Wednesday, 4 December 2019

English Lake District. Last Gallery. Welcome to The Kaleidoscope.

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Geese in flight over Lakeland.
Clearing the decks a bit with this last gallery. A kaleidoscopic mishmash of the Lake District Weekend. On the Sunday it was a bright sunny morning- the first real sunshine on this trip so I was out again capturing autumn- but not and never alone. Nature- my eternal, constant muse, is always beside me. holding my clammy paw.
Autumn in the Lakes.
Big beast in field.
As sheep go The Heavyweight Division.
Yet another enchanted woodland.
Boats. Ullswater Pier.
Gazebo in a Lakeland Garden.
Lush moss on a wall.
Lone house on a hillside.
Tourist Boat. Ullswater.
November. The Misty Mountains of the imagination.
Tobacco or snuff factory wall relic. Kendal.
November. Mountain view.
The Community. Glenridding.
Sheep movement. Lake District.
The Boathouse. Autumn.
The Stream. Glenridding.
The White Lion Pub. Patterdale.
A closer view. Although it appears narrow it is long and surprisingly roomy inside with plenty of tables. A cracking pub full of warmth and period character. Front door leads straight out onto the street so watch out for that quirk of design. Luckily, it's a semi quiet road hereabouts.
A different type of abode. A remote woodland cottage. No sign of Hansel or Gretel, a wicked witch, or even Lady Chatterley popping by to check the pheasants are alright.
The walkers at the bridge. Ullswater Way.
Diversity of trees. Taken from the wilder side of this eight mile long lake, the second largest in the Lake District.
Wild Lakeland. An untamed quarter of forest and mountain.
During our trip we stopped off in Ambleside at dusk, one of the many delightful Lakeland towns that even in winter make some of their similar sized Scottish equivalents feel like deprived, cash strapped, distant relatives, living year round outside on a soaking wet cardboard mattress. Even in Cumbria itself you can drive 15 miles out in most directions and reach the edge of this golden bubble land, finding ordinary, less scenic, more economically deprived communities in the surrounding districts. I like them as well but then I'm not most tourists. Not sure if the takings are down here in the main street shops but they still feel cheery, busy and prosperous any time I visit. Although scenic and one of my favourites Ambleside does not appear to have the daily nose to tail rush hour traffic jams of nearby Kendal and Windermere as we left most of the hold-ups behind when we arrived here for fish and chips. I say fish and chips but suppers would be more appropriate as neither of us splash out like that. Me, usually a pie supper or just chips- Alex usually hamburger or sausage supper. So under five pounds rather than under ten. I prefer steak or mince pie anyway.
We got parked easily enough then set off to find toilets and grub in that order. Another White Lion pub here.
Not this one as we missed it first time around...
but this one up a lane. As usual it was top class and very tasty. Almost guaranteed down here.
A back lane in Ambleside.
Nightfall. Shops in Ambleside.
Thanks to Alex and everyone else for the invitation, driving and company. The End.
The concept of the 'Multiverse'. Do separate invisible self contained world's exist in parallel to this one as the quantum physicists speculate?  Of course they do... it's as true as the tail on my bottom and here's one right here.   A little trick I learned with capturing damp conditions/light at a certain angle. A perfect little earth hovering over a table.
For anyone who watched the fascinating and vivid 5 minute microscopic sea life video I linked to a few days ago here's the companion piece to go with it. A spectacular light show highlighting a modern Noah's Ark of different animals splashed across the New York Skyline at night. A clever and thought provoking gallery. Liked the King Kong tribute climbing the Empire State Building.. Not much beats this effort for an eye catching display of colour in the darkness yet I was not aware of it happening until now.

Monday, 2 December 2019

English Lake District. Rooking to Hartsop Walk. Patterdale Gallery.

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Ullswater, above. After my early morning walk doing part of the Ullswater Way in the English Lake District on my own I fancied some company so I popped back to the hut to see if Graeme was still around as he was busy in the morning that day and had said he would not be free until lunch time. The weather had also improved as, although it was fine and dry for walking in reality, a light haze meant photography of the autumn colours looked 'milky' and I knew they would get clearer/better later on in the day with more sunshine, stronger light and shade around.
This proved to be the case and Graeme was quite happy to see me and go on a walk a few miles up the dale/valley. There is only one low level walk up the length of Patterdale but luckily, it is a five star classic outing. This was something that was made apparent to me when I picked it as a gentler way off the mountain range I was doing with Alex the last time in the Lakes. It was a long, end to end traverse over all the high peaks from St Raven's Edge to Place Fell, a classic one direction only switchback, but by Rampsgill Head my dodgy knees were crunching badly so I peeled off early at Hayeswater down to Hartsop. And was then delighted I did- as I discovered this excellent and varied walk. I can still do mountains on occasion, but these days I have to pick and choose them carefully as hammering them week by week through a list, dull ones included, effects my ability to get up the good ones.
Luckily my inclination, as a photographer, is also to mix it up a bit. Beaches, woods, city life, night time shots, anything that takes my fancy. Graeme did mention something about doing a lower hill range somewhere, as like most hill-walkers, that's his main obsession, but I can be quite persuasive when I want to be- and I knew he'd like this walk. I also played my... "I've walked endless miles already!!!!".... card, which did the trick.
Another view of Patterdale Hall in better light, on my second walk of the day. It is now a youth activity centre for groups.
The high mountains above Patterdale were still in cloud but it was improving and the sun was starting to make an appearance, bringing the colours out more. Patterdale is a fairly narrow dale/valley, hence just one low level path up it.
But it's a scenic gem of great delight. Rooking here, near our starting point.
Looking back towards Glenridding over grass paths and farm tracks to where we started. One mystery to me, (if the Lake District is so busy) is why so many lovely grass paths like this one still exist here and are still largely unscathed. It was the same down in Yorkshire. They get similar rainfall to Scotland I'd imagine yet many of the Scottish hill paths are now completely trashed and muddy, even in the city parks, sometimes a real eyesore in places like Skye- increasingly popular in the last ten years yet the Lake District has been busy for centuries... and it still has grass paths and beautiful walking scenery without any mud. A lesson to be learned there somewhere.
Open sheep meadows.
Glenridding area.
Even the sheep are special down here. Supermodels for a beautified rural landscape.

Golden bubble sheep. Picked for cuteness. Beatrix Potter loved this breed of sheep and used some of her book money to buy local farms and preserve this unusual breed, then in danger of being neglected but now very much an integral part of the Lake District Landscape. Herdwicks.
You can easily see why. Scottish sheep always look dejected, even in sunshine, head down, continually munching tasteless fodder, resigned to their miserable dripping, cold, fate. Largely uninterested in you apart from a brief glance upwards. Lakeland sheep, for some reason and in spite of the footfall traffic seem to take a much keener interest in travellers and they seem more intelligent- happier even. I suppose the perpetual 'stuffed toy' smile helps, along with a variety of bewildering colour changes as they get older   but even that does not explain it fully. Like supermodels- they do not appear to require the same food intake as ordinary mortals/Scottish sheep, and spend much more time in hedonistic activities like gratuitous sunbathing on south facing slopes, lazy sleeping, and people watching. In short... having fun and hanging out.

Not something, 'Bah Humbug', Calvin following, Scottish sheep can ever be accused of..." We get born, we eat grass, we die... what else do we need to know?  We never smile. What is there to smile about!? Go away hill-walkers and leave us to get on with it. Death is the only certain joy in our life. "
Cut stalks in a cottage garden. I think these are Gunnera Manicata fronds, a plant sometimes called Giant Rhubarb, but which is poisonous to eat. Grown as a garden variety for its enormous wide spreading leaves it can be an invasive species sometimes if growing conditions suit it. Ireland with its mild wet climate has a problem with it spreading into the wild as it can't handle severe cold or frosts very well- originally native to Brazil. Invasive species are a major menace worldwide and on any UK walk you are never far from Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, Butterfly Bush or Giant Hogweed plantations- originally planted in gardens but now spreading and dominating in the wild. In the early 1950s John Wyndham wrote the excellent and prophetic novel 'The Day of The Triffids, largely inspired by Giant Hogweed plants and their toxic, burning sap. A novel I'm reading again after a 30 year gap as I bought a Best of British Classic Si Fi Stories in a charity shop recently. Along with Issac Asimov's- I Robot, penned in the 1950s and read in my 1960s teens but coming increasingly true today they both highlight  how far ahead they really were at intelligent predictions of our future- and still a surprisingly cracking read today. Two of my all time favourite authors.
A dog walker in Patterdale.
Further up the valley you start to climb higher towards the mountains. Good tracks most of the way.
Lost toy at the big waterfall. Same eyes and amused smile as the Herdwick sheep. Mmmmm. I still think they were stuffed toys originally- a bored wizard brought them to life in his back garden for his children to play with- and they later escaped into the wild... the end.
Part of the walk travels through an old oak wood with red squirrels dancing above so it's very varied in character.
A view through the trees towards the upper end of Patterdale.
Which brings us gently up to the small hamlet of Hartsop, nestled in a hollow between higher mountains. A Shangri-la of a place, approached from this end.
As is this entire walk.

We returned the same way but this was not a hardship as different views appeared on the journey back.
And I think Graeme enjoyed it- while still secretly wishing he should have been up a hill. The baggers lament.

And a link to one of the best and most unexpected wildlife videos you will ever see. Best Watched full screen. Honest. Tip.  Just ignore the comments section in here- I always do :)