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.
In the last couple of weeks I have visited two places that I have not been to before. Having spent my childhood near the sea I always enjoy going to the coast but I had never been to Drigg just south of Sellafield. It was amazing, long stretches of beautiful beach with sand dune cliffs. We walked through the dunes to the Irt estuary where we were excited to see two egrets. Drigg village has its own railway station with a manned level crossing and the platforms have beautiful mature gardens looked after by the lovely owner of a craft shop and coffee stop at the station. It was one of those special days.
I had always wanted to find Doctor Bridge at Eskdale but none of the walks I had done in the area had included it. I think it was probably the name that fascinated me – why was a bridge called Doctor Bridge? I found a useful little pamphlet with a nice circular walk that included Doctor Bridge starting at La’al Ratty terminus at Dalegarth, always a fun day out. It is a very attractive packhorse bridge that apparently Edward Tyson, a surgeon, had widened in 1734 so that his pony and trap could go across!
In my last blog I referred to the National Trust’s purchase of Brackenthwaite Hows. Following local concerns the National Trust met with residents to discuss their plans. If you are interested Roger Hiley has put an excellent report on their Loweswatercam website.
It is getting to the time of year for one of my favourite hedgerow flowers, meadowsweet: I can post a picture but not its beautiful scent. The foxgloves are also looking very upstanding at the moment, I took this picture along the lane looking towards Melbreak.
Harebells next month!
The bluebells on Brackenthwaite Hows were stunning this year and looking across from Foulsyke they made a beautiful blue carpet on the side of the hill. When I went up last month to take some pictures, the only other people I met were a couple of friends also out for a gentle afternoon stroll. However last Wednesday, Brackenthwaite Hows hit the national headlines with the news that the National Trust had bought it for its view and link with a Turner painting. I think many people locally, both residents and visitors, have mixed feelings about this. It is good that the future of the hill is secure and it will remain cared for and accessible but it is a quiet little local gem and one would have reservations about it becoming ‘a place to visit’. There is also always the issue of any increased volume of traffic putting more pressure on our narrow roads and limited parking facilities. The National Trust are acknowledging concerns and are holding a meeting with locals later this month.
Although the flowers and trees in the hedgerows and fields have a regular sequence, some years particular flowers are more outstanding than others. This year it is the May blossom that has really been spectacular. What I find interesting is that most of the blossom is white but there are a few with pink flowers which come out a little later. I have also noticed that there are an increasing number of aquilegias escaping from gardens onto the roadside. These are on Scale Hill bridge!
People often ask what it is like living here and I always reply, ‘Lovely.’ As well as all the beautiful scenery there is a lot going on. In particular the local village halls host a range of activities and clubs and there are regular film nights, concerts by visiting musicians and plays by travelling theatre groups. Tonight I am going to ‘The Chef Show’ at Ullock which is about a busy Saturday night in a local curry house and there is a local chef cooking during the play – hope we get some of it to taste!
It’s not very often I can post pictures of Rannerdale bluebells taken at the end of April, it’s usually mid May when they are at their best but this year they have been very early. The cuckoo was quite early as well, first heard in the woods on 25th April (last year it was 29 April.) However we did wake to snow on the tops on Saturday morning!
The hedgerows are lovely at the moment. Poppy, my six year old grand-daughter was totally amazed by the speed at which the Jack in the Hedge grew during the week she was here at Easter.
However it is now being overtaken by the cow parsley.
And I had to include this photo of the verge on the Hope Beck road.
My ‘Tommy’ who looked out to Gable last year from the seat in front of Foulsyke has now got a new home in my front garden. I am going to try to surround him him with plants for remembrance and also those that would have been around at the time of WW1.
And one final picture of the bluebells!
This week has been a bit of a strange one at times. Firstly, the weather! Last Sunday, Mother’s Day, I sat outside for my breakfast and gazed at the view. On Monday I admired the primroses on the verge of the road down to Maggie’s bridge at Loweswater.
Wednesday morning I woke up to a completely white world! The snow didn’t last long in the garden and on the fields but the tops of the higher fells have remained beautifully white all week.
However the strangest thing that happened last week was on Saturday when I found some flowers on the kest in front of the seat, then looked down at my feet and realised I was standing in someone’s ashes. I was totally taken aback by this, why were they here, whose were they? I tried to take it as a compliment that perhaps someone enjoyed the view from the seat so much that they wanted their ashes scattered there but part of me also wanted to say that the seat is part of my garden which I am very happy to share with passers by but I’m not sure I want stranger’s ashes there.
Anyway, on to more positive things. I had my annual Visit England inspection on Tuesday and the inspector was very happy with all he saw, so that is excellent news. We continue at Five Star level with Gold Awards.
For those of you who follow my blog, Max, my rescue border collie who is a bit of a reluctant walker, was not to be outdone and passed his Silver Obedience Award. As well as several other tasks, he had to walk on a pavement around the village where he goes to classes – what an achievement for him!
Stop Press: The ospreys are back at Bassenthwaite – follow them on Osprey Watch