Tuesday, 28 July 2009

ABC Wednesday - B

B is for Black Combe

My local mountain, or possibly hill as it is only 1,969 ft. Here is the view from Kirkby Moor with a piece of farm machinery, not sure what its original use was for. I am a generation away from my farming roots.
I can't resist a rusting building so here we are moving closer on a beautifully sunny day.
And here closer still from Skelly Crag on the Duddon estuary. This was a very breezy day so the washing at the end house would not take long to dry.

It is a popular walk to the top of Black Combe and can be approached from many directions. You are sure to meet at least one person on the way up, down, or on the top. They are usually walking but depending on the time of day there will usually be someone running. The local fell running club could only be called one thing the Black Combe Runners and there is usually a race at some time of the year here.
Popular also with cyclists, although they are fewer in number. Here is one going up from the north west side which has a lot less distinct path than the wide path from Whicham church. He is heading for the top.
Now I have, somewhere, pictures of the view from the top taken with my old film camera. They are hiding from me. On a clear day it is a fabulous view, out to sea to the Isle of Man and mountains to the north and the Coniston range to the east. I can't find one on the net so this is one taken by stridingedge.net of the trig point on the flat top. This is a good place to shelter from the wind and is a popular place to eat sandwiches and chat to whoever else is passing.
Being near the Irish Sea Black Combe does tend to attract the clouds and there is a saying "If you can see Black Combe it is going to rain, if you cannot see it, its already raining".
It appears and disappears depending on the air quality. This is a hazy view taken yesterday with the north end spit of Walney Island just visible under the hill and the Duddon Sands beyond. It was not visible at all today because, torrential rain, and more forecast tomorrow.

Now a hill like this, that stands alone on a flat plain, does not have only one saying about it, but two, but this one is of an older origin and is "nothing good ever comes round Black Combe". Which could mean our West Cumbrian neighbours, no just kidding, it probably refers to the Scottish raiding parties down from the borders commonly known as the Border Reivers.

For bags more Bs take a trip to ABC Wednesday

Monday, 27 July 2009

Balloon Malfunction

The Raiderettes were entrusted to launch the balloon raffle at half time but I don't know if anyone had given them instructions. They were collection raffle money near me and one said "that's it we will have to get on quick or else we will not have time to dance". Haste would not be an issue. Separating balloons with a quick pull was. Time ticking away before the teams were due out and desperately trying to separate the balloons they eventually gave up and launched, a few separating, but the rest still in their bundles.
Too late to dance, they disconsolately walked off as the cheery balloons floated away. The balloons will travel further together, maybe they will end up near you.

The match was entertaining as well with our new half back,signed from Oldham, James Coyle running in four trys, the two wingers taking five between them. End result Barrow Raiders 74 - Leigh Centurions 6. A good start for the new coach, Steve Deakin. Our optimism returns after the recent loosing streak.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Round 5 - ABC Wednesday - A

A is for Angerton Moss

Part of the Duddon Mosses Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England, designated a Special Area of Conservation.

What of the name? Was it named by Scandinavians or the English, or a mix of the two. Tun in Old Norse is farmstead. and in Old English town. Angr in OE is bay or there is a suggestion it could have been a Scandinavian personal name Arngeirr. Who knows, but it is an area that has changed over many thousands of years.

There are a network of paths into the mosses. At the moment the bracken is as high as an elephants eye, but as I have not seen any in the area, its certainly taller than me. Let me take you over one of the bridges. Dry here
but further in you will find the sphagnum moss
There are lots of trees surrounding the paths, including silver birch and rowan. The berries on the rowan trees in full sun are red, but their shadier companions berries are still yellow, at the moment. The air is fresh and clear and this shrubby lichen (Ramallina farinacea) shows the air quality is good. It was certainly windy at the weekend when I took this.
Now we have reached the boardwalks over the raised mire with rich vegetation growing in the peat. It was a lovely warm day as we walked on the boards.
This was New Year's day which was a beautiful, clear, sunny frosty day (good for clearing the head). At mid day the boardwalk still had a layer of frost.
Here is the bog cotton at its blooming best in May. Now you can see why there are boardwalks. This fluffy plant is always a good sign, wherever you are, that it is probably not a good place to take a walk, and to go round not over. Wonder if anyone has disappeared here, who knows whats down there.
This is an area rich in bird life, and niche and rare flora. There are also lots of invertebrates, especially dragonflies, the four-spotted chaser dragonfly larvae breed in the mosses. As we walked though at the weekend there were lots of butterflies and damselflies but none of the whirling dragonflies. I wonder if some species numbers are down after last years wet summer. Here are a pair who were around in May.

Amble over to Mrs Nesbitt's ABC Wednesday to see the rest of the participants in Round 5.


Roses are always beautiful

Asking for Roses by Robert Frost

A house that lacks, seemingly. mistress and master,
With doors that none but the wind ever closes
Its floor all littered with glass and with plaster;
It stands in a garden of old-fashioned roses...

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

Heard a music session and interview with Michael Hohnen the double bass player who plays with, and is the spokesman for Australian singer/songwriter Gurrumul.

Gurrumul is from an island off the coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Australia. What a haunting voice. The language is his native Yolngu. My Space page here

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

ABC Wednesday - Z

Z is for Zugzwang

A chess term for when a player whose turn it is to move has no move that does not worsen their position. From the German Zug (move) and Zwang (compulsion, obligation)

Whoever makes the next move will loose the pawn and cannot stop the opponent and will thus lose the game.

Should I continue the German language theme. These chess pieces are in a space called Coronation Gardens. They were created by Timothy Shutter in 2000-01, revamping the original gardens which came about because the Luftwaffe were targeting the shipyard, to disable the shipbuilding capabilities, in a two year period, 1940/41called the Barrow Blitz (blitzkrieg). I don't think much damage was done to the shipyard but they hit quite a lot of the town, including this space where a Baptist Church and a Temperance Hotel stood. The garden, I presume, was created in 1953, as that is the year Queen Elizabeth came to the throne

And here is a chess piece outside which is the Queen. In the background are the Law Courts where the Crown prosecutes and so at the moment (until the Queen pops off) it is Regina versus the defendant. (A nice link between the two spaces). The defendants who are found guilty are in a bit of an end game so perhaps they are Zugzwang also.

Now you may have noticed that although there is lots of green grass in this garden, no flowers. This is because two years ago United Utilities dug the whole place up to put in drainage shafts, storm drains and tanks. A huge project covering a large area of the town which seemed to go on for ever. People got cross when the project finished but no sign of the garden reappearing but now it has been replaced, but only with shrubs. It used to be a Kaleidoscope of colour in the summer complete with banks of flowers on a slope. A pale shadow now but those minute empty beds promise something might happen.

Here is part of the wall of Coronation Garden made of St Bees Sandstone with stone cushions to sit on while you wait for the bus. Ah that decision when you have just missed a bus and you think, I wonder if it will be quicker to walk. Is this compulsion a Zugzwang. Yes if you set off and the next bus overtakes, but perhaps Zugzwang would not be the first word to cross my lips.

Zip over to ABC Wednesday to be amaZed at the different interpretations of the letter Z.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Northern Rail Cup Final

Travelled to the Cup Final, the clubs first since 1982. The venue, Blackpool FC's Bloomfield Road ground, the south end of which is still under construction. Strange choice by the Rugby League. The game was a sell out of nearly 9000 tickets. Here were the Barrow Raiders fans in full voice, ready for a grand day out. Did we worry that Widnes had won this trophy two times in three seasons. No, we had beaten them in the league this season.

A deafening roar from all the fans and the game started and all was going well until a ten minute spell before half time when Widnes Vikings ran in 3 tries to make it 22-8. Still optimistic we thought it could be pulled back, but mistakes and the fact that we were not fielding a full strength team told. The game ended Barrow Raiders 18 Widnes Vikings 34. Some good rugby but on the day we were not good enough.

I hope we do not have to wait another 27 years to get to a final, but that will depend on the capricious nature of fate and the spin of the Rota Fortunae or Wheel of Fortune...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

ABC Wednesday - Y

Y is for Yellow

I had almost decided on my word when I chanced on the above, beside a shed, near to rural railway station on Sunday. The ABC Pixie must have led me there. I leaned as far as I could over the gate and, click. I knew what my post would be.

There are lots of songs with the word yellow. What about some trippy, summer pop and a cartoon.

Nature is full of every shade of yellow; birds, insects, flowers and leaves. There is always a yellow flower open at some time of the year. I think I will just show a few more, one from the month of June
and one from September. This is a Yellow Horned-Poppy which likes to grow in waste places and in sea shingle. This one is covering both habitats by being in a waste place by the sea shore.
Where you may find yellow signs such as this showing the 163 mile walk of the Saxon Coastal Way named after the Roman fortifications on the south coast to counter the Saxon raids. The Saxons did not let that stop them.
Yellow signs denote footpaths, blue are bridleways. You get the lot on this post. I had a choice sign and post, or foxgloves and post. Well I had to go with the foxgloves, which as you see are just coming to the end of their flowering season.
Another yellow footpath sign but this is a Club Vosgien sign in France. This is a voluntary organisation that looks after 10,000 miles of footpaths in the Alsace-Lorraine region. It is only by chance this is a yellow sign. There are all sorts of colour combinations and also circles, stripes and triangles for different routes and paths - marvelous, you are are in footpath heaven.
We might as well stay in France because this is the first week of one of the great sporting events of the year - the Tour de France. There will be excitement, surprises, rows, crashes, teams pulling together, individuals going for glory. The great prize is the maillot jaune, the yellow jersey of the overall winner for the lowest accumulated time. As you see I have got my poster to map the day to day winners. And yes I have the hats and t-shirts as well, but not this year, yet.
At the moment the Yellow Jersey is held by Fabian Cancellara but by only one second, Lance Armstrong in his come back Tour is right behind him. Wednesday's race is a 166 km flat stage from Le Cap d'Adge to Perpignan The first week are the flat stages so everything will change as the mountains are reached next week.

This ivy leaf has only a little bit of yellow round the edges and is mostly green. That's the jersey us Brits are watching as Mark Cavendish from the Isle of Man is holding the Green Jersey, the race within a race for the sprinters. And boy is Cav fast. The question is can he last the three weeks.
We've had sport so what about books. There were the 'Yellow Back' books of the Victorian era which were cheap novels of the sensational kind developed to compete with the 'penny dreadfuls' and sold in railways stations to attract new readers. The reason for the name was the yellow board bindings. I wonder what they considered sensational? Thought I would see how many yellow backed books I had.
What a lot of yellow there is around us. Shop signs, bollards, double yellow lines, Yellow pages, For Sale signs, Supermarket signs and that yellow sun shines down on it all. I think I've got a little obsessed. Time to lie down.

Yes yomp around to ABC Wednesday and see more interpretations of the letter Y

Monday, 6 July 2009

Kirkby Moor

Started off in the afternoon at the Kirkby railway station, up the lane and through fields of long grass, and over all the variety of stiles imaginable. Eventually gained height and on to Kirby Moor, turning to look back over the Duddon Estuary dominated by Black Combe. The bracken is at its height but the tracks are easy to follow. As we headed further uphill towards the stream we were accompanied by the 'tsak tsak' call of the Stonechats. Beautiful birds with a delicate colouring.

Head up the valley and over the hill keeping to a narrow track which widens and comes out onto the the old slate road. (This is where horse drawn wagons carried slate from the quarries down to Ulverston to be loaded onto boats).
A pleasant lane full of wildflowers and grasses. Looking towards Ulverston on the above photograph, you can just make out the white of Hoad monument, to the left, with its scaffolding on as it undergoes a makeover. Further down the lane, and towards Rathvale where, after a patch of woodland we are once more on open moorland with delightful views. The day which was warm and sunny started to threaten rain as we made our way down a steep sided valley but it turned out to be only a shower. By now we were on our way to Beckside and back to Kirkby so were not bothered about getting wet.

Looking towards Coniston and the fells, here are the clouds gathering.