A walk around Ennerdale Water

When we decided to go walking in Ennerdale our original plan was a walk, a picnic, a walk back and a visit to an art exhibition at The Gather at Ennerdale Bridge.

What actually happened was a leisurely walk with lots of stops to take photos, a picnic, a decision to continue all around the lake, an accidental fall, arriving back at the car park after The Gather had closed. Oh, and a chat with a dog-walker, which resulted in a possible attendance at a social event in the autumn. This time it was my turn to fall. I tripped because I was looking sideways at the scenery and missed a hazard on the path. Fortunately I could walk the last few hundred yards to the car park. Note to self: look where you are going!

It was the first time we had walked all the way round the lake. It is the sort of walk, where it is possible to see more or less how far there still is to go and how far to go back. There were two points at which going on seemed hazardous, but going back was too far. At Angler’s Crag the path is steep with loose stones and there is a steep rocky outcrop to climb down (or up if going the opposite way, although if we do this again, we’ll find a higher route). At the weir engineering work was in progress. It occurred to us that if the heavy machinery broke the bridge, we would have a long way to go back! Of course the work had been well-planned and the bridge was still there for us to cross.

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A riverside and lakeside walk

Hubby and I had already decided on a trip to Crummock Water, when I checked Twitter and discovered that the challenge for #wildflowerhour was #bythewater. For a similar challenge last year I found so many flowers that I wrote a blog post about them.

 

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Crummock Water has featured on this blog before. Even before we arrived at our destination we had some excitement. There was a red squirrel running along the side of a country lane through Loweswater. (The place not the lake!) We parked in a National Trust car park and walked through woodland beside the River Cocker to Crummock Water. It was a sunny day with a cooling wind.

The scenery was stunning and I found many different wild flowers, including about a dozen new to me. I managed to identify some of them from reference books (field guides) and the experts from #wildflowerhour helped with others. We also spotted a few birds, mainly wagtails. One was a small bird which hovered (and had a white rump). Any idea what it was? There were some fairly small fish in a stream.

Some people who overtook us as I was taking a photo alerted us to the presence of a lizard. We retraced our steps to find it. It was undisturbed by people and dogs passing nearby.

We had a picnic lunch under a hawthorn tree with a view. Then we continued along the path finding more interesting flowers. We returned by the same route along the lake, but a different path through the woods. I took about 90 photos mainly of flowers. Digital photography is a useful invention!

Recovering from a wildfire

In the summer of 2018 there were fires in various parts of England due partly to the dry weather. The fire on St Bees Head began on the evening of 12th June. It took days to extinguish it, partly because it reignited and the fire brigade had to return. The fire-fighters worked very hard wearing their protective clothing in very hot weather. There was co-operation between lots of different people locally to allow them access and to keep them as comfortable as possible. This post is primarily about the area about a year later.

View from the beach almost a year on

St Bees Head is on the Coast to Coast walk; the first part of the path had to be closed for safety reasons. It is also home to an RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) reserve. The fire-fighters managed to contain the fire so that it did not spread to that area. The cliffs, where the fire was, were covered in grass, bracken, gorse, brambles and other plants and were home to small mammals, ground-nesting birds, some rare spiders and other invertebrates. About a month after the fire the smell of the ash was still very strong.

Just over a year after the fire I took photos of the area on a walk up the path mentioned above. The gorse bushes are charred and blanched. Various grasses, bracken and other wild plants are growing. Kidney vetch is colonising the cliffs lower down (only visible from below.) From a distance there are still dark patches on the cliffs.