Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Extended Season

Tues. March 30th 2011
           On our usual Sunday walk our starting  point was Malham Tarn at 1250ft, with this altitude increase in the Pennines it's noticeable how the growing season lags behind. In the woods surrounding the tarn the snowdrops were only slightly past their best, so for us folk who live in the Pennines the snowdrop season as covered over 7 weeks. I've been following some blogs from the southern part of England and their bluebells
are already in bloom in some favourable locations.


   Back to our walk perhaps it was a little disappointing, this upland area showed very few signs of spring. We followed the Pennine Way up through high farming country to the summit of Fountains Fell a flatish Gritsone fell of 2200 ft. It's not very interesting compaired with it's adjacent neighbour Pen-y-Ghent which is a Limestone fell with a Gritstone capping which is far more interesting botanically.

                           Nearing the top of Fountains Fell

Frogs spawning in the mire, back home in our garden pond the spawn has already hatched

     Looking across to a hazy Pen-y-Ghent  featured in my previous post

                        Amongst the spoil from the old coal mines

  And finally the Cow Berry a plant of the acidic moorlands in the Pennines

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

I never tire of the Engish Lakes

Tues 22nd March 2011
                       Last week we had  4 nights up in the Lakes, the start of another season in our motor home. We had 2 walks up onto the fells  in contrasting weather. The first walk in fair weather and the second walk in fairly foul conditions but the day improved with the mist and driving drizzle giving way to brighter spells with the change in the wind direction bringing the occasional light snow shower.

                                Early spring at Seatoller

                            On the fells above Honister Pass

                                    Frogspawn at 2400ft

                                    Looking across to Pillar

                       The cairn on the summit of Dale Head 2470ft

                                 The Vale of Newlands

                            Buttermere from Hindscarth Edge

                             Back along the ridge to Dale Head

                         Red Crag below the summit of High Spy

                   Club Moss a plant of the higher wet mountains

                       The ridge down to Dalehead Tarn

               Back down into Borrowdale through Rigghead Quarries

 Poor weather conditions on the start of our second walk

                 The summit of Barrow looking towards Causey Pike

                On route to Outerside the second summit of the day
                with Cragg Hill in the background

               One of the many Lichens growing in the boggy areas

                  Approaching Causey Pike along the western ridge

                                  The Summit 2100ft

                       Towards Derwent Water and Keswick

                       Atmospheric views across to the Cat Bells

                   The eastern side and a scramble on the descent

                                         The eastern side

                      The glaciated  valleys of the Vale of Newlands

      And finally another steep path back down into the Newlands Valley

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Our windblown moors

Tuesday 7th March 2011.
           A typical  March day, windy with quick passing cloud, and good sunny periods, a day for the wide open spaces which we have up here in Lancashire. I'm referring to our vast stretches of moorland that we have on our doorstep.These moors are known as the Pennines the backbone of England the vast tracts of wild country which separates the west from the east, the natural watershed which determines which sea our Pennine rivers flow into.
       This windswept high moorland is not for the faint hearted  you can walk all day and never see a single person when away from the beaten track Spring comes late to these moors and at any time of the year the weather can be very unforgiving so good waterproofs and a knowlege of the area are essential.
     So today we did just that !... we set off across the moors to walk in an area that I hadn't trod for over 10 years The walk was about 9 miles, only the wind and the calls of a distant Curlew and Sky Lark and the alarm call of the Red Grouse were the only sounds we heard.

                              Along the ridge to the Hare Stones

By this Grit Stone Outcrop lies an abandoned Millstone carved out a few century's ago and never used

                                      Looking into Yorkshire

                  Wild country along the Lancashire /Yorkshire border

                   Two of the many mires and bogs to be avoided

                  Hoof Stones Height.....the highest point of the walk

Striding across the moor (today on a line of sight) back to more familiar country

      And finally through the vast tracts of peat back to the start of the walk

Monday, 7 March 2011

Temperatures....two contrasting days

Monday 7th March 2011
                            Yesterday was a glorious early spring day for our Sunday walk this from the village of Gargrave through the drumlins in Craven countryside around the deserted paths and lanes around Ingthorpe Grange, nothing over exciting  just good to be out with some sun on our backs, the walk was a good 7 miles.

                    Food supplements before the sheep start lambing

                         The first Lesser Celandine of the year

                            Still some good stands of Snowdrops

                             Back to Gargrave on the Pennine Way

On Saturday (March 5th) the frog spawning reached its peak with well over 100 frogs visiting my garden pond. This morning is a complete contrast, the pond has frozen over and several clumps of frogspawn are covered in ice. Some of the late stragglers have arrived this morning only to find they couldn't enter the water until the ice melted in the mid-morning sun.

                              Very slow progress across the ice

                   My pair of Mallards have settled in for the season

             And finally the first real colour of the season on the rockery