Crummock Water

A Gleam Of Sunshine

This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The forms that once have been.

The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time’s flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,
But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;
There the green lane descends,
Through which I walked to church with thee,
O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden-trees
Lay moving on the grass;
Between them and the moving boughs,
A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,
And thy heart as pure as they:
One of God’s holy messengers
Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees
Bend down thy touch to meet,
The clover-blossoms in the grass
Rise up to kiss thy feet,

‘Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
Of earth and folly born!”
Solemnly sang the village choir
On that sweet Sabbath morn.

Through the closed blinds the golden sun
Poured in a dusty beam,
Like the celestial ladder seen
By Jacob in his dream.

And ever and anon, the wind,
Sweet-scented with the hay,
Turned o’er the hymn-book’s fluttering leaves
That on the window lay.

Long was the good man’s sermon,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,
And still I thought of thee.

Long was the prayer he uttered,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For in my heart I prayed with him,
And still I thought of thee.

But now, alas! the place seems changed;
Thou art no longer here:
Part of the sunshine of the scene
With thee did disappear.

Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
Like pine-trees dark and high,
Subdue the light of noon, and breathe
A low and ceaseless sigh;

This memory brightens o’er the past,
As when the sun, concealed
Behind some cloud that near us hangs
Shines on a distant field.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Crummock Water
Wave Petunias

Pretty Petunias

I’m amazed. A few weeks ago, I shared a photo with you of some Wave Petunias that I had planted. I’m not a flowery person, and haven’t got a clue about growing plants. Despite the odds of success being low, and the chances of me killing the Petunias being extremely high, I’ve somehow managed to grow something that actually looks OK! 😊

Now that I’ve got them flourishing, I guess I’ll have to sit with fingers crossed, and wait for them to begin to flow over the edge of the two fence troughs that they’re pullulating in. Knowing my luck, some little runt will come along and pull them all out. Lol.

I’ve probably planted the flowers too late in the year to have a fantastic display, but at least I have a little colour, and am more aware of what I’m doing for next time around. I’m already thinking of buying a propagator. I might be hooked. Hmm.. what should I do for winter? Lol.

Wave Petunias
Wave Petunias
West Cumbria Coast To Coast Cycleway

Just Do It

I began to feel that myself plus the bicycle equaled myself plus the world, upon whose spinning wheel we must all earn to ride, or fall into the sluiceways of oblivion and despair.

That which made me succeed with the bicycle was precisely what had gained me a measure of success in life — it was the hardihood of spirit that led me to begin, the persistence of will that held me to my task, and the patience that was willing to begin again when the last stroke had failed.

And so I found high moral uses in the bicycle and can commend it as a teacher without pulpit or creed. She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.

Frances E. Willard, ‘How I Learned To Ride The Bicycle’, 1895
West Cumbria Coast To Coast Cycleway
West Cumbria Coast To Coast Cycleway
Rosebay Willowherb

Rosebay Willowherb

Rosebay Willowherb, or Fireweed, is abundant on local verges at this time of the year. I love the stuff. The vibrant colours from this wild flower brighten all parts of West Cumbria.

The tall flower spikes can often be seen crowding together in thick stands in open spaces, such as woodland clearings, roadside verges, grassland and waste ground. It is a native perennial weed which spreads by seed and rhizomes (underground stems) and is unsuitable in a small garden.

The flower grows to a height of 1.5m (5ft), from June to September. When ripe the long seed capsules split open to reveal numerous fluffy seeds. It is able to colonise new areas because of its specially adapted seeds – fitted with tiny, cottony ‘parachutes’ they are able to disperse across long distances on the slightest breeze. Each plant can produce up to 80,000 seeds and the heat from fires and bonfires can help to germinate them, hence another common name of ‘Fireweed’.

In Britain the plant was considered a rare species in the 18th century, and one confined to a few locations with damp, gravelly soils. The plant’s rise from local rarity to widespread abundance seems to have occurred at the same time as the expansion of the railway network and the associated soil disturbance. The plant also became known as bombweed due to its rapid colonization of bomb craters in the second world war.

Rosebay Willowherb
Newlands Valley

Newlands Valley #2

A few days ago, I shared with you a photo of Newlands Valley, from the east end, looking west. This time, I thought I’d share a photo of the same valley, but in the opposite direction.

Driving along the road is a real pleasure, but hazardous at the same time as one struggles to keep one’s eyes pointed straight ahead as there is so much to see, and take in. Luckily my wife was with me, reminding me to keep my eyes “on the road”.

The Newlands Valley is well known for its links with Beatrix Potter. The tale of Mrs Tiggywinkle uses the Newlands Valley as its backdrop. The star of the book was based upon the vicar’s daughter – Lucie Carr.

The Newlands Valley is an excellent choice as a base for a walking holiday and provides a huge variety of walking routes from your doorstep including low level valley walks, ridge walks and fell walks such as Causey Pike, Barrow, Robinson, Hindscarth, Catbells, Maiden Moor and Dale Head.

Newlands Valley is also home to the Goldscope Mine. It is on the lower slopes of Hindscarth near Low Snab Farm and was in use from the 1500’s until the end of the 1800’s. It yielded such large quantities of lead and copper that it was called ‘Gottesgab’ (God’s Gift) by the German miners who were brought over to develop it.

Newlands Valley
Newlands Valley
Nethertown Beach

Week In Focus #37

This is picture #37 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo was taken on the beach at Nethertown in West Cumbria.

Nethertown is a small village on the Irish Sea coast. At high tide, Nethertown beach is mainly shingle. At low tide a broad strip of sand becomes exposed. Behind the beach are grassy dunes through which runs the single-track coastal railway line. Between the railway track and the beach are a scattering of chalets and beach bungalows.

From the beach there are views over the Irish Sea and Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant to the south. The fells of the Lake District can be seen in the distance. The west-facing beach gets some good sunsets.

During the Second World War, the nearby village of Nethertown was home to an anti-aircraft training camp. The village had its own school, which later became a mission church for St Bees Priory. It is now a private residence.

The community today is predominantly residential and agricultural. There are a number of caravan parks along this stretch of the coast.

Nethertown Beach
Nethertown Beach
Crummock Water

Dramatic Crummock Water

Crummock Water is located between Loweswater and Buttermere. The lake is 2 ½ miles long, ¾ mile wide and 140 feet deep and is a clear, rocky bottomed lake flanked by steep fells.

The lake is fed by numerous streams including the beck from Scale Force, which with a drop of 170 feet is Lakeland’s tallest waterfall. The waterfall is set back in a gorge part way up Scale Fell, and there are several paths that lead up to the waterfall. The River Cocker starts from here, flowing towards Cockermouth where it joins the River Derwent.

Visiting Crummock Water gives you a chance to see the ‘secret valley’ of Rannerdale where a fabled battle took place. It is said that local settlers and Norsemen resisted invasion from the Normans: they lured them into the valley and slaughtered them all. Come April-May, the valley is covered in bluebells and local legend has it that this is because of the blood spilt.

Crummock Water is owned by the National Trust.

Buy This Photo

Crummock Water
Crummock Water
Newlands Valley

Newlands Valley

The Newlands Valley is a picturesque and quiet valley in the Lake District National Park. The name “Newlands” describes the usable new land which had been created at the foot of the valley between Portinscale and Braithwaite by the draining of a large swampy and marshy area during the 13th century.

The earliest signs of human settlement in the valley have been found at Ullock, where evidence of a Bronze Age burial site has been found. The remains of a Celtic workshop were also found at Portinscale. Viking herdsmen arrived in Cumbria after 800 AD. Many of the present day place names in the Newlands valley have their origins from these early Norse settlers. The valley area was originally called Rogersat or Rogersyde which was derived from the Old Norse “Roger-Saetr”, which translates as Summer pasture belonging to Roger. The present day Newlands valley settlements of Keskadale, Skelgill, Birk Rigg, High Snab and Uzzicar all have their name origins from the early Viking settlers.

The scenery of the Newlands valley consists of farmland in the valley bottom and soaring fells above. Fells that have their foot in the valley include Barrow, Causey Pike, Catbells, Ard Crags, Knott Rigg, Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson. The quality of the fell walking is very good; the Newlands horseshoe is a 9-mile walk, starting and finishing at Little Town, with over 1,000 metres of ascent, taking in most of the 2,000-foot peaks at the head of the valley.

On the steep slopes of Ard Crags above Keskadale farm is Keskadale Oakwood, which is an ancient oak and alder woodland, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. It has an area of 50 hectares and has been fenced off for an initial period of 15 years to encourage natural regeneration and keep out grazing animals.

Newlands Valley
Newlands Valley

Week In Focus #36

This is picture #36 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo was taken above Parton, on the west coast of Cumbria.

Parton is a village and civil parish on the Cumbrian coast, overlooking the Solway Firth, 1¼ miles (2 km) north of the town of Whitehaven. Formerly a port and a mining centre, it is now purely residential, benefiting from its location between the A595 trunk road and the Cumbrian Coast railway line.

The sheltered anchorage in Parton Bay was used by the Romans, who had a fort on the high ground to the north of the present village, adjacent to St Bridget’s Church. Later, the bay was used by the inhabitants of Low Moresby, the hamlet which grew up to the east of the old fort in the Middle Ages. In Elizabethan times a number of small merchant vessels were based in the bay, trading as far as Chester; by this time there was probably also a salt-pan in operation. The port was developed in the early 17th century to cater for Moresby’s coal trade, but fell into decline after two generations of the Lowther family turned the hamlet of Whitehaven into a major port.