Friday, 30 November 2012

Mountain View

Ulverston with Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man
The late slanting winter sun shadows the Coniston hills.  The remains of ice/snow in the gullies can just be seen on the top of Coniston Old Man (right). In this early winter week the snow appears and disappears on the tops
Looking East from Birkrigg
although turning ones eyes to the east and the higher fells  the snow ridges look suitably winter white.  The wind is sharp and chill
and this farmer is on his way home.  I'm wishing I had my gloves on but imagine it is nice and cosy in his cab. 

My skies to join those in  SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A Trip to Thorpeness

"The Headlands" built in 1937
Briefly stopping off late in the afternoon at Thorpeness on our Suffolk holiday we took a twirl around the village and of course being coastal dwellers the first stop was the beach coming in past these houses with the perfect sea view
The village of Thorpeness started life as a small fishing village and is reputed to have been the preferred smuggling route into East Anglia but it was about to change early in the 20th century when a Scottish barrister who had made his fortune from the railways bought up a huge tract of land along the coast and in 1910 started to build a holiday village for his friends.  He went on to develop a private fantasy holiday destination building golf course and club house, tennis courts, country club and homes in mock Jacobean and Tudor style sometimes described as 'Romantic Picturesque'
like these from a photograph taken in the 1930s
The Haven houses built c1914
In common with all Suffolk villages Thorpeness has a village sign and this shows its most famous features, the windmill and the House in the Clouds.  The latter was in fact built to hide the water tower whose tank was clad in wood to make it look like a small house on a 5 storey tower.  With mains water installed in the village it was turned into a huge games room and today is a holiday let with I imagine spectacular views and an ideal way to keep fit going up and down its 68 steps.

Three generations of the Ogilvie family owned these village amenities and when the last one dropped dead on the golf course many properties were sold to pay death duties.  Today 400 people live here permanently but the numbers swell to 1,600 in the holiday season
 We sat in the Dolphin Inn beer garden which is situated near the Almshouses built in the 1930s.  We had chosen our holiday weeks well because it encompassed the hottest day of the year just the excuse for a cold beer, if I needed one.
The House in the Clouds was not the only water tower. This is the Westbar a 'Norman' or medieval style building which also hid a water tower.  So there is my ten minute trip around Thorpeness with its countless building styles the last to be built the first of my photographs but there is lots more including a lake with Peter Pan associations but I will have to make a return journey to Suffolk to take pictures of those. 

An entry to ABC Wednesday - a journey through the alphabet which today has stopped on the latter T

Friday, 23 November 2012

Sunny Interlude

Furness Abbey
Yesterday as the county was deluged by rain, the rail line was shut and roads flooded a picture of of Furness Abbey in the local newspaper showed it as one of the many places flooded but today, apart from being a little muddy there was, as can be seen, no sign of any water. Those 12th century monks knew where to build.  
View from Cemetery Hill, Barrow in Furness
As the sun begins to set we are promised yet more rain over the coming days, today is but a sunny interlude.

An entry to the skies around the world  on SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Small Stone Circles

Off the beaten track lies this stone circle in the Duddon Valley.  I think this one is technically, or should I say archaeologically,  a ring cairn which also serve a ceremonial purpose and  were constructed in the Bronze Age between about 2000 and 1000BC. This is its most simple form.  Their location in the landscape is important and I would think the its position in relation to the hill is significant.  There are records of about 118 sites within the Lake District National Park which fall into two groups those on the lower fells and ones like this one much higher up and more isolated. What they all have in common is that they are positioned so there are spectacular landscape views from the site but the circles themselves are not easy to see from a distance.
especially when the bracken is all around.
or when you are sitting in the sun and try to record some skylarks only they stop singing
 Walking on this path with views over the estuary one would never guess there was a small but perfectly formed stone circle nearby.  Put on that Superman uniform fly over the estuary into the distance and land on

a larger stone circle made of limestone and known locally the Druid's Circle. Unusual because it is concentric and consists of this  inner circle of 12 stones and a wider outer circle of 20 which are hidden in the bracken  (one or two barley visible in this photo).   There are only 30 concentric stone circles in the whole of Britain, the most famous of which is Stonehenge. The 'Druid's Circle' was excavated in 1911 and 1921 and proved that the circles enclosed a paved area covering burials dated by the type of urn found as the late Bronze Age.  Generally archaeologists suggest that burial is not the primary function and when it does take place it was after the stone circle had been in use for some time.
Water is often associated with stone circles, it is known to have strong ritual or ceremonial significance and here on Birkrigg Common the stones are set overlooking Morecambe Bay. Ideal for looking at spectacular sunsets.  Just below is the village of Bardsea and the church steeple.

An entry to ABC Wednesday. A journey through the alphabet which has reached the letter S.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Buccleuch Dock

Buccleuch Dock
This week has been unremittingly grey but yesterday afternoon the sun reappeared to tell us it was still shining above the clouds.  The mist and grey of the week still seemed to hover in the air as I took this photo in the late afternoon.  The three corvettes just seen in the distance are still looking for a buyer if you are interested.  Originally built on the Clyde for the Brunei Navy who then decided they didn't want them so they are now moored in Barrow. 

If I turn the other way on the dockside
Princess Selandia

there is another ship waiting for a buyer, this used to be a nightclub with the car deck converted to the "Blue Lagoon", perhaps it will end up in Denmark where it was built. The sun was 50 minutes from sunset (which on Thursday was 16:14) and shining horizontally behind the ship.

A picture of my sky for SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Random Reflections

A group gathering perhaps deciding where to go next, one impatient to get going and me clicking rapidly to catch the reflection of the White Star building and them before a decision is made to move.
Whenever I am here I can never resist yet another photograph of Albert Dock so here is my most recent attempt
The rust colours of Autumn in the Rusland valley after much rain the beeches reflect in a puddle
The rays of sun glitter on the tarn as the leaves rustle
Tarn Hows
The low cloud of morning will soon retreat and then after a days walk it will be time to
Tarn Hows
 repose and reflect on the day sitting by the water.

"A lake is a landscapes most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature" Henry David Thoreau

An entry to ABC Wednesday. A journey through the alphabet

Friday, 9 November 2012

First Snow of the Season

Today it has been endless rain so being an optimist and in anticipation of the clear days to come here is the first snow on the hills from earlier in the week.  Cold and ice on the tops but
as can be seen warm enough for shorts for this cyclist on the Grizedale Forest paths.

See the skies around the world at SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Quintessentially Cute

"You Looking At Me? Yes I'm quite adorable" 

One Quite cute critter giving me the eye. Question - what is it? I think it is a ground squirrel with that fluffy tail but we don't have any in these quarters so my knowledge is questionable.  At first glance I thought it was a meerkat
Meerkat family
but no their more pointy faces are here as they chill out having some quiet time together.
Humboldt Penguins
Maybe the penguins forming an orderly queue for lunch in Antwerp Zoo know.
These quadrupeds don't know they have only seen our native squirrels but lambs are quintessentially cute, I just long to stroke those ears.
One ball of fluff wandering on the road. It looks like a Silkie chicken. Their name comes from their feathers feeling like silk, their placid nature making them ideal pets.  For the purpose of this post of course they are also quite cute.

An entry to ABC Wednesday. A journey through the alphabet.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Autumn Ending

Rusland Beeches

The start of Autumn for me is always the tree of intense red that will appear on Barrow's Abbey Road, it will appear early and is the first sign of Autumn.  The trees in the Rusland Valley will still be green. The planet turns some more and by the first week in November the Rusland valley beeches will be the last to put on a show - it always feels like a grand finale (accentuated this year by the first snow appearing on the hills, but not seen in this sheltered valley).

With the water table so high after months of rain I even got the added benefit of part of the road being slightly flooded in the photograph.     

Friday, 2 November 2012

Tidal Reflections

Morecambe Bay looking south
The tide has just retreated, the day is still and the clouds reflect on the damp sand.  Where the clouds gather two shapes are just visible, zoom in 12 miles across the bay to the large buildings,
and the sun, as it descends, glows on the side of Heysham Nuclear Power Station.  We don't want anything glowing from the inside!  The little white dots on the sand are the seagulls enjoying a damp buffet.

An entry to SkyWatch Friday