Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Day 30 Go Pond Dipping

Day 30 and  the final day of the 30 Days Wild Challenge. What a month!  I've done some really great activities during June, some better than others.  The important thing is that I've spent time outdoors every day and I've spent some memorable times with my daughters carrying out my random acts of wildness.

Somethings I did were a success and other things not quite as successful.  I'd wanted to look for Water Voles, spot Kingfishers and see Lizards at Ainsdale but this month it wasn't too be.

Looking back over the thirty days I've managed to get to some great places and do some great activities such as walking up a mountain, visiting a wetland centre to see Avocets and Otters and managing to do a walk in my favourite place, a U-shaped glaciated valley outside Dufton in Westmorland.

Tonight I'd planned to finish off by going pond dipping with my youngest daughter.  We drove out to Ashurst Beacon Country Park to visit a couple of ponds there but one was dried up and the other covered in duckweed. Sadly we didn't get to catch much with our small fishing net apart from tadpoles, snails and a couple of minnows.  

A bit of a disappointment really as I was hoping for diving beetles and more.  It didn't ruin the evening though as at least we'd managed to get out for an hour, stretch our legs with a nice walk and take in some fresh air.

Weed covered pond

covered in lumps

Daughter having a go
at Pond Dipping

Grey Squirrels playing

Adorable pests


Hanging about on a tree

Walk through a shaded woods

Looks like our Pebble Bugs
have been breeding

So I've reached the end of this 30 Days Wild Challenge Blog now and all that remains for me to say is a big thank you to everyone who has stopped by and left comments.  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I've enjoyed putting it all together.  It's been hard at times having to come home and sift through hundreds of photos before resizing them and putting them on the blog.  It's been a real labour of love but it's all been worth it. 

Finally, I must say a big thank you to my lovely daughters who have accompanied me on most of my activities during June and I only hope we can continue doing lovely things for many more years to come!

My daughters enjoying the mud 
at the Beacon Country Park back in April 2006

Did you manage to have a look back at Day 28?

I managed to upload the photos
 from the walk late Monday night as promised.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Day 29 Make some Pebble Bugs

This evenings activity for the 30 Days Wild Challenge was to sit in the garden with my youngest daughter and make some Pebble Bugs together.  I went first to show her how its done, impressing her with my painting skills.  After showing her the technique she then had a go at making one of her own.

Start with a pebble

Paint the head black and the body 
a colour of your choice and add some spots

Next add some eyes and a smile

My finished Pebble Bug

Over to you then

My Daughter's Pebble Bug

Two Pebble Bugs 
at the side of the pond

Not a bad effort

After making some Pebble Bugs we planted some Sunflower seeds.  A bit late planting, but I was saving this activity until the end just in case I got stuck for ideas.

 Our chosen pots

 Some drainage at the bottom

 Plantpot added with compost

 Our Sunflower seeds

 A little more compost on the top

Position in the sun and water

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Day 28 Walk in a place of Outstanding Natural Beauty

There was one activity I was most looking forward to doing as part of the 30 Days Wild Challenge and it was this one, walking in a place of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  I had chosen to come up to Dufton in Westmorland to walk in a place I'd fallen in love with back in 2007 after visiting for the first time.

High Cup Nick is one of Northern Englands geological wonders, a class U-Shaped glaciated valley high on the western flanks of the North Pennines. A deep chasm on the Pennine fellside, this famous nick is part of the well-known Whin Sill.  From here you can see the grey-blue dolerite crags which also form High Force and Cauldron Snout.

a photo from todays walk

My first introduction to High Cup Nick was when I ran the first ever High Cup Fell Race in 2007 on a grey drizzly afternoon in March.  Since then I've ran that race three more times and each time I'm always in awe of the sight that greets me as I enter the valley on the long run to the start of the climb up to the head.

Me running in the 
High Cup Nick Fell Race 2010

I stopped to take many photos that day too!

And so I take you with me on a picture journey as me and my eldest Daughter visit Dufton to have a walk out and back to High Cup Nick.

We'd both camped out the night before in our back garden and rain during the night along with a leaky tent meant we ended up damp most of the night and didn't have the best of sleep but at least we'd gone wild for the night.

The weather report for the day wasn't too good and rain was forecast for most of the day and I was left wondering whether I'd get up to Dufton.  By ten o'clock I was checking the weather report again and it had given clear weather in Westmorland after one o'clock so we packed our rucksacks and head off up the motorway.

All the way north from Merseyside it rained heavy but coming off at Tebay the skies cleared and the sun came out.  We arrived in Dufton just before one o'clock and set off for an afternoon walking in a place of outstanding natural beauty.

Apologies now for the sheer amount of photos but it was near impossible to whittle down any further.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed being there taking them and I hope I leave you wanting to visit there yourself someday.


The start of our walk

Passing some live stock 
on our way to High Cup House

Looking across to the 
Lake District from near Keisley Beck

Looking back to Dufton Pike

Heading towards Murton Pike

On our way to High Cup House

Some Obligatory sheep shots

Cattle in the field near High Cup House

First glimpse of Middle Tongue

First glimpse of the of the valley sides

The sign at High Cup House

Past the farm and
on towards the valley

Crossing a stream

Onwards and upwards

Looking back to Murton Pike

Small lake near Middletongue crag

Looking back to High Cup House and the farm

Middletongue Crag

More sheep

Looking towards Burnt Crag

Looking back to the small lake we passed

Finally the valley comes into view

Panoramic photo of the view into the valley

Weather staying good,
all is clear ahead

2:30pm and almost time to stop for sandwiches

Plenty of these little birds around

Another few yards before we sit down

Sandwich stop

The valley all to ourselves

Clouds darken part of the sky

Sunny again

Still along way to walk
before we reach the head

Solitary flowers

Highcup Gill Beck

Following the 
dry stone wall along the valley

Time for some shots of us with
High Cup Nick in the background

 Me and my companion for the day

Time to continue

A waterfall down the side of the valley

Heading towards the stile in the wall

The stile gets closer

Yellow marker on the left
indicating where the stile is

Stile crossed we stop
to take some more photos

What a fantastic view

Desolate but beautiful

A quick rest before we continue

Soon we will reach the boulder field

People on the top of High Cup Nick

Nearing the boulder field

Just us and sheep

We reach the boulders

Looking up to Nichol's Seat

Nichol's Chair and someone enjoying the view

Nichol is said to have been a Dufton cobbler who climbed the rock tower and then soled and heeled a pair of boots whilst sitting on the top.


Looking back down the valley

Another sheep

More and more boulders

Almost time to start climbing

Plants growing amongst
the rocks and boulders

Being careful not to twist an ankle

Only path is up through
those rocks and boulders

Rocks and Boulders 
strewn across the valley floor

Plodding on

A little easier on the feet here

The climb begins

Looking up to High Cup Gill Head


Back down the valley

The scramble route to the summit

Somebody else at last, on his 
way down from High Cup Gill Head

More rocks and boulders to get across

Slowly making his way
down from High Cup Gill Head

Slowly Upwards

He's halfway down

Blue sky appears at the head

The scramble route

Starting our scamble

A quick rest near the summit

The final scramble to the top

Summit reached at 4:15pm

Well earned rest at the summit

Breathtaking view

Summit Panoramic

Looking across to High Cup Scar

Sandwich stop near Nichol's Chair

Great view from here

Nichol's Chair

Close up of Nichol's Chair


Walking along the ridge

Theres a big drop
on the left of that sheep!

Remember that waterfall 
we saw from the valley floor?

Continuing our walk along the ridge

Murton Fell, the small lake
and the farm we passed earlier

Nearing Peeping Hill

Sheep at Peeping Hill

"King of the Hill"

Heading back down towards Dufton

Dufton Pike comes into view

More sheep

Farm Building near Harthwaite Cottage
(tiltshift effect applied)

Old Quarry in the background

5:50pm, back in Dufton
and the end of our walk