A Raft of Apples

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Galatea Comes to Life

Galatea (45699) took a trip down the Cumbrian coast at the end of September and we watched from Foxfield Station as it steamed round the estuary
then came into view as it approached the station bend
past Tony Sharp's Trailer yard and towards the crowd of steam enthusiasts, their numbers swelled by those that were attending the beer festival in the Prince of Wales nearby who also couldn't resist a steam loco.
Galatea thundered past.  The driver waved, we waved, and then passengers and spectators waved, the power of steam and history joining us together in a wave of pure joy.  Galatea the statue that came to life and a locomotive brought to life by the power of engineering.

Can't get enough of steam engines? Here are more photos of Galatea and some black and white photos of the Jubilee class taken in the 1960s

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Ulpha and Dunnerdale

An Ulpha Circuit with the Duddon Valley Local History Group.

A sunny day in lakeless lakeland tempted a good turnout for the walk through Duddon history on Saturday.  Setting out off the road leading to Ulpha Bridge we walked up the fell-side east of the river to our first destination
the old Quaker Burial Ground known as the Quakers' Sepulcher, my first sight was of the beautifully crafted wall which encloses this peaceful space.
Burials took place here between 1662-1775. We appreciated the walled enclosure with its interior inset slate seats then took care to duck down under the low entrance to leave while mountain bikers waited to let the crowd pass.
After burial ceased here an apple orchard was planted but no trace of them remain, the only trees now are a scattering of firs.  We leave heading for Kiln Bank with views of the valley
the sky full of clouds with slants of sunlight highlighting patches of the field system. The scattering of houses and lone farms
and old slate workings entertain the eye.  We continued down the gentle path and reach the valley bottom
over the stream past 'The Fairy Bridge' in actuality built in the 1960s to show how a bridge was built -
only fairies may cross.   We cross the valley floor over Hall Bridge
Nook steps and Hall Bridge
and start to climb stopping part way up
to have lunch where there were plenty of nice flat slates to sit on
at Commonwoods Slate Quarry.  Our ultimate destination was further up
Ken stops to get his notes out to elucidate us all
to what is left of the Commonwoods slate dressing plateau.
There are many small ruined buildings, I think one would need plenty of shelter from the weather up here although this is a nice seat on a sunny day.
The slate workings building with pointed peak of Caw in the background.
The light playing on the hills with the steep slate quarry in the foreground. Here is someone who has visited the mines beneath.  We however stayed under the ever changing skies
headed downwards past the mossy remains of Grimecrag House.
which dates from the 17th Century. Built in one long range across the hillside it consists of a 3 bay house with 4 bay barn. Alan commented that the name Grimecrag would not have attracted a bride to this location in those day of old.  Today with it view of the Duddon to the coast it might have been more attractively called Sea View.  The old tree trunk in the foreground held a nice surprise
in this year of abundant fungi some had made a home here. Downward we continued by
Crosby Gill and past Grimecrag Bridge
through Hazel Head Farm, the group splintered when a few were tempted in to the Hesk View Walkers Barn with its cake and tea signpost but only with time to look around and think next time we might have time to stop but we had to catch up with our party.
We admired the bank barn on the way past.  Joining the Birker Fell Road and across the fields to the gate by
the charming Ulpha Post Office (opened in 1890). Buy your postcards here and post in
the Victoria Regina post box manufactured by WT Allen.  However it was only ice creams to be licked for us on this day rather than stamps.
A dated (1709 or 1769) gate stoop to gaze at and a visit to the idylic St John's Church
and enjoy its wall decorations.  This is dedicated to one of the Dansons (1793) who gave the church its lynchgate and oak porch (replaced in 1961 with a stone porch).  We give thanks for the day and return to our cars.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Fabulous Fungi

It was forecast that this year's weather pattern, damp with a long hot dry summer, would produce a bumper crop of fungi and how right they were.  I have never seen as many fruiting at the same time and they lined faint paths that run through Angerton Moss, a peatland habitat.
One that is always easy to recognise, Fly Agaric, but these were the biggest I've ever seen they must have measured 8 inches across and looking them up in the fungus guide it says they can grow from 6-20cm so these
must be at their maximum size.
Here is one in decay looking like a mound of couscous,  a small and shiny new one can be seen peeping though under the grass on the left
There were hundreds of these, Collybia cirrhata, which grow out of dead black fungi. They varied in size from little specks to these and also varied in
numbers growing together. Other fungi grew among the grass but I could not identify them
apart from being intrigued by their curious shape, small
and large.
Some looked familiar, this possibly is a species of mycena.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of these crab apples in the water just because they could be like my blog name - a raft of apples (although the title is taken from a poem)
Apples, like the fungi, are having a good year in 2018 although crab apples and the fungi I have photographed are not recommended for eating.   In praise of the crab apple I did once make a rather tasty white wine from them but its tastiness faded with age. Not a wine for laying down in ones imaginary cellar.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Adder on the Move

I was sorry to disturb this adder as I approached it - neither of us had seen each other until the last moment. It lay curled taking in the September sunshine on the warm road and moved very quickly
heading into the undergrowth.  As it turned out it was a serendipitous encounter
Zetor 7711 Turbo Tractor
for moments later a racing cyclist crested the brow of the hill, zoomed past the parked tractor and sped downhill - whoosh he past in moments.
Happily because of our meeting the adder did not end up under the bike wheels but quietly heading for a destination unknown.    

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Summer in Willeskop Nature Reserve

Hollandse IJselpad Sign
A little bit of watery delight in the Green Heart of the Netherlands Willeskop Nature Reserve invites one in.
We gazed across the lake at the hundreds of water birds while a pair of hen harriers wheel overhead.
The path leads us through trees and dozens of red admiral butterflies most hiding in plain sight as they merge with the tree bark.
Past wild flowers the bright light of high summer making a large white butterfly almost transparent.
Greylag Goose
The lake comes into view again
If you live in a land flat as a pancake then build your own viewpoint. A tower to take in the polder landscape
Irresistible to visit
Yes you can see for miles and miles
Wave to the dog walkers.
Return to earth and cross over to the other side of the lake
We were fascinated by the integrated step stile on the gates.
Enjoy the shade of the trees
Try to pass by a pair of swans taking their ease on the path with their lone chick, one swan hisses a scary warning. I would guess they have lost all their other offspring so of course highly protective of their only child. Eventually they take to the water and we continue on our way.
Go over a bridge
and yes another one
This is a one way bridge for the farmer to gain access to his fields.
These cows were mooing to their compatriots two lines of water away
Who were calling back, probably wishing there were cow bridges.
The polder windmill at rest no raging torrents to move.
Our enjoyable nature walk now comes to an end.
Blue Tailed Damselfly
A blissful time in the polder landscape.
Willeskop Nature Reserve footpaths