For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Friday, 29 August 2014

Black panthers in Cumbria?

Halfway round my Thursday walk with Pete we are on a roll finding geocaches - I have just found my 300th, but pride comes before...

... I have only been doing this stuff for 60 years and once again I have navigated us onto the wrong footpath.

We are in rocky, wooded limestone country in  Latterbarrow Nature Reserve which is all sheer delight. My shaky interpretation of the OS map tells me there is a  public footpath that will shortcut us back onto our correct route.

We climb steeply on an identifiable path, Pete being thirty yards behind me. As I crest the climb the path ceases abruptly. I am looking ahead and fifty yards away I get a rear view of a large black animal, perhaps a bit bigger than a Great Dane slinking and weaving through the trees - it disappears within about seven seconds (not long enough to deploy the camera of course). The animal is totally deep black and seems to have a sheen more than you would expect on a woolly black sheep.

I tell Pete and we retrace our steps speculating about telling the Westmorland Gazette who regularly publish black cat stories but that is just a joke and the subject is dropped, but a nagging continues in my mind.

The next geocache is dramatic and soon  grabs our attention when I ascend a magnificent oak tree thinking of England, Bucklers Hard, Trafalgar, and Victory.

The precision of weather forecasting is well demonstrated as rain starts at 1:30 precisely, just as predicted the evening before on North West Tonight

We find another couple of geocaches, have a chat with a farmer, and snap some unusual fungus. In the field of our last geocache the existence of black panthers in Cumbria is now undoubted.

My apprentice returns our first find of the day







Heart of Oak are our ships,
Jolly Tars are our men,
We always are ready: Steady, boys, Steady!
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

Must download a fungus app

A black panther heavily disguised as a rare breed sheep

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Loneliness

Watching TV  two nights ago I have been aware for some time of a dog barking nonstop. It is about 10:45pm. I decide to retire for the night, but go to my study at the front to my computer. Now the barking is louder.

Outside I pin it down to the aged labrador across the road. There  are no lights on but there is a downstairs light in the adjacent semi. I have lived here for fourteen years and never heard that dog doing this before. My imagination is rampant, but I try to rationalise and go to bed. But I can’t concentrate on reading because of the continued barking. It has now been going on for a couple of hours.

“Perhaps there has been a suicide pact, or they have all killed each other, bodies and blood lying all over?"

I can’t bear it any longer and arise and dress and go outside again not being sure what I am going to do.

The light is still on downstairs at the next door house. It is now 11:30pm. I hesitatingly cross the road and ring the bell. Even though this is only fifty yards from where I have lived all these years it is a sad reflection on me and society that I have no idea who lives there. An elderly gent answers. He confirms that this has happened occasionally before when the family are all out having left the dog alone. I  sympathise with the guy, but he seems fairly unconcerned,

“I’m a late owl since I lost my wife, don’t go to bed till late, been working in my workshop all night”.

My interest is aroused.

“What are you doing in the workshop?”

“Making a clock.”

“Oh!” - deliberately trying to express keen interest, which is true, but I’m now beginning to think how bizarre this all becoming.

I am invited in. There is a carriage clock, superbly crafted in a wooden case, and in the corner the empty oaken case for a grandfather clock, all fashioned by my neighbour. He tells me he has all the specialised cutting tools for making clock components and we have a good old chat about his hobby.

Back in bed my thriller book seems a bit tame after all this.

Another HAT story

THE HAT has featured here before, see:  THE HAT. The history of that cherished item was interwoven with tales of Pete.

Earlier this year I left THE HAT in a pub at Bentham and it was eventually returned by post. That is another long story, see: THE HAT LOST . The day after losing THE HAT I bought a replacement in Settle.

When I collected Pete for our Thursday walk this week, to add to his rheumatic problems, I found he had brought the car boot lid down on his head and virtually scalped himself, yes, we've all done it haven't we?

Considering the hot sunny day Pete's head needed some protection, and by chance I had the Settle replacement hat in the car so it has now been donated to Pete and I think it suits him well.

THE HAT continues to do good service, but it is getting a bit ragged and daylight can be seen at intervals through the stitching attaching the circular top panel to the body, so I'm not sure how much longer it's going to last.

We had a pleasant geocaching trip around the lanes of Borwick finding only four out of seven but I have long since quelled anxiety about not finding caches, especially when the originators use "left" and "right" instead of compass points in their clues as well as other unsatisfactory or undecipherable hints. It is like doing a bad crossword puzzle - not worth wasting time on.


For my overseas readers.
 A bit of classic dry stone walling. Comes in many variations all over the UK depending on the local stone; that's given me an idea, I may start a collection of pics?

We are now more fortunate in how we draw our domestic water

Pete with the newly acquired hat - ever the optimist

How many times have I snapped Ingleborough? But I can never resist

Hedge bindweed, I think?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Northumberland and Scottish Borders slideshow

Here is the slideshow with captions of my recent trip to Northumberland and The Scottish Borders including eleven Marilyns.

Click on the Dropbox link then click on the first picture to see the rest as a slideshow.

CLICK HERE FOR SLIDESHOW


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Last day and Reply to comment on Nought out of Three

UbleyHalt - welcome to the blog. For reasons previously explained Google is not letting me reply/comment in the normal but I will place this in its rightful place when I return home. After a bit of Googling I guess there may be two ways you found yourself here.
1. The photo of Carriages Tearoom on this post.
2. Various references in my blog over the years to Ribblehead Viaduct, a feature and locality with which I am very familiar.

Looking for further enlightenment I found Ubley (near Blagdon) on the OS map, but no sign of a railway, current or disused?

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Saturday 2nd August.

Heavy rain forecast all day so decided to have a day skiving around in Bellingham and having a read. As it turns out the rain is only on and off and I suppose I could have gone for another Marilyn.

I am returning home tomorrow.

Visiting Northumbria and Scottish Borders has been a real treat. Discovering something pleasurable for yourself without previous input or recommendations from other sources comes as a surprise and is all the better for that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Last day and Reply to comment on Nought out of Three

UbleyHalt - welcome to the blog. For reasons previously explained Google is not letting me reply/comment in the normal but I will place this in its rightful place when I return home. After a bit of Googling I guess there may be two ways you found yourself here.
1. The photo of Carriages Tearoom on this post.
2. Various references in my blog over the years to Ribblehead Viaduct, a feature and locality with which I am very familiar.

Looking for further enlightenment I found Ubley (near Blagdon) on the OS map, but no sign of a railway, current or disused?

-------------------------

Saturday 2nd August.

Heavy rain forecast all day so decided to have a day skiving around in Bellingham and having a read. As it turns out the rain is only on and off and I suppose I could have gone for another Marilyn.

I am returning home tomorrow.

Visiting Northumbria and Scottish Borders has been a real treat. Discovering something pleasurable for yourself without previous input or recommendations from other sources comes as a surprise and is all the better for that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 1 August 2014

Pikethaw Hill NY 369 978, and Wisp Hill NY 386 993

Friday 1st August 2014

A 7:00 am start should have ensured clear roads, but as I was about to pull out into the main road two massive forestry log carrier wagons came past empty, so I thought I would be stuck behind them. Not a problem I couldn't keep up with them.

At 60mph alongside Kielder Water a deer ran out in front of me. I managed to miss it then stopped and got a blurry snap as it ran off. I had also, sadly, seen a massive road-killed badger

These two Marilyns were well into the county of Scottish Borders lying to the west of the A7.

The unnamed valley from near Hermitage NY 507 953 to the A7 is on my top ten list for gobstopping drives. A surprise castle, an elevated unfenced road pearing steeply down into remote valleys and farmsteads, and intriguing streams winding up into into a backdrop of multiple overlapping hills. I had to stop and get out of the car to take it all in not knowing where to look next. I fantasised that perhaps man had never set foot in some of those isolated spots.

Ascents and descents were incredibly steep. Rain persisted most of the time and the tops were intermittently in cloud, but with good views in between. The easier contoured descent from Wisp Hill via the southeast spur was covered in deep bracken and I had no idea if there was a path - they had been more or less absent on the round so far. I opted for a suicidally steep grass decent down the south west slopes of Whin Fell. Without walking poles it would have been decidedly dangerous, and then I remembered bum-sliding. The last time I tried that I lost my car keys from my back pocket. Today it was a godsend and also exhilarating.

An interesting and characterful day making the best of poor conditions.

I had another deer run in front of the car again on the way back.




Hermitage Castle. A Reivers' stronghold - bloodthirsty times. For readers from abroad Google for more info.


The deer I nearly hit.


On the way to the A7 - my magic road discovery.


From Pikethaw ascent. Very steep. No path. My car on other side of A7 at end of farm track.


- Pikethaw summit.


The very steep descent - photo belies steepness.


Posted using BlogPress from my iPad