Today’s guest picture comes from David, one of my walking companions on a fine hill walk today. It shows Mark and an old gentleman making good use of walking poles. (Today’s header picture was taken by Mark.)
The main business of the day was getting up into the hills. My walking friend Mark and his dog Henry picked me up after breakfast, and I found the other members of the party, David and his dog Lucy, already in the car. Mark drove us up the Tarras valley to Cooms, and then he, David, I, and the dogs did a most enjoyable ten mile walk over the hills of the Upper Tarras Valley in what was not very promising weather.
In fact it was so unpromising that when we set off up the forestry track at the start of our journey, the top of Arkleton Hill was covered in low cloud, and it looked as though we might have a pretty dull day. However, as you can see from the header and guest picture, the cloud lifted before we got there, and although it was not a great day for taking pictures, with thick clouds, a strong wind and occasional rain showers, this did not take away from the sheer pleasure of being out in beautiful country.
Here is Arkelton Hill, as we approached the ridge.
There were wild flowers on the way as well as views, with a mass of self heal beside the forestry track, some bell heather on the hill, an unknown (to me) tiny yellow flower, and some bright red cloudberries on the top of the ridge really standing out.
David took a keen interest in the flowers.
We were walking across rough country . . .
. . . as we went along the Arkleton Hill ridge, but there were views to keep us happy . . .
. . . and an interesting shed far across the valley to intrigue us (a medical cannabis farm) . . .
. . . and occasional kind pauses by the younger walkers so that I could catch my breath.
We dropped off the end of the Arkleton ridge, and came down to the oddly named Bloody Cleuch (probably so named because of the mineral quality of the water in the stream rather than any heinous act) . . .
. . . before crossing the burn and climbing up to the next hill, Pike Fell. The day got greyer here and we had to put on our wet weather gear as rain drifted towards us.
Between Pike Fell and Scawd Bank, we found a relatively sheltered spot at Ludsgill Sware, and there was time for lunch for dogs and men.
David’s dog Lucy is a South African breed.
Rested and refreshed, we climbed 560 feet up to Scawd Bank (at 1794 ft above sea level) the last summit and the highest point of our walk. From here it was all downhill.
This was just as well, as the wind got very strong, and it rained a bit more seriously as we walked down the ridge towards the Tarras Water and Lodgegill. It wasn’t too bad though, as the going was good underfoot, and the rain stopped and we were sheltered from the wind when we got down to the river.
As we came down the hill and before the rain started,we could look across to the ridge that we had walked along on our outward trip . . .
. . . and look back to the gap in the hills where we had found the sheltered spot for our lunch.
The meadows beside the river were a contrast to the rough ground on the hill . . .
. . . and it didn’t take long until we were back at Mark’s car.
We had seen more wild flowers on the way including a very fine orchid, a thistle and a some bog asphodel.
Mark dropped David and me off at our homes, and I went in to find Mrs Tootlepedal busy sewing, and watching the end of a very exciting stage of the Tour de France. I watched the Tour too.
I was pleased to find my legs in quite good order after 9.8 miles and 1700 feet of climbing in four hours of walking (five and a half hours for the whole trip with stops), and when the stage finished, I went for a walk round the garden.
There is a lot of clematis on the fence between the flower and vegetable gardens . . .
. . . and some of it has difficulty in deciding which side of the fence is best.
There was plenty of bright colour about, including the first of the rambler roses . . .
. . . but there were more restrained combinations too.
I peered closely at an astrantia and found that it looked quite similar to the eryngium when viewed from straight above.
I filled the feeder which had been empty all day, and birds turned up in no time at at all, including a crow, not a usual visitor.
Both those bottom two birds are goldfinches.
We had a zoom with my brother and sisters, another excellent meal from the slow cooked beef stew, and paid any amount of fascinated and appalled attention to the political goings on in London. I was amazed by the straightness of the faces of people declaring that they were resigning on principle having supported a man of no principles at all for two years. Self preservation is a strong motivator.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin.