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" Rannerdale Colour 2015 "

Date & start time: Wednesday 20th May 2015, 6 pm start.

Location of Start : The Hause Point car park, Buttermere, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 163 183 )

Places visited : Buttermere and Rannerdale Valley.

Walk details :   A meandering, local walk of under an hour.

Highest point : The new bluebells coating the valley floor.

Walked with : Myself and other sightseers.

Weather : Sunshine and blue skies, clouding over towards the end.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. License number PU 100034184.


After our ten days away in Scotland it is back to reality and work here in the Lakes.

It is not all bad though as tonight I've the chance to drive home via Honister Pass and Buttermere

to check out the spring time beauty of the Rannerdale Bluebells.

Welcome to the "Hidden Valley" of Buttermere . . .

approached through the old abutments of the Yew Crag Quarry bridge on Honister Pass.

The valley was described as the "Hidden Valley" by Nicholas Size, author and one time proprietor of the Bridge Hotel,

as its existence was known of, but the valley never found and allegedly never conquered by the Norman invaders of 1066

Earl Beothar reigned supreme in his mini-kingdom which included the lake of Beothar's Mere (i.e. Buttermere).

This was the only part of England that never succumbed the invasion of William the conqueror.

Passing the head of the lake on such a fine evening, I just had to stop for a photo or two.

Glorious sunshine on the Buttermere Pines . . . with the crags of Haystacks picked out in fine detail behind.

Buttermere Church . . .

. . . and Syke farm . . . with the High Stile Ridge behind.

The valley is enclosed by these and the high summits of Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson,

with the spur of Rannerdale Knotts closing the north western approach to the old "Earldom."

Rounding Hause Point and the first signs of colour can be seen . . .

over there where the field wall divides the furthest small field from the winter brown, open fell of Lads Hows.

Parking at the small rough car park at the hause, I head up the old track towards the Rannerdale / Squat Beck Valley.

This was the site of the Battle of Rannerdale all those centuries ago and defeat here

meant William's French troops never actually entered the hidden Buttermere valley over the other side of the Knotts.

As you pass through the gate the sudden change of colour at your feet shows why this is a special place.

Beautiful blue colours have given the spring grass a blue colour.

Many are in full bloom now, delayed by the cold, late spring weather but they are short of their peak display.

Anyone wishing to visit in the next two weeks will be well rewarded this year.

Suddenly the beast of Rannerdale dashes across the path ahead . . .

Well actually it was a rather joyous Herdwick lamb.

There are several sheep in the bluebell fields this year but they don't appear to affect the flowers, they just trim the grass on the paths.

A wider shot of the entrance to the valley with the triangular Whiteless Pike dominating the background.

Looking back at the track up from the gate.

. . . a track that leads on, up through the fields of blue.

I wasn't the only person looking at the flowers  this evening.

As for the trees, the hawthorn is in full leaf but the ash by the river is still bare.

If Borrowdale can have 'jaws' . . . this must be the Jaws of Rannerdale !

The south facing bank is not yet in full bloom.

I walk up the bank behind the main flowers but the colour is drowned out by looking into the sun.

What was noticeable though was how the river bank has fully recovered from the floods and erosion of a few years back.

The grass has returned and some of the bluebells that didn't get washed away are back in bloom.

The old tree sprouting new growth.
Looking up Rannerdale Beck towards Grasmoor.

In the open field beyond the narrower part of the valley there are more flowers.

Here I zoom in on the distant hawthorn, and the sheep grazing happily in the sunshine.

An old fallen branch lies amongst the flowers as I head back down the valley.

The gorse  is also in full bloom in this late afternoon sunshine.

As early evening progressed the cloud was building over Mellbreak

and suddenly the valley was shrouded in shadow.

The bright colours had gone but the spectacle was hardly diminished.

The shadow creeps up toward Whiteless Pike . . .

. . . and up the Squat Beck Valley towards the Buttermere Fells.

The hawthorn by the river is developing its white May flowers.

Time to be heading home for supper.


Many parts of the country have bluebell displays,

some are more extensive, some are more intense,

but they are generally associated with woodlands or cool, damp places.

- - - o o o - - -

Here the fields are bare and the bluebells grow out in the open.

Maybe it was due to some ancient woodland . . .

maybe it is due to the valley's micro-climate . . .

but it might just be due to the the calcium in the soil

from the bones of the French dead who fell in the Battle of Rannerdale !


- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with my Canon 1100D digital camera.

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

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