Friday 18 July 2014 – Bassenthwaite

The most pressing thing I needed to do today was banking. I’d not had any mobile signal on my phone the whole time we were at the cottage, and whenever we ventured into civilisation, such as Sedbergh, Kendal or the Lake District, we just hadn’t stopped long enough in any one place to do anything about it and take advantage. So today I wanted to go somewhere that I could sit quietly and check things online.

As it was our last full day we decided against a picnic and chose instead to eat out. We drove over the top, past Dent Station, through where we’d seen wheatears, pipits and grouse, and stopped to take a few more pictures. By the time we reached the Spar at Sedbergh it was already midday (again!). I did what I had to while sitting in the car park and then we bought some provisions and a packed lunch from the supermarket.

Last time we were in Dent, in August last year, we drove to Bassenthwaite in the northern Lake District to see the ospreys. The pair had successfully reared 2 young and the adult female had already flown away, leaving the adult male to teach the youngsters – a male and a female – how to hunt.

When we got there this year, we learned that another pair had successfully mated – the adult female who was here the year before last and the adult male brother of the adult male who was here last year – having 3 chicks, of which 2 survived. The family were still altogether and one of the adults could be seen on a favourite perch above the nest. But it was too warm and hazy to take pictures and there wasn’t much activity.

We stayed until almost five o’clock, when the volunteers were packing up to go, and then we set off back.

As it was our last evening, the poet wanted a bit of a scenic drive back to the cottage, so I took him via Thirlmere, Grasmere and Ambleside to the Kirkstone Pass, which we went up rather than down.

Shortly after joining the top road above Windermere we were once again held up by sheep changing fields. Lots of sheep that stopped the traffic both ways. It was nice to watch the 5 dogs working the animals so successfully and cleverly, even nipping up the banks and along the dry-stone walls to keep runaways in check.

We’d eaten quite late in the day and didn’t feel much like food when we got in, so we grabbed a snack, packed a few things, watched some telly, and had an early night as we had to be up early the next morning.

Only a few pictures again today:

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Finally, a juvenile wheatear. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Thar be osprey … (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Diane and Rufus, Bassenthwaite. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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The centre from where we can go and view the osprey. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Bassenthwaite. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)


Thursday 17 July 2014 – Hallin Fell and Ullswater Steamer

An early start today as we were off to climb Hallin Fell at Ullswater in the Lake District. I’d tried to climb this the last time I stayed in the Lake District, but I took a wrong path and didn’t think I could scramble up the last bit it was so sheer. And I don’t generally do big hills anyway, but I wanted to do Hallin Fell.

By the time we’d made a picnic, got ready and drove there – via the fast route along a really pretty section of the M6 – it was already midday. And the hottest day of the year so far, apparently.

We would have normally caught the Ullswater Steamer from Glenridding to Howtown. But because it was already quite late, and already very hot (and with no shelter up there), we thought it might be better to drive up to Martindale and climb the rest of the hill from there. Hopefully we’d get back to Pooley Bridge in time to catch the last round trip around the lake at 3:20pm. So I directed the poet back around the lake, through Pooley Bridge and up the zig-zag alpinesque narrow lane to the church at Martindale.

I’d put sun cream on and we donned our sunhats and sunglasses, and off we went, with the dog pulling me up the hard bits on his lead by one hand and the boyfriend pulling me up by the other. (They both must love me very much.) I have to say that had the poet not been more than prepared to stop every ten paces or so to give me a breather, we might not have made it up to the top this time either. And he made me do that final scramble up the sheer face of the fell too. But we did it.

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The start of our climb. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Getting higher … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Sheep on Hallin Fell. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Ian, on the way up. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Diane, on the way up. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Rufus, on the way up. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Almost there … (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Made it! Diane and Ian on top of Hallin Fell. This is the selfie we took for Facebook. 🙂 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Ian and Rufus at the cairn on top of Hallin Fell. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Diane, enjoying a much-needed sit down, at the cairn on top of Hallin Fell, with Rufus. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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The view from the summit. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Diane … still enjoying that sit down … with Rufus. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Ullswater Steamer coming in to Howtown. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Ian. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Diane. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Rufus. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Ian added a stone to the cairn on the top for the both of us, we caught our breath, took some photographs, and had our picnic – the dog too. We were both very proud that I’d made it this time and he was quite proud of his motivational skills.

At the top of Hallin Fell I finally had a signal on my mobile phone, so we took the selfie and posted it to FB before the signal went again. We also tried to call my parents, but they were having a heatwave too and had gone out.

Then it was time to head back down Hallin Fell to the car, and then drive back down to Pooley Bridge to catch the steamer. But while it was much quicker going downhill, by the time we’d parked up and walked along the road to the pier it was already 3:20pm and we were too late … but the girl in the office radioed the boat, and they held the departure for us.

Rufus wasn’t very sure about his first ever boat ride, but he soon settled and just needed to get used to so many people, and so many little people, all in one place. And then there were two other dogs on board as well.

Our first stop was at Howtown, where a couple of people got off and a few people got on. Our next stop was Glenridding, where we were able to leave the boat for a few minutes, have something to eat and drink, and use the facilities. Then it was back at 4:45pm to catch the boat back the way we had come. Going, we had to sit indoors and it was a bit warm and stuffy. Coming back we were outside, at the front of the boat, in glorious sunshine, but we could also enjoy a breeze while we added to our ever-growing photo collection.

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Hallin Fell from the Lady Wakefield. You can just see the cairn on top. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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I think this is the Lady of the Lake. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Ian and Rufus relaxing on Glenridding pier. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Beautiful Ullswater. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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Rufus and Diane on the Lady Wakefield. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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The Lady of the Lake again. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Rufus doesn’t look very happy in this picture. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Reminds me of Swallows and Amazons. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Ullswater. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We arrived back at Pooley Bridge at 5:45pm and we arrived back at the cottage an hour later.

The poet cooked us chicken breasts stuffed with sausage meat and cheese for tea, and we settled down to await the forecast thunderstorm. Yesterday the poet had drawn two of the birds we’ve seen, a wheatear and a meadow pipit. This evening he drew another, a stonechat, while tea cooked.

Enjoy the pictures.

We went to Keswick

For my birthday weekend, I didn’t want to be at home, and so we went to Keswick for a few days. We stayed with the lovely Carol and her friend Lynda, who were there for the Words by the Water festival. I ordered sunshine, and we got it. My actual birthday day was a bit gloomy, weatherwise, but it was a birthday I wasn’t particularly happy about. But it stayed dry and we went out and we window-shopped.

On the Saturday we got there fairly lateish, and were immediately taken on a massive walk around Derwent Water. Rufus barked a lot and we chatted a lot, and we took a few pictures.

Wherever I go I always find a boat. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Wherever I go I always find a boat. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Carol Warham)
(Picture: Carol Warham)
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(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Wordsworth meets Ruskin. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Wordsworth chats with Ruskin. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

On Saturday evening we went for a beautiful Italian meal with Carol and Lynda.

Lynda and Carol. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Lynda and Carol. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

On Sunday we ambled around Ambleside, window-shopped and visited a stone circle. It was dark and gloomy by the time we got there, though, so the pictures didn’t work very well. On Sunday evening we went for another meal, just the two of us, for some good pub grub.

Monday morning we were up bright and early, for us, and we headed off again to buy the birthday present I’d seen the day before from Ambleside (but the shop had been closed). We also bought some old-fashioned sweets, and a packed lunch from Greggs.

Then we headed out to Haweswater, via Ullswater, the latter of which is my favourite commercial lake in the Lake District.

Ullswater. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Ullswater. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
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(Picture: Diane Parkin)

I’d ordered a golden eagle, and so we went on our way to Haweswater.

On the way there, between Celleron and Askham, the poet thought he saw a buzzard. But it was too big to be a buzzard, and so we stopped the car (in the middle of the road) and got out to take a closer look with the binoculars. It really was too big to be a buzzard and was, in actual fact, the golden eagle. And … even better than that, there was another one.

The “proper officals” haven’t yet sighted these marvelous birds, and so they don’t officially exist in the Lake District any  more. But if you bob along anyway, you just might be lucky and have the same “hallucination” we did. There’s actually been golden eagles at Haweswater since the 1960s and the first time I was there the officials swore blind they weren’t around … until a walker disturbed them. I’ve now seen one or both on every single visit.

Here are some pictures demonstrating just how beautiful and unspoiled Haweswater is.

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
Can you see the moon? (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Can you see the moon? (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Lord Rufus. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Lord Rufus. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
My favourite landscape. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
My favourite landscape. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We had a lovely time and will be going again for a little longer. We arrived home well after teatime and chilled with the cats.

Enjoy the pictures.

Crazy few weeks

I’ve had a very crazy few weeks.

I really pushed the boat out and decided to take the last week of August off, but this, of course, meant that I had less time in which to complete my work. I did it, though, went flat out, and managed to shift all save one job – and that last job is a freebie anyway …

And no, I don’t make a habit of doing freebies. It was actually a favour to a favourite client and was rewarded with 3 new paying jobs, the first of which I started yesterday, Monday. This, aside from the pro-bono-esque work I do for my local rambling group (a charity), what I can squeeze in for friends, and my own gig list, is the only free work I do. But I’m contemplating doing something with the gig list to make it start to earn its keep … more on that when it’s been thrashed out a little.

It meant, of course, that I didn’t have time for much else. I didn’t have time to surf the job boards, I didn’t have time to do the daily competitions, and I didn’t have time to blog.

But, oh! We had a wonderful holiday. We only went away for a few days, to Dent in the western Yorkshire Dales on the border with the Lake District. I had no phone signal, I couldn’t access the internet, it was bliss. We managed a couple of walks this time. When I was there before we had snow, at Easter, and they were fetching fatal casualties down from the dales all over the holiday. I stayed indoors that time, but this time we got out and about.

We went on Wednesday and came back on Saturday, it was sunny and dry for much of it but we did have a few showers. We even had one walk in the rain, a local walk around the village that took in part of the Dales Way. We ventured up to Grasmere to visit the Wordsworth house there, and we went to see the osprey at Bassenthwaite – the female adult had already migrated, but the almost-grown chicks gave us a very good show with one of them even having a practice fish. We popped to Hawes for supplies and visited the Wensleydale Creamery there, and the jets flew over twice. I’ve yet to visit Hawes and not get a flypast. 🙂

When we came home we were chilled and relaxed, and even managed a night out.

I don’t have any photographs yet, as they’re still on someone else’s camera. But as soon as I do I’ll start posting. Meanwhile, the one at the bottom is another from our day out at Langsett Reservoir a few weeks ago.

This week, then, I have two new edits to start – one was started yesterday – and 2 articles to write. I also have 2 books to crack on with, a novel and a non-fiction. I have that freebie to complete, plus the gig list to update. And hopefully – hopefully – I’ll have time to surf the job boards and all the other computer stuff.

Oh yes, and my car has to go into the garage – again – on Thursday. 😦

An arty shot from the poet. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)