Monday, 9 March 2015

Donkeys ,Woodpeckers and Rhubarb jam

It's the time of year when I'm out walking the foot paths and fells in training for the C2B walk on 11th May. This year I'm practising with a friend who's going to join me and the conversation makes the miles go faster.

I've discovered she is a whizz with the ordnance survey map whilst I just make it up as I go along. She has a very precise weather app too. I now know exactly when and where a rain drop is going to fall on my head whereas before I would turn my eyes to the heavens and ask myself whether it was going to rain and whether to take sunglasses or wellies!

My friend told me that we had a chance of showers this morning. I replied that there would be no little black cloud over my head, although I took my waterproof trousers just in case.
We set off up the Woodland valley from Broughton up the disused railway line which used to go to Coniston and into a wood.It was too early for bluebells but we came across my neighbour coppicing wood for forest school and an instructor and student being assessed for tree surgery.We offered to give him points out of ten but he preferred a donation in his hat on the ground!

Once through the wood we came onto the road and ambled down the middle (there's not a vehicle to be seen out there) and I stopped at High Rosthwaite farm to buy some home made jam. I have a penchant for blackberry jam but 'spicy blackberry' didn't really appeal. (They don't come spiced from the bushes in our village) so I chose rhubarb instead.This time I had learned to be prepared and had brought my rucksack to carry it in.

At woodland rooms (no more than a little green corrugated shack which serves as a place for locals from miles around to congregate) we turned right into a farm yard and stopped to speak to a lady farmer who pointed us on her way.Her farm was a characteristic lakeland farmhouse,  reminiscent of the farm used to film Beatrix Potter .We followed a little 'green lane' between dry stone walls into a field.Here the path somewhat disappeared amoungst hedges but as we made our way in roughly the right direction we stumbled across a big brown horse with its back to us, staring into a pond, and a scruffy old donkey which obviously decided that we were the most exciting thing to happen all day so it ambled over and looked through the other side of my camera lense as I tried to take its photo! It then decided to follow us part of the way and I had visions of me sprawled in the mud as it nudged my bottom as we walked along the path like Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem.
It gave up at the deer fence and we found our selves in decidous woodland which hasn't yet quite come into bud.Following the path down the valley we came out into a wide expanse of rough farmland covered in reeds and separated by a meandering river which on the map seemed to disappear into nowhere then into the sea. We crossed a little wooden bridge then followed the path through fields and over a stile to the road where we then followed a track through woods up to Wall end near Broughton and I was back on the path I'd taken in the other direction several weeks ago but been stopped due to a very muddy stretch of path which had been unnavigable then. We saw our first wild daffodils and then my friend pointed out the sound of a woodpecker . It sounded like someone banging on large bamboo canes and once I'd heard it would be easy to recognise again.
We were soon back in Broughton and reckoned we had walked about 5-6 miles, and I was right, there wasn't a raindrop in sight!

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