Although we were excited to be going up to the caravan again, it was with some trepidation as we were expecting Storm Ophelia the following day and hoped that we would not get blown away. In the event we need have had no worries. Our journey north went well and we had an enjoyable evening with Thomas.
We awoke the next morning to absolute flat calm and lurid yellow skies which we discovered later were the result of Saharan dust and smoke from Portuguese wild fires being carried aloft by Ophelia. Wanting to make the most of the pre-storm calm, we headed to Skelwith Bridge in the Langdale Valley, partly for a walk, but mainly because we wanted to sample the delights of Chesters by the Bridge coffee shop. Having managed to park the car on the road we set off along the riverside path towards Elterwater passing Skelwith Force on our way. Autumn colours abounded, although they were somewhat muted because of the very mist conditions. The river was flat calm and gave superb reflections. Although distant views were very muted I was really pleased with the shot from Elterwater looking towards the Langdale Pikes.
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Calling at Skelwith Force for some photographs on the return walk, it didn't take us long to reach Chesters where we enjoyed an excellent lunch and a potter around the shop. It was noticeable that a slight breeze had suddenly sprung up and the sky was beginning to clear completely. Thinking that it was time to head back to the van to batten down the hatches, we paused only briefly for a quick food shop in Ambleside. By the time we reutrned the sun had come out and we even contemplated a cup of tea outside, but it quickly clouded over. After our tea we decided to walk up onto the fields to photograph my favourite isolated oak tree, kept stunted by growing out of the limestone rock. I think that I have photographed this tree every time we have stayed here over the last couple of years. It was amazing how quickly the wind had risen and out in the open it was becoming difficult to stand up never mind take photographs. After a few quick shots we retreated to the van for our evening meal and to see what the night would bring. Winds reached gale force and we could hearing roaring overhead, but we were sheltered by the hillside and trees and apart from the odd buffet we survived unscathed.
The next day dawned late but with a fine day in prospect. With sunrise not being until after 7.30 it was an effort to drag ourselves out of bed. When we did eventually get going we pottered down to Glasson Dock near Lancaster where we enjoyed an excellent walk on the Lancaster Coastal Way which follows the Lancastrian coast for 137 miles. Our section was across the fields from Glasson Dock, which was developed after the port of Lancaster on the River Lune silted up, to Cockersand Abbey. Although the sun was out the wind had certainly not died down and it made walking very tiring. The views from the sea wall out to the lighthouse at Plover Scar and beyond to Heysham Power Station were excellent. Curlew, redshank and oystercatcher called from the marsh, the bubbling song of the curlew making the hairs on my neck stand up. Flocks of lapwings were already on the fields but as yet no winter thrushes: rewings and fieldfares, which will arrive shortly to spend the winter with us. Satisfied after our walk, it was time to head into Lancaster for tea and stickies before meeting Thomas for a meal in his excellent local pub.
Another grand couple of days.