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" Pre-Christmas Visits "


Date & start time: 10th - 15th December 2014.

Location of Start : The red phone box, Loweswater , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited : Tickhill (2 daughters) Stamford (Friends) Camberley (another daughter) plus their families, then directly home.

Walk details :   Local walks over six days.

High point : All plans falling into place.

With : Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan plus family and friends.

Weather : Variable but generally fine.

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More of a "family and friends" one this time as we take a trip around the UK

to meet up, to deliver presents and share time with some of the children and grandchildren in this few weeks before Christmas.

Away from the high fells . . . to the flat lands of South Yorkshire, in particularly Tickhill south of Doncaster.

Our first visit was to Paula (our middle daughter), Al and family and we were joined by Jenna (our youngest)

who travelled over from Sheffield to join us for the evening.

It took six photos and a lot of giggles to get this half decent picture of Paula, Jenna and Ann after a really nice supper at Paula's home.

Sorry no photos of Al, Tom or Abigail this time . . . we were too busy eating and chatting to get the camera out earlier on.

A busy overnight stay meant little time for photos but I did catch this rainbow on my phone camera whilst walking the dogs next morning.

The photo was stitched together afterwards to provide a complete arch of colour . . . I appreciated it even if the dogs didn't.

- - - o o o - - -

Christmas presents swapped we re-packed the car and drove on south for an overnight stay with friends Angie and David.

A new friend for Harry and Dylan . . . Angie and David's new 4 month old Border Collie puppy Moss.

The power of food . . . Dylan and Moss sit and wait for a dog treat as we get ready for a walk around the local woods.

With Angie's help we managed a rare view of all three dogs together.

Harry was no problem but it needed good timing to catch all three together . . . a faster shutter speed helped too !

Once we let them go Moss and Dylan were off, chasing each other round the undergrowth once again.

Down by the stream . . . Moss carefully negotiating the plank bridge.

In the evening we met up with Sherran and Bill (at the far end)

and together we enjoyed a fine meal at the White Hart in Ufford just south of Stamford.

It would be lovely to take you home with us Moss . . . but I think Angie might not be pleased !

- - - o o o - - -

Another overnight, another pack of the bags and we headed south to Camberley

where we met up with our eldest daughter Cathy, her husband Richard and two of their four boys, Sam and Alexander.

(Jack and Matthew were still away at university)

We had three nights here so life was a little more leisurely.

Alexander stops for a portrait as we go for a local walk on the training ground behind the Sandhurst Academy.

Recent rains left many pools on the heathland . . .
. . . so many of my photos seemed to feature reflections today.

Out through a semi-circular "kissing gate" onto the open moorland.

Leaving the valley and climbing up the hill on this sand and flint landscape half way through our three mile walk.

Hold your cursor over the picture for a closer picture of Richard, Sam and Cathy.

Down to Wishmoor Bottom and the wetter areas once again.

The fence posts have been repainted by the soldiers and reflect the colours of the regiments currently training here.

Tall pines as we return to Cathy's home.

- - - o o o - - -

Next day, whilst folk were out Christmas shopping, I took the three dogs for a walk around Sandhurst Lakes.

Boris the spaniel comes with us, he and Dylan had an equally good time running around together.

Harry acts as the mature statesman as usual.

There are two lakes, the upper and lower, and they provide a tremendous oasis for wildlife this close to the big city.

Staff College House seen through the reed beds that surround the lake.

The sheen on the water indicated a thin layer of ice this fine morning.

Dylan, Boris and Harry clamber around a fishing platform where angling club members normally sit and quietly indulge their hobby.

Clear, still reflections on the open water of Upper Lake where the ice had not formed.

Had there been any fishermen then they would have also enjoyed the great views that I saw did today.

Zooming in on the fishing platforms that the dogs stood on earlier.

One of the staff houses inside the grounds of Sandhurst.

It was a morning of reflections . . . when the ice didn't cast a silvery sheen.

Closer now and the fence has gained a visitor . . . a fine grey heron who seems to be a resident of the area.

Ripples disturb the water as two mallard swim by . . . oops four mallard swim by.

Three or four tufted ducks further down on Lower Lake.

The Sports Pavilion near the college.

The Academy buildings seen across the lake.

The Old College buildings.

The parade ground in front is hidden by rows of temporary seating following yesterday's Passing Out parade.

A semi-circular outflow at the end of Lower Lake.

The water slowly cascades over the brim and disappears through a tunnel under the road.

There's much activity on the lake as the ducks and geese fly in and out,

dive, preen and generally chase each other about.

A flotilla of Canada geese on the lake.

A close up of one of the impressive birds.

The Angling Club boat house seen beyond the bull rushes.

The dogs and I left the lake and headed up towards the Queen Victoria statue outside Old College.

The building is undergoing major renovation at present and consequently is covered in scaffolding.

Rather than unsightly tarpaulins, they have covered the building with a screen-printed picture of the building taken before work started.

We haven't seen this used in the UK before.  The last time we saw it was on the cathedral in Vienna (when we visited our Austrian friend Helmut).

A rather square and surreal looking structure now . . . but intriguing nevertheless.

Away from the main gaze of visitors to the college, the side of the building is covered in standard plastic sheeting.

Back from the parade ground,  we passed a 51 ton post-war Chieftain tank on display outside one of the buildings.

First produced in 1945 the Chieftain was powered by a Rolls Royce engine and could travel at 35 miles per hour.

It saw service with the British and Allied Armed Forces for over thirty years.

A statue to a certain 'Mr Napoleon'.

Napoléon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the latter stages of the French Revolution.

Amazingly, even after Bonaparte lost to the English at the battle of Waterloo, his son took up UK residence locally in Chislehurst (Kent)

and was eager that his own son should have a military training. Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandson was a gentleman cadet at Sandhurst

from 1872 to 1875 and this statue remembers his death of while on a reconnaissance patrol for the English in the Zulu War of 1879.

 - - - o o o - - -

While we were at Cathy's one of our duties was to help Cathy and Alexander decorate the Christmas tree in their house.

Alexander points to one of Nana's favourite chocolates.
Sam points, as many teenagers do, to his mobile phone !

Dylan, ever the opportunist, tries out Boris's soft but somewhat small dog bed . . .

. . . leaving the rightful owner to make do with the carpet and the security of his master's leg.

- - - o o o - - -

On the last morning we had chance for a short walk out so we crossed over to Upper Lake once more.

Silhouettes on another fine morning.
Steam rising from the wooden platforms in the warm sun.

Just a quick walk around the one lake and back to Cathy's to pack for our journey north.

No . . . we can't take this friend home either !

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Nikon P520 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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Previous walk - 2nd December 2014 - Spiraling up Knock Murton

A previous time here - 15-19th Dec 2013 - Loweswater to London 2013

Next Report - 24th December 2014 - Christmas Wishes 2014