Wednesday, 30 October 2013

5 Great Reasons to Love Leighton Moss

The BBC's Autumnwatch 2013 and 2014 was broadcast from the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss and we're lucky enough to have it right on our doorstep.  It's a spectacular place to visit at any time of the year, and here are five of the best reasons why.

1. The birds. Well of course I have to mention them first, it's an RSPB reserve.  Whether you're a bird watcher extraordinaire or a rank amateur inspired by programmes like Aumunwatch to get out there and have a closer look, there's something for you.  I've labelled the ones I can, though I may well have made some mistakes, I'm still learning so do feel free to comment and tell me the ones I've got wrong.

Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier
One of the many feeding spots around the reserve
Common Teal
Marsh Tit?
Tree creeper
Black Tailed Godwits
Marsh Harriers with Hutton Roof Crags in the background
Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier
Blue Tit
Greylag Geese
Snipe with dinner!
Cormorants or Shags?
Black Headed Gull
A tree full of egrets
2. The reed beds.  Towering over you as you walk around the reserve they look, and sound, fantastic as well as providing a habitat for nesting and migrating birds.


3.  The deer.  Only two photos as they are generally very shy, but they are well worth looking out for.

4.  The views.  The reserve is surrounded by the most amazing backdrop, from the limestone layers of Hutton Roof Crags to the vast open expanses of Morecambe Bay.

5. The food.  The cafe at Leighton Moss is as spectacular as any of the wildlife and their carrot cake is legendary.

Legendary carrot cake
A posh packed lunch for a birthday treat

Nom nom nom

Saturday, 26 October 2013

5 Reasons to Love Autumn

Start chatting to a Brit and chances are within about 30 seconds the talk will turn to the weather, and it's never usually positive.  It's always either too hot, too cold, too windy, too dry or too wet.  The thing about the weather is that whatever you think about it isn't going to change what it is or what it's doing, so you may as well figure out a way to enjoy it whatever it's up to.

So, as Autumn gains momentum, here are a few of the reasons I love the season so much.

1. The Colours - there is not a more colourful season to be had.  A crisp autumn day is an assault on the senses with the crunching of the leaves underfoot, the tingling of your nose in the cold air and the vibrant colours all around you.  Stunning.

Horse Chestnut - Kendal

Langdale Valley

Lancashire lovliness

More from Kendal

Beautiful grasses at Burns Beck Moss

Hutton Roof Crags

Water lillies at Burns Beck Moss

2. Nature's Bounty - with so many amazing fruits and berries around it would be a sin not to use them, and there are only so many crumbles you can eat...

We didn't eat these, but they are still pretty.

Roll on Christmas!

The Life Cycle of the apple, from tree to car...

From car to pulp...

From pulp to press...

From press to juice...

From juice to cider.

3. The wildlife - or more specifically, starling murmurations.  If you've not seen one before, make this year the one when you do.  Leighton Moss has a stunning display every autumn.

4. The weather - cold crisp mornings, inversions, the stunning pale blue sky...

The snows started in early Nov in 2012

Stormy rainbows over Luce Bay

Crisp blue skies over the Langdale Pikes

An early autumn inversion over Windermere

5. The lovely warm pubs...  If it all turns nasty, then there's always a friendly pub with a welcoming fire where you can warm up, dry out and sample the local produce...

And if you're itching to get into the outdoors now - here are 5 Fabulous Autumn Walks in Cumbria.