26 Jul 2009

It was a butterfly sort of day

The weather has been atrocious lately. We had summer for two un-seasonably hot weeks in June. We have returned to the rather more typical English summer weather of continuous rain and grey skies.

But the forecast was for a nice day yesterday – rare that it should occur at a weekend too. So we decided to mark this special occasion with a proper day out. I didn’t want to be anywhere there were drunk chavs lighting barbecues with flame throwers or to be serenaded by obnoxious, undisciplined children. I wanted fresh air, trees, peace and quiet. I wanted to hear nothing but the sound of bird song, bees going about their business and the breeze through the trees rustling leaves. I wanted a nice walk to blow out the cobwebs and ideally I wanted some photo opportunities. I wanted somewhere suitable to eat our picnic and warm sun with a cool breeze. So we didn’t want much really.

We consulted maps for location, packed the picnic basket and cold box and by the time we left we had everything we needed, except one key factor – the weather wasn’t quite as nice as we both hoped and expected. The sky was grey and threatening and the breeze was certainly cooling – a bit too cooling.

But the day gradually improved and in the end, by the time we were walking, it turned out incredibly pleasant. We found ourselves near the Stocks Reservoir in the Forest of Bowland (in north west England for overseas readers) and spent some time walking around the perimeter of the water and found a bird hide on the water’s edge and spent an enjoyable time in there with binoculars. We found a nice picnic table in the sun and enjoyed a leisurely lunch al fresco – although I did have to correct Mr Boo from thinking that ‘al fresco’ meant nekkid.

A view from the bird watching hide we spent some time in.

Part of the path we walked was through some marshland with vegetation growing to chest height – and there were as many insects as I’ve ever seen in one place, it was positively humming with bees and butterflies. Below are some of my photos from the day – which ended up at Beacon Fell, a lifelong favourite spot of ours. Most of the photographs were taken with my compact camera, I decided against carrying my DSLR as we walked – a sure way to ensure plenty to see – although my little camera, with some coaxing, performed pretty well.

Please click the photos to see a larger, sharper view –
they don’t display that well here on the page.

The start of our walk, I love to see old gateposts – no one would bother with that sort of effort these days.

I think these ‘butterflies’ are possibly large skippers.

There is a cluster of paragliders above the distant hill enjoying the last warm thermals of the day.

A Painted Lady butterfly – they travel all the way from North Africa to fetch up in Lancashire – astounding that something so delicate can make the trip. This was taken with my DSLR in the low evening sun.

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