Saturday, 29 October 2011

In Pursuit of our Salmon

Friday 28th Oct.2011
          In our never ending search for our local migratory salmon today we've travelled 18 miles to Dunsop Bridge in the beautiful Forest of Bowland, an area of outstanding natural beauty. From the village which has the claim to be the centre of the British Isles we followed the River Dunsop (a tributary of River Hodder and then in turn the River Ribble) up the valley a couple of miles to where the valley forks and took the right fork and followed Whitendale Water up the valley for another couple of miles. This is an area of griitstone fells, deep valleys and peat moorland mostly lying in N.E. Lancashire and owned by the Duchy of Lancaster and United Utilities (who look after the water extraction) for the water supply for N.W. England.
     Up this remote valley we came across a team of four young ecologists from the Environment Agency and Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust carrying out a river survey on the fish and aquatic life of this upland steam, they sampled a 25 meter stretch with nets and electrofishing and the results were very encouraging with a good population of young trout, sea trout and salmon, 42 in all plus a couple of sea trout around the 11/2 lbs in weight, there were no salmon stunned in any of the stretches they surveyed because for reasons not fully understood the run of fish up the Forest of Bowland tributaries is always about a month later than the other areas in the same river system, their genetic makeup must be slightl different.

              The start of the walk... the village green at Dunsop Bridge

A couple of  visually unsympathetic fish passes up the lower part of the valley near to the waterworks

         Higher up the valley in Whitendale the scenery becomes wilder

                                  The site of the river survey

                                  Two young Brown Trout

                                Young Salmon (Salmon Parr)

  The boggy moorland above the higher reaches of Whitendale Water in Whitendale, here the fish have difficulty reaching the higher stretches of the river because of water extraction by the water company

Monday, 24 October 2011

Finished and Running

Monday 24th November 2011
                                The new fish pass that is being constructed in our local town of Burnley, Lancashire should be completed on the 21st Oct. It will hopefully bring salmon and sea trout back through the centre of Burnley for the first time for over 200 years. I've just finished a short film of this project for the Burnley Film Makers which will be part of the 2011 newsreel which will be shown to the public on Nov.16th at Higham Village Hall.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Our secret is out

 Saturday 15th Oct. 2011
          It's more than 50 years since I began my Autumn visits to Stainforth Force to see the yearly salmon run as they move up river to the headwaters around Ribble Head.  It's here where the River Ribble tumbles down over 3 waterfalls into the Stainforth Foss, a  pool about 30ft deep. This has always been a popular place to see the salmon and it's always been known locally but this year on the BBC's popular "Autumn Watch" programme website it gave information as to where salmon could be seen (in your area) and it named Stainforth Force, so instead of the usual few people watching, on one count I counted over 60 people at the side of the falls all enjoying this annual event.
      This year we took 2 of our grandsons to watch the salmon jumping and they really enjoyed it, perhaps more than we did, because we were conscious of the constant danger of them falling into the water because they never stayed still.

                    One of the many photographers enjoying the day

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Images from our latest travels

       Tuesday 4th Oct 2011

                 We've just arrived back from another trip in our motor home. We've covered a various range of subjects so here's just a small selection of the interesting places  we've discovered on our travels.

Unusual weather conditions in the Breamish Valley Northumberland where the rainbow was continuous for around 5 hours.

 Cycling up the Upper Breamish Valley to Linhope Spout at the base of the Cheviot Hills

A nice example of the Fly Agaric fungi growing in the area of the waterfall

Also the Salmon were ascending the river on their way to the spawning beds at the base of the Cheviot Hills

                        Constructing the new fish pass at Powburn

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne

The island is connected to the mainland with a causeway which is covered by the tides twice a day

Another stretch of beautiful beach lies under the imposing Banburgh Castle

                        Looking across to the Inner Farne Islands

The imposing National Trust  property of Cragside

  Near to the Scottish Border, the old town of Berwick upon Tweed

L.S.Lowry the Artist visited the town many times.The Lowry artist trail
shows the many views he painted of the town

Over the border into Scotland on the nature reserve at St Abbs Head we spotted a large Basking shark more than 20ft long off the headland

                                           St Abbs

A day out in Edinburgh

                          Inside the Scottish Parliament Building

Travelling across country on our way back to the English Lake District we stopped 2 nights at Haltwistle to explore the countryside along Adrian's Wall (the famous Roman Wall)

                               The Roman town of Vindolanda

    Just a few of the thousands of artifacts excavated  from around the ruins

Back now to the Beautiful English Lake District in the gorgeous weather of late September

       Looking across Esthwaite Water to the mountain of Wetherlam

The house of Beatrix Potter at Near Sawrey where she wrote most of the children's stories of Peter Rabbit

And now back to the Lake District Fell an area that I love
The climb up Wetherlam
                  The horizontal scratches on this glacier worn rock

             In the centre of the photo a well camouflaged common frog

                                    The summit Cairn

                          Looking across to the Langdale fells

                               Across the fells to Great Carrs

Cycle ride to Little Langdale Through Tilberthwaite Gill

                                    Little Langdale  Tarn

            Lunch at the Three Shires Inn to celebrate my 71st birthday

Our best walk of the holidays .... Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man

                                 On route to Dow Crag

                  The rising mist and cloud added to the atmosphere

                                        Goats Water

                  Coniston Old Man.... our first view of the summit

                       Down from the summit to Goats Hawes

                         Across.... the summit of Dow Crag

                        The summit of Coniston Old Man

                                  The steep route down

A walk in Wordsworth countryside

                                        Rydal Water

                                       Old mine workings


                                 Over Red Bank to Elterwater

                                     The Langdale Pikes


                  The River Brathay which flows out of Elterwater

Finally another bike ride....  around Coniston Water

                             The steam boat on Coniston Water

                            Coniston village across the lake

                               Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man

                          Resting the feet at the end of our last day