The biggest rarest butterfly in the UK

We are always on a journey. Our walks take us to some interesting places and we see some interesting things.

Mid May in Norfolk we usually make our way out to a local nature reserve with a specific aim. To spot the beautiful Swallowtail butterfly. It’s rare but holding on in Norfolk as its food source or rather the food source of its caterpillars, Milk Parsley, grows here.

This year we have been filming our walks and journeys to produce videos for YouTube and this week our latest video follows us as we look for these butterflies. Our channel, we hope, is a relaxing one. Hopefully enjoyed sitting back with a nice cup of tea or coffee – that’s our aim.

Here is a link to our video within our channel. The channel is called The Next Adventure because Tim has recently retired and so it seemed like the right name….Tim does almost all of the work, filming, editing and adding commentary – I just enjoy the journey.

The Next Adventure – Swallowtail Butterfly photographing and drone film

Here are a couple of photos from the video.

A lucky find – the Swallowtail Butterfly
Typical footpath along our route
Me on a path close to Hickling Broad

Hope it’s not too cheeky adding our YouTube Channel link to this one Sue/GC.

A remote beach and sea breeze : August 2022

Its been a long time since I have added a post to my blog. Time goes by, work can be tiring – no excuse but here I am.

Wow it’s been a bit warm recently hasn’t it? Here on the east coast of England it’s been no exception. We have headed to the beach a few times.

Horsey Beach, August 2022

As you can see even with recent high temperatures this beach doesn’t see many human visitors. It does, have quite a lot of seals. This is where grey seals come in large numbers to have their pups in the winter.

In the summer months small groups can be found along the shore.

Here is a group being photographed by my other half.

Phew it was a warm day but here we could enjoy a nice breeze coming off the sea and the pleasure of seeing these animals relatively close.

Seals basking on the shore

Calm between two storms

Our weather is baffling at the moment. Saturday 29th January Storm Malik makes its way across the country then during the early hours of Monday 31st January Storm Corrie swept in. A window of calm between them gave us the opportunity to get out and about….

Sunday 30th January 2022

We set off on our walk from a village in the heart of the Norfolk Broads called Potter Heigham. It’s a tourist, boating hot spot which is popular in the summer months.

We parked close to Phoenix Fleet which hires out electric boats. Not all hire boats can do this but their small boats are able to get under the old medieval bridge when the water level on the River Thurne is low enough. It’s a spectacle in the summer months as people plan their manoeuvres and navigation on the water here.

Here in the Norfolk Broads the rivers are affected by tides as they all flow in and out to the sea on the east coast. The River Thurne was certainly high as we saw to our amazement from our parking spot. The banks had been broken and water surrounded the Pheonix Fleet boat yard.

On the opposite side of the river stands the much larger boat yard of Herbert Woods. That looked to still be on dry land.

The building of Pheonix Fleet and Herbert Woods on the opposite bank

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this but it does make me wonder. Do the owners of Pheonix Fleet keep everything of value away from possible flood waters? All the hire boats must be stored away (moored away) for the winter as they can usually be seen at this spot. I suppose they store everything else that doesn’t float away during the winter months….

Turning to the right we crossed the old bridge

We crossed the bridge and looked at the fast flow of water below. Ah, the cafe was open so we stopped for a coffee.

Coffee being served via the hatch

The cafe here has a serving hatch and you can see it being used by the cyclists behind Tim. It’s a good stopping point for cyclists – two others were already sitting at another table.

A man in a high visibility jacket with ‘Flood Warden’ printed on the back sauntered past talking into a phone. Tim and I looked at each other and both pushed a slightly concerned ‘hope the car is going to be ok’ thought to the back of our minds.

We set off making our way along a long straight track with marsh on both sides. I don’t usually like tracks that seem to go on for never ending miles, I prefer twists and turns with changing views, but today it was fine – the sun was shining and there wasn’t anyone about except for the geese, ducks and other water loving birds.

We turned left away from the marsh and headed to a tree lined path with a meadow to one side until we reached woodland. This area is part of Hickling Nature Reserve.

Leaving the marsh behind
Outskirts of the wood

The wood does have some watery spots with streams and dykes and some trees were obviously victims of the recent storm.

A childrens den against a leaning tree

Last time we took this path through the trees we spotted deer which was magical. Unfortunately not this time but there was certainly less mud than we’d had previously. A small bridge leads out and up onto Weavers Way. Weavers Way is a long distance footpath – weaving was big business in Norfolk in the Middle Ages and that’s where this path gets its name.

In one or two places we had to avoid the flooding on our path. It made it more adventurous!

Getting through the gateway carefully

Today, as there was hardly any wind, Tim flew our drone for a few minutes and got some amazing footage. We could see how close we were to Hickling Broad with our ‘eye in the sky’. A landscape of yellow reed and grasses stretching out into blue water.

Flying the drone

We could also see a bird hide out on an island which can only be reached by boat. A few years ago we had the chance to visit this by a Norfolk Wildlife Trust visitors boat – it was good to see it again.

Drone packed away we walked past a small bird hide looking out to the broad.

Our lunch stop was on a jetty with reeds behind and in front of us. It was the most peaceful, serene spot. The only sound was distant birds or the occasional noisy flapping wings of swans as they took off from the water. It was so warm I really felt that I should have had some sun screen on my face.

We sat at the end of the jetty for lunch

Setting off after our leisurely lunch we continued along Weavers Way. Occasionally the path had water running across it because of the high tide – I couldn’t help but think about our parked car and wonder if that would be ok.

We came off Weavers Way crossing another small wooden bridge and back down onto the straight long track that we had used earlier.

Once we were back to the village we passed the larger moorings of Herbert Woods.

Herbert Woods moorings

This is an easy 6 mile walk which could be done in a morning or afternoon – we took our time, stopping several times and really enjoyed the warm winter sunshine. Oh and I’m pleased to say the car was fine, the water level had dropped.

Window on the world

Back in 2019 we were strolling around the town of St Ives in Cornwall. It’s a stunning place to visit.

On holiday we usually take a day off our hikes and drift around taking photos in the streets of houses and shops. Cameras in hand it’s a chance to find things we wouldn’t normally see in the countryside or coastal paths.

The Teddy Bear was up at a top floor window. I loved it instantly.

Hi there bear

Later we did some window shopping though the photo below is Tim peering through a window into an art gallery.

Ooh what have they got….

Then cafe windows gave me the opportunity to do a reflective selfie looking out onto the harbour of St Ives.

Us with St Ives Harbour

We had fun that day.

First day of 2022

Happy New Year.

A wonderful start to the new year for me and Tim.

We headed out of Norfolk to Southwold in Suffolk – a journey of about an hour by car.

Once we arrive the clouds cleared and the sun shone down onto our faces at the sea side. Morning coffee, mid morning small glass of cider and picnic lunch were all enjoyed outside. It stayed unseasonably mild all day for our short walk though it was a bit breezy.

This photo was taken early as the sun was starting to break through the clouds….

Glorious September days in the hills

September 2021 and we were back up north, to Cumbria and The Lake District. Two weeks were spent in a small cottage that we’ve returned to many times over the years. And a spell of settled warm weather meant that we could enjoy our walking at high levels and take lots of photos along the way.

The Langdale Pikes is a collection of mountains with its highest point called Harrison Stickle. The whole area is a popular and magnificent place to be at any time of the year so it’s good to get an early start to enjoy the day. We did just that and were one of the first to arrive in the National Trust Car Park called Stickle Ghyll.

The car park at Stickle Ghyll

The building you can see right in the car park is actually the toilet block. A handy place at the start or finish of any walk!

This walk is steep going from the start and we were slow and steady as it was a hot day. Usually there are plenty of sheep on the move in this area, I only spotted one. A very sensible creature in the shade of a small tree.

A shading sheep

Our route followed a waterfall all the way up to a Lakeland tarn – Stickle Tarn. It had been so dry that the water level was unusually low – you could hardly see the flow of water.

The way ahead
Uphill all the way

After lots of huffing and puffing we made it to the tarn and took a short break before heading up the flanks of Harrison Stickle.

Getting closer to the top

Once we reached the top we could enjoy the view with our lunch.

Lunch on Harrison Stickle summit

To go down we explored and circled around the summit and this gave us fine views to the high mountains in the west. In the foreground of the photo below is the dome shaped top old Pike of Stickle. Several people were stood on the top.

Making our way down
There’s people on the top…

Going downhill now we stopped frequently for sips of drink as the afternoon sun beat down.

Typical mountain path

At a nice resting place in some shade amongst rocks we looked back at the summit and our lunch spot. Wow it looked so far away. The photo below the highest point on the left hand mountain.

Our view back up

We continued downwards following a good path, quite steep at times. It was quite tiring. Eventually we made it down to where we started and headed to the sound of water and tipped our heads right into a small waterfall.

Dripping water over our heads to cool us down

The second walk really began whilst driving over the Kirkstone Pass. In all of our years of walking in this area we had never seen anything like this view we had ahead of us looking down towards the Ullswater valley. Without speaking Tim pulled over at the earliest opportunity so that we could jump out and take a photo or two.

Unbelievable mountain pass view

Our objective for the day was the mountain way ahead in the middle of the above photo. Here was Place Fell, standing at almost 1,500 feet, we couldn’t wait.

Once parked on the roadside in Patterdale we headed across the valley passing a scattering of typical Lakeland properties, then we joined a track going uphill.

Ullswater valley

A little way up we stopped to admire the low dispersing mists. I thought to myself that in years to come this spot, this bench, may well be as far as Tim and I can get our creaky old bodies to. If it is – it won’t be so bad.

A place to rest

The view in the opposite direction towards the Kirkstone Pass looked like this…

Ullswater valley

Much much later we reached the top and again enjoyed our sandwich lunch in glorious sunshine before heading down.

At the top of Place Fell – Helvellyn Range beyond Glenridding and the lake

Once again the temperature seemed to go up and up as we went down. Only when we reached the footpath that is alongside Ullswater lake itself did we get any shade. We made for the water running down off the mountain and splashed our heads to cool ourselves.

Cooling off

Then slowly and surely we made our way back along the shore path admiring the steamers and views across the lake.

Steamer on Ullswater
Typical Ullswater view

At the end we crossed the valley again back to the car.

Almost there

Thank you to Sue and GC for their weekly prompts allowing me to link up to fellow blog writers and to those who follow my blog. Apologies I haven’t written too many posts just recently.

Hoping everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy and healthy New Year.

A spot of lunch along the riverbank

We were here a week ago. A favourite little spot, well photographed, often visited.

Brogrove Mill, near Horsey Mere, Norfolk

Not far from home on the north eastern edge of the Broads National Park is a body of water called Horsey Mere. A narrow channel of water running northwards from that is Waxham New Cut and on that is the derelict mill called Brograve. Built 1771.

The map below shows the extent of the national park.

In the photo below Tim is testing out our MSR Pocket Rocket camping stove – boiling water for lunch. This tiny lightweight stove might be something we will come to use for longer hikes…but for now it’s just for fun.

Tim organising our picnic lunch

I was about to take another photo of Tim when we were joined by two ladies slowly drifting past on a boat called ‘Cloud Nine’. Smiles and a quick wave and they were gone…..

Waving to those on Cloud Nine

A tale of two tails in the hills

It was a bit rocky underfoot now and we worried about our new friend Sid. A very steep path, at times with stone steps and at other times with bracken, he certainly would find it tough. As we glanced back to check his progress we could see that he was being carried and would surely make it to the top.

September 2020 – The Lake District, Cumbria

We were in the Lake District only a few weeks ago and enjoyed some wonderful walking in gorgeous weather. Over the years we’ve found that it’s just the perfect place for getting away from it all and does wonders for both body and mind.

Half way up to Stone Arthur – Grasmere and south western fells

Often, on footpaths, we pass like minded people and occasionally they have dogs with them. With their tails wagging these four legged friends are, it seems, as keen to enjoy their time on holiday as we are. Usually we just pass with a friendly wave and a quick greeting to their pet.

However, back in September two dogs had quite an impact on us while we were out and about.

The first was Sid the Jack Russell (terrier).


We met Sid near the start of a walk which began on the outskirts of Grasmere. Our route would take us up to a rocky outcrop called Stone Arthur before going up to a fell top called Great Rigg. Great Rigg stands on a ridge and often reached on a route called the Fairfield Horeshoe.

Our walk up from Grasmere was a steep one from the start and about half way up we stopped at the last big tree for a breather. Suddenly a small fluffy panting animal bounded past followed by his owner.

We set off and soon caught up with the pair.

On the path with Sid

It was a sunny spells sort of day, no breeze, warm. Because of the slow pace we chatted with Sids dad. Dog owners love to do that don’t they? Apparently Sid was bought from a farm and arrived as a puppy in a box by taxi with a note saying ‘if this isn’t what you were expecting, send him back’. Sids dad said he wasn’t quite what they were looking for but didn’t have the heart to send him back.

Now aged 11 and having survived a cancer scare last year Sid was a real character. He barked along when we were talking about him. Apparently he had good days and bad days when walking in the hills. Today his little legs were struggling a bit so he was carried when he got a bit too slow.

He eventually made it to the top of Great Rigg at 2,513 feet, shortly after us, having had a little help. I’m sad that I didn’t take another photo of him standing at the top with his tail wagging. ‘Hey, we made it’ look on his face.

We waved goodbye now. They headed down the main ridge route back to Grasmere via a fell top called Heron Pike – the photo below shows their route to Heron Pike then a right turn back to Grasmere.

View from Great Rigg. Ambleside and Windermere (Lake) to the left, Grasmere to the right. Note you can see Coniston in the distance on the right.

We continued up to the higher peak of Fairfield where we enjoyed our lunch at the summit and took plenty of photos before heading down.

Fairfield summit, 2864 feet
Enjoying views from Fairfields wide flat summit

On another walk we met a dog called Noodle very close to the Three Shires Inn, Little Langdale.

Little Langdale and the Three Shires Inn

We were doing a low level walk, one of our favourites, and Tim was filming the route on a go pro action camera. The route itself starts at Elterwater which is a wonderful village at the head of the Langdale Valley.

By mid afternoon we passed the Three Shires Inn busy with people enjoying a drink in the afternoon sun. Shortly after, while taking photos, Noodle and owner Sam caught up with us along the road. Sam asked whether we were heading to Elterwater and could they join us if we didn’t mind.

We said we didn’t mind at all.

Both Sam and Noodle both carried packs and looked like they were on a real adventure. As it turned out they were. Sam explained that they were three days into a ‘alternative’ coast to coast walk from Walney Island on the west coast to Holy Island on the east coast. Sam was trying to find the best route to their campsite to avoid stiles and hot climbs. She had been unhelpfully given two routes, one which followed a road the other involved a long and unnecessary hill traverse.

We walked along and had a great chat with Sam. We don’t often walk with other people but Sam was great company. Noodle, her lovely golden retriever, was calm and friendly and seemed to take everything in her stride.

Sam was so grateful for our help and we were pleased to be at the right place at the right time for her.

At Elterwater it was a bit sad to say goodbye. I took a quick photo before we went on our seperate ways.

Sam and Noodle

A couple of weeks after getting home I contacted Sam to see how they had got on. The weather had closed in over the Northumbrian Hills and, soaked and chilled, Sam decided to call it a day.

The English weather can do that to you. She and Noodle had covered 162 miles crossing some of England’s highest ground. Sam will be back to complete the remaining 35 miles when she can.

Her achievement (and Noodles) was absolutely amazing I’m sure you’ll agree.

The Cromer crabs moving into art

Would we be the only ones to go hunting for street art on a sea wall? Last Saturday we found out.

Banksy has caused a big stir along the coast here in East Anglia. The secretive, famous street artist has been busy on a spray paint graffiti bonanza. He has produced a set of art now known as The Great British Spraycation. And, as we lived so close, we thought why not go and take a look at one.

To visit Cromer we parked the car at the village of Overstrand and set off along the cliff top path. It’s a regular trek for us to take on this route to the town, I don’t think there can be a better way.

Sunshine, some cloud, light wind. Perfect temperatures for a summer walk.

View towards the Pier from the promenade.

Once at Cromer we took the first path down to the promenade and turned right towards a row of beach huts. Strangely we have never ventured this way – we’ve always just headed towards the town, pier, etc as shown in the photo above.

A steady stream of people were going our way too, we knew that this had to be ‘the way’. Mostly politely keeping to one side, people were also passing us in the opposite direction – a flow of people in shorts and t-shirts and flip flops.

Then we were there.

Such a small image – with a big message

Once we arrived at ‘the spot’ we joined a small queue to take a photo (or two or three). This sort of thing, and I can’t really compare it to anything else really, this sort of thing makes me happy.

Tim on his knees!
Tim amongst the crowd, ever changing, some posed next to it

We stepped back and sat away from the other visitors to watch the steady flow of people all keen to take a look and say ‘yes we saw that for real’.

And yes, the fishing of crabs is still a part of this seaside town for real.

Tractors and small boats jostle for space

Pembrokeshire Coast Path – Around St David’s

On our narrow cliff top path we passed two ladies. One of them said ‘have you seen anything exciting’? I wasn’t sure how to reply and I could see Tim was just as puzzled. Had we? Seen anything exciting? All we could manage was ‘Er, well, hmmm….’

‘Dolphins or Porpoises?’ they both said together. We all turned to face the sea as if they might suddenly appear. ‘Er, no, we haven’t – not today’. They nodded, then we turned and went our separate ways. As we got out of ear shot I whispered ‘they’ll be lucky’.

We should have paid some attention to our Pembrokeshire guide book which mentions resident porpoises in the area. Perhaps they were lucky….

This continues an earlier blog posting about walking along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path during May 2021. The link to that is below…

During our 2nd week in Pembrokeshire in May this year we stayed in a cottage which was just a short drive from St David’s, the smallest city in Britain. It’s a city because it has a cathedral and what an impressive cathedral it is. The city, however, is no bigger than a really small town.

St David’s Cathedral

Two minutes by car from the cathedral is Porth Clais. We visited this small narrow harbour as a starting point for a circular walk and another time because it was part of an out and back linear walk.

1. Circular walk

Our circular walk started from the National Trust car park behind the picturesque, small and sheltered harbour of Porth Clais.

Porth Clais at low tide. This is a view looking across to the path (hidden) at the start of our circular walk

We made our way uphill, steeply, on the coast path. Within a few minutes we had left the harbour behind and were walking on a pleasant flat path with calm views out to sea and our route clearly seen way ahead of us.

We dropped down to this bay and climbed back up to continue

It’s really remote here, but the walking is fairly easy. We didn’t see anyone until we reached a bay where we saw a small family who had the whole beach to themselves.

Further along we reached a bend in the path which turned northwards into the wind. Across the water is Ramsey Island – the water here is called Ramsey Sound and the bit of path you can see Tim standing on in the photo below is the most westerly point on mainland Wales.

With a clear view over to Ramsey Island we turned northwards

We kept glancing over to Ramsey Island but generally keep our heads down as we had the wind in our faces. Clouds rushed overhead and the water passed quickly through Ramsey Sound. This is where we should have been looking for Dolphins but instead our eyes were focused on brightly coloured buildings in the distance. The photo below shows the buildings far away.

I wasn’t sure what was on the water here but I’ve checked this out and think it has something to do with measuring the tide.

Buildings just visible in the distance

After being alone for quite a long time we were starting to see a few people, then before we knew it we reached St Justinians and the very impressive new and old life boat stations. The lifeboats and the brave lifeboat men and women on board must really zip down into the water from here in quite a big splash.

Stepping quickly over a large cable we stared down at the view. Then we had a little competitive ‘who can take the best shot’ moment. Tim’s iPhone is proving hard to beat but this was what I achieved with my canon compact.

We continued to Whitesands Bay, found a very big car park and a large cafe (which was only serving take away due to restrictions in place at the time) and bought a couple of coffees to have with our sandwiches.

I think this might be one of the best beach lunch stop views we have ever had.

Tim down on the sand with a fine view

We then zig zagged our way inland back to the car at our starting point.

2. Out and Back walk

Our second visit to Porth Clais began from our rental cottage. Two minutes from the coastal path we set off with a plan to take a bus back once we reached Porth Clais. But we later changed our plans as we still feel a little nervous of taking public transport and returned via the same route – making it an ‘out and back’ route.

Two minutes from ‘home’ this was the view out over St Brides Bay.

Thrift flowering on the edge of the cliff

With cliff top paths there’s usually a few ups and downs, although not too many or too difficult, it was just after our second ‘up’ that we spotted our first welsh ponies.

Welsh ponies being photographed

Gentle walking followed in sunshine. We reached a bay and passed visitors who were either from a nearby campsite or car park, it was hard to tell. One family had already set up for the day way down on the sand below.

A little group set up for a day on the beach

Not far after this is a very popular spot. The patron saint of Wales, St David was born to St Non (ad520) and the place where he was born was right on the coast in a chapel (now ruins). These days you can walk over to those ruins but there is another chapel that seems to be the one to photograph. We spent a reasonable amount of time getting our best shots.

The chapel at St Nons

The cliffs here are really quite dramatic, the path often goes close to the edge but is always safe enough, though I suppose in bad weather it might not be.

Two more headlands and we were at Porth Clais. We dropped down to where the harbour meets the sea and as it was low tide walked amongst the stranded boats to the kiosk in the car park.

Low tide at Porth Clais

Once we’d enjoyed our packed lunch followed by an ice cream we turned and retraced our steps all the way back to the cottage, passing our horse friends on the way.

Oh hello, didn’t we see you earlier today?

This post is linked to Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – the view.