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" Summer Solstice and a change of Weather "

Date & start time:      21st June 2020 and the subsequent nine days.

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

Places visited :          Mockerkin How, Scale Hill, Lanthwaite Woods, Harry's Pool.

Walk details :              Local walks of indeterminate length.

Highest point :           The ability of the weather to surprise yet again.

Walked with :              Our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Sublime to the ridiculous.

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Nine days and during them a total change of weather, starting with a heat wave and ending in floods. 

I've gathered pictures from a series of outings which reveal the volatility of the weather, from 29 degree heat to almost autumnal storms,

in the time it took us to progress the nine days from the solstice 'longest day' through to the end of June.

There was moisture in the air when this early picture of clearing mist from Low Fell was taken.

In the garden, the long summer evenings have encouraged our hedgehog out, even in the 9pm daylight.

Presumably if he left it until it was dark it would be a very short night to find enough food food to keep him fit and healthy.

He was already out at the table this evening when I took his food out . . . and delightfully he stayed still while I placed the food and took the photo.

We've had regular visits from our red squirrel too which is very pleasing.

I've had to top up the feeders several times, but if that is what it takes to attract them back then I'm happy.

Numerous fat balls have been eaten each day .
I discovered why they were not lasting long.
The jackdaws are imitating the blue tits !

- - - o o o - - -

Daily walks often include a stroll to the top of Scale Hill so as to keep the leg muscles working and enjoy the view.

As you see, the weather has started to change and regular clouds are more the order of the day.

Still, it was a warm breeze that fanned me as I viewed Gasgale Gill Valley (next to Grasmoor), where I walked the other day.

Later that evening ( 21st June ) we realised it was nearing sunset on the "longest day"

so we headed out in the car to catch the views over the Solway from the fell road above Mockerkin.

Artistic foxgloves swaying to the gentle breeze . . .
. . . and maidens dance to the 'tik-tok' of a mid-summer sunset !

After all, a mid-summer day is not fully complete without a few dancing maidens in the meadows is it !

Back to the sunset, seen through the ruins of an old building (rumoured to be the old Mockerkin 19th C 'endowed' School).

The sun which had set behind some clouds as we arrived,

did the honourable thing and re-appeared below the cloud for a second sunset, just for us.

It returned with a brighter orange colour, lighting the skies above and below.

With the sun setting into the clouds we could make out the hills of Dumfries and Galloway

as they were now backlit and therefore highlighted in silhouette.

Just the slightest layer of cloud above the distant hills.

The last dying embers of the sun . . .
. . . and it has finally gone.

[ Not really . . . it is still there and shining as brightly as ever but the earth has rotated and our view of it has been lost

as the horizon has risen up to obscure it . . . more scientific but a little less romantic you could say ! ]

We could now return home happy . . . having enjoyed the spectacle that we came out to see.

- - - o o o - - -

Following the longest day the nicer weather returned, including one of the hottest days of the year

when the temperature in the sun boosted the thermometer reading to over 29 degrees here in Loweswater.

That day I took the dogs out for a walk including a swim in Harry's Pool, Crummock and the River Cocker, all on the same day.

[ I travelled light , minimum clothing and no pockets, so I had no camera to take photos.]

The following day our walk took us above Harry's Pool for a quick ramble part of the way up Hen Comb.

The forecast was for change to thundery weather which we had heard was charging up the west coast towards us.

Our son had already reported heavy downpours and localised flooding in Swansea in recent days.

For us the moist weather was just starting to appear over the coastal fells and in this panorama, the Loweswater Fells.

Banks of cloud were building to the west and "flowing" over Black Crag, Gavel and Blake.

As the dogs and I climbed up to the summit of Dodd, half way to Hen Comb itself,

the cloud that had already reached Carling Knott would soon envelope us as well.

The view from Dodd summit as the cloud started to drift overhead and began to obscure our view of Lorton Valley.

The answer was to turn around and drop down into the valley once more . . . problem solved.

- - - o o o - - -

Overnight it rained, with the occasional flash of lightening and rumble of thunder

so the next day's dog walk was delayed slightly waiting for a break in the weather.

Time to find something else to do . . .

Rainy days in Loweswater, sunny at Tarn Hows.

The self-isolation from the rain allowed us to complete the jigsaw that was started almost a week ago !

Sunday dawned wet and grey and continued like that most of the day.

It was also windy so a dog walk in Lanthwaite Woods was good as it protected us from the worst of the weather.

These are the dogs at Lanty's Cave, on the bridleway to Lanthwaite Green that passes through the woods.

The dogs alerted me to a "first for me" in Lanthwaite Woods.

Crossing the forest track was a hedgehog, but this time it was in a wild, not a garden environment.

It took a minute to retrieve my phone camera from an inside my waterproofs, by which time he had crossed the track

and was hiding by the foot of a tree, trying not to be seen.   Still there's no point in disturbing him further just for a photo.

The rain had been relentless overnight and continued most of the day till now, so the water level in the lake was full to overflowing.

The wind was lifting the spray off the lake and also creating large waves which splashed dramatically over the outfall.

The lake level which had been at a twenty-year low on the 15th of June . . .

. . . was now up to flood level as the rain water flowed off the fells and filled the lake.

This is the same fish ladder on the 28th June, just thirteen days later than the previous picture.

The bridges were out of bounds to all those that didn't mind getting wet.

Back through the woods with a full river charging around the bend to the quiet pool where we swam last week.

Previously you could almost cross the river dry-shod here if you wanted.

Water levels were high all the way along the river.

Down at Scale Hill Bridge the full extent of the rainfall became apparent.

We look across the field at the flooded river, now backing up behind the road bridge.  It would climb higher overnight before receding.

The extra water did however bring potential extra food if knew how to fish for it.

Today, the 29th a walk up to Harry's Pool revealed the river in spate, covering the stepping stones and hiding the pool.

It has made the crossing I used a few days ago totally impassible.

Down by the lake, where we have been watching the old Victorian Jetty emerge from the water,

the levels have risen so high that it is totally obscured and now even the footpath was underwater.


Tonight the rain has eased, but there's no doubt that being in front of a nice fire was the best place to dry out and fall asleep !

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . a warm hearth rug for when it rains.

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Previous walk - 20th June 2020 - Loweswater and Holme Wood

A previous time up here - 14th July 2013 - Summer Sunshine weekend

Next walk - 4th July 2020 - Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness