Sailing above the clouds.

Sailing above the clouds

This is my entry for the Digital Projected image in this months competition at my local camera club.

I like to think that it gives the impression that I am up there with the paraglider.

Actually I am riding up in a cable car.

When I set off at the base station it was overcast and we rode up through the cloud. Image my surprise when we emerged into bright sunshine and there alongside was a paraglider.

One of us must be mad!

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The Cell.

The Cell. Art on the hillside

It is a new season at my local camera club and this is the image I will enter in the Monochrome Print section of the first competition.

It is called ‘The Cell’ and is the work of the Italian artist Gianpietro Carlesso. It forms part of the Art on the mountain installation set on the slopes of the Schmittenhohe in Zell am See.

It represents a cell at the moment 0f division as a source of the origins of life in the water.

I have converted the image to monochrome in Photoshop and adjusted the levels. Otherwise it is as shot by the camera.

Being a bit of a technophobe, I am not really into image manipulation and still look back fondly to the happy hours I spent in the darkroom.

The judge will probably think it is too traditional and not edgy enough but I know what I like!.

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A Comma on the Asparagus Trail.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and I travelled a few miles up the coast to do the Formby Asparagus Trail. With the help of information boards, this trail tells the story of the families who worked the land to grow Formby Asparagus.

The walk starts at the National Trust notice board in Victoria Road and is well signposted. After a few hundred yards I came to the first information board which tells the story of Jimmy Lowe and Pine Tree Farm. I wrote about this in my blog ‘The Asparagus Trail’ in June 2017 so I will not repeat it all.

Jimmy Lowe

246 Jimmy Lowe

Nearby is Nicotine Wood, named after an area of dunes that had once been asparagus fields but was then used as an area for the disposal of nicotine waste. During the 1950’s and 60’s thousands of tons of nicotine tobaco leaf waste was dumped here by the British Nicotine Company.

247 The Jennings

The board gives information as to the cultivation of the asparagus crop. First the ground has to be levelled. This was originally carried out using horse and cart to spread the sand and fill in the hollows. Turf was buried up to four feet below the surface and the level built up with clean sand to produce the asparagus bed.

Sand is not very fertile and so manure is required. In the 1840’s Thomas Fresh built a manure siding at Freshfield alongside the Liverpool to Southport railway. ‘Night Soil’ was bought in from the back streets of Liverpool to provide a cheap source of manure. Of course it had the side effect of improving the sanitation in Liverpool. Nowadays farmyard manure would be used.

The Asparagus season is very short lasting just a few weeks from St Georges Day to the summer solstice. Asparagus is still cultivated at Sandfield Farm.

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As I was walking I saw a tiny flash of orange go by. It was a Comma butterfly and it settled on a blackberry bush to feed on the ripe fruit. I needed to get in close but it was a bit prickly but I got my photo.

264 Comma

I continued on my way pausing to look at some sculptures done by a local artist, Simon Archer.

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The trail is only one and a half miles long but is full of interest. A great way to spend an hour and the butterflies were a bonus.

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Gloomy skies at Grasmere

Last weekend I was in Grasmere with Crosby Rambling Club and looking forward to a good walk with fine views. The weather forecast had been quite good but when we arrived there it was overcast.

I decided to do the B+ walk. Ray, our leader had added the + because although the walk was only 8 miles it involved over 2000 ft of ascent.

201 Climbing Silver How

We started our walk by going past Allen Bank and followed the track onto the fells. It was a steady slog and we were very warm and soon stopped to shed layers.

204 Crossing Wray Gill

We crossed Wray Gill and then headed towards the cairn on the summit of Silver How ( 1292 ft ). Soon we were in the mist and there was a fine drizzle. Time to put our waterproofs back on.

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By the time we reached the summit visibility was down to about 20 yards. One of the main reasons for climbing Silver How is to appreciate the views but today they were non-existent. We did get a group photo.

214 At the summit

We now headed across Brigstone Moss passing a few small tarns. With the poor visibility navigation was difficult. The path was very faint with just the occasional cairn, it was a good job we had GPS.

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Our route took us past Lang How, Swinescar Pike, Little and Great Castle Hows  and on to Blea Rigg.

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Here we had a bit of difficulty finding the path leading down to Easedale Tarn. There was hardly any trace of a path on the ground and we were almost on top of the cairn before we spotted it. We had to keep in a tight group so as not to lose anyone.

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As we lost height we dropped below the cloud and we could see our next objective – Easedale Tarn.

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A clear path is marked on the map but there is little evidence of it on the ground. We picked our way between rocks which we very slippery. We had to be very careful.

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As we got closer to the tarn the path improved and we were able to increase our pace.

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We were way behind schedule so we decided to take the quickest was down passing Sour Milk Gill.

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After the recent wet weather the waterfall looked very impressive.

233 Sour Milk Gill

The way down was tiresome along the rocky path and it seemed to go on forever.

Back in Grasmere we just had time for a quick pint before catching the coach. We went to the Inn at Grasmere. It used to be ‘The Red Lion’. A pint of bitter cost £4 which I thought was a bit steep. However it was tasty and refreshing. I needed it.

I was amused by the poster on the wall. It says it all.

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Another  day on the fells. It was horrendous, but I enjoyed it.

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Skiddaw via Millbeck

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last had my boots on and during that time I have been looking back on some of my past walks. One of my favourites is the ascent of Skiddaw via Millbeck which I did with Les and Jim.

We started our walk in Keswick and walked out to Millbeck and then followed the Allerdale Ramble up to Carl Side.

The path was very steep and rough as we headed up to Carlside Col.

At the col we paused for lunch. Visibility was perfect and we could look out to many of the major Lakeland Fells. We could even see the Isle of Man on the horizon.

At Carlside Col we made the short diversion to the left to visit Carl Side at 2420 ft. It was then back to the coll and a pause at Carlside Tarn.

It was now time to start climbing again up to the south top of Skiddaw. It was hard going and I was soon lagging behind.

At last we reached the top and headed for the main summit at 3053 ft.

It had been a tough climb but well worth it for the view.

Our descent was via Skiddaw Little Man and then down the tourist route past Jenkin Hill.

We passed the monument which is a memorial to two members of the Hawell family. Edward, who was born in 1815 and his son Joseph who was born in 1854. They were both shepherds in Lonscale and breeders of Herdwick sheep.

The foot of the cross is inscribed with the words –

Great Shepherd of Thy heavenly flock,These men have left our hill

Their feet were on the living rock, Oh guide and bless them still.

A wonderful epitaph.

It had been a fantastic days walking.

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Thwarted by the tide.

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Sunday 12th August 2018.

Today I was out with Crosby Rambling Club and our destination was Anglesey where we intended to walk a section of the Anglesey Coastal Path. The plan was for the coach to drop us off in the village of Pentraeth from where we would walk down a green lane to the shore of Red Wharf Bay. From here we could walk along the edge of the beach to the Ship Inn and on to the promenade at Benllech. We could then continue along the cliff top path to Moelfre with time left to explore the village.

What could go wrong?                           Everything.

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We got off the coach in the village of Pentraeth and followed the footpath sign down to the shore where we found that the tide was in. The way seemed passable so we set off.

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We had only been walking for a few minutes before we glanced back to realise we were being cut off by the tide. We quickly retraced our steps. The path we had walked along just a few minutes earlier was now submerged.

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At the bottom of the track there was a cottage and water was lapping its walls. Outside was a chair. Gordon sat on it and tried his King Canute impersonation to try and turn back the tide. No, it didn’t work for him either.

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There was no alternative but to walk back along the track. After one hour and two miles of walking we were back on the main road only a couple of hundred yards from where we had got off the coach.

After a short section of road walking we turned right onto a minor road that led to the shore. To make matters worse it was now raining steadily. Halfway down the road we had to step to one side to let a car squeeze by. When we reached the shore the car was there with water almost up to its wheels. A local resident had come out to ask where they were heading for. They pointed to a cottage a couple of hundred yards away but the approach to it was now under water. They had only popped out to do a bit of shopping.

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The helpful man explained that this was an exceptionally high tide but if they waited for a couple of hours they should be able to get through. The same thing applied to us but we could not hang around so once again we had to retrace our steps back to the road.

Another section of road walking and a stretch along a disused railway track before we turned on to a footpath leading to the shore at Talgwyn Isaf. Here at last we were able to get on the beach and follow the coastal footpath.

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Finally, at least two hours behind schedule, we reached the Ship Inn where we sat outside to have our lunch. It had actually stopped raining, but not for long.

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Setting off again we passed on the inland side of a caravan park and then through woodland to emerge onto the beach at Benllech promenade. There were quite a few people on the beach, many sitting under umbrellas. Not the sunshade type,but proper umbrellas to keep them dry. Parents had promised their children a day on the beach and that is what they would get.

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We continued along the Anglesey Coastal path following the cliff top.

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At Traeth Bychan we dropped down to a little cove where we were able to walk along the beach, but not for long. The rocks were wet and very slippery. The risk of twisting an ankle was too great and we were glad to climb up a wooded staircase to re-join the cliff top path.

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It was only another mile to Moelfre, we could just about see it through the mist and rain. We were all tired and wet. Any thought of walking round the village was abandoned and we headed straight for the Kinmel Arms pub for a pint. Everyone else must have had the same idea. The place was packed and it took me over ten minutes to get served. But it was worth it. An excellent pint of Unicorn Ale.

Later back at the coach I was able to get changed into dry clothes and I think I dozed most of the journey back.

Another interesting day out. Why do I do it?

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A soaking at Grasmere.

While I was on holiday in Austria the U K was in the grip of a heat wave with hardly any rain for a month. But, at the weekend the weather broke and parts of the country had torrential downpours. I was due to go walking in the Lake District the following Monday. What could I expect?The forecast was not looking good.

Malcolm, Les and myself were off to Grasmere to do a reccee for a future walk with Crosby Rambling Club and it was overcast but very warm as we set out. We followed the popular path heading towards Easedale Tarn and could see the waterfalls in the distance.

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Sour Milk Gill which a few days ago had been just a trickle was now looking really impressive.

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It had been spitting with rain but by the time we reached Easedale Tarn it had stopped and the sun was trying to break through. We could have a rest by the tarn and enjoy a coffee and admire the view.

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We continued past the tarn and began the climb up the the ridge that leads to High Raise.

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It was hard going especially at one rocky section that involved a bit of mild scrambling. No problem if you are young and agile. Neither of those apply to me. At one point I just could not raise my leg high enough to gain the next foothold. I had to use my knee. Of course you cannot push off your knee and next minute I was down on both knees. It had started to rain again and the rock was wet and greasy. I felt myself slipping back. I hung on with one hand whilst my other hand grappled with my walking pole. Help !!!. I managed to sort myself out but my heart was racing.

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The gradient eased and after passing Belles Knott we decided to make a short diversion to visit Codale Tarn. Another bit of excitement as we crossed a swollen stream.

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By the time we reached Codale Tarn it had stopped raining and we could sit and enjoy our lunch.

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It was so peaceful and tranquil at Codale Tarn. There was no sign of any man made activity. The scene can hardly have changed in centuries.

We reached the ridge at the ‘Pile of Stones and changed course to head south east towards Blea Rigg.

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The footpath goes either side of the summit but we wanted to get to the top. It was a Wainwright that we had not done before. Blea Rigg is only 1776 ft in height and the summit is not very impressive, just a small cairn but it is worth doing for the view.

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Our plan was now to descend via Great Castle How and Lang How. Wainwright described the path as being indistinct. I would call it non-existent. To make matters worse it had started to rain, a real downpour. We made it as far as Lang How but then things went wrong.

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We are all experienced walkers, well equipped, each with a GPS which told us first that we were too far to the left, then too far to the right. We stumbled down the mountain walking through waist high bracken which was only too ready to shed its water on to us.

We made it down to the car park in Grasmere by which time we were all soaked. I had taken no more photos. My camera was stowed away inside my plastic lunch box, the only place that was still dry. Fortunately we all had spare clothing in the car. Mine were an old pair of paint splattered track suit bottoms and an old T shirt. We all looked a sorry sight. We considered going for a pint before we started back but I doubt if there was a pub that would have let us in.

We had been walking for almost seven hours yet had covered just nine miles.

I think we will have to revise out route before we bring a party up here.

One of those days that you put down to experience and learn from.

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