Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Puffin, nothin’

I’ve been away from the the blog for a wee while. Nothin’ has been posted.

I’d had high hopes of posting a  wildlife post  each day of June  like I did last year as part of  ‘Thirty Days Wild’  but I didn’t get off to a very good start!

However we’ve been lucky enough to spend a few days in Northumberland and visit the Inner Farne Island, it was fabulous, so much wildlife it felt like 30 days wild, condensed into a few hours . I’ve blog fodder for the rest of the month.

Let’s start with the puffins. I’ve always wanted to see Puffin’s, who wouldn’t?

Puffin proud_

You just can’t but smile at the sight of them. I’ve wanted to get a close look at them for a long time,

Puffin_

I visited Iceland back in the 1980’s (at the time everyone thought I was a little mad) and I only saw one puffin, so this was a puffin fest! I have to admit I was a bit excited.

Puffin excited_

So many Puffins

Three Puffins_

Their swimming style is not dissimilar to mine, not a very effective stroke (on the water at least)

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it’s a miracle they get airborne, when they do, their flying is distinctive.

Puffin flying_

They feed on sand eels, the supply of sand eels is crucial to a successful breeding season, however like all good fishermen’s tales, the ones that get away are the biggest…

Puffin 'this big'


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Time and Tide Part II

I was giving you a tour of Rhosilli Bay on the Gower Peninsular,  but I got distracted. It happens.

I thought you might like to see the remains of   the Helvetia, wrecked  in 1887

Wreck

It is amazing that the tides and pounding storms of the last 129 years haven’t swept away every trace of this ship, especially as it was extensively salvaged.

And given that these are timbers, wood, a natural, bio-degradable material, and they are still with on this beach,  just think  of plastic and of its non bio-degradable qualities, and hold that thought, for a post or two.

Its old  timber bones have simply slumped into the sands

Wreck 3 

Explorer Edgar Evans, was born in Rhosilli in in 1876, its said* that as a young boy seeing the drama of the wrecking of the Helvetia was in part, instrumental in him joining the navy, where he became a member of the “Polar Party” in Robert Falcon Scott‘s ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole in 1911–1912 from which he never returned.

Worms head_

* I did read that bit in the pub in Rhosilli, I think I’ve got the detail right. I’m sure someone will correct me if needs be.


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Sun Store

I wish I could keep a box of sunshine on my desk. So that on grey, driech days like today, I could lift the lid and let it spill out. 

It seems churlish to complain really, as this time last week, I was in south Wales and we had the most glorious weather; whilst ‘up north’ was shrouded in mist and fog.

This is Marloes Sands

Marloes Sands

 

As we strolled down the path, I think I was expecting a little bay,  but the size and beauty  of this beach catches your breath. If you’d ask me what my favourite UK beach was, I’d probably have said, Laig on the Isle of Eigg, I’m now ranking them joint first. 

Spud the dog loved it too.

Spud Marloes Sand_

I pondered on the powers of nature, looking at the mighty upheavals of rock and near vertical bedding planes,

bedding planes Marloes Sand_

I didn’t discover until later that it is a great place for a spot of fossil hunting


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Welcome Home Ocean Valour

Salcombe gave a warm welcome home yesterday,  to two young me, Tom Rainey and Lawrence Walters, who had been at sea since May, rowing across the North Atlantic, from New York to Salcombe. It’s a long way in a small boat, that’s them in the centre of the shot

Ocean Valour 5

There were about 200 boats out on the water to escort them into harbour, Mr uphilldowndale was amongst them.. He is easily identifiable in the photos as the only small sailing dingy in the flotilla,

He assure me he wasn’t as close to the lifeboat as he appears to be

Ocean Valour 2

Mrs Ogg and I joined the  watching crowds on dry land, and whilst we kept our feet dry, our eyes were not;  it was very moving.  Tom and Lawrence, set out on this epic adventure, in memory of Tom’s Dad, Luke, who died of a brain tumour and to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity. They broke two world records en route, for the youngest pair to row the north Atlantic and for the distance rowed in twenty four hours

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I can’t start to imagine how good a nights sleep might be after such a voyage, but I’ll bet they slept well, and that their families, especially, Tom’s mum, slept just as soundly, knowing they were home safe.

The expression on Tom’s mums face, (in the white jacket) say’s it all.

Ocean Valour Tom's Mum_

Donations can be made to The Brain Tumour Charity at Tom and Lawrence’s Just Giving page.

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the press with the Royal Marines

Ocean Valour Press boat_

A seaside assortment….

Ocean Valour 11

 

Ocean Valour 13

Ocean Valour 12

Ocean Valour 15


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Tender Wooden Care

Another post from my jolly into Norfolk with my friend Mrs Ogg.

We stumbled upon Rescue Wooden Boats,  at Burnham Norton; Mrs Ogg’s eye was caught by their logo, it is by one of her favourite artists James Dodds and we have curious minds so we decided to take a look.

We found a warm and knowledgeable welcome at their museum,housed in old RAF huts. I was particularly impressed by the work they have done to capture the history of the fishing community. You could spend many an hour watching their archive of films (it might take a wee while to get your ear attuned to the accent though!)

After we’d spent some time in the museum we were given a tour of the boat shed where their were several boats undergoing restoration,

Rescue wooden boats_

and many more awaiting tender loving care. Rescue wooden boats 6

But not all was history, there was a stunning looking commission being built, in the traditional style

rescue wooden boats 8

All  smooth timber, sumptuous glossy varnish *

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and  exceptional craftsmanship

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Glimpses could be seen, that it is was very much a place of industry

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The largest boat under restoration was the Lucy Lavers, a lifeboat, built in 1939 whose very first mission was to take part in the rescue operation at the Battle of Dunkirk,

rescue wooden boats 14

She and her history are to big to fit in this post,  but you can read more here.

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I take my hat off to all those who give their time and effort to Recue Wooden Boats. Brilliant work.

 

* The irony being I’d left Mr Uphilldowndale at home varnishing six new wooden doors, three coats each side… He’d have loved to have visited here.


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Where to Start

The problem with letting a blog lie fallow is just where do you start to pick up the thread: it’s not that things haven’t been happening there are dozens of things I’d love to blog about. it’s just that there have been many other calls on my time. That, and I’ve simply fallen out of the habit of posting.

So rather than worry about which adventure to start with, I’ll start with the most recent, a weekend away with my friend Mrs Ogg, we’ve been to Norfolk. Where the sea meets the sky

Wells_

 

Norfolk is a place very close to Mrs Ogg’s heart, and somewhere I’ve hardly visited. Mr’s Ogg had a list of a hundred things she wanted to show me, amongst them were the beach huts at Wells Next The Sea (My blog looks a little like the beach hut on the left, it could do with a coat of paint, like the other two, do you not think?)

 

fallow shed_ 

It would be very hard to pick a favourite

Wells 2