Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring Harvests

Today, to the allotment, for the first rhubarb of the season, and some of the last leeks.  It has been so cold and wet up there in recent weeks that we are behind with our planting, but we made a start today using our trusty Mantis tiller.  We had already dug the plot through in - was it? - February, so now we are working it up for potatoes.  Onions, too, need to be going in.

We are just returned from Cumbria where we feared to find Arctic conditions followed by that sort of grey drizzle which is the default weather in the coastal towns.  However, although it was bitingly sharp at first, the sun persisted and we made the most of the weather.

My husband, dressed for the weather, wearing his new hat knit to his specifications with enough brim to roll down over his ears in the bitter wind.  This was my knitting for the journey north.

This is our usual Lorton walk, including a sheltered lane.  Clearly it had filled with drifts the week before, and not yet melted.  We have done this walk in all weathers, but have never seen this before.

Another day saw us walking along Loweswater to the Kirkstile Inn for lunch.  It is a favourite walk, but the return takes you down the road, which can be busy.  In the brilliant sunlight I suggested to my husband that we follow the path over Low Fell instead - yes, it would involve a climb, but we could expect views and would avoid the traffic.  Both these proved to be true.  However, this image shows not only most of Crummock - Loweswater is off to the right -  but also gives some idea  of the steepness of Low Fell - and this is where it levels off at the top.  To the right is Melbreak, which stands above where we had lunch.  In the distance, you can just see Buttermere, around Rannerdale Knotts.

In order to rest our bruised toes, we took an outing by train to Whitehaven.  The line runs right along the coast, between the cliffs, or the industrial wastelands, and the sea.  It is ideal for bird-watchers. 
This image shows the pretty face of Whitehaven harbour, where we actually saw a seal swimming.  Vast sums have been spent on the marina, and indeed it was full of all shapes and sizes of yacht.  This was the town where I went to school, and it was our local shopping town as I was growing up.  However, the actual shopping streets now show the kind of blight which afflicts all these coastal towns - pound shops, charity shops and tattoo parlours much in evidence.

We lunched in what remains of St Nicholas church, most of which was burned down in 1971.  Now, there is a lovely public garden, a chapel and a tea-room run by volunteers, serving food at very low prices.  We pensioners appreciate this sort of thing.

Up the hill is another spectacular church - St James's.  I do remember being crocodiled there for a carol service one December afternoon.  I did not recall the wonderful Georgian interior.

Making the most of the weather, we took a bus up the coast and got off at Beckfoot, in order to walk the four miles back to Allonby. This has always fired my imagination since I visited the Senhouse Roman Museum and saw funerary urns, found on the beach at Beckfoot where a Roman cemetery is gradually falling into the sea.  It gave a new impetus to beach-combing.  On this day, though, we saw only the great flocks of oyster-catchers grazing then flying up, wheeling and turning.  Ringed plovers hawked across the beach or stood still, ideally camouflaged against the pebbles.  My husband was amazed to spot a lone fulmar cruising through.  This last image gives some idea of the spectacular emptiness of the Solway coast.

1 comment:

Rooie said...

I love synchronicity. I am reading The Guilty One, by Lisa Ballantyne, part of which is set in Cumbria. So coming here and seeing the pictures was a special treat.

Your blog makes me ache to visit England again.