Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Journey Across Northern England 9-7-08

This is about my first day in England and the drive across the country through the Lake District to Ravenglass, West Cumbria. Forgive me for not having sketches for this entry, I kept busy with my camera recording what I saw, and being so exhausted it would have to suffice. Everywhere I looked, all was new to me and exciting, so the camera clicked away! Let me tell you about my travels with the photos below.

This first one is the view I had upon waking on my first day in England. It's outside Alnwick in Northumberland, (Northeast England) a gorgeous countryside just bursting with fresh greens of all sorts and rolling hills. I had a hot cup of tea with a biscuit, parted the curtains and there you go...lovely. The stone structure across the street is a bus stop.
The next picture shows a view from the other window, looking down the street. The mist hung heavy across all the houses in the tiny village, you'd never know there were very tall hills just behind the houses! I love the mystery in the roofs disappearing into the fog.
The next picture below is just outside the door, I went for a walk with my host Major Bullman and his very old dog "Bracken". It felt good to shake the travel fog from my mind and breath some clean fresh air, I had to pinch myself to remind myself that I was really in England! haha...
Then my friend Gary and I set out to cross England to the Lake District. Along the way I saw amazing sights, beautiful lakes and views. The red fungus below is from our stop at Ulswater Lake; I haven't tried to identify it yet, but would love to do a watercolor sketch of it. It had the neatest golden thread all over beneath it, like spun gold fibres, a spiderweb that perhaps had pollen all over it? Or spores from the fungus?
This is a picture of a VERY tired me (!!) at Ulswater. You can see how much rain the area had been getting, the little islands behind me were under water!
This below is Ulswater, it was placid and peaceful, the sun was just coming out in spotlights upon the distant was so dramatic and inspiring!
This is a breathtaking area that we stopped to take in the view at, a valley near Brotherswater on the way to Kirkstone Pass. I just couldn't get over the prettiness of the view here, but it was getting late and we had far to travel still!
The view below is an unbelievable place, looking down the Kirkstone Pass towards Lake Windemere with the woodland around Hawkshead in the distance. If I remember right, the b+b and pub here are at the highest point in England. (I'll check on that!) I joked with my friend that we should have a pint of beer here just because of this! But alas, we needed to press on, can you see the darkening of the sky?? We still needed to cross some mountains to reach Ravenglass on the West coast.
Below is a stone wall, a stone wall you ask? Why? Well I found it interesting that as for many things, when you take the time to notice, there is an art and beauty to it. Gary explained to me that those who build the old style stone walls, with no mortar, all have their own style when they create. This one shows the rows of flat stones laid in between the big round ones, a mark of this wall makers. I snapped this picture out the window while Gary was asking directions!
We stopped here at a cafe parking lot with a great view, as you can see! Here we're looking down Hartside Pass in Cumbria, towards the Solway Firth. You can see the Irish Sea and Scotland in the distance! That ribbon of road is where we would drive next...a long and winding road. You can just see a tiny white cottage on the right side, that is an open cottage for travelers who may get stuck in bad weather. It makes me wonder just how bad the weather gets here? But I like the idea of the shelter for travelers.
Well I guess that's it for this entry! Next will be sketches and paintings from Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass!


Sarah said...

Wow you're brave coming to england in November to walk!

I hope you enjoy our soggy land - and yes the weather does get very bad in the Lake District - people who are careless in winter do die there (but not too often), so take care.

Mary McAndrew said...

Hi Sarah,
Well, I know it seems like I did it in November, but I'm putting up my posts a bit later than when I actually hiked there! I put a date at the top, this was in September, not as bad, but definitely I needed my rain pants in the lake district! haha....
I hope you sign up in the box at right so you can see when I update with my sketches from my trip...coming soon is Muncaster Castle. I loved it there.

Chaska Peacock said...

What a beautiful blog this is, Mary!

Mary McAndrew said...

Why thank you Chaska, I hope you had a chance to look back at some posts with my sketches and paintings.
I'll have some new posts soon about my trip.

camulus said...

What Mary hasn't said, is that the month she arrrived in Northumberland was one of the wettest Septembers on record. There was major flooding on all the major roads in the County and a number of local towns and villages were completely underwater.

All this made the landscape even greener than it normally is!! The wettness also made very good conditions for fungi however. This Bracket fungi in the picture was growing on a tree at Glenridding, Ulswater lake. Most people who had passed this spot had probably not noticed this attractive fungi(unknown). Mary spotted it however with her keen eye, and captured it's fleeting beauty with this photograph.

Mary McAndrew said...

Hi Camulus!
I would like to learn what kind of fungus it was, and wish I had time on the trip to do a watercolor sketch of it, but alas...this was a fleeting part of my travels. Driving across country, this is when photographs do come in handy!

Is the weather usually not as wet in the Fall? We always get more rain in Fall, makes up for the dryness of Summer.

camulus said...

I found out that this is a rather rare fungus in Britain. It's Latin name is Inonotus Hispidus and is distinguishable by it's hairy reddish upper surface.

Yes Mary, it is usually damp in Autumn, but the rainfall this particular Autumn/Fall has been excessive. All this dampness however has made for Very good conditions for fungi and I have seen many different ones in the woodland near my home. They are also very good subjects for the wildlife artist.

Looking forward to seeing more reports of your trip to England.

Mary McAndrew said...

Thanks so much for looking up that fungus Camulus! I'm sure the botanically minded readers will like to know it!
Coming up is the next part of my journey...Muncaster Castle, I loved it there!
take care!