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!

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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.

 

A walk at low tide

On a cool, windy June day I couldn’t resist taking photos on the beach. The light was interesting and there were sea creatures, which go unnoticed when the sea is covering more of the sand. The sand had dried sufficiently for the wind to cause sandstorms. The striations (light and dark stripes) in the photos of the sand are caused by the surface layer of sand being blown across the beach. The uneven ripples on the wet sand were caused by the waves.

The sea creatures we found were mostly carapaces, which the sea birds had left behind. There were urchins, known as sea potatoes, some lobster-shaped remains and some broken shells. In the hope of finding a complete whelk shell hubby lifted one from the sand. It was broken, but there was a creature living in it! Sometimes common ragworms make their homes in whelk shells. A sea-mouse is another creature which is sometimes found on the beach. Winkles and sea anemones can be found on the worm reefs with barnacles on the rocks.

This is the second post on this blog about the beach at low tide. The first one was Low tide at St Bees.