Saturday, 24 December 2011

Earliest ever

Sat. 24th Dec 2011
            Just a very brief look around my garden revealed the first snowdrops beginning to open, this is very early in our part of the country up here in Lancashire. Last year which was much colder the first snowdrops didn't open until the 26th Jan. a full month later

       Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Sunday, 18 December 2011

I had to get out

Sunday 18th Dec. 2011
       This week has been changeable with much of the week having wintry showers and blustery winds  This morning I was like a caged animal, the weather was cold clear and frosty with a light covering of snow overnight which turned out to be very local, just in our immediate area.  None of our friends were available for a walk and my wife had a cold so to get some exercise I made for the Pennine tops to refuel the body and mind. This walk took me over Boulsworth Hill the highest hill in the Southern Pennines just short of 1700 ft This is as near a wilderness as one gets in our area where the hand of man as had minimal effect, the walk was around 4hours.
          From the summit there are commanding views over to Pendle Hill and the Yorkshire Dale and today the Howgills and Lake District Fells could be seen.

      One of several rainbows viewed from my bedroom window this week

        One of several panoramic views of Pendle Hill that I enjoyed today

                 Place the camera on self timer and hope for the best

                         Pendle Hill on telephoto zoom setting

                             The same view on wide angle

   The dead stalks of heather can look effective under freezing conditions

                                    The distant Howgill Fells

                                         Towards Halifax

             This clear visibility is not very common up in our misty hills

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Wintry scene from Lancashire

Sat. 10th Dec. 2011
                        This week has seen the first light snow of the winter, I've been away for a few days down to my daughter and family in Warwickshire where the weather is always kinder and sunnier so this is the first opportunity if had to get out for a few minutes.

                        The wintry scene at the back of our house

Always dominant.... Pendle Hill  famous because of the Lancashire Witches 400 yrs.ago

Back home in my back garden my garden ponds take on a wintry look, I love to compare the same scenes in late June where all the wild flowers have naturalised around the pond.

                    Still a bit of seasonal colour in the garden

This poinsettia is certainly no prize winner but I have nurtured it through 3 summers and now its rewarding me with its 4th Christmas display.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

On our Doorstep

Sunday Nov. 27th .2011
                   Today was a cloudy unpromising start but by 9am the sun was showing through but it was very blustery with the temperature around 6c it felt colder in the strong SW wind..
         Todays walk with our friends was on our own doorstep never being more than 7miles as the crow flies from our house, we choose this area because the area is mainly limestone which makes the ground underfoot much drier after the heavy rain during the night..This is an area we're really familiar with and it commands good views of our local Pendle Hill all the way from Downham to Twiston Beck the small river in which the salmon generally spawn but no salmon today.
          Nothing spectacular about this walk but it was just good to be out to blow away all the cobwebs.

                  The "Whistle Down The Wind" village of Downham

             Along the Limestone ridge with Pendle Hill always in view

                                  Above Twiston Beck

This old Lancashire Hill Farm on top of the ridge above Twiston Beck has been the subject of several watercolour and oil paintings over the past 20 years by my friend John Rickard an accomplished artist and film maker.  This old typical hill farm hadn't  changed for over 100 years up to a couple of years ago, but now it has been modernized  sympathetically and still retains some of it's character. I have an oil painting given to me by John several years and I never pass this farm without looking over the farm gate.

               The painting hangs over my fireplace in the dining room

                        Pendle Hill always dominating the skyline

                      And finally back to the village of Downham

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Celebration on a misty day

Sunday 20th Nov.2011
             It's our usual Sunday walk with our friends and today we walked in the Craven countryside in Malham Dale about 12 miles from home on a typical misty overcast When we found a spot for lunch on the banks of the Otterburn Beck, Ian and Lorna produced a bottle of Champagne out of their rucksack to drink a toast to their second grandchild, a granddaughter... Isla  Poppy. Looking back to an older blog 21 months ago we drank a similar toast to their first grandson.... how time flies.

                           Feb 7th 2010 ....How time flies
The walk continued along Kirksyke Lane to Airton and back along the banks of the River Aire southwards on the Pennine Way to where it leaves the River Aire to climb up over Eshton Moor.

                                        Otterburn Beck

                Still a bit of Autumn colour along the banks of the Aire

This is a lovely stretch of the River Aire and now that the river has cleaned up enough to again hold Salmon and Sea Trout in its lower reaches if they build the fish passes in Leeds this will allow the Salmon and Sea Trout to spawn in this prestine spawning gravel along this stretch of the river.

The Pennine Way now crosses the higher ground of Eshton Moor where there are few features and landmarks. Here we lost the indistinct path in the thick hill mist so we turned right down off the moor to bring our selves back into familiar surroundings. The walk including the detour was 9 miles, I blame the Champagne for getting a little lost.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Misty Wensleydale

 Monday 14th Nov. 2011
                      We've just arrived back from a few days up in the Yorkshire Dales. We stayed in our motor home in the small market town of Hawes in upper Wensleydale. The previous few days of sunny weather gave way to cloudy misty conditions when we arrived and this dullish weather lasted for the whole of the week but at least it was mainly dry. Nothing remarkable about our few days but it did emphasise that Autumn was well and truly over in this high dale country.

The last of the sunny weather at Ribblehead with the cloud encroaching from the east over Ingleborough

                          The working market town of Hawes

                        Near to Hawes is the village of Gayle

 Above Galye the path follows Galye Beck into the upland valley of Sleddale

                      The attractive waterfalls of Galye Beck

                                   Wilder country of Sleddale

This walk starts at the village of Castle Bolton famous for its Castle (Bolton Castle)  Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here from July 1568 until Jan.1569.

This is also the countryside of  James Herriot the vet made more famous with the television series  "All Creatures Great and Small"  several years ago.

                The real James Herriot stayed at this pub in Carperby

                Continuing on the walk to Aysgarth Falls (upper falls)

                                             Middle falls

                                           Lower falls

 Another wintry walk from the village of Bainbridge around Semer Water

                      Mosses thrive in the damp climate of the dales

                              Just one of the countless stiles

                 One of several ruined barns overlooking Semer Water

                              Marsett a small working village

                           Around the head of Semer Water

And finally the late afternoon light as we approach Bainbridge the end of our walk