A roadside display

Roadside verge.

After almost a week of rain it’s a wonder these flowers are still standing.

This verge is on a quiet country lane and I think the seeds must have been scattered by the owner of a house opposite as they only appeared in one spot and only opposite the house.

I think there does seem to be a growing realisation that wild flowers are important as they are appearing in towns and cities  bit more often now.  A growing trend that’s such a good thing for our insects and wildlife.

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March madness? The Lake District revisited

I’m sure I could hear a helicopter and it was close. That thud thud thud of rotor blades. I was puffing a bit and Tim had just disappeared over the snow cornice just below the summit, out of sight.  Deep breaths. ‘Are you ok?’  I shouted. No reply. ‘Are you ok?’ I shouted again.  “Yes, use the holes for your hands and feet, I’ve kicked them to make them bigger” came Tims voice. It was at this time that I realised that it was my heart that I had heard and not a helicopter. Now that it was all quiet I better get going.

March 2019 – The Lake District

Sometimes it’s good to go back to your favourite holiday haunts. A week at the end of March in Cumbria seemed like a great plan so off we went.

Tim and I have enjoyed so much walking in this area I need to write a book.  For this posting, however, I’ll share a couple of days that took our breath away.  Let’s take a look at Striding Edge and Jacks Rake.

1.  Striding Edge, ridge to Helvellyn

I’ve talked about this ridge in a previous post – the link below takes you to it if you want to see a few more photos.

On the edge of something big

Getting up high in the mountains is generally an easy thing in clear weather.  Find a route, follow a path, take your time, take a map.  Striding Edge is best done on a calm day, set off early and turn back if the weather turns nasty.

Leaving Glenridding early in the morning we gradually left the houses behind.  Once off the Tarmac our route followed close to a Beck (mountain stream).

In the photo below our route is on the far left of the peak, slightly shadowed.

On a sunny day it’s a pleasure.

Once you reach the brow the mountain scene really opens up and it’s time to decide what you’d like to do and where you’d like to eat your packed lunch.  Our choice was take the ridge on the left, scramble along it for a couple of hours then get onto the summit of Helvellyn.

Helvellyn (with snow on top in the photo below) is the third highest peak in the lakes there are several routes up, most of them far easier!  Tim, in this photo, is making his way up onto the ridge itself.

Photography – we love it.  However we’ve found that recording our adventure on film is quite a bit of fun too.  So, as we crossed the ridge we filmed the whole event on a GoPro action camera.  Film making takes time though and our stomachs needed a snack so we stopped for a few minutes.

It is possible to walk along the crest in most places but there’s also small pathways on either side. You need both hands if you want to scramble about  – as this photo shows.

We eventually found ourselves at the remains of a cornice.  This is a snowy lip on the edge of mountains.  You can see it here as we got closer.

This is how I started this post – with my helicopter heart rate.  I pulled myself together and climbed up, following in Tims footsteps up onto the flat summit, my crawling/staggering steps being filmed as I came into view.

Phew – it was quite a morning.  After enjoying our lunch near the top we made our way down, basking in the surprisingly warm sunshine as we went.

2.  Jacks Rake – route up to Pavey Ark

Sometimes I really wonder how we ever got into these high places.  Our parents didn’t take us, we didn’t visit on school trips or took guided holidays.  But here we are, in our middle years and now fairly experienced walkers in these wild areas.

One place that is somewhere special is The Langdale Valley.  Here you can enjoy the mountains of the Lake District in a variety of ways from simply gazing up while having a pint or scrambling along a rock face.

We have enjoyed both.  Today though we would take on Jacks Rake – a route that quite honestly can look terrifying.  The red line shows the route in the picture below.

Its a grade 1 scramble which means using hands as well as feet (sometimes elbows and knees) to climb but if you are fit and healthy and wear good walking shoes or boots and appropriate clothing anyone can do this.

I won’t describe the whole route taken to reach the foot of this climb but it is really enjoyable following Stickle Ghyll, which is crossed twice to reach Stickle Tarn.  If you find yourselves in the Langdales, and only want a short walk, park at the New Dungeon Ghyll car park and take the path behind the buildings here.

All this is merely a warm up if you plan to climb the rake or go up any of the mountains that all come into full view.

A rocky path is followed around the tarn to a faint path with large boulders the size of small cars and scree.  Up we go then.

The photo above shows Tim almost at the start of the rake.

At the rock face itself we packed away our jackets and sticks got the action camera out and started the climb.  The terrain is, well, it’s rocky but as you can see there is a groove or channel that makes you feel slightly more secure than you might imagine.

We were doing this on a Sunday and even though we had set off early we were joined by other intrepid scramblers, most of them in small groups of twos or threes.  Most of them quicker than us so we let them pass where there was room.  I like to think that we are not slow, we just like to stay safe and enjoy the day. You can see some people who passed us in the shot below.

As you can see there are a few flat sections or are they ledges that allow you to walk along like a normal human being! And then some sections that don’t.

As long as you keep going up the view gets more and more impressive.  I’m actually filming and photographing Tim at the same time here and even though he was smiling I don’t think Tim could quite believe his eyes…..

Anyway, here we are almost at the top. Stickle Tarn below us and beyond that the Langdale Valley.  You can’t actually see the path that runs alongside Stickle Ghyll or the car park from here.

We did stop a couple of times to admire the view or discuss Boulder negotiating.  Here is Tim almost at the top.

And then there is one last clamber before its all over and you find yourself with masses of space and feeling exhilarated.  Now to find somewhere to eat our sandwiches!

I would urge you to add this to your bucket list. Go, just go.

 

Thanks Sue & GC – I think this fits into your latest photo challenge of Comfort    in my case out of our comfort zone…..

Photo Challenge Comfort

 

 

The Minack Theatre : Wow, what a view

At a place called Porthcurno in Cornwall, high on the cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean is a unique open air theatre called The Minack Theatre. Almost entirely built by a lady called Rowena Cade, it has grown and grown since the 1930s and every summer season thousands of people a year see a show or just go along and visit the site. We had no idea quite how magnificent this place would be.

While tackling this section of the south west coast path in 2016 we passed this very spot but didn’t go in, we just descended steeply to Porthcurno Beach. We promised ourselves that we would return when we were in a more leisurely holiday mode with no buses to catch or miles to cover.  This was exactly what we did last week while on holiday.

Our plan for the day was initially to just sit and take photos at a small cove called Porthgwarra, a tiny secluded place just two miles away from Porthcurno.

It’s a perilous, single track, car journey from the ‘main road’ down to Porthgwarra. I’m not brave enough to drive those tiny lanes – Tim is much more confident. We arrived safely (very early), parked the car, watched some sea kayakers set off then thought who else have we got to watch? Possibly no one. So we set off for Porthcurno.

The coastline is spectacular here by the way. The whole stretch from Lands End along the south coastline of Cornwall is amazing. A couple of headlands later we reached the Minack car park and the entrance to the site. Our entrance fee was £5 each and well worth it.

View from near the top

The staggering view blew our minds once we passed through the visitors centre but it was the gardens that we headed to first. We sat amongst the tropical plants which surround the theatre at the back and sides and began to take it all in.

Then we looked down over the top railing to the seating, the stage and the sea.

Many people seemed to have trouble with the steep steps – young and old alike.  It makes me worry for the future. Our walks in the hills and mountains has helped our ageing legs and very soon we were like goats leaping up and down and across where we could.

Lunchtime. Sat in possibly the best seats in the house, we had our picnic and watched people. It was a great spot – like a box in a ‘real’ theatre. We could see the stage and the rest of the seating as we tucked into our cheese sandwiches and topped up our sunscreen. There wasn’t a show on so people were taking lots of photos all over. One popular spot to take your shots was below an archway on the stage. You can just see a couple in the photo below.

We yawned and stared and chatted about the people around us…you know how that happens. Some people just catch your attention. The person in the multi-coloured jumper, the family arguements, the elderly person who looks lost, the people who just look so glum, the young woman doing a handstand near the stage (yes, that really did happen).

Then we decided to move from our lofty viewing area and went ‘on stage’. And people were probably watching us. I wonder what they thought….if anything. Thankfully it was quite quiet – although they quickly closed off the section that Tim had stood on (see Tim on stage below). We laughed about that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enough fooling about we were back watching the beach visitors from a very lofty perch while having a nice cup of tea. What a view.

This post is linked to the Weekly Prompts photo challenge
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Weekly Prompt : Sphere

A weekly prompt with the word Sphere.  A bit of a test from GC and Sue.

I was about to give up on this but just as we finished a long walk yesterday, up along the North Norfolk coastal path, I stopped and thought, well I wonder if this might do.  A wall made of Flint with the occasional red brick.

It’s the flints that caught my eye.  If you could see those ancient cobbled stones as a whole (not half hidden in the wall) lots would be spheres wouldn’t they?

Not knowing enough about architecture or building materials I have googled ‘Flint’ and ‘Norfolk’ for a bit of information.   Wikipedia often helps…..

Flint, knapped or unknapped, has been used from antiquity (for example at the Late Roman fort of Burgh Castle in Norfolk) up to the present day as a material for building stone walls, using lime mortar, and often combined with other available stone or brick rubble. It was most common in parts of southern England, where no good building stone was available locally, and brick-making not widespread until the later Middle Ages. It is especially associated with East Anglia, but also used in chalky areas stretching through Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent to Somerset. Flint was used in the construction of many churches, houses, and other buildings, for example the large stronghold of Framlingham Castle. Many different decorative effects have been achieved by using different types of knapping or arrangement and combinations with stone (flushwork), especially in the 15th and early 16th centuries.<\em>

I will do my best to photograph a few more Flint buildings in future.

Photo Challenge Sphere

Comfortable kit : best buys

Another weekly prompt photo challenge from GC and Sue has made me think.  Best buys?  Well, how about our walking kit and gear.  It’s what we love spending our money on.  Here are three items with detail about how long I’ve had them and how many miles they’ve travelled.

A new and fairly recent (last Christmas) purchase was my Rab alpine jacket. This jacket was not cheap.  Infact it was three times more expensive than my previous puffer/padded winter jacket.   But, this one has a hood and more importantly it’s purple!  That’s what matters most doesn’t it – the colour?

Fingers crossed for many warm winter walks with this.  So far i think it’s travelled about 150 miles including trips into and around our fine city of Norwich.  Here’s me sporting the jacket in Norwich Cathedral cloisters.

Two years ago I bought my Tilley sun hat. This famous Canadian brand has a great reputation and lifetime guarantee.  An heirloom for one of my nieces? Who knows.  So far so good with this hat…..scrunch it up and put it in your back pack and out it comes as good as new.  It’s probably travelled about 500 (often sweaty) miles.

About 25 years ago I bought a pair of Leki walking poles and they are still going strong.  Used all over the Lake District, Peak District, South West Coast Path, Snowdonia, Scottish lowlands and of course our home country of Norfolk.  They also went on holiday to Switzerland, Madeira and Mallorca.  They must have covered many thousands of mile, helping me uphill, downhill and all sorts of terrain inbetween.  They are, however, due for retirement.

The thing is will a new pair last as long?  Will they see me through into my old age?  Can these new light weight, shiny models be as good?   Decisions, decisions….

Me with Leki Treking Poles, on Cat Bells (fell) in the Lake District National Park : about 20 years ago.

Me with Leki Treking Poles on Crinkle Crags (fell) in the  Lake District National Park : 3 years ago

Photo Challenge Best Buy