Storm in Another Place.

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The past couple of weeks has seen storms raging across the world with hurricanes causing lots of damage and flooding in the Caribbean and Florida. Here in the Northwest of England we got off lightly, but it was a bit windy. Sufficient to topple one of the Iron Men at Another Place on Crosby Beach.

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Another Place is the name given to the 100 life size cast iron statues that were installed along a 3 km stretch of Crosby beach in 2005. The statues are the work of Antony Gormley and were taken from moulds of the artists own body.

Local opinion about the Iron Men is divided but I think they are great. The mood changes with the tide and the weather conditions. They stand motionless gazing out to sea but at least now they have the off-shore wind farm to look at. That is when they are not covered by the tide. Sometimes they get dressed up. The odd football shirt, baseball cap or an old Parka to keep them warm.

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Today I had to wait for low tide to walk out to see the one that was leaning.

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I was quite surprised to see it leaning as the Iron Men were installed on 3m long piles.

Equally surprising was the fact that there were only one other set of footprints in the sand. It was well worth the walk out to the statue even if I did get my feet wet.

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People think that the Iron Men have a boring life, just staring out to sea. But that may not be the case. How many of the visitors to the beach actually count them? Are there always 100 of them there. I think they disappear in ones and two’s, often under cover of darkness. I have seen them on holiday in various parts of the world and they even ‘photo bombed’ Jean and I in the Lake District.

Take a look !

600 Iron men on holiday

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where shall i stand

Where shall I stand?

625 Making new friends

Greetings from Another Place

After all the excitement I think they want to be back home.

670 Back home

Only joking of course.

Photos copy write Crosbyman66

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Posted in Another Place, Photography, Sefton Coastline, The Iron Men | 6 Comments

Villages and Witches.

My walk this week was round three villages that lie in the shadow of Pendle Hill in Lancashire. They will forever be associated with the infamous Pendle Witch Trials of 1612.

We started our walk from Barley where there were some interesting flower arrangements in the car park.

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We left the village to walk past some lovely old mill houses.

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We

followed the riverside path pausing to gaze at the weir in Roughlee.

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In the village of Roughlee there is a statue of Alice Nutter, one of the alleged Pendle Witches. Alice, who came from Roughlee, was unusual amongst  those accused in that being the widow of a tenant yeoman farmer she was comparatively wealthy. At her trial in Lancaster she spoke only to enter her plea of not guilty. She  was hanged along with nine others at Lancaster in 1612. She statue was erected in 2012 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the trials.

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We had a slight climb to the ridge at Noggarth but were rewarded with panoramic views over towards Pendle Hill. Conditions were gloomy but at least the rain was holding off. We ate our lunch at Noggarth Top Cafe, which was closed but we were able to use the seats.

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We followed a varied mix of lanes, tracks and woodland paths to the picturesque village of Newchurch in Pendle. Time to gaze in  “Witches Galore” a souvenir shop.

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More easy walking led us down to Heys Lane which was the original lane along which the witches were taken on their journey to Lancaster.

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Back in Barley we had time for a mug of tea in the cafe before our journey home.

Only a short walk but full of interest.

Posted in Crosby Rambling Club, Lancashire, Local History, Photography, Walks | 3 Comments

A stroll through Hightown Dunes and Meadows.

It is early September but there are still plenty of wild flowers along the coast in the section known as Hightown Dunes and meadows. I started my walk from the coastguard station and followed the wire fence that runs along the perimeter of West Lancs Golf Club.

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I think the fence is a bit of an eyesore but it does fulfil its purpose. It stops the golfers from straying into the dunes. It also provides support to masses of Everlasting Pea.

30 Everlasting Pea

Clumps of Evening Primrose added splashes of colour.

23 Evening Primrose22 Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose is a popular herbal remedy taken to relieve premenstrual tension.

There were lots of Michaelmas Daisy which were probably escapees from local gardens.

27 Michaelmas Daisy

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Sheltered in the dunes were some Harebell, Campanula rotundifolia.

39 Harebell36 Harebell

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Upon reaching the main path and cycle track leading to Hightown, I turned left and headed towards the coast. Along side the path were clump-s of Viper’s Bugloss, Echium vulgare.

41 Vipers Bugloss

When fully opened the flowers are an intense blue and produce lots of nectar. The long protruding stamens make the flower resemble a snakes head.In the 17th century William Coles, an English herbalist recommended Viper’s Bugloss as an antidote to snake poison.

On the edge of the coast I saw some Yellow Rattle.

45 Yellow Rattle

In the autumn the seedpods rattle, hence the name.

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I also spotted some Birdsfoot Trefoil. Its common name is “bacon and eggs” because of its yellow and pinky red colouration.

52 Bacon and eggs

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I was almost back at my car. The tide was going out exposing the sand and the brick rubble beach with the ‘mile post’ in the background.

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Time to head home and get the kettle on.

Posted in Hightown Dunes and Meadows, Photography, Sefton Coastline, Wild Flowers | Leave a comment

Crosby Rambling Club visits Kirkby Stephen

On Sunday I was walking in Cumbria with my local rambling club. Our destination was Kirkby Stephen, an important staging post on the Coast to Coast walk.

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The ‘A’ party were going to do the two hour climb up to Nine Standards Rigg. A bit of a slog and I did not fancy it.

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I took the easier option, a nine mile circular walk but still with over 1600 feet of ascent.

We left Kirkby Stephen via Frank’s Bridge and started the gradual climb via Hartley Hill and Ponder Hill up to Cote Garth. The intention was to then climb along a permissive path up to Long Rigg to enjoy the views. However we learned that a gate was locked and there was a big sign. “Danger – Bull in field” With over 20 of us in the group it was decided not to risk it.

We continued along a track and met some horses.

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The horses decided to follow us. One of them kept nudging Barbara’s rucksack. It knew there were some tasty butties in there.

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At a gate we all got through but the horses wanted to follow. We had to distract them with some apples.

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After lunch we followed good tracks to Ladthwaite.

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We followed Ladthwaite Beck for a short distance and then headed for the pretty village of Nateby348

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At Nateby we walked through the pub garden and dropped down through fields to reach the River Eden. Soon we reached the Millennium Bridge which spans a rocky gorge.

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The final section of the walk was an easy stroll along the track of the dismantled railway.

We were back in Kirkby Stephen with plenty of time for refreshments. I headed for the Black Bull for an excellent pint of ‘Black Sheep’

Posted in Crosby Rambling Club, Cumbria, Walks | 2 Comments

A walk to an island

Yesterday I joined the mid-week walking group from Crosby Rambling Club for an enjoyable walk across to Hilbre Island.

266 Heading out to Little Eye

Hilbre Island is situated about a mile offshore from West Kirby on the Wirral at the mouth of the Dee Estuary. It is possible to walk out to the island at low tide but it is important to take note of the tide times.

We set out from the Dee Lane Slipway adjacent to the Marine Lake and headed for Little Eye, the smallest of the three islands. The going was firmer than I had expected with just a few inches of water in places but these could easily be avoided.

273 Approaching Little Eye

Out route passed just to the left of Little Eye but I was fascinated with some of the rock formations.

277 Passing Little Eye

We now turned right heading for Middle Eye, also known as Little Hilbre.

280 Heading for Middle Eye

It was easy walking across the expanse of sand.

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As we approached Middle Eye there were more rock formations and a beautiful rock arch.

289 Rock formations at Middle Eye

290 Roch Arch

We now climbed up onto Middle Eye and followed the path over the top.

291 Climbing onto Middle Eye, Little Hilbre

Dropping down the far side we followed the rough track over the rocks to reach the south end of Hilbre Island where there was a footpath leading on to the island.

300 Approaching Hilbre Island

The old weather station and telegraph station are no longer in use and the few houses are now uninhabited. The lack of electricity and fresh water may have had something to do with it.

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310 Uninhabited houses

At the tip of the island were the remains of the old Lifeboat Station.

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I could have stayed there for hours exploring the rocks but we had to be off by 2.00pm before the tide changed.

322 Rock formations

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We retraced our steps on the return journey having enjoyed our time ‘offshore’

334 Heading back

341 The way back

Distance for the round trip – 5 miles.

We were back in West Kirby by 2.30 pm with plenty of options available. Fish and chips seemed a favourite but I had only recently eaten my lunch. I opted for a walk round the Marine Lake followed by a pint of beer in the West Kirkby Tap. A Real Ale pub featuring a good range of beers. I chose ‘Spitting Feathers Thirst Quencher. A refreshing hoppy bitter 3.9%. Superb.

I could then relax on the train journey home and reflect on what had been an excellent day out.

Posted in Crosby Rambling Club, Photography, Walks | 2 Comments

A stroll along the erosion

221 The erosion

A stroll along the rubble embankment that stretches from Crosby Coastguard Station to the mouth of the River Alt is one of my favourite short walks. Known locally as ‘the erosion’ the embankment originated from 1942 when Liverpool bomb-damage debris was tipped. Tipping continued until the early 1970,s when spoil from the construction of the second Mersey Tunnel was used.

The area at the northern end close to the mouth of the River Alt is not normally covered by the tide and had become colonised with vegetation. Here are clumps of Sea Mayweed.

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I always enjoy taking a slow walk with my camera to see what I can find. Yesterday I saw some Carline Thistle (Carlina vulgaris)

200 Carline Thistle

201 Carline Thistle

Just on the edge of the dunes were several clumps of Sea Holly (Eryngium maritinum)

204 Sea Holly

The flower stems used to be collected to make dry flower bouquets. Centuries ago the roots were candied and eaten like sweets. They were thought to have aphrodisiac properties.

There were huge clumps of Japanese Rose (Rosa rugosa) with their huge rose hips.

206 Rosa rugosa hips

208 Rose hips

Closer to the ground were some Dewberry (Rubus caesium ) I had to get down on my knees to photograph these, but it was worth it.

210 Dewberry

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In the damp areas there was some Water Mint (Mentha aquatica). When crushed the leaves smell of mint.

219 Water Mint

I has been out for two hours but walked barely two miles. It’s not how far you walk it’s what you can see along the way!

Posted in Hightown Dunes and Meadows, Natural History, Photography, Sefton Coastline, Wild Flowers | 4 Comments

High on the Schmittenhohe

It was the last day of my holiday in Austria and I wanted to do another high level walk on the Schmittenhohe. However the weather was not promising. It had gone cooler and the forecast was for rain in the afternoon.

I set out in shorts and T-shirt carrying a light fleece and rode up the mountain in the cable car. When I reached the summit at 1965 metres I was in for a shock. A digital  temperature display was showing 2 degrees. It’s a good job I brought my fleece.

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I now had to decide what to do. I would love to walk the Pinzgauer Spaziergang. An 17.1 km high level walk along route 719 taking in several peaks over 2000 metres. You are advised to allow a minimum of 6 hours walking time and the last cable car down on the Schattberg X-Press leaves at 4.15 pm. Maybe not today and not on my own.

83 The wayn ahead

The first section looked lovely. A green path flanked by flowers. Perhaps I could go a little way! I walked down to the first dip and then it was decision time.

84 Decision time

The Pinzgauer Hutte was only another 25 minutes and perhaps I could get a hot drink. The weather also seemed to be improving.

87 Improving weather

I set off along the track but I was soon enclosed in forest. I was also losing height. When I reached the Pinzgauer Hutte it was closed and there were no views. I was in the cloud.

89 Pinzgauer Hutte

I had lost almost 300 metres in height and the 45 minute climb back to the summit of the Schmittenhohe seemed hard. Even at this modest height I was having to work hard, but at least I was now warm.

The skies were brightening and I saw some Aconite along the way.

93 Brightenning skies

95 Aconite

I did not go back to the summit but turned off to follow Sisi’s Rundweg that I had walked the previous week. It gave me the chance to see more wild flowers and look down to Zeller See.

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I joined the High Altitude Promenade and headed towards Sonnkogel.

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At a junction I took the left fork to climb up Salersbachkopfl following route 67. I wanted to see a couple of the Art on the Mountain sculptures.

114 The High Table

I call it ‘The High Table’ but its name is Gruss Gott, Nehmt Platz Oder Kommunikation 2000. Designed by Michael Printschler.

take a seat among friends

take a seat and enjoy nature, a good meal

take a seat and read fo9r example, of God’s grandeur

i’ll take a seat and make a wish

that future conflicts might all be solved round a table

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The next sculpture is called Schneefalle.

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The sculpture is partially defined and designed by the overall space surrounding it. it is through this relationship that it becomes an integral part of reality, proffering itself as a kind of challenge. When movement occurs within this space, it reacts, changes its form. Yet it can also reflect what people feel as tranquillity and peace. Thus, the sculpture bears witness to the on-going conditions around it.

It was designed by Herbert Golser in 1998.

My favourite view of it is

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Behind it and acting like a sight was the stone pillar at the summit of Salersbachkopfl.

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I dropped down to the main path and followed it towards Sonnkogel at 1856 metres. Along the way I paused to take photos of Bearded Bellflower and a butterfly on Aconite.

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I also spotted some Common Monkshood framed against the backdrop of mountains.

138 Common Monkshood

Reaching the Sonnkogel Bergrestaurant it was time for lunch and a refreshing pint.

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All that remained was to catch the Sonnkogelbahn chairlift down to the Berghotel and then the Sonneralmbahn cable car down to Zell am See.

I just got back before it started to rain. It had been a satisfying high level walk to end my holiday.

Posted in Austria, Photography, Salzburger Land, Travel, Walks, Wild Flowers | 2 Comments