Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Great Dorset Steam Fair...or maybe not!

Having been on night shift Friday and Saturday we went off to catch the last evening of the Steam Fair last night, thinking that it carried onto the evening and we could enjoy some live music. As we got there we realised everyone was going the other way and it was over! So we wandered around and just looked at the stuff that was being packed and loaded up and driven away.
These Massey Ferguson's show just how tractors have changed, my Grandfather was killed in the 1950's when the tractor he was driving went over and of course it had no cab or roll bar to protect him. Now it's all so different. A friend of ours who has a farm in Sussex has a son who proudly wrote in biro "Massey Ferguson is best" on his new duffel coat and wore it to school every day.
Great car although it has no door so I suppose you either go in the window or climb through from the back.
And so we trudged back to the car park...we haven't missed the Steam fair for years but there's always next year. As you can see it's in a lovely rural bit of Dorset so the drive there and back was good.


Friday, 29 August 2008

Arne Nature Reserve

I haven't been to Arne for years, close to it on Hartland Moor and Middlebere but we have tended to avoid Arne because of the numbers of people there, but yesterday I decided to go there. I was pleasantly surprised and found that despite the car park being full I could escape off into a quiet bit....off the grockle beaten track! I found a hide looking over the harbour, it was a hide with two floors, I went downstairs and was able to watch on my own and upstairs appears to have been crowded by the number of feet that were clattering about above me and the general noise. I'm not really a solitary person except when I'm bird watching!There were deer everywhere as you can see in the photo.
Looking out I could see alot of Shags, Redshank, and lots of Little Egrets...is it my imagination or have the Grey Herons declined in numbers since the Egrets have turned up?
A group of Mum's were down there with their children and a group of about 10-12 little boys aged 5 to 10 were running through the woods with big sticks chasing each other. Some of them were hiding in the ferns from the others but not very well as they were too excited to be quiet when they were hiding! As they ran past me I heard a little boy shout to his friend " This is my best day in the world!" Although I'm sure they annoyed some of the serious bird watchers I thought it was lovely to see children outside doing what children should be doing. Lets get our youngsters out into the fresh air just to be what they are...young and exuberant.
Saw this fine toadstool at Middlebere, I don't know what it is, I will look it up.
This was a huge beastie which was moving around and buzzing in a demented sort of a way...again I'm not sure what it is.
Anyway I did enjoy my time at Arne and I will return sometime and spend more time just sitting and less time walking!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

If you click on this picture you will read the sad story of Gelert the faithful hound, make sure you have a tissue to hand! This is where the name of the village stems from, Beddgelert ( Gelerts grave)
Our first week was spent near Aberystwyth and this was the view from the cottage, this was the Vale of Rheidol railway which runs along the valley. Isn't this a nice pastoral landscape....in the field in front of us was a very large Holstein bull, in the evenings you could hear him snorting! Needless to say we didn't cross his field, he was more settled and quiet when his "ladys", the milking herd were with him.
This is where we stopped to walk whilst driving across a very long single track road past Nant-Y-Moch reservoir. It was so remote and we didn't see another soul as we walked. the menfolk walked along the edge of the water to see some old disused mines but A and I took another path, I disgraced myself by treading on some soft ground up to my knee and losing my shoe....having to reach down to retrieve it! Up here there were Red Kites flying over and squealing as they went, Swallows skimming around to catch insects on the wing, a few Welsh Black cows and lots of sheep.
I had an arty moment when I saw the drops of rain on the sunroof, it sums up the weather of the holiday!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Wales again

This was taken at Nant-Yr-Arian, which is a counrty park near Aberystwyth where they feed the Red Kites daily. The RSPB chap told us that it is just supplimentary food and they don't depend on it. We arrived about an hour prior to feeding time and about 20 kites were circling already and by feed time there were about 60 of them. It was amazing to see them so close up and now beautiful and graceful they are.
The view from Nant-Yr-Arian was pretty spectacular too looking west.
Wrecks came with us and felt pretty silly after barking at these cardboard sheep in a carpet shop window, yes, I promise you, he really did it!!...he felt a bit sheepish maybe! We'll have to try and get him one of those cut-outs for Christmas!
He's not impressed by the notice banning him from the beach...but I agree that he shouldn't go there in the summer. Note he's bi-lingual!
I went to Hartland Moor and Middlebere yesterday afternoon hoping to see the Ospreys as they pass through on their migration but didn't see them. They are supposed to be here for a couple of weeks though. Good news that Autumn Watch is coming from Brownsea Island though.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Wales in the Rain!!!

When I told people where we were going for our annual get away they didn't hide their sniggers and made comments such as " Hope you like rain" and " Got your umbrella?"....No, I said we have had some lovely weather in Wales.
I take it all back, we have just had two weeks of unrelenting rain (except for one day...the last one!) BUT I still love Wales and it hasn't dampened our enthusiasm for it one little bit! (Pardon the pun!)
The top picture I took early on the last day walking the dog by the River Glaslyn from the cottage we were staying in. I did this walk every morning and the mist hanging along the mountain side was worth all the rain soaked times I had walked this way.
This is the beautiful cottage we stayed in , in Beddgelert, it was lovely inside and had an AGA, I loved cooking and drying the wet clothes on that, cooking was actually a real pleasure. The river overflowed its banks on the Wednesday but was still wonderful even when it was roaring in flood or when it was meandering along on quieter days.
This is a view from the Cob at Portmadoc, it's a very poignant place as my Mother in Law who died at Easter was born in Portmadoc and loved this view and used to swim in it as a girl. Lots of water birds here, Redshank, little Egrets, Canada Geese, Cormorants, Lapwings and Osprey too! We visited one or two RSPB reserves and somehow found ourselves parting with cash and becoming members!
Anyway glad to be home........... I think. I know we'll be back there next year.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Durdle Door

This is a favourite place of ours and we often walk along the coast here. We prefer not to park at the busy Lulworth Cove but further up the hill and walk across the fields to the coast path. This is a favourite place for the more adventurous families to come for a day, there is a fairly steep path which could be challenging with little ones around.
There have been occasions when youngsters jump off the arch into the sea which is not to be recommended, it's called Tombstoning for obvious reasons. Just last year a young man was seriously injured doing just that.
On a brighter note the view from here is glorious and you can see for miles both east and west, the sunsets are breathtaking. On the horizon is the Isle of Portland, where many a birdwatcher has twitched.
I have seen Yellowhammers up here, Stonechats and loads of butterflys. I hope one day to get a digital SLR and get some close ups of these lovely creatures. Meanwhile the little point and shoot can capture a view as well as anything I think.
If you want to see some other pictures taken fom this area look at "Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door" on May 10th 2008, almost taken from the same spot.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Hambledon Hill and Shillingstone Station

According to the weatherman this week will be wet, so as yesterday was nice we stepped out together for an evening walk with Wrecks along the old Somerset and Dorset (Slow and Dirty) line from near Hammoon to Shillingstone station. This first picture is of Hambledon Hill, an old Iron age settlement and hill fort, you can clearly see the ramparts in the lines on it. We needed a nice flat easy going walk as I have been on night shift for 2 nights so energy levels are a little low....so no climbing the hill fort for me!
This is Shillingstone station which is being restored at the moment and as you see they are laying a bit of track now. It is unusual because it has an ornate canopy which most country stations did not have. It is said this is because King Edward VII would alight here to visit friends at a nearby country house in Iwerne Minster.
The restoration is going well and they have just opened a tea room here at the weekends, D and I decided we must return to try it out sometime....usually these little places are better and have more homemade stuff than the bigger places.
As we returned to the car we could hear an owl hooting but didn't see it, it was in some woodland somewhere. only saw a couple out 'courting' , I don't think they wanted to see us though!!! and a couple of cyclists.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Purbeck View from Whiteway

This is the lovely view from Whiteway which is high on the ridge of the Purbeck hills. Looking out to the sea over Kimmeridge and to the right is the abandoned village of Tyneham, taken over by the military during the last war and never returned to the villagers although it was meant to be a temporary move.
We used to take my Mum in law here in the car and have a cup of tea from a flask up there where she could see the view without having to get out of the car. Happy memories.
This area is used for military training and is not always open for walking but at least it stops the dreaded developers getting hold of the land, so it should stay untouched and beautiful.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Oh dear......

Do I admit that these are my sons! A great time had by all...it was mostly carnage as 49 wheelbarrows careered into each other with a sickening metallic scream, their occupants throw out with no concern at all! The course was just over a mile I think and all through the streets of Swanage...their arms were aching after this and are already planning next years wheelbarrow decoration. The lifeguards won again, they are really fast!
Here they are following Superman who they overtook soon after. A good evenings entertainment....but time now to get back to some nature watching I think, mind you, this could be classed as "wild life"!

Friday, 1 August 2008

Why run when no-one is chasing you?

What's fun about running when no-ones chasing you?....I don't understand the running thing at all!
Anyway my youngest son has been training hard and last night went in for the Swanage 4 mile fun run, we think he came in about 29th out of about 130 - 140 entries but not sure yet as the results have yet to be published. He managed to shorten his time from last year so he's pleased.
It was a family occasion as his brother and sister, us proud parents and his Grandparents turned out to cheer him on. Will, his older brother met him near the end and ran along side for a few yards to spur him on too.
My parents arrived in style on the Swanage Steam Railway and we waved them off later as they went back to Norden, just the other side of Corfe Castle, pulled by a diesel.
The boys intend to enter the wheelbarrow race tonight.......Oh dear, it gets worse!!!!!!