May 3rd, Week 6 of lockdown
It is often difficult to come to terms with the natural beauty and normal progression of Spring when our world is turned upside down. In our sixth week of lockdown, the sound of the cuckoo is an everyday occurrence and swallows are starting to investigate places to nest. Welsh poppies are adding bright spots of yellow in the hedgerows although the cow parsley is beginning to muscle in. In the fields there are still many new lambs appearing and the older ones are now finding their feet and are charging around in little gangs.
The weather has not been so sunny and clear this week but there were a couple of days when there was no wind and the reflections in Crummock were near perfect. You may notice that the level of the lake is quite low because of the lack of rain in April.
As the weather became cloudier I was having to think a little bit harder about where I might find this week’s pictures. Generally one doesn’t walk along the road by Loweswater very often but there is an interesting little enclosure with an explanatory board just a little way before the Mosser road. That is the track which is signed ‘Unfit for motors’, but there is still the odd car or van that tries (and usually fails) to prove the sign wrong.
If you have seen the film ‘Miss Potter’ the opening shots are taken up the Mosser road just before the footpath down to Askhill.
I am told the Rannerdale bluebells are starting to come out so I think I will have to have a cycle along there sometime this week. They are also appearing on Brackenthwaite Hows but are not yet creating the carpet effect that I will be able to see from across the valley at Foulsyke.
Earlier in the year I baked and froze batches of cakes to go in the cottages for guests so when lockdown began I had rather a lot of cakes in the freezer. I gave some to friends, one even became a birthday cake, and obviously I have been eating them myself as well. They are now just about finished and so I baked myself a fresh carrot cake yesterday and enjoyed the first slice with a cup of tea in the garden.
I intended to include a picture of Lorton shop as they are open and providing a valuable service to the community. I went through Lorton on my bike yesterday but there was a car in front of the shop so no photo. However coming back along the Hopebeck road I got my photo of the week.
April 26th Week 5 of Lockdown
Week 5 of lockdown has been another gloriously sunny week, it was quite windy and cool at first but then it became very warm and still. There has been no rain at all this month, it is very dry everywhere and the lakes and rivers are noticeably low. I feel so sad for everyone who should have been here enjoying such beautiful settled weather.
As I walked down the road past Nether Close to Crummock last Monday morning I wondered about perhaps looking at roads and paths in this week’s news but then other things caught my attention like the cave in Lanthwaite Wood which just happened to have a shaft of sunlight going into it.
However thinking about paths took me up the Mosedale valley which was an old rather boggy route to Ennerdale. I went as far as the holly tree which 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! It is also referenced in Margaret Forster’s book, ‘The Memory Box’, on a walk to Scale Force.
On the way home I went into the now empty car park at the Kirkstile with its superb backdrop of Melbreak and could not help but think about the enormity of what is happening at the present time.
Another tree which stands out locally is the lone pine on the side of Low Fell above Foulsyke. It would be really interesting to know its history.
Foulsyke and Crummock Water from the lone pine
As I said at the beginning it became very still towards the end of the week and the reflections in the lakes were truly amazing so here are a few of the many pictures I took.
Crummock before Max went for his morning swim.
Reflection of Melbreak
Sheep going for a drink at Crummock by the kissing gate
Max being hopeful of a swim at Loweswater
I was hoping to have some pictures from yesterday’s bike ride but unfortunately I had a puncture five miles from Foulsyke on a rough road beyond Rogerscale. The moral of this story is to always carry a spare inner tube! It was a long walk home.
Look after yourselves
19 April Week 4 of Lock Down
We are now into the fourth week of staying at home and the sun keeps on shining. Some of you may wonder why there are no pictures on the fells but we have been asked by Mountain Rescue not to go onto them.
Last Wednesday I decided to go along to Ling Crag, the previous time I went the cloud was down so I thought it would be nice to get some pictures where you could see the tops of the fells. I had a lovely walk along the shore and was about to sit down on the promontory when the F15s decided to fly down the lake! The noise was incredible and then after they had passed there was another roar but this time it was from the lake and the water started churning. I could hardly believe it but then they flew past again and the same thing happened.
After I had my coffee and had thrown Max’s ball into the lake for him I walked further along to the bridge towards Buttermere: it was worth it for the view coming back.
Many of my walks are variations of Crummock shoreline so here are a couple of spots which many of you will be very familiar with.
One of the positives at the moment is that we seem to be seeing more red squirrels about both in gardens and in the woods. I saw one in Lanthwaite Wood one morning, it was running across the undergrowth but by the time I had got my camera out it was up a tree – can you spot him?
I think one of the loveliest aspects this past week have been the hedgerows and roadside verges.
Bluebells by Nether Close
Surprise cowslips by Crabtree Beck
Jack in the hedge everywhere – this is a plant that always makes me smile
And I couldn’t leave out the hedge along the lane coming back up to Foulsyke from Crummock.
Look after yourselves
12 April Week 3 of lockdown
Today is Easter Sunday, coming to the end of the third week of lockdown.
During the past week Spring really seems to be arriving, the verges have started to take off and the Jack in the Hedge will very soon be in flower. The trees in the woods have suddenly become a lot greener and underneath there are carpets of white wood anemones. These were on the riverside path through Lanthwaite Wood.
There is still however a very surprising reminder of winter by the boathouse at Crummock, why this holly tree holds onto its berries I do not know.
The other morning I went up onto Brackenthwaite Hows, a favourite walk.
The views from there are wide ranging and you can see the whole of the layout of the valley.
It was very hazy and still on Good Friday. I decided to go out on my bike to Buttermere: it was beautiful but quite eerie.
There was no-one about apart from a few cyclists and some farm vehicles (and a police car). The sheep are the kings of the road. I could also stop on the roadside to take pictures!
I was rather pleased with this picture of the Buttermere pines.
A knock on effect from the lock down: the chickens no longer need to be in lock down.
Later…….. a cuckoo was in heard the woods today which is very early.
5 April Second week of lock down
All my walks at present are from the door and I think as we are more restricted we are much more aware of our surroundings. Loweswater is a quiet place at the best of times but it is noticeable how much quieter it is at the moment, probably like it was fifty years ago. The bird song however is beautiful.
There are more lambs about this week, these herdwicks are just along the lane.
I came across the 87s along the Hopebeck road.
Several of my walks are obviously down to Crummock by a variety of routes. Many of you will recognise the tree sculpture in the bay at the foot of Melbreak. It definitely does have four legs and it has been referred to as many things from an elephant (although it has now lost its trunk) to a dinosaur.
Last Thursday I decided to walk along the Melbreak side of Crummock to the promontory by Ling Crag. I thought I would try to take a similar photograph to the Abrahams’ Solitude one where the end of the promontory blocks the lake behind. I didn’t get it quite right but I quite liked the photo I took, despite the low cloud!
Sadly we are very aware of death and our own mortality at this time: Loweswater churchyard is a beautiful place to have a quiet think.
One of the graves that always makes me smile is that of Chris Todd, who as his gravestone reads ’Gathered these fells for 60 years’
Hope you like the larger pics, also if you click on one it will now enlarge – thank you Paul!
Sunday 29 March
Today is Edith, my youngest grand-daughter’s 5th birthday, I’m sure she will have a lovely day but it will be rather different. Everything has changed so in the last week and it takes time to come to terms with it all. It is very hard having to cancel people’s holidays but overall I am managing to transfer bookings to later in the year or even to next year. While I have been phoning or emailing guests several have asked that I keep my blog going.
I thought it would be nice to base it round my daily dog walks which are local and are places and paths that guests are familiar with. It has also helped in the last week that the weather has been so good!
The walk round Crummock shoreline is a familiar one and I expect many of you have sat on these logs beyond the kissing gate and looked across to the boathouse. There’s a little bit where the logs cross and gives you a nice back rest.
The logs themselves are getting quite old now but there are still some very lovely gnarled patterns in them.
Last Wednesday was a beautiful, still and hazy day, perfect for taking classic early morning shots.
By Saturday, as I walked down to the lake by Lanthwaite Wood car park, some of the logs from the big log pile by the entrance had been used to effectively close the car park to vehicles.
I don’t always go to Crummock, I can go in the other direction towards Loweswater. The Loweswater pheasant is looking particularly good at the moment.
I went up the Mosser road on Friday and came across this surprise host of daffodils.
There is a lovely field of herdies along the Loweswater road and when I went out they were all tucked into the fence fast asleep, it would have made a beautiful picture except for the hedge between myself and the field, there was no way I could get a picture so I just had to satisfy myself with one on the way back when they were up and in the middle of the field.
I obviously can’t finish without a picture from Foulsyke: here is one of the daffodils by the seat.
Look after yourselves, I will try to do another post soon.
The weather over the past month has been awful everywhere and although we have had our share of the stormy weather we have not suffered to the extent that other areas have or that we have in the past. There have been several trees and large branches down in the woods and the fields are incredibly muddy with all the rain, several have little lakes. The sheep are very sensible and keep huddled up close to the walls against the wind and rain. I’m sure many of you have seen the picture of three herdies on a roof top in Glanridding – only herdies could do that!
Several low level paths have been difficult to negotiate. I took Max for a walk along the far shore of Buttermere in a brief respite last week and we came across this obstacle.
There have been odd flurries of snow but it is lying mainly on the high fells although I did get caught in a brief but heavy snowfall in Whinlatter. There are however signs of spring, the daffodils are coming out and the birds are singing, it is lovely to hear them. There are several patches of frog spawn, usually in the most unlikely places like in large puddles along tracks and my hens have started laying again.
The snowdrops have now just about finished but I did work on trying to get some nice photos of them. I took this one lying down in Lorton churchyard.
It seems a little while since I wrote anything but I decided to have a short break. We’re now just about through the work on the Cottages in preparation for the new season so it’s time to start writing again.
I had an exciting time at the end of last year as a new grandson, Matias, was born in late November. All the family came to Foulsyke for Christmas and for those of you who know my family, here is a picture of the three girls holding Matias. Arthur was not interested!
I have also been trying to improve my photography skills and one of the things I was introduced to was star trails, great fun but it can get a bit cold on a clear winter’s night. This photo was taken at the far end of Crummock.
When the winter weather is wet, windy and mucky underfoot, it can be difficult to remember the good winter days. We had some snow in mid December
and there have been some glorious clear days as well.
The snowdrops are now out, it is amazing how prolific they are in places, gardens, roadside verges, woodland and there’s even a couple of clumps down by the weir at Crummock. I found these today in front of an old grave in Lorton churchyard.
I don’t think anywhere has had good weather in the past month or so but every now and then there have been clear, sunny autumnal days. Last Wednesday was one of those and Judy and I decided to check out a walk over at Ullswater for our walking group. Gowbarrow is one of those ‘good value’ fells, like Low Fell behind Foulsyke, that without too much effort and ascent you get fantastic panoramic views. We started by going upstream from Aira Force which was coming over very powerfully because there had been so much rain in the previous few days and then branched off right up the fellside: the views from the top, where we sat and had our lunch were amazing. An added bonus of the walk is the return along the balcony path overlooking Ullswater.
Last Sunday I went along to Buttermere as I had heard that Dubbs bridge, the one that crosses to the far side, had been rebuilt and was open again. It looks very sturdy now and will be welcomed by all who enjoy a walk round the lake or a game of Pooh sticks.
I always like an outing to Silloth on the Solway coast, it’s a fascinating place with its long promenade, wide cobbled streets and interesting history. It now has a new attraction, a statue by Durham sculptor, Ray Lonsdale in memory of a local man, Peter Richardson. The work of art – named “Big Fella” – is of a man and his dog sitting on a bench taking in the sea views and shielding his eyes from the sun. What immediately hits you when you first see it is its size, it is 12 feet high.
After that you can then start to take in the detail.
I usually try to write something at the beginning of a month but August this year was extremely busy as my sister, Margaret had her 80th birthday. We grew up as children in Sunderland and as my father worked in the shipyards we had ‘shipyard holidays’ which coincided with Margaret’s birthday. We always spent our holidays in the Lake District so Margaret wanted to celebrate her 80th here as well with family and friends.
We all had a super time and I am just putting one picture up of Margaret and the grandchildren in the woods on her birthday. The children decorated the letters for a banner to say Happy Birthday which we hid in the wood for Margaret to find: there was a bit of resistance to putting the letters in the right order as the children wanted to hold the ones they themselves had done!
Poppy and Edith, Clare’s children, stayed on after all the partying and in a quieter moment Poppy wrote a lovely poem:
Lots of lakes
Yellow leaves in Autumn
Towards the end of August life was slowly returning to normal and I was once again able to take the dog for quiet walks early in the morning down to the lake.