Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 28 November 2008

Happy Meals

We enjoyed several Happy Meals with our hosts this week.

Here they are, tucking into another bowl of Fine Food. They seem to be managing well despite the fact that we have run out of spoons, and we seem only to have one bowl for the whole family.blog-08112501cooking Hang on though!

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What's this I see? In between the chocolaty grins, a construction project?

Wow!

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Happy Birthday, Stay-at-home-Hazel, who we are pleased to report has now returned from her tramping around the Forest of Bowland, refreshed and no doubt providing her offspring with 'proper' food!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Kendal Mountain Festival - 2008

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We spent the weekend in Kendal, enjoying an assortment of lectures and films at Kendal Mountain Festival:







Colin Prior - was informative, but he lives for photography and has huge amounts of equipment, so we 'snapshotters' can hardly hope to emulate him. He also spent some time discussing his specialism - panoramic shots taken with a special camera. I doubt anyone in the audience had one of those cameras, we simply feasted our eyes on Colin's brilliant pictures. For an overnight shot, he carries 56 pounds of equipment!

Kenton Cool's audio visual presentation on his exploits on the north face of the Eiger (successful) and on Everest (unsuccessful) with the enigma that is Ran Fiennes was superb - hilarious at times. Here's his blog on his Kendal experience.

David Breashears introduced his new film 'Storm over Everest', an attempt to tell a fuller story of what happened in the fateful storm in 1996. It was made in the documentary style of 'Touching the Void', concentrating on interviews with just half a dozen or so of the survivors. There was no mention of any Brits or of the (controversial) South Africans on the mountain. So it didn't present the full picture, but we found it compulsive viewing.

Contrasting greatly with the mountaineering exploits of Cool, Fiennes and Breashears, was Cameron McNeish and Richard Else's excellent double act, describing a trip through Sutherland from Lochinver to Tongue. Here's Cameron's take on the experience.

There were many more lectures, mostly audio visual. It was a shame we couldn't see more. One that I am sorry to have missed is Andy Kirkpatrick's 'Brokeback Mountaineer' (the link is to his blog), in which he looks back at ten years' worth of climbing partners and wonders why no one will climb with him any more. We did get to see a film about him - 'Hard XS: Suffering Andy' which opens with the line 'Andy Kirkpatrick should be dead'. He is clearly one of the characters of British mountaineering - if he's speaking near you - go see him...

We also watched a small sample of the 80 or so films on view, being quite selective about what we saw. A highlight for us was a film made by an Indian motorcyclist, Gaurav Jani, 'Riding Solo To The Top Of The World'. This was some undertaking, and the lone filmmaker's friendliness and determination is repaid in kind by the indigenous people he meets and befriends en route. Brilliant.

The awards ceremony was, as usual, introduced by Sir Chris(Berghaus are the main sponsor - their 'Experience the Adventure' video was shown before each event at the Festival), who opened with a tribute to the former organisers of the Festival, John Porter and Brian Hall. They disappeared from the scene fairly recently under (to an observer) odd circumstances, and were not present this year. I'm sure it's all explained in a 'Forum' somewhere, but I'm not really a 'Forum' person, so my memories of John and Brian's efforts are of some superbly organised Film Festivals, and Chris Bonington's fitting tribute to them.

The Grand Prize was won by a climbing film 'On Sight' which we did not get to see, and the 'People's Choice' was a film called 'Beyond The Summits' featuring Catherine Destivelle, which we did see. The photography was admirable, but the film had serious defects (explained by one of the judges here). I can only surmise that it appealed to the climbers who predominantly attend the festival, and that Catherine, who was present, did some effective campaigning.

Our hosts for the weekend was the excellent Meadowcroft B&B in Ings, right next to the excellent Watermill Inn where on Friday we enjoyed their fine food and the Collie Wobbles Beer from their micro brewery.

Sunday morning dawned white, so just a few monochrome images were gained:

blog-08112202meadowcroftView from our bedroom window on Sunday morning blog-08112203kendalroofs The roofs of Kendalblog-08112204bacentreThe Brewery Arts Centre, home of the Mountain Festival, and (below) from the same spot, Kendal YHA with the castle beyond

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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Friday 21 November 2008 - The Wells of Silverdale

Notchy joined Sue and me for this gentle afternoon stroll. We rolled up in unison at 1 pm, parking on the shore at SD 457 749 for lunch with this fine view.blog-08112102beach At the edge of the parking area lurks Bard’s Well, also known as the Battling Stone Well as clothes were washed and beaten clean against the stones here. Sadly our lack of attention foiled our bid to examine this well, which may not have been flowing.

Our attention turned to a venue where something definitely was flowing….blog-08112103hotel But a ginnel to the right just before the Hotel led us behind some houses and across Lindeth road for the familiar sighting of turkeys on the back lane to Wood Well.blog-08112104turkey The way these big beasties were waddling along, they will provide meals for huge families.  They looked very happy though, for the time being...

At Wood Well water oozes from the bottom of a cliff and forms a stream for all of 10 metres:blog-08112105woodwell1
It is immediately collected into a large basin, originally used as a watering place for cattle.blog-08112106woodwell2 This well, like most in Silverdale, is really a spring, arising where a perched water table over a layer of impenetrable clay seeps out at outcrops of the impermeable layer.

From Wood Well a right turn leads up to a lane. Wolf House Gallery is 2 minutes away to the right, across the road from Gibraltar Farm. The gallery is much changed from the cosy nook with an intimate coffee shop, delicious home made cakes, and the lovely works of a variety of Lakeland artisans that we discovered on early visits to this spot. It’s now smaller but more commercialised, with fewer traditional paintings, but it does have a splendid tea room with excellent food.

Back up the road, we rejoined the woodland path and headed along the top of the cliff for 200 or so metres, from where we looked down upon Wood Well (we could have simply scrambled up the cliff from there, but the gallery is always worth a visit) before heading on across leaf strewn fields.blog-08112107field Informative signposts directed us to Silverdale Green, where a footpath beside a wall led us out past leaf-less trees onto Stankelt Road.  blog-08112108sign blog-08112109path blog-08112110tree A right turn here, then the second left, took us to a path signed to Burton Well.  We would recommend that others following this route should follow that sign.  We ignored it, and found ourselves being drawn inexorably towards Silverdale Church.  Extricating ourselves from this faux pas, we wound our way past Bottoms Farm Kiln to Burton Well.  There's a fascinating information board at the kiln, with a time line tracing the history of lime kilns from 2450BC to contemporary times, though only a fantasist would date this kiln anything like that far back. blog-08112111board Burton Well probably arises in the same way as Wood Well, and supplied water to the residents of Silverdale Green for many years.  Following the introduction of gutters and downpipes, water was collected from the air (there's no shortage of airborne water here) and stored in tanks.  Many houses were later built with tanks in their cellars, from which water was pumped into the kitchens by hand.  By then the wells were generally used only for watering livestock.

From Burton Well a narrow footpath leads over a stile into Lambert's Meadow and across the wooden bridge.blog-08112112lambert The meadow is National Trust property and forms a peaty hollow supporting tall grasses and rushes, with the herbs of unimproved grassland on its southern fringes (lady's mantle, knapweed, purple loosestrife, etc) though it was a fairly bare outlook that greeted us today.

A climb from the far side of the meadow led to a left turn onto a road, to the left of which Bank's Well has formed a small pond.  Opposite the pond, to the right, a track runs behind the houses and past the site of our 'Bouncing Campervan Experience' that so traumatised Jenny one dark evening a couple of years ago (she no longer subscribes to our evening ['pitch black'] walks as a result), to Dogslack Well, nicely fitted out - but no water emerged from the pump despite Sue's efforts.blog-08112113dogslack This is Silverdale's only true well.  It supplied water to nearby cottages until 1938, when the aqueduct from Haweswater to Manchester was constructed, from which water was piped to supply the village.

Retracing our steps to the lane, we turned right, past the Row and across the 'main' road to the car park leading to Eaves Wood.  This is the site of Mark's (Beating the Bounds) crooked tree.  Our route didn't take us far enough around the wood to see that, but we did find this excellent specimen of beech.blog-08112114beech
Scary, actually - it appeared to be watching us!blog-08112115eye
Moving quickly on, and keeping to the lower path, avoiding right and left turns, we soon passed concrete water tanks used to store water piped from perched springs further up the hill.  A high 'Spite Wall' obscured the view into gardens - now perhaps not at their best - to the left.

A bench at Elmslack provided the ideal spot to consume the last of our provisions and a flask of tea, whilst scrutinising the litter bin that sits on the site of Elmslack Well.

Beyond here were good views of Silverdale in the fading light.blog-08112116silverdale A delightful village scene with a bowling contest no doubt reaching its conclusion.blog-08112117silverdale2 Continuing down the footpath signed to Cove Road, we turned briefly away from the village before taking a left to reach the beach, and our seventh and final well, Cove Well, of which there was no discernable trace...but the scene from the beach was pleasant in the low light.blog-08112120beach1A short stroll along the beach saw us back at the cars as the sun went down.blog-08112118sunset1blog-08112119sunset2We then made the mistake of setting off on our short journey to Ings, enjoying en route the most magnificent sunset referred to by Mark here.  Once the sun had actually set, the sky turned crimson - the images above failed completely to capture the full glory of the wonderful after-sun glow.

The following morning a lecture from Colin Prior slammed home the point!

Credit for some of the information in this posting goes to a leaflet produced by the Countryside Management Service of the Arnside/Silverdale AONB.

I appreciate this location is home to Beating the Bounds - I do hope Mark doesn't object to this minor intrusion into his 'patch', which Sue and I regard as one of the hidden gems of the UK.

Here's a rough interpretation of the route - a flattish 6.5 km which should take a dawdly 2 hours.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Joy

The messages from our weekend activities will have to wait. 

We have an important job this week. 

We are guests of Andrew and Kate for a couple of days.

Last night we prepared a meal for them.

They ate it.blog-08112401supper All of it!

Now they have gone to 'work'.

That leaves us time to think....

...what shall we have for tea tonight?

Footnote:  This is what can happen when 'Stay at home Hazel' doesn't stay at home!!