First pictures from UK holiday

A Scottish Borders Wicker Man and Yorkshire Dales scenery from the first days of our holiday.

I went on a short (10 day) trip to UK to visit my dad.  Just got back in Canada on Sunday but had to fly straight to Winnipeg for work-related trip. Finally got home very late Tuesday so just beginning to recover.

I won’t be able to do all my pictures in one go but I’ll do a day or two at a time.  I did post a few directly on Facebook and Twitter that I took on my tablet.  I won’t repeat those here.

This holiday included a few bird-viewing events (I won’t say bird-watching as I only spent a few hours at each place as both Laurie and my dad have arthritis and can’t walk very far, so I abandoned them in the car while taking a few pictures).  We went to several places designated by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.  This was partly in reaction to the fact that there are many fewer birds round my dad’s place and partly because the recent long, hard winter has meant that I’ve spent more time observing birds at home. There were more to see as I think the harsh winter sent more to our feeders and also there was less opportunity to get out and wander around, so I spent more time watching birds through the window.

We arrived May 1st but too late and too tired to attend any May Day festivities, though we saw at least one completed May Pole with the ribbons wound around, over the next few days.

On our first full day, we went over the border to Scotland, as it was a holiday weekend so we knew that the Lake District would be too crowded.  So we went along the north shore of the Solway Firth.

We found this large Wicker Man in a field, apparently ready for a festival in July.  Headlining an old favourite of mine, from my 1960’s Twisted Wheel Club days, Martha and the Vandellas.

Wicker man
Wicker man

The next, we stayed a little closer to my dad’s home in Morecambe, by going over to the Yorkshire Dales.  Although not a planned bird-photography day, we did go by a moorland pond where we saw this pair of tufted ducks.  (My U.K. bird identification is very rusty, not having lived there for 40 years, so corrections via comments on this site, Twitter or Facebook, are welcome).

Tufted ducks
Tufted ducks

The Dales, for those who don’t know them, are built on limestone.  They are wide valleys, each famous for their own cheese (the most famous being Wensleydale, almost as good as Lancashire crumbly), surrounded by rounded hills.  Because limestone is so soluble, there are many caves and other interesting rock formations, such as this limestone pavement of clints (the flat slabs) and grykes (the cracks between them).

Clints and Grykes
Clints and Grykes

Looking in a different direction, a hundred or so metres away, you see another example of limestone geology.

Limestone river
Limestone river

Note the flat beds of limestone at the top, on either side of the waterfall and the deep cuts made where the water runs faster.  I have other pictures from previous years where the whole river goes underground, at Malham.

We went through the town of Kettlewell, to find it covered in yellow balls.

Kettlewell
Kettlewell

Why? Well, apparently the Tour de France cycle race will start in Yorkshire this year  (Tour D’Angleterre?) and Kettlewell started the festivities early with a Festival of Wool and Ale.  Quite appropriate as everyone knows the best ale in England comes from the North and of course the whole place is full of wooly creatures.

Lamb in the dales
Lamb in the dales

People from Canada would be amazed at how many sheep there are and perhaps equally so by the thousands of miles of the stone walls, like the ones in the picture. But the moors, dales and fells are very poor soil as you can see from the reeds in this picture and the limestone pavements above, so sheep are about the only agriculture you can have.

I don’t know what the stone marker is for, but here’s my dad, stepping out.

Dad by a marker stone
Dad by a marker stone

Two more picture from the Dales, a farm and ♫The Banks of the Sweet Primroses♫. (One thing about this trip, I had songs going through my head the whole time as I know folks songs mentioning most of the places around.)

Farm in the Yorkshire Dales
Farm in the Yorkshire Dales
Banks of the Sweet Primroses
Banks of the Sweet Primroses

That’s it for now.  Next time, York itself and the East Coast with water birds on Spurn Head and a wetland reserve.

 

 

Author: Eric Lawton

Eric is a natural philosopher living in rural Ontario

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