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" Of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness "

Date & start time:      4th July 2020.  3 pm start.

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

Places visited :          Foulsyke, Whinny Ridding Woods, Pottergill and back via the Kirkstile road.

Walk details :              2.4 mls, an undulating 250 ft of ascent, 1 hour 15 mins.

Highest point :           Somewhere in the woods, just 100ft higher than the cottage.

Walked with :              Myself and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Mist and drizzle, humid, over-hot in waterproofs of course.

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


Keats poem 'Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness' alludes to the signs of autumn and it seems like a bit like autumn as the dogs and I head out for a walk.

Gone is the sunshine of Spring and the heavy rain of recent days, in favour of a fine drizzle that makes sure everything that has got wet stays wet

including the fruit that's now ready for picking in the garden. 

Seemingly dressed for winter I head out for a July summer walk.

I start at the red phone box of course, the gravel car park now often full of cars as walkers also return to the countryside after lock-down.

I'm heading out towards the woods that flank the lower slopes of Low Fell.

The gentle mists give the sign the appearance of being newly varnished.

With the planting of trees and the exclusion of sheep, the grass in the quarry field beyond Rose Cottage has grown quite long.

The heavy rains and winds have flattened it down and now the mist adds an unusual silvery hue to the field.

Ahead is Foulsyke House, seen here across the fields . . .
. . . and Scale Hill seen through a stile in the field wall.

Looking back to capture the misty views of the fells I notice my neighbour and her dog following me up the field.

By the time I click the shutter, Dylan and Dougal have already run down to greet her and of course to play with her dog Max.

On the top (Thackthwaite) road just along from Foulsyke.

The Council have cut the hedges this week with a tractor and a metre-tall flail cutter, which gives the lane that tunneled look.

It seems that it is the field owner's responsibility to trim the hedges and trees above that height.

I'm following the footpath that heads off into Whinny Ridding Woods.

The disturbed ground where they have been ditching earlier in the year is growing a fine crop of Himalayan Balsam.

Sadly however this is an invasive species and tends to outgrow and smother native flowers and grasses, which is a real problem.

It thrives on the water courses, but there are far too many plants here to even contemplate pulling out any today.

The wall alongside the track is made out of the smallest of building stones, reflecting the shaley nature of the local rock.

Into the woods and into the rich green summer colours which now predominate.

However with the rain the bracken has grown outward and the wet branches of the trees hang lower, making dry progress more problematic.

New cones on the larch trees, misted with the gentle rain.

Foxglove hang horizontally under the extra weight of the water.

The old track leads on through the mature woods which are more open due to a subtle change of woodland variety.

Oak Bank Farm seen through a gap in the woodland, almost hidden due to the poor long distance visibility.

The stile at the end of the wood has seen better days.

One step has fallen, the fence leans sideways and now is really slippery due to the rain . . . at least the dog gate still works !

The field boundary now changes to stone but there's more height and structure to it as we've reached the ruins of the old Pottergill Farm.

Water from a local stream floods across the path and down through a gap adjacent to the remains of the first building.

More dressed stone defines old doorways and the corners of the old house and barns.

Oak Bank Farm seen again through the fallen walls of Pottergill Farm.

I turn at this point and start my way back.
No pine tree walk today as the bracken will be too tall and too wet.

Un-named on the map, this stream must be Potter Gill, presumably the reason why the farm was built at this point in the first place.

Higher up on the fell the stream has a storage tank at the start of an old drinking water supply for several of the local valley homes.

Back through the darker woods . . . then out onto the Thackthwaite road once more.

Gone are the primrose flowers, out are the brambles offering the prospect of blackberries later in the autumn.

Mist still covers Mellbreak as it did Low Fell in the previous photo.

Loweswater Village Hall, as opposed to Loweswater Hall which is a totally different place.

The white signpost points the way to the Kirkstile Inn.

The car park is full today on what is their first day of being 'open' after the coronas virus lock-down.

Inside the pub has guests to stay and is serving meals and drinks, albeit with a slightly different regime for now.

Outside they are still advertising the 'click and collect' service for their Loweswater Ales, which has given them some good business in recent weeks.

Loweswater Church St Bartholomew's is re-opening for private prayer.

The Church and government can't seem to cope with the concept of socially distanced gatherings here for some reason.

The local farmer has been trimming the wool off the older sheep in the field next to us this week.

His young team were playing pop music which drifted quietly across the valley such that I could not quite work out the artist.

Then it struck me of course . . . that must be the sound of Ed sheering !

- - - o o o - - -

Meanwhile back home in the paddock . . .
. . . we are entering the time of mellow fruitfulness.

These are Blenheim Orange (apples) and Keswick Codling (semi-cookers) with good fruit this year.

My old transplanted raspberries have really flourished with the warm summer this year.

The mist of today adds a sheen to the ripe fruit.

In the fruit cage these look like raspberries but they are larger and longer.

They are loganberries, which make the most delightful and flavourful jam in the world.

A few small gooseberry bushes are also coming into fruit.
Sweet peas . . . I've forgotten to de-head them and they've grown pea pods.

My six sweet corn are being crowded by the spuds and rhubarb

but they have the ability to grow tall and out compete the others for sunshine if the weather improves.

After suffering during the drought, the rhubarb have bounced back nicely in the moist weather.

Courgette flowers show potential if not yet the edible fruit.
I grow Borage for the edible blue flowers.

A shop bought punnet of mixed lettuce has grown really well in the garden.

Broad beans are well on the way.
The first of my tomatoes in the green house are also ready to pick.

An old clematis has been re-born amongst the Nasturtium, again plants I grow for their peppery orange flowers.

Dahlias . . . well I'm trying to be a proper gardener !
If I was that good then the hanging baskets wouldn't have nettles !!

The weather has remained wet today (the 5th) which has allowed me to sit at the computer and post these pictures.

Let's hope it dries up soon to avoid another wet walk this afternoon.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . a natural water spray to add a shine to the colours.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 21st June 2020 - Summer Solstice & the Weather

A previous time up here - November 2016 - Autumn and First Snow

Next walk - 6th July 2020 - High Wood and Fletcher Field