Bumble Bee

Bzzzzzzz

Most bumblebees are social insects that form colonies with a single queen. The colonies are smaller than those of honey bees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest.

  • The word “bumblebee” is a compound of “bumble” + “bee”—”bumble” meaning to hum, buzz, drone, or move ineptly or flounderingly.

Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees!
“Hide from your neighbours as much as you please,
But all that has happened, to us you must tell,
Or else we will give you no honey to sell!”

A maiden in her glory,
Upon her wedding – day,
Must tell her Bees the story,
Or else they’ll fly away.
Fly away — die away —
Dwindle down and leave you!
But if you don’t deceive your Bees,
Your Bees will not deceive you.

Marriage, birth or buryin’,
News across the seas,
All you’re sad or merry in,
You must tell the Bees.
Tell ’em coming in an’ out,
Where the Fanners fan,
‘Cause the Bees are just about
As curious as a man!

Don’t you wait where the trees are,
When the lightnings play,
Nor don’t you hate where Bees are,
Or else they’ll pine away.
Pine away — dwine away —
Anything to leave you!
But if you never grieve your Bees,
Your Bees’ll never grieve you.

Rudyard Kipling
Bumble Bee
Bumble Bee
The Hoverfly

Hoverfly

When I first set eyes upon this little critter, I did think it was a Wasp, but on closer inspection and thanks to Google Lens, I discovered it was the Hoverfly.

As the name suggests, they are often seen hovering or nectaring at flowers. Adults are very similar in appearance. Females may be distinguished by the former having entirely yellow femorae (thigh bone), and from the latter by having no hairs present in their eyes. Males also have bare eyes.

Hoverflies are brightly coloured and very common in gardens – many people will be familiar with them. Many have black and yellow markings and so are often confused with bees and wasps. However hoverflies are totally harmless and are definitely a gardener’s friend, as the larvae of several common species have a voracious appetite for aphids!

The main difference between a wasp and a hoverfly is that the wasp has four wings, hoverflies have two.

  • There are over 280 species of hoverflies in Britain.
The Hoverfly
The Hoverfly
Hoverfly Close-up (Cropped)
Hoverfly Close-up (Cropped)

Close To The Start Of My Ascent

Blake Fell

This morning, I had a lovely 7 mile walk up Blake Fell in West Cumbria, which commenced from the Lamplugh side of the fell. It was hard going at times, with legs burning and my heart pumping away like a knackered old steam engine, but I did eventually get to the summit. Phew!

Close To The Start Of My Ascent
Close To The Beginning Of My Ascent

During the ascent of the fell, I met a cheery fella called John Black who had earlier taken off from me like a whippet in a race. Wow – he could walk. John urged me to join Whitehaven Ramblers, of which he is a current vice president. I am actually considering, but not sure if I could commit due to working shifts. Perhaps it’s something for me to do in my retirement years – the countdown for retirement has begun, with 9 years left on the clock.

Lamplugh Fell

Blake Fell is the highest point of the Loweswater Fells, an area of low grassy hills with steep sides overlooking the lake of Loweswater on one side, with the Cogra Moss reservoir on the other. Blake Fell is designated as a Marilyn.

Resting Among The Cotton Grass

The Loweswater Fells have been compared to the digits of a hand, radiating out south westward from the “palm” centred on Loweswater village. From the west these are Burnbank Fell, Blake Fell, Gavel Fell, Hen Comb and Mellbreak, the “thumb”. Blake Fell is the highest in this group, the summit area being a long ridge running southwest along the “finger”.

Poppy Leading The Way

Descending south west from the summit are High Pen (1,558 ft), Low Pen (1,427 ft), Godworth (1,197 ft) and Kelton Fell (1,020 ft). Beyond lie the Croasdale road and the West Cumberland plain.

Lake District National Park Boundary Stone

Standing aloof from these tops, but still within Blake Fell’s orbit, is Knock Murton (1,467 ft). This is a steep sided fell, forested on the western flank and with sufficient prominence that it is only barely excluded from the list of Marilyns in its own right. Blake Fell also extends a western ridge over the prominent top of Sharp Knott (1,581 ft) and the wooded High Howes (1,027 ft), falling gently to the village of Lamplugh. There are fantastic views of Cogra Moss reservoir from most locations.

Cogra Moss Reservoir

Knock Murton and Kelton Fell bear the scars of mining activity, having been the site of extensive haematite workings. Between 1853 and their closure in 1914 these mines produced anything up to 60,000 tons of ore per year. A railway, the Rowrah and Kelton Fell Line, was built up the valley between the two hills, the line of which can still be traced. A further working, the Croasdale Iron Mine, operated to the south of Kelton Fell.

Nearly There!

The summit of Blake Fell is a grassy dome decorated with a large cairn, the meeting point of paths from the various ridges. Westwards there is no higher ground to interrupt the sea view. To the east is a fine array of hills stretching from Binsey in the north to Grike in the south. The North Western Fells across Crummock Water are particularly fine, although much better seen from Loweswater End.

A Discarded Fence Post Points The Way To Blake Fell

From Loweswater village a direct line can be taken up Carling Knott, or a more southerly approach made via High Nook Beck. From the west, Lamplugh or Felldyke provide good access, lying at either end of a network of footpaths. These connect to the track alongside Cogra Moss which can be used to gain the high ground via Low Pen. Knock Murton can also be ascended from the head of the reservoir.

Blake Fell
Blake Fell
Looking Over Loweswater
Looking Over Loweswater
Poppy Taking In The Views
View From The Summit
A Local Rooster

Week In Focus #28

This is picture #28 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 captured at a local coup where the residents were strutting their stuff in the morning sunshine, while a dominant cockerel kept his beady eyes on me.

Did You Know?
The term ‘rooster’ originated in the United States as a puritan euphemism to avoid the sexual connotation of the original English ‘cock’, and is widely used throughout North America, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.

Muhammad Ali
A Local Rooster
A Local Rooster
Typical Cumbria Traffic Jam

Cumbria Traffic Jam

This is a typical traffic jam in Cumbria, with a farmer walking his flock of sheep along a busy road to an adjacent field. Some seem to get infuriated tooting on their horns, as the farmer goes about his work. I sit and smile.

Maybe impatience has a factor to play with the tooters, or they were frightened of woolly beasts brushing crap from their cars. Whatever the reason, the idiots should take stock of their actions. We were sat for a couple of minutes, being allowed to enjoy these beauties up close.

Like sheep that get lost nibbling away at the grass because they never look up, we often focus so much on ourselves and our problems that we get lost.

Allen Klein
Typical Cumbria Traffic Jam
Typical Cumbria Traffic Jam
Ennerdale Water

A Lovely Spring Morning

I’ve had a lovely morning walk with Poppy at Ennerdale Water, in West Cumbria. It was breezy, as you’ll see from the video below, but it has been a spectacular spring morning.

It was great to see so many people taking advantage of the weather. I lost count at how many were walking along the lakeside path. Some brave souls even dipped their toes in the freezing cold water!

Ennerdale Water
Ennerdale Water
Ennerdale Water
Ennerdale Water

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!

Sitting Bull
Red Admiral Butterfly

Vanessa Atalanta

Vanessa atalanta, the red admiral or previously, the red admirable, is a well-characterized, medium-sized butterfly with black wings, orange bands, and white spots. The red admiral resides in warmer areas, but migrates north in spring and sometimes again in autumn.

In northern Europe, it is one of the last butterflies to be seen before winter sets in, often feeding on the flowers of ivy on sunny days. The red admiral is also known to hibernate, re-emerging individuals showing prominently darker colors than the first brood.

The butterfly also flies on sunny winter days, especially in southern Europe. It is known as an unusually people-friendly butterfly, often landing on and using humans as perches.

Over the last week, we’ve had some unusual weather, with temperatures hitting 20 Degrees Centigrade, due to a warm wind blowing up from the Mediterranean. As a result of the welcome warmth, a few butterflies have been seen in local gardens. I captured this one in a local forest.

Sadly, the warmth hasn’t lasted in the UK. Temperatures have plummeted, as a prelude to Storm Freya hitting these shores. Batten down the hatches!

Red Admiral Butterfly
Red Admiral Butterfly
Highland Cow

Week In Focus #16

This is picture #16 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. Today’s photo is of a Highland Cow, laying on grass, on Cold Fell in West Cumbria.

Highland, an ancient Scottish breed, is the oldest registered cattle breed in the world. Highland cattle can withstand harshest conditions and seem to be immune to everything. They live longer and produce more calves than other breeds.

Highland Cow Facts

  1. Highland is the oldest registered breed in the world
  2. A group of Highland cattle is not called a herd, but a fold.
  3. Their hair reaches about 13 inches long
  4. Highland Cows are known to live for about 20 years
  5. Highland Cows are quite docile
Highland Cow
Highland Cow
Giraffe Close-Up

Giraffe Close-Up

This photo of a Giraffe was captured a few years ago on Lanzarote – an island in the Atlantic Ocean. Lanzarote is one of the Canary islands off the coast of West Africa, and is known for its year-round warm weather, beaches and volcanic landscape.

The giraffe is the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. The name “giraffe” has its earliest known origins in the Arabic word zarāfah perhaps borrowed from the animal’s Somali name geri. The Arab name is translated as “fast-walker”.

The giraffe’s chief distinguishing characteristics are its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones, and its distinctive coat patterns.

The giraffe has intrigued various cultures, both ancient and modern, for its peculiar appearance, and has often been featured in paintings, books, and cartoons. It is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as Vulnerable to extinction. Estimates indicate that there are approximately 97,500 members of Giraffa in the wild.

I was once kissed on the lips by a giraffe, and I don’t think I’ve ever got over it.

Joanna Lumley
Giraffe Close-Up
Giraffe Close-Up