Monday, 15 September 2014

Bowland by Day and Night

It's something of a tradition that when my birthday comes around a day out is called for, usually to a destination outside Lancashire. This year we decided to stay in Bowland. We got the electric bikes out and set out from Bleasdale taking Oakenclough Road and on over Harris End Fell. The morning was bright, the view out to the coast was clear and the heather on the fell was quite beautiful. At the cross roads we turned right  to take the Trough of Bowland Road, the hedgerows were laden with fruits, hips and berries. A bumper crop for man and beast.
It's quite sociable with so many "Hi there's " and "Good Mornings" from all the on coming cyclists and occasionally  from the ones overtaking (much younger, of course!). Most of the roads on this stretch were a steady uphill climb but when we reached the top I was glad we had chosen this way as the decent was so steep I would not have made it going the opposite way. Back to more gentle riding and on to Whitewell for an early lunch. The bike batteries were plugged in to charge under the table and we were refreshed with a cool shandy and refuelled with a ham salad and a roast beef dinner before setting out again for Chipping. This stretch of our ride was easier and much better with the recent road repairs. Arriving in Chipping (very busy) we made straight for The Flower and Produce Show in The Village Hall to see the display of gigantic vegetables and flowers of all sizes from the sweet little pom pom dahlias through to the great big mop head varieties. The standard of entries is so high, definitely worth a visit and the refreshments were just what we and cakes..
We did a quick double back to see the new exhibition at Brabbins Gallery then back up Garstang Road out of the village and the last hard pedal of the day. Easier going now on Fiddlers Lane and passing the gliders taking off and on towards Parlick with the para- gliders high above.
Riding back up our road, mid-afternoon, we felt it had been a day to remember. The weather was perfect and the views could not be bettered. Bowland at its Best.

An evening outing this weekend to make the most of the light nights..... Drove to Clitheroe through Chipping, Chaigley and Hodder Bridge, then on through Waddinton and over the fell to Newton. We stopped off at The Parkers Arms and enjoyed a very good meal. The reviews we had read lived up to expectation and so much local, seasonal local produce used.
Coming back out to the car it was a very dark sky with lots of stars. On the way home it was surprising how much wildlife we saw. On the downside there as a rat crossing the road but the upside was much better........ a hedgehog ( good to see a live one on the road), two tawny owls and a barn owl and last but not least, a very young deer that we passed very carefully after it was startled by the headlights.  

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Good Summer

Our Forest of Bowland Holiday Cottages
A long overdue update; the swallows have had a wonderful Summer, I was called into Hare House last night to remove one that was flying high in the hallway.It didn'n take many minutes using a childs fishing net. We used the same method last week when we had a pipistrelle bat in our sitting room, I've still no idea how it came in!

Our Barn Owls have also had a good Spring and Summer down in the woodland and thanks to Mr Charles Cam I can share his wonderful pictures with you.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Birds are busy.

Yesterday morning we got up to pandemonium in the garden, alarm calls and scufflings, I've never seen so many Blackbirds and their young together at one time. The problem was a stoat after the young black birds that seemed to draw every available bird in the vicinity to the defence, I was surprised at the bravery of the Dunnock. Failing to make a kill on the ground the stoat took to the beech hedge methodically going up and down checking every bit for nests, then through the rhubarb. At this point I thought that the young blackbirds in the nest in the ivy above the rhubarb stood very little chance but they survived for another day.
 We seem to have a few more swallows nesting this year and the weather is good for them.
Now that the Canada Geese have gone the Greylags are back on the lake with their young, the "goose wars" have been quite fierce, the Greylag have to settle for the ponds and scrapes while the Canadas are here.
It was such a lovely evening we went for a walk down the fields and through the woods, we saw the Barn Owl fly out of the box, a calm night for hunting.
This morning all is calm in the garden.                                    

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Eye to Eye

We have had several wildlife photographers staying in the cottages recently.
It's good to see the Barn Owl is still with us.
These two pictures were taken by Dr Clive Mowforth who also made this owl box.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Boxing Brown Hares.

Last weekend we had two wildlife photographers, David and Louise Gibbon, staying in Garden Cottage. Their aim was to photograph boxing hares, they set up their pop-up hide in a field down the road. We knew that they would have sightings of Brown Hare but thought that the chances of catching them boxing were quite slim. I should not have worried about it as they were successful.  

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Lights, Camera, Action......

 As I sit at the computer by the window and looking out onto the garden feeling how good it is that the late afternoons are getting so much brighter and each time you go outside there are so many things on the move. The garden birds are busy and the Curlews are calling, there are increasing numbers of Lapwing coming and the Greylag geese are very noisy.

On a totally different subject it seems very peaceful here this week especially in our house, last week we had a group of students from Uclan here to "shoot" a film. I think they were taking advantage of it being half term as there were a number of younger actors involved each with a chaperone. On the first day as each fresh vehicle arrived with the actors they were directed to our Bowland Barn that is more usually the games and information room for cottage guests, it became "The Green Room", with the guest laundry room becoming "dressing room". Each day I checked which of our rooms and outdoor shots were needed so that we knew where we would be better working that day. We learned a lot about film making especially how time consuming it all is with everything needing to be just right for each take. The lack of traffic noise etc. was a plus point and only once did the noise of a passing aeroplane interrupt a scene. I must say they were a very dedicated group of young people working well as a team. It was all very interesting but we felt quite exhausted by the end of the week and it's much more peaceful this week.    

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Belated, Happy New Year

A very belated Happy New Year from Bleasdale Cottages. I've been bogged down with paper work recently especially getting every thing off for the next stage of The Visit England Awards; now that's all done I'll have a catch up with what's going on out in the fresh air!
I am surprised we still have lots of berries on the holly at the bottom of the garden. The Mistle thrushes have been guarding them fiercely, they chase the Blackbirds off every day.
In the fields here we are seeing much bigger groups of Starlings than in recent years, the noise they make when feeding is very loud and then as they all take off together it sounds like an explosion. If you catch sight of them making their patterns in the sky... it's lovely to watch, but if you leave your washing out and they fly over... it's time to do it again!!
Just this morning we caught sight of a stoat in the garden but it wasn't wearing it's more usual coat; it was mostly white. I hope that doesn't mean we can expect lots of snow to come.