A Raft of Apples

Tuesday, 21 February 2017


The engine steamed and the whistle blew as Tornedo thundered down the track through Garsdale Station. As you can see I clicked too soon and forgot I was in 'sports' mode so such have kept my finger down to get multiple images, doh,
and there it was - gone.  Ah the perils of photography.  Tornado is limited to 75 mph on main line running but would be able to go a lot faster, even so it was very impressive.  It is modern steam locomotive completed in 2008 (based on a Peppercorn engine with modifications) and for the first time was running a scheduled public timetable from Appleby to Skipton prior to the re-opening of the whole track from Settle to Carlisle on 31st March which will be inaugurated by the iconic Flying Scotsman.  The scenic line has been closed for over a year after the winter storms created a landslip of 500,000 tonnes of earth at Eden Brows and it continued to move.  The engineering solution can be seen here.
The station at Garsdale Head has been described as being the "wildest on the line" being high up on the fells and although the day was beautifully sunny the wind was icy, I was well wrapped up but as you can see the signalman is obviously made of sterner stuff, one could almost say made of 'True Grit', in his short sleeved shirt.
No-one else was taking that option.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at G here 


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Fishing Tackle

Its all quiet on the quayside, the lobster pots or creels at rest, the floats not floating
A nest of rope like a mound of spaghetti.  Look down  -

BW106 Anne Marie Fishing Boat
and more fishing tackle on deck but its not going anywhere at low tide.
BW7 Talisker
No matter how many ropes and pulleys.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at F here 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


The sands of Morecambe Bay came into view as on Saturday I gained modest height on Hampsfell by the lone exposed tree and if on cue the sky darkened
with just some shafts of light tracing the the winding tidal gullies. The sharp wind blew and then the hail shower started so I tucked my camera away and continued on thankful that I was well wrapped up against the elements.

The hardy snowdrops seem enured to the elements and have started to flower like a signpost

to more gentle seasons to come.
A warm summer's day on the footpath that links the villages of Foxfield and Broughton which at this point crosses the Eccle Rigg's nine hole golf course but something had changed nearby when I walked this way at the end of 2016 for the small indistinct pond that lies at the bottom
had been cleaned out and grown a bit bigger and deeper.  The notice asks everyone to stay away from the now exposed edges until it settles and regrows.   I think they are trying to improve the drainage but in the meantime
I look forward to some reflection opportunities when I might improve on this photograph.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at E here

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


The local farmer dredging the build up of weeds and mud in the roadside channels near Kirkby in Furness in anticipation of the winter rains.  A series of bad winter storms and floods in recent years has meant this job is probably at the top of his 'to do' list.  So far this year we have had no storms and unusually warm weather but I won't tempt fate by predicting that we have escaped as a wet week ahead has been forecast so those cleared channels may yet be filling up.

Moving from the west coast east and over the Pennine hills to Yorkshire
here is the River Aire whose banks could not contain the deluge of the 2015 winter storms, reached record levels and flooded towns, cities and villages.  This is the groundwork going on near Buck Hill where they were dredging the river in 2016 and also
bank building

while clearing and building the drainage channels.  You can see I had the ideal view of both drainage channels and river from the Buck Hill cast iron footbridge, built in 1889, which unlike many of the bridges in the area had weathered the storm.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at D here


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Coastal Cinnabar

Walking the beach in summer this stripy creature wiggled into view, a cinnabar moth caterpillar.  I wondered what it was doing out here on the shingle bank between channels and shore and nowhere near its usual haunt, feeding on the bright yellow ragwort.  It takes in poison from the ragwort leaves as it feeds so maybe a bird had picked it up and then gone, yuk ,with the foul taste, and dropped it. You can only see a couple of its spines on my photo but they are venomous enough to create a itchy rash on human skin if one were to pick it up.     
Like the caterpillar the shoreline is on the move and the shingle bank keeps changing and growing
and is now popular for a walk along and night fishing.
Rattle your way down the pebble banking and sand is soon reached again.  Returning to the cinnabar moth seen all along the coastal area here
Creative Commons : Sharp Photography
it takes its name from the red mineral (which used to be ground and used by artists as the red pigment, vermilion).  Whichever naturalist named it in the mists of time must have known both minerals and moths because the mineral contains mercury so like the moth is poisonous.
Creative Commons: Sharp Photography
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet this week sojourning at C here 


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Black Cat

I imagine a good mouser is a millers best companion. This one was leaving the Heron Corn Mill and possibly going on its rounds of the grounds

although when it had had a little look around the corner

it felt that was enough exercise and it was time for a rest.  

There is a long history of mills on this site, the documentary evidence is that one has stood here from at least the 13th Century and it is probable that the line stretches much further back .  Like its predecessors the mill is powered by the River Bela and although at one time there were 70 mills along the river only 3 survive today and this is the oldest.  The 18th Century grinding machinery was overhauled in the recent past and in contrast the mill's electricity is provided by a 21st century hydro-powered turbine.  Despite being local to me I've never been inside so on an overcast day with nothing better to do dropped by and discovered that we had just missed the guided tour by ten minutes.  It must have been a lucky black cat because the miller chatted to us and then showed us around anyway as the machinery rattled away and the wheel turned.

Heron Corn Mill photos by the river can be seen here on the 'Visit Cumbria' site  
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at B here

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Autumn Display

I saw this artistic autumn display at the Beetham Garden Centre back in October and couldn't resist a photograph.  Now I'm wishing I'd taken some pictures of the mounds and varieties of the new season English apples on display nearby to complete this entry, it was an apple lovers delight.  This was our last stop on a round of garden centres looking for a particular plant. I'm easily diverted in a 'oh look pretty plant' type of buying but my companion was on a mission for a type of camellia. We called it a day here as the Beetham Garden Centre, their tea shop was calling. 
We'd had no success here earlier in the day, this is the giant Hayes Garden Centre in Ambleside which is Christmas decorations central in autumn so the crowds were inside, it was rather peaceful out here among the plants, just the splashing of the fountain.  It was interesting to see that the globe view is a version of McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map with Australia on the top, no longer down under.

While looking back to autumn in winter thoughts turn to spring 
Camellia japonica 'Sacco Vera' (CC Andrea Moro, Dept of Life Science, Trieste University)
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at A here