Tuesday 31 January 2012

An unexpected treat at the Langdale Boulders

The Sunday afternoon of my weekend with Mark saw us heading down to the Langdale Boulders.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you can probably guess why we were there. 

Initially though, my attention was taken with something rather different to pockets and cracks and edges and other such things into which fingers and toes can be stuffed to aid vaguely upward motion. 
First, Mark pointed out this:

As I'm sure you've spotted, this is actually a drawing of the real thing; the real thing being a drawing.

Sorry. Once I'd worked that one out in my head, I couldn't resist the balance.

I'll be clearer.

The Langdale Boulders boast one of the most intricate and impressive examples of pre-historic rock art in Cumbria. This artwork is thought to date back as far as the Neolithic (or Bronze) Age which occurred between 3000 and 5000 years ago! No wonder the patterns look a little eroded!

Amazingly, the carvings were only rediscovered in 1992! (Though I bet some local people knew they were there; even if not what they actually were!)

There is a small information board which shows the original design as it has been painstakingly retraced (part of which is my photo above).

The board states:
They include concentric circles, spirals and geometric designs arranged around a series of natural circular depressions or 'vesicles' in the rock.

No one is quite sure why they were drawn here, but archaeologists have speculated that maybe they are a way of expressing belonging in the natural landscape.

The artwork is cared for by the National Trust and climbers are requested, by both the NT and the British Mountaineering Council, to avoid climbing around the area of the carvings.

Mind-blowing to touch something which another human being touched as long ago as 3000 years!

Monday 30 January 2012

Reflections on steel

This metal dolphin fountain is outside Hayes Garden Centre, Waterhead (between Windermere and Ambleside). I couldn't decide whether or not I liked it, but I do like the reflections on the shiny surface of the steel.

It reminds me of the spheres in Sheffield

Saturday 28 January 2012

An important announcement!

"We interrupt normal service to bring you an important announcement..."


You need to go back to sleep!


It's dangerous for you out here.

You've woken up far too soon.


Excuse me! Are you listening to me?



I'm trying to give you a potentially life saving warning here!




Your delicate little petals shouldn't be showing until March.

and they've forecast winds from Siberia :(


And, as for you guys...





Lovely to see you again!

You'll be fine :)

Thursday 26 January 2012

Don't their feet get cold?

"Yes. May I help you?"

I thought this might be a Herdwick, but I'm not very good on sheep so I did a bit of Internet searching and the face seemed right but the fleece was rather too soft and fluffy.

So, I consulted The Weaver of Grass and she said that she didn't think it was a Herdwick because the fleece should be coarser and black on top, but that the face looked right. She suggested that maybe it could be a cross breed; part Herdwick and part something else - which makes sense (unless you know better).

Weaver also told me that Herdwicks are not as common as they once were because their wool used to be shipped down to Kidderminster for use in the carpet industry; a demand which has subsided somewhat with the inclusion of synthetic fibres.

Maybe she's not looking at me at all. Is there someone standing behind me? I'll feel such a fool if I've been looking at her like she wants me when actually it's been someone else standing behind me all this time!

What ever it is, it posed very obligingly while I took several photos. I do love it when animals stop to stare and see what you're up to.

"Look! If you don't actually want anything, would you mind going away? Can't you see I'm trying to re-eat my dinner?"

But, looking at her carefully, she has that lovely thick fleece, all fluffed up, trapping the air and providing layers of insulation, but then it sort of stops and leaves those knobbly little legs sticking out and I have to wonder...

Don't their feet get cold?

Dropping in on Jenny Matlock and Alphabe-Thursday where the letter is J for 'Just lookin'

Wednesday 25 January 2012

A double cone with ice but no cream

Pike O'Blisco actually has a double summit (two cairns of course), one summit being 1metre higher than the other. We wandered between them looking at the gathered pools of frozen water and the views in all directions.

From the patterns, I suspect that this has been broken and refrozen.

The long ridge (which I think is Bowfell) reminds me of a sleeping lizard. In the far distance is Skiddaw.
(It is Bowfell - or, at least the upper end is the summit of Bowfell - I asked Mark!)

At 931m, Skiddaw is the 5th highest peak in the Lake District and towers over the pretty little town of Keswick, almost due north of here.

Turn 180 degrees to face south and Coniston Old Man is peeping over the ridge.

Monday 23 January 2012


Words cannot express...

Sunday 22 January 2012

There's always a cairn

We gradually ambled our way higher and the views just got better and better!

I think that the mountain with its head in the clouds might be Helvellyn. (Correction! It's Fairfield)

A final climb and we reached the top.

Oh look!

A cairn!!

There's even an additional mini cairn!

From the summit of Pike O' Blisco, this is taken looking south east towards Windermere which is just about visible behind the ridge in the centre of the photo.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Ice on Pike O' Blisco

Did I mention that it was below freezing up on Pike O' Blisco?

I was very glad of my new mitts which kept my hands toasty warm :)

(Just snuck into Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday by a whisker!)

Friday 20 January 2012

Along from Lightning Crag

About a third of the way up Pike O' Blisco, we passed a small length of crag. Sunlight was dancing on the stream of water trickling down the rock face; glistening like a fine blanket of tiny crystals.

And, at it's base, the stems of grass were standing stiff with ice.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Above Wrynose

I'm recently returned from a wonderful long weekend visiting Mark up in Cumbria. The weather was perfect; freezing cold but with bright blue skies. We had a fantastic time and I have some photos to share :)

On Saturday, we drove up Wrynose Pass and set off to walk up to the top of Pike O' Blisco. Situated between the Great and Little Langdale valleys, Pike O'Blisco stands 705m (2,312') high. From Wrynose, we would be ascending roughly 350m, winding our way over the frosty fell side and round the protruding crags.

The thermometer had been showing -2 degrees C, but we kept toasty warm climbing steadily. The crunch of the frozen grass, the freshness of the air and the sharpness of the crags against the clear blue sky made it one of those days when it just feels so good to be alive.

From the lower slopes, the view takes in the series of summits which is Crinkle Crags and, beyond them, the bulk of Bowfell.

Saturday 14 January 2012

A tragic tale of speeding and a sweltering old man

This is the body of water which claimed the life of Donald Campbell. 

At 5 miles long, half a mile wide and up to 158 feet deep, Coniston is the third  largest lake in the Lake District; a ribbon lake, ideally suited for attempts to break the water speed record. 

On August 19th 1939, the record was set at 141.74 mph, by Sir Malcolm Campbell in the boat Bluebell K4.
His son, Donald, developed a hydroplane, Bluebird K7. His first successful attempt on the record was set on Ullswater in 1955 where he reached a top speed of 202mph. He broke the record a further six times in locations around the world, the final record being set at 276.33mph in 1964.

For a while, Campbell turned his attention to the land speed record, but then in January 1967, he made an attempt to break 300mph on water. That attempt happened here, on Coniston.

His north - south run was successful, hitting a top speed of 315mph, but on the return leg, Bluebird's nose lifted out of the water and the craft flipped over. Travelling in excess of 300mph, the boat immediately disintegrated and sank. Campbell was killed instantly. Both man and boat remained in the water for over twenty years, until the 'Bluebird Project' succeeded in recovering them; Bluebird in October 2000 and the body of Donald Campbell in May 2001.

Between them, Donald and his father, Malcolm, had set eleven water speed records and ten on land.

Towering above the lake is the Old Man of Coniston. At 2,634 feet high, it is the twelfth highest peak in England.

When we lived in Manchester (and before children), Pete and I drove up to the Lakes for the day, specifically to climb the Old Man. We made it to the top, but only just! The weather was sweltering; one of those late May days when the sun is burning hot and there is nowhere to hide. We'd taken lots of water, but by 2/3 of the way up, we were struggling and considering turning back.

Fortunately, mid afternoon, light cloud began to form and the patches of shade it provided made all the difference. The walking suddenly became relatively comfortable and we made the top with time to sit and admire the view before needing to begin our descent.

Post script: I'm back up in the Lakes again today; round trip to deliver a mended laptop. As I have no work 'til mid-week, I'm staying over a couple of nights. Ironically, we almost walked up the Old Man today, but the short days meant that there wasn't really time to fit it in after my long drive up, so we did a closer peak instead. It'll probably be a few days before I post, but I think I captured some decent shots. Watch this space :)

Friday 13 January 2012

Yew Tree Tarn

This is Yew Tree Tarn. Many years ago, an artist friend painted a watercolour of this scene for my Mum. That painting now hangs in my living room.

At first glance, the mallard appears to have mastered the skill of walking on water! By the way he has sought out a standing rock just below the surface, I'm guessing the water was a tad chilly! 

When we first arrived, these guys were right across the other side. What makes you suspect that they equate humans with food? They lost no time in steaming over to our bank.

Thursday 12 January 2012

Reasons to be cheerful, part H

For this round of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday, I thought I would take a theme which might loosely be entitled 'Reasons to be Cheerful, Part _', after the 1979 hit single by Ian Dury and the Blockheads (Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3).


For everyone, the reasons will be different, but I wanted to search around for some of the things which brighten up my day; things for which I am thankful.

H is for holidays!


What a whacking great big reason to be cheerful; starting with the anticipation of going away and then basking in the need to do NO WORK for a set period of time, whilst enjoying the delights that a different location has to offer.

Here is a smattering of photos collected from family holidays we enjoyed in two different years:


A walk above Cwm Brithdir during a week spent in a lovely little cottage near Harlech, North Wales.

Sand engineering could take a full day; the real joy being in encouraging the incoming tide up the channels and watching the various structures collapse.

Wales means steam trains (This is the Ffestiniog at Tan y Bwlch)

Still 2005

 The Lake District means trips on boats...

Roman Forts (imagine being posted up here!)...

...and more walking. (This was 9 miles round Ennerdale.)


On a great campsite near Scarborough, N Yorkshire

Coastal walks (This is looking towards Ravenscar  from Boggle Hole)

The N Yorks moors (Of course we did the railway!!)

The harbour at Whitby (and yes, we did climb the 199 steps).

Still 2007

Back in North Wales - crazy golf in Porthmadog.

The bridge over the Mawddach estuary

and Bardsey Island from Aberdaron Headland.

 I wanna go on holiday!!!!!!