Walking the public footpaths of the UK has to be one of my favorite activities on Earth. Idyllic topography. The flora and fauna. An occasional pub for an adult beverage. Dry stone walls. It brings back memories of the first walks with my husband-to-be, when we discovered a shared passion for hiking and the outdoors. Be still, my heart!
So, of course, on our recent visit to the UK in October/November, we managed to squeeze in one walk for just the two of us, somehow sandwiched in between the rampant rain!
We began in Middleton-on-Teesdale, so named for its prime location in the valley where the River Tees snakes its way among banks lined with trees.
Barns and dry stone walls, withstanding wind, rain and decomposing moss, are ubiquitous.
Not too far into our walk, I erupted in laughter when I saw this sign.
Stile (noun): an arrangement of steps that allows people but not animals to climb over a fence or wall
Below, Spousal Unit is standing on a stile with style. (Enlarge if you don't believe me! LOL!)
Along the path (can you see it in the picture below, hugging the left side of the wall?) our passing disturbed groups of pheasants, both male and female. Did you know? A brace of pheasants is a pair. A brood is a family group. A group of pheasants may be known as a flock or a bouquet. A large group is a nye or nide.
I don't think I have seen as many pheasants on one outing as we saw at various points on this day. We were also blessed to glimpse not one but two weasels within an hour of each other. Each one scampered into a hole below a stone wall, and how I longed to linger and see if it emerged!
At times, the footpath followed the banks of the river with military precision. Then, it would climb the foothills, offering spectacular vistas of the river and fields beyond.
Several tributaries flowed down the hill and into the river. We were thankful for this bridge to cross one of the larger ones. Near here, we had to jump across a swollen creek!
The video below shows the high water level of the river itself.
As we approached our turnaround point, a rock escarpment known as the Holwick Scars jutted up into the gathering clouds. How would you like to have this in your back yard?
Suddenly, we came upon an area bedecked with Fly Agaric, a beautiful and photogenic mushroom, despite its toxicity. Maybe they are always in this area, or maybe it was a function of the extra rainfall. Never mind the reason - I was entranced!
Have you ever noticed that, once you see something, your eye is attuned to it and in a flash, you see more of it everywhere? Check out these other mushrooms.
At this point, we entered Moor House - Upper Teesdale National Nature Preserve. One of the largest in England, the Preserve covers some 88 square kilometers of special upland habitats. It is Britain's leading site for research into the effects of a changing climate on the natural environment.
The reserve is famous for its unique Arctic-Alpine plants which have survived here since the last Ice Age and are today conserved by traditional farming and moorland management.
Our turning point was Low Force, a waterfall that tumbles over the Whin Sill, a layer of hard rock called dolerite, known locally as whinstone. The Whin Sill formed 295 million years ago, when molten rock rose up from within the Earth and spread out between layers of limestone, sandstone and shale. The molten rock cooled and hardened underground to form a vast sheet of rock known as a "sill". Millions of years of erosion have exposed the Whin Sill at the surface here at Low Force. (The Holwick Scars are also part of the Whin Sill.)
On the way back, we sped up a little, in light of the heavy clouds overhead. Good thing, too, or we might have been out in the heavy downpour for longer! Just before the heavens opened, I managed a final shot of Holwick Scars - even more majestic from this vantage point!
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So many pretty things to see and it all looks amazing. Love the waterfall too.ReplyDelete
I like the title of your post 'Walking in Style' and that sign made me smile :)ReplyDelete
Beautiful photographs and videos.
The two waterfall ones amazing and to see the high water level and the fast running water in your first video showed it so well.
Take care in the week ahead.
My good wishes.
All the best Jan
I love “your style,” Angie.
I so enjoyed listening and watching the videos of the waterfalls too.
The Fly Agaric mushrooms are pretty. And the yellow on to the left looks so unique.
Thank you for hosting!
...gorgeous areas to walk about! Thanks Angie for hosting the party.ReplyDelete
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I always had visions of hiking Hadrians Wall or across the moors in Cornwall....sadly probably never will now. Oh well, we have lots of fabulous walks here too! Thankyou for taking us to the UK, travel safe, and enjoy your week, and thank you again for the link up.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful place to hike, the scenery is beautiful.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful hike (and full of style ;-)), dear Angie. The British countryside is extremely beautiful - unfortunately the weather is not always, but the eye is grateful for all the green that is created by the rain (and about the beautiful mushrooms). I have now also learned a lot about pheasants :-DDDReplyDelete
Enjoy the pre-Christmas season!
All the best, Traude
What a delightful post, Angie! It reminds me of my visits to the UK and the many pleasant hours I spent traipsing through the public paths. You are right, it is a great pleasure taking it all in, the landscape, views, the changeable weather, flora and fauna, and of course the rustic reward of a rest in a country pub!ReplyDelete
PS: Thank you for hosting, Angie!ReplyDelete
Lots of nice photos. Didn't know that 2nd definition of stileReplyDelete
It is SO picturesque! Just like something you see in the movies we love. The mushrooms are really neat and love the bridge walkway. Fun to get photos of the two of you together. What fun you've had!ReplyDelete
It looks like a fun and romantic mushroom photo safari! With views.ReplyDelete
Beautiful hike! The little yellow mushroom looks very attractive, too.ReplyDelete
Angie, I did not link up this week as it is such a busy time and I am missing visiting everyone's blogs...but I wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas! I'll link up again in the new year!ReplyDelete
Beautiful places to walk. The UK has so much history lovely old buildings. I did not know the names for pheasant groups. But I did know stile because we have used them to get over fences around remote airports. - MargyReplyDelete
What a delightful place to walk, Angie. The dry stone walls enchanted me when we were in England, too. And the brooding sky over the hills.ReplyDelete
oh such fancy fungi!! that river is so pretty and sounded much louder than i thought!!ReplyDelete
thanks for sharing this beautiful place!!
your additions to my bucket list were awesome. i have had both of those on prior lists, i ran out of room this year!! life can be so much fun, even during a pandemic, you just have to want it to be!!Delete
Love the fungi fit for fairies. There is also something magical and relaxing about gurgling water flowing down contained pathways. Glad you shared the videos and that you had a great time as it can’t be easy traveling during these times.ReplyDelete
This post hit so many of my happy buttons!! A perfect nature walk with so much to see, especially the colorful fungi .... and of course it was in Britain so that alone makes me smile! ... And then you did the wordplay thing a couple of times -- and you did it in such stile (oops. I should fix that ;>) and yes, I do like lichen!ReplyDelete
Both the play and also I very much like the symbiotic partnership of lichens with their hosts -- we see so many examples here in Florida, so I've learned about them.) ... Thanks for the fun walk, I loved it.
we have the Fly Agaric too, and a few others equally toxic. To take shots are OK but don´t eat them.ReplyDelete
love the waterfalls :)ReplyDelete
Weasels and Pheasants how great is that! Glad you could have that walk with each other. Fun photos!ReplyDelete
Magic mushrooms!! =) What a glorious part of the world. How fabulous you and your Spousal Unit were able to enjoy all the beauty of this part of the UK, just a little while ago. Amazing waterfalls! Love the sound of gushing water.ReplyDelete
HI Angie. You captured our latest November in great style - not a glimpse of the sun. You found one of the better days to enjoy your walk. And all those Pheasants? Reared in captivity and released into the wild where with luck a bird might live a week or two before being blasted out of the sky and then hung out to dry at the local butcher.ReplyDelete
150/200 years of recording the weather is not enough to say that man is changing the climate and I think we are in a Rain Age that is all.
Hi Angie, what a pleasure your trip around Britain. The pictures of you, fantastic. The Fly Agaric, tripping the light fabulous. Beautiful images.ReplyDelete
What a great hike, beautiful scenery and neat looking fungi. The waterfalls are wonderful to see and hear. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
I really appreciate your professional approach.These are pieces of very useful information that will be of great use for me in future.ReplyDelete
I've never been on an English footpath and I am very jealous of them. Such beautiful country to walk through.ReplyDelete
When I was a kid living on National Forests we had stiles. I don't see them hardly at all any longer.
Beautiful shots of the waterfall and the landscape, Angie.ReplyDelete
Wonderful photos. I'm glad you enjoy your visit. Thanks for sharing your walk with us :)ReplyDelete
Always learn a little something new when reading your posts. How I wish we had beautiful places to hike, places to go. I'm not finding much joy lately in my walks since the only thing that changes is the amount of garbage and debris along the way. It's also been overcast and gloomy here for nearly two weeks which is rather unusual. My mood has taken a major nosedive as a result and I just can't seem to pull myself up or out. Hope all is well with you and your family. Happy holidays!ReplyDelete
I have spent many happy hours, weeks in fact, walking the paths and pleasant country lanes of England. I doubt that I will ever do it again, so memories will have to suffice.ReplyDelete