Friday, 31 March 2017

Lowther Castle reopening


There has been a fair bit of work done on the Courtyard area of the Castle since my last visit and they have made a very good job of it. The cafe has been revamped and a magnificent modern chandelier is in place along with new tables and chairs in the courtyard for the cafe's use. Plus plenty of general public seating has been added along with trees but pride of place goes to The Lowther Growing Egg which is a large framed egg planted with flowers which I presume will be added to throughout the year. It has all been tastefully done and gives the wow effect to the first time visitor.

Buying my yearly pass was the best thing I did last year. It gets me out and about plus the Castle and grounds are the perfect place to go with my camera as no two visits are ever the same. At this time of year there is a stunning display of daffodils and in the summer months the wild hay meadows will come in to their own with a colourful display of summer blooms such as poppies, cornflowers and ox-eye daisies.

I had a close encounter with a heron up by the pond but the only photo I managed to take was of its backside as it flew off which is usual for me! Also the rockery was beginning to come back to life and had plenty of colour in it. It can look a bit uninteresting and bare in the winter months.

All in all it was good to return and, I'm glad to say, the coffee and food was still top notch.
 
New Courtyard gates

Courtyard

The Lowther Growing Egg

Courtyard tables

Cafe lighting

Courtyard

Daffodils

Lowther Castle

Bank of daffodils and castle

Bank of daffodils

Lowther Castle gardens

Blossom 

Lowther Castle Gardens

The Rockery

The Rockery

The Rockery

The Rockery

Tree-lined Avenue

The Lowther Growing Egg

Friday, 17 March 2017

High Tide on the Cumbrian Coast


When the weather is bad in The Lakes, it's bad! This was the first of four days of continual rain and high winds. I checked the times of the high tide, packed my camera gear and set off for some wave action. There are a few places on the west coast of Cumbria whereit is good for rough seas and all are round the Workington/Whitehaven area. Parton near Whitehaven is good and so is Harrington near Workington.

I plumped for Harrington which is just south of Workington and it didn't let me down. I did end up drenched and frozen stiff but it was well worth it. There is something about the sea that always attracts me, whether it be in wild conditions like this or otherwise. I just love being there.


High Tide, Harrington

High Tide, Harrington

High Tide, Harrington

High Tide, Harrington

High Tide, Harrington

Water Breaker, Harrington

High Tide, Harrington

High Tide, Harrington

High Tide, Harrington

High Tide, Harrington

Water Breakers.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Grass Wood and limestone scenery

Yet another one of those walks which I didn't set out to do. I had intended going up to Kettlewell and doing something from there but there was a parking spot going begging on the back road from Grassington and it was free so I thought, hey, why not.

The woods aren't really that appealing as they are a bit too overgrown in places and the views are nonexistent but it was the open moorland above the woods which I wanted to explore. Last year I'd had a great walk up through Conistone Dib to The Dales Way so was hoping for the same sort of scenery.

Once out of the woods I was in classic limestone country. Gnarly old trees were plentiful, growing out of the fissures in the limestone rocks. It always amazes me how these trees survive but survive they do. Just to the north there were a series of limestone scars and beyond that I could see the Dales way heading up to Conistone and Kettlewell.

I hadn't really wanted to come back down through the woods so tried to find a path down through open countryside. The limestone scars to the north looked to be the best bet but it soon became obvious that the path I found was heading down to Conistone. I didn't really relish a walk back along the narrow country lane so reluctantly I did an about turn.

A walk wouldn't be a proper walk without me getting lost somewhere along the way and true to form I did. I somehow missed part of the path coming back down through the woods but, more by luck than judgement, I managed to find it again and continued back to my starting point without further incident.

A quick coffee at the Kilnsey Trout Farm cafe finished my day nicely.

Grass Wood

Grass Wood

Wharfedale

Wharfedale

Kinsey Crag

Trees above the woods.

A gnarly loner

Seen better days!

Limestone scars

Limestone scars

Grass Wood

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Back in the Lakes.

Well here we are, back in The Lake District. This was my first Lakeland stroll of the year with my mate Dave and his dog Sammy. It is one of the easiest walks you will find in these parts and it is one of the most beautiful. It is also a walk I often do either to end the season or to start a new one and, if I recall rightly, it is the first walk I ever did in the Lakes. I always remember that day because I started off in a nice new pair of white trainers. Needless to say, they weren't that colour by the time I had finished!

The walk starts at Stonethwaite and is just a circular route to the first bridge crossing of Langstrath Beck and can be done either way but I prefer doing it anti-clockwise as you have a fine view of Borrowdale on the way back. Langstrath means "Long Valley" and this certainly lives up to its name, being six miles in length before it is abruptly ended by Esk Pike.

The walk goes along ancient byways, through beautiful woodlands, follows fast flowing becks and the views of the surrounding fells are spectacular. The head of the walk is very wet though so you have to do a fair bit of bog hopping but it doesn't last for too long. As I said, the walk is never too far away from either Stonethwaite Beck or Langstrath Beck so you get to see plenty of cascades which, after rain, can be very lively.

For those who like that sort of thing, there is also a handy pub right at the end of the walk but never do the walk on a Monday as the pub is closed that day. It was good to be back in my beloved Lake District and to meet up with the many friends I have made over the years.


Eagle Crag

Stonethwaite hamlet.

Borrowdale valley

Signs of a wet winter

Borrowdale valley

Footpath in to Langstrathdale.

Eagle Crag

Cascade, Langstrath Beck

Herdwicks

Cascade, Langstrath Beck

Cascade, Langstrath Beck

Langstrath beck

Borrowdale

Watersmeet, Borrowdale

Close up at the RHS garden in Harrogate.

A series of shots I took at Harlow Carr RHS garden just outside of Harrogate. They were mostly taken with the Nikon 60mm f2.8 Micro lens. I...