the view down Crummock Water was magnificent.

Later that day I thought about some of the many things that make Loweswater so special which prompted me to have a nostalgic look through some of my old photos.

The view towards the lake and the fells beyond can not be bettered.

I walk the dog down to Crummock Water several times a week and have taken many lovely photos from the shore: there are also many views I would have liked to have taken but didn’t have my camera with me.

January is the time to start looking for snowdrops, the first sign that Spring may be on its way.

These are soon followed by the daffodils and in May we have the bluebells.

The herdwick sheep always make me smile even when they are visiting my garden looking for something to eat.

Wishing you a happy New Year.

Joan

October

We are now well into October, the autumn colours are developing and the geese are flying noisily overhead in large V shapes. The rainbow picture which I took a couple of days ago while walking the dog is indicative of the range of weather we have been experiencing recently, the bridge at Crummock below shows another aspect of it.

On a somewhat grey day last week I walked with some friends from Spout Force through the forest to Lords Seat and back over Broom Fell. Even though the light was not good the view towards the silhouettes of the distant fells was impressive.

One of my all time favourite place to visit is Watendlath, it’s a lovely walk over the fell from Rosthwaite with a stop for coffee and a rock bun at the tea shop.

Judith Paris of the the Rogue Herries books by Hugh Walpole was said to live here, I think it probably looks a little different today. Below is a picture of the cobbles over the old packhorse bridge.

Today I walked to another tarn, Easedale Tarn, from Grasmere, it is a long time since I have been there but it was a lovely walk in glorious sunshine.

The rock in the photo below is by the tarn and apparently there used to be a small café for walkers beside this many, many years years ago.

 

For those of you interested in what has been happening to the footpath to Pottergill along the woods behind Foulsyke, the owner who had totally wrecked the path by bulldozing a wide track through to carry vehicles has recently lost his appeal to the enforcement order requiring him to return the path to its previous state.

August

 

The school holidays have been a busy time and I don’t seem to have had the opportunity to think about taking many photos. Here is a small selection of happy snappies to give a flavour of the month.

The lakeshore path around Crummock on a morning dog walk

Jet Patcher waiting to start work on the potholes!

Buttermere sheep

Shearing time

A cosmos in my front garden.

Sunset on Grasmoor

July 2023

One evening in the very hot weather we had last month I took Max for a run along St. Bee’s beach where he cooled himself down in a pool after charging around chasing his ball along the beach.

Looking through my photos for the past month they are all  either very sunny with bright blue skies or cloudy and grey.

This picture of Buttermere was one of the latter but it was so still and calm that the colour didn’t seem to matter.

Once it started to rain properly we had an invasion of tiny frogs, they were hopping about in the field, crossing the road and several even hopped into the kitchen.

Cumbria is known for its natural beauty and its lakes and fells. However there is lot of human history here as well, I’ve written in earlier blogs about Neolithic remains and there is much Roman history. We are just south of Hadrian’s Wall and Carlisle was the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. This summer there has been an archaeological dig at Carlisle Cricket Club of what is thought to be a Roman bathhouse which I went to see on a cycle ride round the Carlisle area. Earlier in the season two Roman god head sculptures were unearthed there which were said to be ‘unique and priceless’. On our visit amongst other things we were shown were semi-precious stones that had been found in the drains system.

It’s been a bit of a month for history. Cockermouth Castle, a home of Lord Egremont, is open  to the public on a handful of days a year and I was lucky enough to be given a ticket for one of these. It was a fascinating visit, much of the castle is in ruins but sufficient still stands to help you envisage what it must have been like in times gone by. The dungeons were still intact!

Finally, coming back to the present day and Foulsyke, I am including a picture of the flower pots in the courtyard which have enjoyed and benefitted from the sunshine although I have had to provide them with a lot of water!

 

 

 

June 2023

It is a very warm and humid day so I have decided to stay inside and write this month’s blog.

Meanwhile outside there are some house martins trying very hard to build nests under the guttering. They haven’t done so for several years and have also ignored the boxes I put up: the sparrows however were delighted with them. Swallows are nesting somewhere in the store behind the cottages and they are also trying to build a nest under Buttermere canopy, though this is not such a good idea as it rarely holds for long. I am wondering if I am getting an increase in nest building because the newly created wild life ponds in front of Foulsyke are providing suitable mud.

The ponds in the field behind the cottages now look very established and the yellow iris have been flowering. There are also a lot of damsel flies.

One of my guests in Buttermere kindly sent me this lovely picture of what I believe is a vole who is a daily visitor on the bird feeder.

On my morning dog walks down to Crummock I regularly see a dipper on the river from the bridge by the weir. One day I had my camera with me and he very obligingly came up onto the wall.

I have been promising myself one of my favourite walks for some time so last week my friend Judy and I went to Borrowdale and walked over to Dock Tarn and Watendlath: it was as beautiful as ever.

I have also recently revisited Long Meg and her Daughters, which is the third largest surviving stone circle in England and the largest in Cumbria.

There are some stone ring carvings on Long Meg.

There is a vast amount of neolithic history here and I’m told archaeologists recognise 65 stone circles of varying sizes in Cumbria, more than in any other comparable area in the UK. Long Meg is well worth a visit and there is now a car park nearby.

May 2023

Buttermere Cottage garden this afternoon.

Ever since I started this blog in 2011, there are two items that I always write about in May; Rannerdale bluebells and hearing the first cuckoo.

The bluebells are a short and beautiful walk through the Rannerdale valley with flowers carpeting both sides of the valley. They are a very special sight but sadly we are told they are suffering from their own popularity: hopefully there is now an increasing awareness of  the long term damage that can be caused by visitors not staying on the paths.

A Rannerdale Herdy!

Although Rannerdale is the most well known area for bluebells in the valley, there are many other places that have eye-catching shows, some just a display by a road or on a fellside. I can see the blue on Brackenthwaite Hows from my garden.

It is always interesting how flowers vary from year to year. This year the primroses were outstanding and so is the gorse and hawthorn. It is also an excellent year for stitchwort, a rather retiring flower that always seems to in the shadow of other flowers.

This year I heard the first cuckoo on 29 April but my neighbour had heard it a few days earlier. All the birds are very busy at the moment. We have lots of swallows swooping around and some are nesting in the store round the back and my front hedge is home to many families of sparrows. We have been visited on a couple of nights by a baby owl sitting on a roof – hope his mother knew where he was. I also had a more unusual visitor to the garden, a red legged partridge who obligingly posed on the wall for me.

And last but not least the squirrels are about at the moment and one of my guests last week passed on this beautiful picture of one running up the grass behind Crummock Cottage.