The Way through the Woods

Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, Walking

Not far from here is a wood. And in this wood, there is a lake, Eavestone Lake. It’s always quiet here, because there is no road nearby. Simply quiet, leaf-mould paths. The trees look ancient, but in the main, they’re not. We met an old forester recently, who told us he remembered when these woods were cut down for timber when he was a boy. The trees have simply regenerated.

Some of the older trees were left. And they tend to twist characterfully and lean over into the lake. Like this one, of which I show two images, one for Becky’s Walking Squares, while the header photo is for Jez’s Water, Water Everywhere.

This place always puts me in mind of Rudyard Kipling’s The Way through the Woods, which, if you’re so minded, you can read here.

Ignore the rain and walk anyway

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, National Trust, North Yorkshire, Walking, Weather

For her Walking Squares challenge, Becky is encouraging us to walk whatever the weather. On Thursday, I had no choice: I was on duty at Fountains Abbey. The rain was so vertical, so clamorously unrelenting that getting out camera or phone would have been foolish. Once I’d faced the fact that that I’d drawn the shortest of short straws, I quite enjoyed the ceaseless drumming of the water, dodging the puddles as they became rivers, and watching the water birds demonstrating by their surly inactivity that even they thought it was all A Bit Much.

Unexpectedly, a quarter of an hour before it was time to go, the rain stopped. The sky lightened, the puddles offered up reflections, and – thank goodness – I turned round, in time to see this rainbow. Probably just past its best, but at least I saw it.

Here are the final minutes of my afternoon.

For Becky’s #Walking Squares

and Debbie’s Six Word Saturday

Five at Five – Margaret of From Pyrenees to Pennines

photography

Oh look! Bren, of Brashley Photography fame has interviewed me for her weekly series of posts about fellow bloggers – Five at Five. Read all about it – here. And thank you Bren: I feel very honoured.

BRASHLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

This week’s Five at Five Intro features Photographer Margaret. Margaret says in her About Page of Pyrenees to Pennines blog.

We live in Yorkshire. Until March 2014, we had lived in the Ariège, southern France, and we spent six and a half years there. I shared many of the experiences we had there in this blog, which was then called ‘Life in Laroque‘.

The beach, a favorite place to be.

Five at Five Questions – Photography

  • When and how did you start on your photographic journey?

Two things happened in 2007. We moved to live in France; and I went on a largely solo trip to India. Both seemed to require the services of a decent camera and an inquisitive eye.

  • What subject do you like photographing the most?

I don’t have a niche. I like to gather impressions of the landscape or townscape that I am in, particularly if…

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Colour? Or Black & White?

photography

I would like to try an experiment today: and I’d like your help. This week, Jude, of Cornwall in Colours, has set the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #226, and has asked us to focus on illustrating texture. I started browsing through my archives, and then I read Sarah of Travel with Me‘s contribution. She had decided to showcase her choices in monochrome, which she felt highlighted texture better than colour. I immediately agreed with her.

And then. I wasn’t so sure. Here are my choices, shown both ways. I’m not using WordPress’ Image Compare feature, which irritates me, as I can never see either image properly. Click on any image you would like to see full-size.

Let’s try a typical North Yorkshire landscape. It’s the drystone wall that interests me.

Near Grimwith, North Yorkshire

Or some grasses…

A field somewhere near home.

What about a slightly dilapidated farmyard shed?

Near Hovingham, North Yorkshire.

Or a farmyard hen?

A friendly neighbourhood hen.

Or a weathered wall in Newcastle?

Or an even more weathered olive tree in Greece?

One of the ancient olive trees of Agios Achillios

And then there’s the featured image of course, not shown in colour. Any guesses?

I’m offering this post to Bren too, for her Mid-Week Monochrome #115

And just one more final offering. Becky, for her #Walking Squares, has been out in all weathers. Let’s offer her the makings of a roaring fire.

Monday portrait of a young cow

farming, France

This shot was taken in the Corrèze, a rural part of France where the cow is – er – queen. The header photos shows that within living memory, oxen were still used as tractors. This area still has the feel of somewhere that time has forgotten. Happy souvenirs of a wonderful holiday of walking in gentle countryside with the ancient town of Corrèze as our backdrop.

I dedicate this post to Becky, for her Walking Squares, and to Brian of Bushboy’s World, who’s rather fond of cows.

Wildlife close to home

North Yorkshire, Wildlife

This week, for the Lens-Artist’s Challenge, Anne asks us to look at our local wildlife. Well, I’ve been admiring raccoons, coyotes, skunks, kangaroos and other exotica from the posts other bloggers have already contributed, and … I can’t compete.

Still, our local wildlife has charms of its own. Take our own village. Like many round here it has a pond (well, three in our case). Here’s a little showcase of what you’ll find there any time you’re passing.

We have a river nearby too, and a nature reserve too. That means that we see herons often, sometimes egrets.

And Canada Geese. Always Canada Geese.

We can do other birds too. Here’s a small sample:

Here you are: a chaffinch, a raven, a jay and a house sparrow…. and everyone’s favourite ….

… a robin.

In the animal world, here are two creatures we see all too rarely: a toad and a hedgehog. And I haven’t even got any images of badgers or foxes.

I mustn’t forget the omni-present grey squirrel and pheasant.

I can’t leave this though without a couple of pictures of the deer which, though I usually see them in the parkland of Studley Royal, are common enough sights on country walks too.

PS. All these creatures are seen when I’m out walking. I therefore dedicate the robin to Becky and her Walking Squares.

Monday Fog, Mid-week rain, mid-week Monochrome

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire, Walking, Weather

Look out of the window any day this week, but particularly yesterday, and you’d have seen a scene in glorious monochrome. Leaden skies, rain tumbling from the skies, hour after hour. As the header picture shows. Monday hadn’t been as rainy. Instead we had fog. Monochrome fog.

Some of the pictures were taken as I spent time at Fountains Abbey out in said rain – and against expectations, enjoying every soggy moment of it.

These though are taken at various locations in North Yorkshire, and in fog rather than rain:

And here are three more, for Becky’s Walking Squares:

I couldn’t resist a few more (sodden) tree roots from Fountains, but the water shot, and the desiccated cow parsley come from walks – who knows where?

Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome #114

Becky’s Walking Squares

An appetising walk?

farming, North Yorkshire, Walking, Wildlife

Out for a walk yesterday, I fell to thinking about food – well, it wasn’t far off lunchtime. It was this field of beets – mangelwurzels perhaps – that did it: soon to be winter fodder for sheep.

Then I saw hawthorn berries. We can use them in jellies and fruit wines, but I find them too bitter. Not so the birds.

Through the meadow, edged by teasels: the goldfinch would have had their fill by now.

The heron was on his usual rock on the river: waiting patiently for fish.

The last meal I saw had been eaten hours before: nature red in tooth and claw.

Hmm. Time to head home for lunch I think. No creatures were harmed in the preparation of our meal.

For Becky’s Walking Squares.

Yet more ancient trees

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, National Trust, North Yorkshire, Poetry

But after this I’ll stop. I promise.

Ancient trees aren’t simply defined. That cherry tree I showed you last week, was impossibly, possibly uniquely old at four hundred years. A yew can soldier on for several thousand years. Oaks can march on for a thousand years, though six to eight hundred is more usual. Sweet chestnut? Seven hundred. Lime trees? Three to four hundred. Beech trees? Maybe three hundred – longer if coppiced. Here’s the life-cycle of a tree condensed into two images.

The parkland at Studley Royal is rich in ancient examples of all of them. It’s been a protected space and a deer park for centuries. and as such, it has its own historical curiosities. You can find trees with small square holes in the trunk. It used to be believed that as the trunks of trees gradually become hollowed out, it made sense to fish out the resultant debris, and suitable holes were cut. The practice has long been discredited, and now the holes are scarring over and gradually closing up.

Further proof that trees know what’s what, and we don’t necessarily. See this lime tree and its massive bough? If you could walk round it, you’d see that this branch is cuboid in shape. Any builder will tell you that this shape is far better at load bearing than a cylindrical one. Did the earliest builders learn this important lesson from lime trees?

And some trees can actually ‘walk’ albeit slowly, as part of the root may die off, and stronger root systems further away may haul the whole trunk a small distance. It does take rather a long time though.

Here’s a small gallery of the trees we met on our walk last week:

A mighty oak tree’s last gasp.

Let’s finish off with a haiku celebrating these elderly, magnificent trees.

Venerable trees -
trunk and bark wrangled by time
tell ancient stories.

A multi-tasking post, with elements for Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome #113, Becky’s Walking Squares, and Rebecca’s November Poetry Challenge