Sunday, 27 June 2010
This week with the continuing very warm and summery weather, Kath and I decided on a return trip to the Northern Pennines and to the beautiful valley of the river Tees near Middleton in Teesdale. It was cloudy on our arrival and was much cooler than it had been back home but this was a refreshing change and it was indeed a very pleasant day for driving around to admire the scenery in this remote and beautiful part of Northern England.
The area is famous for it's hay meadows where the grass and wild flowers are allowed to grow until cutting in the late summer. It was indeed a colourful site to behold as we drove along deserted roads where all the roadside fields were carpeted in buttercups and clover and many other different varieties of wild flowers long gone from the intensively farmed fields back home. On an earlier visit the fields had been full of lapwings, redshank,oystercatchers and other species of birds busily going about the business of setting up breeding territories. Now the area seemed deserted of birdlife as the young and parents were mostly hidden from view in the lush vegetation.
We went up to the Cow Green Reservoir and had a walk down to see Cauldron Snout waterfall. Here it was much cooler and this locality is famous for the rare Arctic /Alpine plants to be found in the vicinity. We were just too late to see the Spring Gentian but many Mountain Pansies adorned the windswept grasslands and we also had good views of a number of Golden Plover which nest on the adjoining Widdybank Fell. On the way back down to the valley I had a nice view of a juvenile Ring Ouzel which posed obligingly for photographs. Another nice sighting was of three curlew chicks with their parents in attendance and again I obtained some nice shots from the car.
Before returning on the long journey home we enjoyed a cuppa and a bite to eat in the 1618 Cafe in Middleton in Teesdale. On the way back we did a detour to look at the area made famous by Hannah Hauxwell who farmed at Low Birk Hat Farm in Baldersdale . Hannah spent many years alone farming this harsh landscape and was to become famous following television documentaries and books written about her austere lifestyle. It had been a very interesting day spent in this beautiful part of the Northern Pennines and somewhere we are looking forward to returning to and discovering more of it's delights and magnificent scenery. As usual I have posted some images from the day's trip showing the wonderful scenery and shots of the young curlew and parent and the rare sighting of a young ring ouzel.